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January 15, 1997 - Image 12

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1997-01-15

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12- The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, January 15, 1997

NCAA corrects itself:
Eligibility rules changed

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - The
NCAA voted yesterday to make basket-
ball players think twice before going
early into the NBA draft, just one day
after giving athletes more liberty and
more say than ever before.
In another significant action on the
last day of the final full convention of
the NCAA, delegates voted to give
financial protection to all men's and
women's NCAA championships in
Olympic sports. Many, especially men's
volleyball and gymnastics, were in dan-
ger of losing their funding.
"This takes these sports off the
endangered list," Ohio State athletic
director Andy Geiger said. "This is a
very happy development."
The measure to protect Olympic
sports championships was approved
after lengthy debate, but delegates
voted almost without argument to par-
tially rescind the right for undergradu-
ates to go early into the NBA draft.
Three years ago, the NCAA decided to
permit undergraduates to enter the draft
and retain their eligibility so long as they
did not hire an agent or sign a contract.
Since then, an increasing number of
underclassmen have left college. The
NBA also adopted a policy that lets
teams retain rights to players they draft
even if the draftees return to college.
The new NCAA rule specifies that
athletes who enter the draft but aren't
selected will retain their eligibility. But
if a team does draft them, their college

careers are over. Thus, the athletes will
bear ultimate responsibility for this
important decision.
"The NBA has rendered the intent of
the (original) legislation useless by
establishing a rule which does not allow
players to re-enter the draft," said Mike
Tranghese, commissioner of the Big
East Conference.
"We think it's a positive step and it's
what we recommended three years ago
when the measure first passed," said
Chris Brienza, an NBA spokesperson.
The NBA has now agreed to set up
an advisory committee similar to the
NFL's that counsels undergraduates on
their pro potential.
In other action Tuesday before
adjournment, delegates:
Voted to prohibit coaches and
administrators from taking part in any
gambling activity associated with pro-
fessional sports contests.
Authorized NCAA testing of ath-
letes who test positive for banned drugs
by non-NCAA athletics organizations.
Turned down a measure to let bas-
ketball recruiters make unlimited phone
calls to prospects 48 hours before and
after the first day of the national sign-
ing period.
Gene Corrigan, commissioner of the
Atlantic Coast Conference and presi-
dent of the NCAA, drew a standing
ovation from more than 2,600 delegates
as he pronounced the end of the four-
day convention.

GRADES
Continued from Page 10
boards per game while only playing
22 minutes per contest is a pretty
impressive figure.
But if he would give Fisher th'e
imposing defense and higher scor-
ing numbers than his current 10.4
average, Baston's minutes should
rise.
Baston:C+
Robert Traylor has been the guy
taking many of Baston's minutes.
According to Taylor, the Tractor has
been Michigan's most improved
player this season. And Taylor may
be right.
"A lot of defenses are worried
about where Louis and I are on the
floor that Robert is being played
one-on-one, and there's no one in the
country that can defend him one-on-
one in the post," Taylor said.
Game by game, Traylor has shown
that he is developing a solid low-post
game by utilizing his good hands and
quick feet.
He is also learning how to throw
his weight around and use it to mus-
cle his way into good position.
Yet he is still prone to putting the
ball on the floor way too often when
he has two or three defenders col-
lapsing on him in the paint. And
when he gets double-teamed, his
passes to the perimeter have trouble
finding their way into Michigan
hands.
Traylor: B
Fancy passes and lightning-quick
penetrating ability were what
Brandun Hughes was supposed to
bring with him from junior college.
And recently, he's done that and then
some.
But as Michigan's only true point
guard, his 2.9 assists per game just
won't cut it, especially with all of the
team's inside threats available to
mark up the scoresheet.
Hughes has had some difficulty
adjusting to passing first and shoot-
ing second.
The result has been a shot selec-
tion that rivals that of ex-Michigan
gunner Willie Mitchell, and his
field-goal percentage of 39 percent
- which has been on the rise the
past few games - backs that up.
If Hughes continues to adapt a
point guard's mentality and shot
selection, the Wolverines will thrive.
But so far, he's only shown glimpses
of being able to do so.
Hughes: C+
The player that many expected
Hughes to replace in the starting
lineup is Travis Conlan, who hasn't
turned over the reins of the back-
court so easily.
When the Wolverines were peak-
ing after their victory over Arizona, a

good case for team MVP could have
been made for Conlan.
He was the only one hustling after
loose balls, playing sound, funda-
mental basketball, and taking a lead-
ership role.
But despite all the intangibles,
Conlan still hasn't put up the num-
bers that are necessary for this team
to go further than the first round of
the NCAA tournament.
He lacks confidence in his jump
shot and his ball-handling deficieO
cies were exposed against
Minnesota's pressure defense.
Conlan:
No one was a bigger mystery
heading into the season than Jerod
Ward.
Midway through the season, Ward
still may be the team enigma.
Ward has shown substanti
improvement from his first two
injury-plagued seasons in Ann
Arbor.
He is not afraid to fire away from
outside and recently has begun dri-
ving hard to the hoop like a 6-foot-9
player should.
But a team-low .360 field-goal
percentage is just horrible for some-
one who gets 10 shots per game.
Defensively, Ward's knees preveii
him from sticking with smaller,
quicker opponents, and that's some-
thing Fisher will have to think about
down the stretch.
Ward: C+
Which leads to the self-appointed
team captain - Fisher. This same
writer said before the season the
Fisher must put the pieces of his tal-
ented bunch together into a Big Ten
champ this year.
So far he has failed in that effort,
but he has a good deal of time to
change that.
Fisher has done a good job in the
team's two big games - Duke and
Arizona - playing a good chunk of
both contests without his best playe
Taylor.
Throughout the season, his system
of frequent substitution has worked
with limited personnel. But too
often, he has kept his big men in too
long and that has led them into foul
trouble.
As said many times before, Fisher
has perhaps the most talented and
athletic team in the nation on paper,
but he has failed to reap anything
close to its potential. 0
This team can very easily end up
with a 10-8 Big Ten record and a
first-round exit in the tournament.
Butjust as easily, Fisher can get
his team on a roll- like the one it
was on before reaching Hawaii -
and ride it into the postseason.
But, it's been proved in the past
that it is more easily said than done.
Overall: C

MARK FRIEDMAN/Daily
Jerod Ward has bounced back nicely from consecutive injury-plagued seasons to
become a solid performer in Michigan's frontcourt. The 6-foot-9 swingman has
shown potential on the offensive end, but needs to improve upon his .360 field-
goal percentage if he wants a better grade (see story at right).

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