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November 14, 1996 - Image 24

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1996-11-14

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.


1

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POSITION PREVIEWS
Nothing tiny about guards
Michigan backcourt should be versatile, reliable

BIG TEN

Hawkeyes boast seni<

The Michigan Daily - Tipoff '9(

q

j

By Danielle Rumore
They can run the floor; they can
shoot; they can score.
And if all goes well, they might
even be able to penetrate. the lane,
break down defenses, dish to the open
man, and create some quality scoring
opportunities.
The Michigan backcourt of junior
Travis Conlan, sophomores Louis
Bullock and Ron Oliver and junior
college transfer Brandun Hughes is
one of the best perimeter groups the
Wolverines have had in recent years.
Conlan, Bullock and Hughes will
see the most action and will provide a
constant rotation at the one- and two-
guard spots.
With any luck, they should be bet-
ter than their predecessors.
"(Last year), we didn't have a guy
who can get the ball and attack,"
Michigan coach Steve Fisher said.
"We should be better."
Last season, Dugan Fife joined
Bullock and Conlan in the backcourt.
Fife, who has since graduated, was a
scrappy player but neither a consis-
tent nor reliable shooter.
Bullock took over in the scoring

department.
He easily stepped into the mix and
proved to be a reliable shooting guard
in his freshman campaign..
A smooth accurate shooter, Bullock
can drain shots from all over the
court. He aver-
aged 13.3 points Gu
per game, sec-
ond on the team,
and connected 4
on 70 3-point- ::1 L :..ul: k
ers. . 21 TravIs Conlaii
His scoring 24 Ron Oliver
prowess gave the
Wolverines a
necessary
perimeter scor-~
ing threat last
season.
And Bullock
was able to push
the ball up the
floor, but once
he got there, he
couldn't always
penetrate and
dish to the open man.
"Louis is a lot better with the ball
this year than he was last year,"
Fisher said.

..kJ,
IfiQe D~
VISAe,

Conlan, although not as fast as
Bullock, is unquestionably a reliable
and better ball handler.
He was the Wolverines leading
assist man last year, dishing out an
average of 4.8 a game.
And Conlan's
size allows him
RDSto be a solid
defender.
>ts y ... 1Since Albert
~s J 3 7 White was
Sr. 63 170 released from
Jr 17 the team, and
Willie Mitchell
t ran s fe r r e d,
Jerod Ward is the
only true swing-
man left on the
roster.
So Conlan, at
6-foot-5, might
be called upon
to guard oppos-
ing small for-
wards.
"The more
shooting guards, the bigger guards
when Jerod goes out, I think I'm
gonna have to step up and guard
them," Conlan said.
"I'm comfortable guarding those
guys.~
Although Bullock proved to be a
scoring threat, and Conlan was able to
dump down an average of 4.5 points,
Michigan's perimeter play remained
suspect.
Andthe Wolverines were plagued
by minimal ball movement and drib-
ble penetration.
Enter into the equation Hughes,
Michigan's first legitimate junior col-
lege transfer since Rickey Green in
the mid-1970s
"Brandun adds an element that we
needed, which is a penetrator,"
Conlan said.
Hughes played at Barton County
Community College in Kansas, where
he averaged 28.2 points, 2.9 rebounds
and 6.5 assists last season.
He can play either guard position'
bringing legitimate point guard and
scoringhskills to the backcourt.
Hughes is a slasher and a great
ball handler who can create shots for
himself and the rest of the
Wolverines.
"Brandun will give us a guy that
can take the ball 94 feet and make
things happen," Fisher said. "Brandun
will bring an ingredient to us that we
haven't had to the degree that real,
real good teams have had.
"If you don't guard him, he'll
score. If you guard him, he'll find
the open man. So he'll help every-
body. He is not going to be the point
guard. He will be one of the guys
that will have the ball coming down
the floor - so will Travis, so will
Louis."
Oliver is a scholarship player this sea-
son after walking on last year. A smart,
fundamental player, Oliver played in 22
games last season.

By Will McCa :
After throwing his name into the
NBA draft pool, senior Jess Settles
abruptly fished it out, and hope returned
to the Hawkeyes' nation.
Iowa coach Dr. Tom Davis - the
most relieved man in Iowa City these
days - will now have the senior tandem
of his dreams, as Settles will team with
point guard Andre Woolridge to provide
the skills and leadership the Hawkeyes
need to help replace three lost starters.
Although Davis wasn't fortunate
enough to have streaky shooter Chris
Kingsbury also withdraw his name from
draft consideration, the Hawkeyes enter
the season with a solid, seasoned squad.
"I don't think I've ever had two better

Hoosiers inexperience troubles Knight

By Will McCahill
When you're trying to find a way to
replace the Big Ten's leading scorer,
there's a lot of uncertainty.
Ditto when you have five freshmen
(including one redshirt) on your roster.
Anyone else might get bogged down
in all this confusion, but Indiana coach
Bobby Knight is certainly not just any-
one else. He's the craftiest general since
Rommel - or maybe even Napoleon
- and has a history of turning no-name
farmboys into champs.
Still, Knight does have a lot of ques-
tions about his 1996-97 lineup. Gone to
the NBA is forward Brian Evans, last
season's conference Most Valuable
Player and the first Knight-coached
player to lead the league in scoring.
Going into the season, Knight has a
core group of juniors who saw signifi-
cant playing time on a team that tied for
second in the conference last season.
Forward Charlie Miller (who also saw
time at guard in his sophomore cam-
paign) played in all 31 games, as did fel-
low forward Andrae Patterson and
guard Neil Reed. Together, the trio aver-
aged an even 30 points per game.
Knight, however, is hardly exuding
confidence about these three, or about
the otherthree returnees (senior center
Hars Mujezinovic, junior center
Richard Mandeville and junior forward
Robbie Eggers).

"Of the six, not one of them is a real
proven, constant player that you have an
idea as to what he's going to do game
after game," Knight said.
But if the Evanses and Alan
Hendersons of the basketball world are
anything to go by, look for the older
players to step it up after multiple sea-
sons under Knight.
The frontcourt is solid with Patterson
and Miller at the forward spots. The 6-
foot-8 Patterson was second in the
league in blocked shots despite spend-
ing a good bit of time in foul trouble
while averaging 11.2 points and 6.3
boards per game. Miller will move back
to his natural spot and will look to
improve on his 8.2 points-per-game
average of last season.
At 6-foot-9, Mujezinovic doesn't
quite have the height of a center, but the
250-pound former junior-college trans-
fer has the skills to be a force in the
paint, especially with a year of the wiley
General's tutelage under his belt. At 7-0,
freshman Jason Collier is expected to

make a big splash, and Mandeville and
Eggers provide reinforcements against
the Big Ten's bigger squads.
In the backcourt, Reed is coming off
a season in which he led'the team in
assists and was third in scoring. He shot
almost 46 percent from 3-point range
(including a torrid 9-of-11 against
Michigan in January). He could team
with any of three freshmen guards -6-
foot-3 Luke Jimenez, 6-1 A.J. Guyton
and 6-1 Michael Lewis. Lewis is the
only Indiana native on the Hoosiers'
roster, an anomaly for a Knight team.
The past couple of seasons have been
disappointing for the Hoosiers, with
neither a Big Ten title or a first-round
NCAA tournament victory to show for
their efforts. If the upperclassmen gain
the consistency Knight is looking for,
Indiana stands to be around the top of
the conference and might stay at the Big
Dance past the first song. If not, Knight
has a temper to match his famous red
sweater, and the country will get a first-
hand look.

seniors to lead a ballclub than (Set
and Woolridge)," Davis said. "I cang1
on these two guys to help me bring
younger players along."
After spending most of the 32 gar
he started last year at power forward,
6-foot-7 Settles will move his te,
leading 15.1 points per game out tow
the perimeter, seeing time at two-gu
as well as small forward, both positi
he is likely to play at the NBA level.
"I think (Settles) can play gua
Woolridge said. "It'll give the defen
something to think about, because h<
bigger player. He may be tough to gi
out there."
At the point will be the ever-s
Woolridge, whose 13.1 points were
ond only to Settles, and whose six as

ff

0

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FILE PHOTO/Daily
Travis Conlan (21) along with Louis Bullock, Ron Oliver and Junior-college transfer
Brandun Hughes form one of Michigan's best backcourts in recent years.

I

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