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March 26, 1997 - Image 11

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1997-03-26

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The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, March 26, 1997- 11

Blue can't
/ut teams
awa, sits
i NIT'
NEW YORK - Steve Fisher cer-
tainly has his work cut out for
himself.
If the beleaguered Michigan coach
returns next season - which right now,
seems to be a pretty safe bet unless the
pending NCAA investigation gets out
of hand - he's got a chalkboard's
worth of material that is neccessary to
"right the ship" (as he said was what
eeded to be done after Michigan's loss
Purdue a month ago).
He's going to have to draw up a play-
book exclusively
for Louis Bullock,
who needs to, and
should, get 20
shots per game.
He's going to have
to get his big men
to move in the
paint. Fisher also ALAN
as to give anoth- GOlDENBACH
er -we're hoping The Bronx
he gave one Bomber
already - lesson
in fundamentals.
But what Fisher needs to teach this
team more than anything else is some-
thing that is characteristic of every
championship team - in any sport.
Killer instinct. The Wolverines had
the opportunity to exhibit it in the first
Salf when they were ahead 28-16 with
seven minutes to go.
But rather than continuing to stifle
an already horrendous Arkansas shoot-
ing attack, Michigan opted to play role
reversal. The Wolverines went the next
5:22 without a field goal.
And then, after a running jumper by
Bullock, they went'dry from the field
for another 4:15, until they were down
or the first time since the game's open-
ng minutes. The box score doesn't do
this game justice - it was much closer
than the the 15-point margin. This
game was tied with about 10 minutes
to play. Michigan blew it open in the
end with a bunch of free throws, when
Arkansas was forced to shoot quickly
and often from deep range.
The most dissapointing part about
this lack of a killer instinct is that the
layers don't realize they lack it.
"We had them down in the first half,
and we sensed we could beat them by
20 points, Traylor said. "But they
fought back. They put together a good
run late in the first halff"
But why was Arkansas allowed to
fight back? "We made a couple of
mental errors," Traylor said.
Ah-ha! "When we were up four or
five points midway through the second
alf," Travis Conlan said, "we knew we
ere 14 or 15 points better than this
tean, and then we showed it."
Why not show it earlier? Michigan
did this against Indiana in the game
that started their downward spiral this
season. The Wolverines' 20-point lead
didn't scare the Hoosiers like it should
have. No killer instinct.
Another meaty lead evaporated again
three weeks later when Michigan
comghed up a 13-point, second-half
a to Illinois in a game that, in hind-
sight, probably cost the Wolverines a
berth in the NCAA tournament.

And just last week, after it took
Notre Dame 11 minutes to score two
field goals, Michigan couldn't blow the
Irish out of the building. They didn't
put them away but got very lucky, as
riskher said after that game. They didn't
put Indiana away, and it blew up in
their faces. They didn't put Illinois
way, and it happened again.
And that's why they're playing in the
NIT - against teams that don't know
how to come back when they're down,
like Arkansas. Just look where Indiana
and Ilinois wound up in the postseason.
Yep, the NCAAs.
--Alan Goldenbach can be reached
over e-mail at agold@umich.edu.
MICHIGAN (77)
FG FT REB
MIN M-A M-A 0T A F PTS
aston 30 3-7 3-6 4-10 0 2 9
Taylor 37 6-9 7-10 4-15 2 0 19
Traylor 23 3-8 1-4 2-6 0 4 7
0llock 29 6-12 0-1 1-1 0 4 15
C.dnlan 26 0-1 2-2 1-3 5 3 2
Hughes 30 3-8 4-5 0-3 3 4 10
Ward 18 4-8 5-7 0-3 0 1 15
Streets 2 0.0 0-000010
Oliver 2 0-1 0-0 0-0 0 0 0
D. Taylor 1 0-1 0-0 1-1 0 0 0
Dekuiper 1 0-1 0-0 1-1 0 0 0
Vignier 1 0-0 0-0 0-1 0 0 0
Totals 200 25.56 22-3519-5210 19 7
6:..446. FT%: .629. 3-point FG: 5-9,
X556 (Bullock 3-6, Ward 2-3,). Blocks: 7
(Baston 4, Taylor 1, Traylor 2). Steals: 8
(Taylor, Traylor, Bullock, Ward). Technical
Fouls: none.
ARKANSAS (62)
FQ Ft RES
MINEM-1 M.AO04TA FPTS

NCAAs
Jackson took hard road to Final Four
Injury-riddled guard looks to help Gophers earn respect for Big Ten in NCAA tourney'

The Baltimore Sun
obby Jackson has made a career
out of coming from nowhere to
become a star. He did it at
Salisbury High School in North
Carolina. He did it at Western
Nebraska Junior College. And now he
is doing it at the University of
Minnesota.
On the college level, it has taken
five years and nearly as many injuries
for Jackson to reach his current status
as the player who has led the Gophers
to the school's first Final Four.
Minnesota will play defending champi-
on Kentucky on Saturday at the RCA
Dome in Indianapolis.
But injuries have long played a part
in Jackson's career.
"As a freshman, he didn't come out
for the JV team because he broke a toe
right before tryouts," Sam Gaely,
Jackson's coach at Salisbury, recalled-
yesterday. "We didn't know how good
he was. He just kind of showed up as a
sophomore and he started three years."
The broken toe was followed by a
stress fracture in his foot as a junior
and some muscle problems in his leg
as a senior. Along with poor grades
that made him a Prop 48 player, it was
a factor in Jackson's not being recruit-
ed by any Division I programs.
So through a connection with
Western Nebraska Coach Dave
Campbell, who had played college ball
in Salisbury and had done his student
teaching there, Gaely sent Jackson off
to Scotts Bluff, Neb. Shortly before the
start of preseason workouts his fresh-
man year, Jackson tore the anterior
cruciate ligament in his knee.
"I think the year off helped him,"
Campbell said Monday. "It gave him a
chance to work on his academics and
in the weight room. That's a devastat-
ing injury to a young kid like that. But
he's a fighter. Once he got here, Bobby
was on a mission. He was a model citi-
zen and a heck of a player."
Said Jackson: "I thought about leav-
ing, but my mom and my (high school)
coach told me to stay out there. It was
a big adjustment being in Nebraska,
with all the cornfields, but I don't
know if I would be here if I didn't go."
Not that Jackson's transition to
Minnesota was any easier than it had
been to Western Nebraska. After grow-
ing up in a town of 28,000 midway
between Greensboro and Charlotte,
then adjusting to a small town three
hours from Denver, Jackson had to get
used to Minneapolis.
And, as usual, there was another

injury. This time he broke the same
foot in which he had suffered a stress
fracture.
He wound up missing the first seven
games last year and, while he ended up
averaging a team-high 13.3
points, he shot just 40.6 per- Tour
cent from the field and 29.5 tiUM
percent on 3-pointers.
"Having been injured Saturda
before helped me, but I don't UaNorth
think I was ever 100 percent (2N6)
last year," Jackson said. (23-9}t
This year has been a lot 11Ktt
different for Jackson. The ~ Minr
quickness he showed in)a' .
leading Western Nebraska to
a third-place finish in the Televish
national junior college tour-
nament two years ago has Monday
returned and, with it, Semlf
Jackson has gone from ners, 9:
being honorable mention Televisk
All-Big Ten to the confer-
ence's player of the year. Aft gam0
After starting quietly in RCA Do
the opening two rounds of tndiana:
the NCAA tournament,
Jackson broke out for a career-high 36
points and nine rebounds in a 90-84
double-overtime victory over Clemson
in the Midwest Regional semifinals in
San Antonio, then followed with 18
points and nine rebounds in an 80-72

victory over UCLA.
As a result of his performance,
Jackson was named the regional's most
outstanding player. He also saw his
stock in the NBA draft go up, perhaps
turning him from a second-
ey round pick into a middle to
Ut late choice in the first
round.
SeeJackson seems comfort-
semis able in the spotlight, but
arizona doesn't seek it out.
2o p.m. "I didn't get much nation-
y (34.$) al attention before the tour-
ta (31- nament, but I'm not the type
:7 of person that cares much
about it" said Jackson, who
CBS is averaging a team-high
15.0 points. "I'm just out
final there to enjoy myself,
3l win- improve my game and do
p.m. whatever it takes to help my
team win."
In the game against
it the UCLA, it meant playing a
? in great deal of point guard
IS because starter Eric Harris
was limited to 23 nonpro-
ductive minutes by a sprained shoul-
der.
Depending on how Harris' injury
heals this week, Jackson might be
asked to do the same against a team
known for the relentless pressure it

puts on opponents, especially point
guards.
"As I've said, I'll do whatever it
takes," Jackson said.
For Jackson, that often translates
into rebounding. Ever since he was in
high school, Jackson has been a relent-
less rebounder, in particular on the
offensive boards.
Even at 6-foot, he is third among the
Gophers in rebounding, with better
than six a game. He also leads his
team in assists.
Asked about his penchant for
rebounding, Jackson said: "I've just
got a knack for getting to the ball.'
Said Minnesota Coach Clem
Haskins: "Jerry Sloan was the best
rebounding guard I ever saw, but he
was 6-5. Bobby's not nearly as tall, but
he has some of the same instincts."
Haskins said Jackson's adjustments
to playing for Minnesota came as he
gradually accepted a system that prides
itself on a balanced offense and using
a lot of players.

While Jackson and junior Sam
Jacobson get most of the recognition,
their ability to get others involvedin
w the offense makes for the happiest of
locker rooms.
"We knew when Bobby came here
and we saw him playing in some of tho
summer leagues that he was going to
be a great player," Jacobson said. "But
he's improved so much this year as he s
gotten more comfortable with the sys-
tem."
It is no small coincidence that
Jackson's sudden stardom can be
traced to the first injury-free season he
has had in a long time.
Back home in Salisbury and out in
Scotts Bluff, his former coaches can
see a difference.
"Everyone's very excited about
what Bobby is doing," Gaely said.
"But we've seen him do this before.'
Said Campbell: "He's not a one-
dimensional player. That's whatsepa-
rates him from a lot of guards around
the country."

U U

4

COMMU
EDUCAT
RECREA

Said Minnesota Coach Clem Haskins: "Jerry Sloan was the best rebounding guard
I ever saw, but he was 6-5. Bobby's not nearly as tall, but he has some of the
same instincts."

r

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& baseball
.- softball
YOUTH
R baseball
Kfast pitch
FOR MORE INFORMATION CALL 313-994-2300 EXTZ2

Wildcats' run makes them 'Unbelievables'

LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) -
Kentuckians have a penchant for giving
nicknames to their favorite University
of Kentucky basketball teams.
It started in 1948 with the Fabulous
Five. Along came the Fiddlin' Five in
1958. Rupp's Runts captured their
hearts in 1966. The Unforgettables
emerged in 1992. And then the
Untouchables from last year's national
championship team.
And this season?
"Somebody gave me this nickname,
I think it's more the Unbelievables
because I don't think I quite believe it,"
said Kentucky coach Rick Pitino, who
picked up the label from a Danville
(Ky.) Advocate-Messenger sports
writer.
It does seem unlikely that the
Wildcats, who play Minnesota in the
semifinals Saturday night in

Indianapolis, would be in position to
defend their national title.
Four players from last year's team
that finished 34-2 are playing pro ball.
Another player from that team was red-
shirted and another transferred. And
midway through the season, leading
scorer Derek Anderson went down with
a knee injury.
But Kentucky (34-4) is two games
away from becoming only the second
team since UCLA in 1973 to repeat as
national champion.
"This team has played a top-five
schedule, and being young, I think
they've accomplished more than any
basketball team I've coached," said
Pitino, who has his third team in five
years in the Final Four. "The only one
that would rival this team is
Providence" in 1987.
Even the players are surprised by

how they progressed during the season.
'We've come through it all and we're
in a position now that nobody thought
we would be in, especially when Derek
went down," said guard Cameron Mills.
"If we can pull off two more victories,
then I would definitely agree with that
nickname."

-4

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