The Michigan Daily - Tuesday, April 22, 1997 - 23
1 : ' DrrckIl- Clea
Native Detroiter Derrick Coleman, the first pick in the 1990 NBA draft, talks about his
0 journey through the league, the state of professional basketball and Allen Iverson
After selecting Derrick Coleman
ih the first overall pick in the 1990
S4 Draft, the New Jersey Nets had
'7igh expectations of the Detroit
native, hoping he would turn around
a dismal franchise. But after earning
rookie of the year honors, Coleman
was a disappointment, and was
dipped off to the Philadelphia
76ers in the 1995-96 season.
Coleman was raised in Detroit and
played basketball for Flint Northern
High School. He played against the
likes of Big Ten stars Terr Mills and
Steve Smith before moving on to
S;fracuse for college. At Syracuse,
C6leman set the Big East record for
'career rebounds and was named con-
'rdence player of the year in 1990.
"Recently, The Michigan Daily's
Josh Kleinbaum had a chance to
catch up with Coleman and talk
about his career, Detroit basketball
nd even a little Michigan hoops.
DAiLY: Do you still follow college
basketball and Syracuse basketball ?
COLEMAN: Yeah, definitely.
D: What did you think of
Syracuse's season this year?
C: We had a terrible year this year.
*e went from the Final Four to los-
in the first round of the NIT.
There's no reason for it, but we'll
bounce back, though.
D: Did you see any of Michigan's
games in the NIT?
C: Yeah, I'm a Michigan fan. In
the summertime, I play with Trac
(Michigan sophomore center Robert
Traylor) and (recent Michigan for-
ward) Maurice (Taylor) and those
guys. So I still follow it.
D: What was the basketball envi-
ronment like in Detroit when you
were in high school?
C: No. I hoops spot in America as
far as all the talent and all the players
we had coming out of school when I
was in school. It was pretty much
balanced. Everyone had two or three
good players on their team. It was
tough, night in and night out.
D: Do you still keep in touch with
any of the players you played
C: Oh, yeah. I still keep in touch
with Terry (Mills), Steve (Smith),
and Shawn Respert. We all keep in
contact with each other over the
course of the year.
D: Do you think that when you
play against each other now it is any
more competitive, because you've
been playing each other for so long?
C: It's still competitive, whether
we're playing summer league, pick-
up, or like we're playing against each
D: You spend some of your sum-
he used to coach Pershing, and I used
to coach Northern, so it was a rivalry
in high school. It's just something
I've continued to do. I enjoy it. It's a
lot of fun. It gives the kids an oppor-
tunity to just go out and play and
D: Do you talk to any of them
about where they should go to play
C: No, I've never even discussed
D: There's been a trend lately of
players leaving college early to come
to the NBA. You stayed at Syracuse
all four years. If you had an opportu-
nity to talk to players considering
leaving early for the NBA, what
would you say?
C: I'd tell them to fulfill their
dreams. It's a different opportunity
for different people. I enjoyed col-
lege when I was there, but who's to
say it's for everybody? If that's how
they feel like they want to do, then
go out and fulfill your dream. If your
main goal was to go out and play in
the NBA, and that's what you've
been striving for, and a good oppor-
tunity permits itself, then by all
means, do it.
D: What basketball players did you
look up to when you were a kid'?
C: George Gervin and Dr. J. Those
were my two.favorites.
D: What do you think you've
learned from watching them play?
C: I don't think I've really learned
too much. I just go out and try to
emulate the things that they do.
D: What basketball players now do
you look up to?
C: No one.
D: What was your most memo-
rable basketball experience?
C: Probably Dream Team II. We
had a lot of fun doing it. All the
kinds that were there, we really had a
chance to sit down and really hang
out with each other.
It was great. I had a lot of fun
doing that. It was probably one of my
D: What did it feel like to win the
C: After we won, we were having a
big party. Some of my friends were
there, and some of Steve (Smith)'s
friends were there from home, and
one of the guys said, "You know what
man, it's funny. You go from the
ghetto to a gold medal."
And it never really dawned on me
that he was right, and that's exactly
what happened. Growing up in
Detroit, with all the different
avenues that you can take, having
some people in your life put you on
the right path and winning a gold
It was very cool.
D: Were you recruited by
D: Why did you choose Syracuse?
C: To get away from home, a dif-
D: This year, you hive a potential
superstar on your team in Allen
Iverson. Do you think it helps your
game at all playing with him?
C: I think it helps everybody's
game. Allen is just so quick on both
ends of the court. It's just a learning
experience for him:
As the year goes on, he's gotten
better, and I just think he's going to
get even better every time he steps
out onto the court.
D: In 1995, you were traded from
the Nets to the '76ers. How would
you compare the two teams?
C: I don't, not at all.
D: Was the transition easy'?
C: Oh, yeah, the transition was
that I go right down the turnpike. I
didn't have to move that far.
mers coaching high school players in
Detroit. Can you tell me a little about
C: In the summertime, I come
home. My high school coach used to
do it, but when I was in college, it
really kind of got big. Steve (Smith),
he was going to Michigan State, and
Zoeller apologizes for insulting remarks
bout Masters champion Tiger Woods
ATLANTA (AP) --- Fuzzy Zoeller
apologized yesterday for calling
Masters champion Tiger Woods "that
little boy" and urging him not to
request fried chicken or collard
greens for the Champions Dinner
My comments were not intended
to be racially derogatory, and I apolo-
e for the fact that they were mis-
nstrued in that fashion," Zoeller
said in a statement released by his
Zoeller's comments about Wood',
made at Augusta National while the
21-year-old was becoming the first
black golfer to win a major tourna-
ment on April 13, were broadcast
Sunday on CNN's "Pro Golf Weekly."
According to a transcript relkased
the Atlanta-based network, Zoeller
S,"That little boy is driving well
and 4he's putting well. He's doing
everything it takes to win. So, you
know what you guys do when he gets
in here? You pat him on the back and
say congratulations and enjoy it and
tell him not to serve fried chicken next
year. Got it?"
On the tape, Zoeller snapped, his
fingers, turned to walk away, then
added, "Or collard greens or whatever
the hell they serve."
Woods, as defending champion,
will get to select the menu for the
Champions Dinner next year. He is the
youngest Masters winner in history
after his record-settingi 12-stroke vic-
Zoeller, one of the most free-spirit-
ed players on the PGA Tour, said he
was merely joking when he made the
"I've been on the tour for 23 years
and anybody who knows me knows
that I am a jokester," Zoeller said.
"It's too bad that something I said in
jest was turned into something it's not,
but I didn't mean anything by it and
I'm sorry if I offended anybody. If
Tiger is offended by it, I apologize to
Zoeller said he didn't intend for his
comments to be construed in a racial
"I was merely making reference to
the Champions Dinner. In fact, when I
hosted the dinner I served fast food
hamburgers," said Zoeller, who won
the 1979 Masters. "I have nothing but
the utmost respect for T iger as a per-
son and an athlete."
Woods was taping the Oprah
Winfrey show on Monday and could
not be reached for comment, accord-
ing to IMG, the agency which repre-
sents him. Zoeller said he had not
been able to reach Woods, either, but
planned to speak with him "at the first
opportunity our schedules permit."
Other golfers on the tour came to
Zoeller's defense, though they stressed
that his comments were in bad taste.
"I know Fuzzy and it was obvious
to me that he was attempting to be
funny," Tom Lehman said yesterday,
after playing in the Andersen
Consuiting World Championship of
Golf in Eatonton, Ga. "He probably
would have said the same thing to
Tiger's face and they both would have
yukked it up."
But Zoeller's comments were unfor-
tunate, Lehman added, coming in the
midst of a landmark event in the histo-
ry of golf.
"It wasn't the best timing, and it
wasn't in good taste." Lehman said.
"I'm1 sure lie was makingi an attempt
at a joke and it didn't conie out right.
But it's not appropriate.
Fred Couples stressed that Woods is
treated the same as any other golfer on
the mostly white tour.
"Off-the-wall comments are made
all the time," Couple said. "There was
nothing racist about it. We don't have
any problems like that out here (on the
"I don't think it's a big deal, and
I'M sure Tiger doesn't. But I'm sure
there are a lot of people around the
world that do. And I'm sure Fuzzy
wishes he wouldn't have said that."
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Former 'Bama coach Stalling
injured in stable accident
PARIS, Texas (AP) - Former wouldn't get to eat. One
Alabama football coach Gene down and I landed on my
Stallings remained hospitalized yes- Stallings said he's be
terday after he was trampled by three need a wheelchair and a
.horses on his ranch. about three months.
He was listed in good condition at Coaching Alabama to
St. Joseph's Hospital and Health record from 1990-96, Sta
enter after undergoing surgery to team captured the natio
repair a fractured hip, on Sunday. onship with a 34-13 v
was a dumb thing to do," Miami in the Sugar Bow
Ollings, 62, told The Paris News after the 1996 season.
about Sunday morning's accident. "I In his final game a
was feeding three young colts at the Stallings defeated Michi
same time and each was afraid he in the 1997 Outback Bow
en told he'll
a walker for
l. He retired
, \tt Nat o t 4 °t
nse in f e ld
suddenly f riends
. t ruth
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