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April 14, 1997 - Image 11

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1997-04-14

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The Michigan Daily - SPORTSMonday, April 14, 1997 - 3B

Jump to Draft leaves holes in 'M'
Cagers need to step up to deal with subpar recruits, Taylor's departure

Ny Danielle Rumore
Daily Sports Editor
Michigan forward Maurice Taylor
announced Friday afternoon that he was
foregoing his final year of eligibility at
ichigan to make himself available for
e NBA Draft.
And although Taylor's status for the
future seems somewhat certain, the sta-
tus of the Michigan basketball team is
up in the air.
As it stands, losing Taylor lowers
Michigan's already thin rotation for next
season. Throw in a paltry recruiting
class, in which the Wolverines only
signed two players, and the Wolverines
Spear to have some depth problems for
ext season.
"I think we'll be a pretty good team,'
forward Maceo Baston said. "We're still
a pretty young team, and we've got a lot
of experience from the guys who played
this year."
Taylor's best season was arguably his
freshman campaign, when he averaged
12.4 points and 5.4 rebounds per game,
earning 'Big Ten freshman of the year
&nors. He hasn't made a gradual ascen-
ion in three years, though, and this sea-
son averaged just 12.3 points and 6.2
rebounds, culminating in a nine-point,
eight-rebound effort at Madison Square

Garden in New York in the NIT.
On the surface, he shouldn't be badly
missed -he ranked third in rebounding
and scoring average on the team this
season. But keep in mind that the pres-
ence of a 6-foot-9, 250-pound frame is
not easy to replace, and the Wolverines
might have some work cut out for them-
selves next season.
For the second straight year, the
Wolverines' recruiting class is not one
of the tops in country. Recruiting
expert and draft analyst Bob Gibbons
ranks it in the bottom third of the Big
Taylor's departure leaves the
Wolverines with six available scholar-
ships, but Michigan has signed just two
players for next season, both in the early
signing period.
Six-foot-I1 center Josh Asselin of
Caro who is described as a project -
similar to freshman Peter Vignier's situ-
ation this past season - and 6-7 swing-
man Brandon Smith of Amarillo, Texas
are Michigan's two recruits.
"I only know of the two players that
signed early," Gibbons said. "I think,
obviously, that is not sufficient to fill all
of their needs now."
The Wolverines are still looking to
grab a few more players during the late

signing period, but the prospects look
bleak at this late juncture.
Michigan has its eyes on another
swingman: Leon Jones of Battle Creek.
Jones made a recruiting trip to Michigan
last week but is also looking at
Cincinnati and Big Ten champion
In terms of the two definite recruits,
Smith should be able to come in and
offer immediate help. But the shoulder
of the load will rest on the returning
frontline, led by sophomore center
Robert Traylor.
Traylor made considerable improve-
ment from his '95-96 inaugural season
and from the early part of this season.
He increased his ball-handling skills
and expanded his moves in the paint,
making him a formidable threat down
He was named the NIT MVP, lead-
ing the Wolverines to the title over
Florida State. He averaged a combined
16.5 points and 9.5 boards in wins over
Arkansas in the semifinals and over
the Seminoles in the championship
And that's when people started to not
only question Taylor's future as a
Wolverine, but Traylor's, too.
Since the speculations, Traylor has

restated time and again that he does not
plan to join his frontcourt mate in the
draft this year.
"I am 110 percent sure that I will not
join (Taylor)," Traylor said.
Baston will return to join Traylor in
the paint. After an early-season heel
injury, Baston came on strong toward
the end of the year.
He averaged 10.4 points and 6.8
boards per game and earned an offi-
cial spot in the starting lineup late in
the season, replacing junior swing-
man Jerod Ward against Purdue.
But the player with the biggest chance
to get both more playing time, and to
make an impact, is Ward.
Ward has metaphorically played his
position to a tee, swinging from
moments of greatness to moments of
He missed most of his first two sea-
sons with knee injuries. After earning
a spot in the starting lineup this sea-
son, falling numbers and lack of pro-
ductivity relegated him into a sixth-
man role.
"I don't know if (Taylor's departure)
means more minutes for me," Ward
said. "I'm still going to go all out and do
the things that I need to do to help

Nine seniors bid farewell at hockey banquet

Sollenberger in Paradise
Thnkes, Mickzgan, i
owe yu formy pde
I t's a phrase I've uttered - we've all uttered - a thousand times.
I go to Michigan.
We've said it to employers, relatives, friends and friends of friends. And each of
us has said it with a varying degree of pride. Some of us are proud we go to
Michigan. Others are not so proud.
I, myself, am extremely proud to say, "I go to Michigan," mainly because I
don't think there is a better academic/athletic institution in the world.
Sure, it would be impressive to say, "I go to Harvard," but this also carries a stig-
ma. Whether fair or not, people often think you balance chemistry equations for
fun if you go to an Ivy League school. At Michigan, we have no such problems.
When you say, "I go to Michigan" people think academics. They think Fab
Five. They think football. They think ... wow, this person deserves respect.
A few down years in football and basketball don't change that. This is why I
don't understand some Michigan students' indifference toward their school. Being
a Phoenix resident, I'm asked twice a month, "You're from Arizona? Then why'd
you come to Michigan?"
Politely, I always say I wanted to go away for college and was attracted by
Michigan's academic reputation. But something inside me always burns ... "What
is this person thinking? Isn't it obvious why I came to Michigan? The academics.
The athletics. The whole package."
I bet if I went to Pennsylvania, or Brown or Cornell nobody would ask me why
I left Arizona, and Michigan compares favorably to these schools academically,
not to mention athletically. Indeed, in-staters don't know what they have in their
own backyards. Sometimes, of course, it may not seem like much to go to
Michigan. After all, the school has some 35,000 students. But trust me. It's a big
deal. Nationwide, people know the name Michigan.
With apologies to E.E Hutton, when Michigan talks, people listen.
A few years ago, I was at a party in Flagstaff, Ariz. Some guy asked me where I
went to school, and I said to him (perhaps a little too loudly), "I go to Michigan."
So many heads swiveled I thought 'I was watching I he Exorcist.
Immediately, everybody was interested: "What's it like? How's the weather?
Have you ever met Jalen Rose?" Etc., etc.
Maybe I got this attention because I was in Flagstaff, but would people have
been as interested if I said, "I go to Columbia?" I don't think so.
A couple of summers ago, I was in Ufa, Russia, a city about 750 miles east of
Moscow - in other words, on the other side of the world.
One day, I ran into a teen-ager wearing a Michigan hat, and in case you didn't
know, they don't have a school named Michigan in Russia.
"Ya uchus v Michigane (I go to Michigan)," I said.
"Da?! Eto prekrasno! (Yes?! That's terrific!)," he said.
Of course, this guy had no clue that Michigan has more football wins than
any team in history. He was excited to talk to an American. He didn't care
what about. Still, here was someone in the middle of Russia wearing a
Michigan hat.
For the rest of my two months in Ufa, I didn't see another Russian wearing
American sports apparel. No Notre Dame shirts. No Michael Jordan jerseys.
Only a Michigan hat.
My days here at Michigan are numbered. I've spent much of the past 30 weeks
or so criticizing the men's basketball and football programs. Now, it's time for me
to thank them.
In less than three weeks, I'll no longer be able to say, "I go to Michigan.'
But thanks in part to the illustrious basketball and football traditions, I'll carry
a certain amount of prestige into the real world. I'll be in good shape for years
to come, and it will be thanks to four simple words.
I went to Michigan.
- This is Barry Sollenberger'sfinal column for The Michigan Daily. He can b.
reached over e-mail atjsol@umich.edu

Mark Snyder
ly Sports Writer
At the end of Saturday's Michigan
hockey banquet, the nine seniors were
called to the stage to sing 'The Victors!'
It was the symbolic end of an era. The
Michigan fight song, sung by that group
after every victory throughout its four
'seasons, became the standard.
Those seniors won more games than
any of their predecessors.
The banquet was their chance to be
cognized and honored.
But the team awards were presented
first, and there was a mixture of classes
"among those honored.
Five of the seven awards went to
seniors, but more important to Michigan
coach Red Berenson, this season's recip-
Tents earned the honors.
Berenson said this season there were
not enough awards to recognize everyone.
'-ut there was a time in the past that, "we
sed to give the same number of awards
and no one was deserving of them."
'Two underclassmen were honored on
a night that became a farewell to the
senior class.
Sean Peach won the Deker Club
Award given to the most colorful rookie.
He thanked his "competition" - fellow
'freshmen Andrew Merrick, Krikor
Arman and Kevin Magnuson - for the
*The Alton D. Simms Award for the
most improved player went to sopho-
"more Justin Clark.
Seniors were honored with the
Howard Colby Award for sportsmanship,
which Mike Legg carried home, and the
Vic Heyliger Award for the top defense-
man, won by Harold Schock.
Michigan captain Brendan Morrison
totaled the most awards, as usual, gar-
nering two trophies. The first was the
azel M. (Doc) Losh Award for leading
"he team in points. Moments after return-
ing to his seat, Morrison was again
called to the stage to accept the Hal
Downes Award as Michigan's Most
Continued from Page 11B
Taylor as I have this year. He's a great guy,
smart and with a sharp sense of humor.
O)ne of the things he said Friday was that
' once NBA teams get to know him per-
sonally, they'll like him even better.
Certainly true.
We all have our hopes and dreams. At
one time, many of us wanted to be pro-
fessional athletes, to be adults getting
paid to play children's games. A dream
that died fairly early on, when we real-
ized we weren't getting any taller, that
we weren't quick enough.
1 envy Taylor, because his dream is
still alive. I envy him because, at age 20,
he's much closer to fulfilling his dream
than I am to fulfilling mine at age 23.
Just as in the past we looked to Chris
Webber, Juwan Howard and Jalen Rose
to make their dreams reality, we now

Valuable Player.
Morrison, honored as the Hobey
Baker Award recipient two nights earlier
in Minnesota, described how much this
particular award meant to him as he
thanked his teammates. It was the sec-
ond consecutive season Morrison was
voted as the most valuable player by his
A recurring theme in the senior
speeches centered on the University and
its academics.
The emphasis of hard work on and off
the ice has been a focal point of
Berenson's philosophy as he has rebuilt
the Michigan program.
Morrison began his thank-yous by
acknowledging the University as a whole.
"It has been our pleasure to attend this
university," he said.
Chris Frescoln was especially
adamant with regards to how the stu-
dent-athlete is perceived on campus.
His comments were steered toward
the lack of respect accorded to Michigan
Frescoln said that there is no differ-
ence between the student and the athlete.
"The two exist in perfect harmony,"he
said. "The definition of the student is the
definition of the athlete."
To the younger players, he offered
advice about life away from the rink.
You need to "prove that you're not just
a hockey player,"he said.
Jason Botterill, the Carl Issacson
Award-winner as the top academic ath-
lete, more than likely has a professional
hockey career ahead of him. But pro
prospects were the least of his worries.
"This team has been dedicated to aca-
demics," he said. "We've done a good
job of preparing for the future."
While the seniors' futures seem to be
secure, the prospects for the Michigan
program now rest in the hands of juniors
Matt Herr, Bill Muckalt and Marty Turco.
Herr was voted next season's captain
by his teammates, while Muckalt will
serve as the assistant captain.
should have those same hopes for Taylor.
Just as he's gone out and represented
all of us on the court for three years, he
now goes out into the NBA. And still he
will, in some part, be representing us.
When we see him in a professional uni-
form, we will be able to say that we were
at Michigan at the same time as Maurice
Taylor, to relate to our friends and fami-
lies our favorite Taylor jam and to tell
them how good a player he could be.
He's going to the pros to try to achieve
a dream. But it's not just his dream, not
just his fantasy. It's a little bit our dream,
too. Taylor said he's still a Wolverine,
and he's right. He's just moving along to
richer hunting grounds in the NBA.
Good luck, Maurice. Get out there and
kick some ass. You're getting to do some-
thing that many of us may never get to do.
Go out and make that dream a reality.
- Will McCahill can be reached over
e-mail at wmcc@umich.edu.

Turco, who will resist the lure of the
professional ranks to return for another
season at Michigan, was also voted as a
captain, but cannot officially serve due
to league rules.
"Next year, we'll look at the leader-

ship (these seniors) gave" Herr said.
"We're going to look for that next year.
Guys like Ritchlin, Crozier and that
whole sophomore class, we're going to
need them, because (the juniors) are a
small class."

Morrison, Botterill
will wait for NHL
Botterill recovering after shoulder surgery

By Dan Stillman
Daily SportsWAiter
Graduating Michigan hockey
players Brendan Morrison and
Jason Botterill do not expect to
leave Michigan early to play in the
Morrison, this season's Hobey Baker

"We've been talking for the last few
days. We're pretty far apart on
numbers right now. It'll probably be
a long summer."
Botterill underwent surgery last
week to tighten up tendons in his
right shoulder.
The shoulder, which has been a
recurring problem the past two sea-
sons, has not affected his talks with
the Stars, he said.
Dallas "is having a lot of success
right now," Botterill said. "I'm con-
fident we'll be able to find a deal
during the summer."
The Devils and Stars have both
clinched berths in the Stanley Cup
playoffs. New Jersey has clinched
the Eastern Conference title, while

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