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November 14, 1996 - Image 27

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

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168 heVitdhigan' Dailfy tF1 sday ovember 14,~f996
Tigers won't be growling anytime soon


The Iiciian Da -Tipoff '161
Blue danCes wiU

By Alan Goldenbach
Last year was the 10th anniversary of
Louisiana State's improbable run to the
Final Four. And if coach Dale Brown
had his way, the Tigers were going cel-
ebrate with history repeating itself.
Brown had what was going to be the
nation's top backcourt with Ronnie
Henderson and Randy Livingston.
Henderson led the Southeastern
Conference in scoring last year, and
Livingston was one of the top players
ever to come out of Chicago.

Then something natural brought that
promise to a screeching halt.
Livingston's career at LSU included a
series of anterior-cruciate-ligament
injuries. Henderson was on his way to an
all-conference season until he ran into
knee problems. After the season, both
opted for the NBA Draft, avoiding the
risk of suffering another injury before
picking up a paycheck.
Then Brown was ready to turn to
guard Deuce Ford to lead his team. But
he then suspended Ford for the season for

violating team rules.
At least the Tigers have the size up
front to bang with their opponents.
Forward Duane Spencer put on 30
pounds in the off-season and should
improve on his 7.9 points-per-game
average. But the rest of the frontcourt -
center Bob Hall, a junior college transfer,
and freshmen forwards Lester Earl and
Leroy Womack - is all new to the team.
Earl was a McDonald's All-American
and Louisiana's Mr. Basketball, who
turned down offers from the nation's top
programs to stay in his home state.

Youth key for 'Cats Lopez, Hamilton lead

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By WilMcCahill
It's certainly not an understatement
to say that Arizona has been a thorn in
the Michigan basketball team's side for
the past decade or so.
Since the Wolverines bested the
Wildcats in 1957, they have lost six
straight games to Tucson's finest,
including an 86-79 loss in last year's
Preseason NIT.
"I'm going to play Arizona 'til we
beat them, then I'm never going to
schedule them anymore," Michigan
coach Steve Fisher said.
Fisher had better not make any plans
to leave the Wildcats out of next sea-
son's schedule, because they have one of
the best backcourts the Wolverines will
see this season, in or out of conference.
Six-foot-five junior Miles Simon
will bring his 13 points-per-game aver-
age to the shooting spot, from which he
will be asked to lead a team that is
devoid of seniors.
Simon, however, won't have much of
the pressure of being in the backcourt
spotlight. Super-frosh Mike Bibby will
step right in at the point after a high
school career that saw him grab just
about every Arizona schoolboy record
imaginable. Bibby is the star of what
Fisher calls "arguably the No. 1 recruit-
ing class in the country."

A pair of 6-foot-8 forwards -
Eugene Edgerson and Justin Wessel -
is also among Arizona coach Lute
Olson's flock of newcomers, but the
two will have to wait their turns while
Olson uses some older players in the
In addition to the highly touted fresh-
men, Olson signed California's top
junior college player, 6-foot-8 junior
Bennett Davison, who should grab one
forward spot. The other likely goes to 6-
5 junior Michael Dickerson, who aver-
aged 11.9 points and 3.5 rebounds last
The gaping hole where the center
should be will bc filled by a mix of
unproven players. There is certainly
size available, in the personages of 6-
foot-11 sophomores A.J. Bramlett and
Donnell Harris.
Last season, nobody expected the
Wildcats to be any better than middle-
of-the-pack, and yet they came out of
the Preseason NIT with a top-five rank-
ing. Then again, there were four seniors
on that squad, so maybe Arizona's suc-
cess shouldn't have been much of a sur-
prise. Simon and Bibby will have to
keep the Wildcats in games when the
frontline is getting manhandled by
burlier opponents; how they deal with
Michigan should be a good indication
of where this team is headed.

driving Red Storm

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* By Alan Goldenbach
In 1994, Michigan and St. John's
arguably had the nation's top two recruit-
ing classes. The Wolverines' class was
advertised as the second coming of the
Fab Five, and the Red Storm had one of
the most heralded high schoolers of the
last decade in Felipe Lopez.
Two years later, both of those classes
can easily be called major disappoint-
ments. Of the four players remaining
from Michigan's quintet, only two have
contributed significantly.
As for the Red Storm, Lopez has
turned out to be as much of a dud in New
York on the court as Waterworld was at
the box office.
Lopez needs to regain the shooting
touch that made him a New York high
school legend. He barely hit 40 percent
of his field goals last year. If he regains
his touch, then the rest of his all-around
game should fall into place. He was one
of the nation's top rebounding guards
(6.1 per game last season) and his speed
and quickness make him a devastating
player in the open court.
However, lost in the shuffle has been
the pleasant surprise of the 1994 recruit-
ing class - 6-foot-11 center Zendon
Hamilton, who has emerged as one of
the nation's top big men.
Hamilton will be the most formidable
inside force that Michigan faces this sea-
son. He has both a build and style of play
similar to that of former Massachusetts
All-American Marcus Camby. He could
also leave school early like Camby did
and head for the NBA after this season.
Hamilton was one of the few players
in the nation last season to average a
double-double (20.8 points, 10.3
rebounds), but most of that came at the.
expense of his defense, or lack thereof.
New coach Fran Fraschilla won't
stand for any more lax defensive efforts
from Hamilton, Lopez or anyone for that
matter. In his four years at Manhattan
College, Fraschilla took the Jaspers to
the NCAA Tournament twice, two more
times than St. John's saw over that span.
He promises a more disciplined and
hard-working team than those of former

coach Brian Mahoney, who was merci-
fully fired after last season.
The Red Storm should also be revital-
ized by the return of power forward
Charles Minlend, who was redshirted
last season with a torn hamstring. He
will give St. John's another strong body
inside and allow Hamilton to step out-
side occasionally. Minlend is just the
guy Fraschilla wants for this team - an
unselfish, defense-oriented player who
doesn't demand the ball 20 times a
Point guard Tarik Turner is another
member of the 1994 recruiting class, but
whose arrival was overshadowed by that
of Lopez and Hamilton. Turner play thus
far has mirrored that of Lopez's in that
it's been a disappointment.
With the graduation of Derek
Brown, Fraschilla has handed the
offensive reins to Turner. If he falters,
freshman Colin Charles will be given a
shot at running the show. One way or
another, Fraschilla needs a consistent
man at the point to get Lopez and
Hamilton the ball.
If not, the Red Storm will be in for
another sub-.500 season, and
Fraschilla will wish he stayed at the
more up-and-coming program at

By John Leroi
November doesn't mean much to
Sure, the Wolverines will be mas-
sively disappointed if they don't
emerge undefeated after the first
month of the season.
But what everyone is looking for-
ward to is an early December matchup
with Duke.
The Wolverines and the Blue Devils
don't have a long-standing series
against each other, they are located
hundreds of miles apart, and there is
no bad blood between the two pro-
Yet the Duke-Michigan rivalry is
arguably the most passionate the
Wolverines have. After the Blue
Devils spanked Michigan, 71-51, in
the 1992 NCAA championship game,
the Wolverines have been out for
After six consecutive setbacks,
Michigan finally solved Duke, win-
ning an 88-84 battle last season.
In that game, Duke senior Chris
Collins let fly with 27 points. The
Wolverines won't have to worry about
Collins this year.
Instead, Michigan might want to
check senior guard Jeff Capel. At 6-
foot-4, he has the touch - and the
experience - to bomb away from
behind the arc.
Last year, Capel took 100 more
shots than any other Blue Devil,
including Collins, and averaged
almost 17 points a game.
And while the bulk of the scoring
load still rests on Capel's shoulders,
he won't be counted on to deliver all
of Duke's offense.
"This year I don't have to take as
many shots as last year," Capel said.
"We have so many guys who can play
and are talented scorers. I'd be stupid
to think I'm going to take as many
shots as I did last year."
Capel seemed comfortable in the
role of the go-to-guy, but he enjoyed it
more when he didn't have to handle
the ball as much. Here's where 5-foot-
11 Steve Wojciechowski enters the
The junior shot just 31 percent from
the field but was a capable floor

leader, pacing the Atlantic Coast
Conference in turnover-to-assist ratio,
which is the best measure of a true
point guard.
Capel ought to receive plenty of
help in the scoring department from 6-
foot-5 junior Ricky Price, who put up
over 14 points per game last season.
Six-foot-three guard Trajan
Langdon returns after sitting out last
lI'd be stupid to
think I'm going to
take as many shots
as I did last year. "
- Jeff Capel
Duke guard

year with an injury that sidelined him
for most of the season. Langdon
showed flashes of brilliance on the
court before going down with a badly
sprained knee that still bothers him.
"Some days my knee may be hurting,
and I'm not going to push it;' Langdon
said. "I just doesn't make any sense to
go one practice and hurt it any more
when I can sit out a day and be fine:"
Duke also landed three top perime-







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