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November 12, 1998 - Image 22

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1998-11-12

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28 - The Ahigan Daily - Tipoff Thursday, November 12, 1#
1nsidIe Tipoff '98

Thursday, No mber 12, 1998 -

Is Michigan State
all it's cracked up
to be? Who are the
3 other team to
watch In the Big
Ten? Let our team
previews serve as
your guide to the
upcoming season.,

With a sharp-shooting
backcourt, Michigan will
rely heavily on the 3-point
shot.
After waiting his turn last
season, Brandon Smith
could be poised for a
breakout year.

Josh Asselin has
overcome his share
of personal tragedy
to get where he is
today.

I 'V
ill~;

Meet this year's
Wolverines.

Daily
Basketball
Writers'
Preseason
PicksRICK
FREEMAN
Michigan Big Ten finish F 5th
Big Ten champion Michigan State
Ail-Big Ten team Mateen Cleaves - Mich. St
(Player of the Year AJ. Guyton - Indiana
in bold) Louis Bullock - Mich.
Antonio Smith - Mich. St.
Evan Eschmeyer -- N'west
Big Ten Coach of the Year Brian Ellerbe
All-America team Mateen Cleaves - MSU1

KLEINBAUM

LATACK REDDY

Michigan's baCkcourt
is superb, but
quesons abound
down low - check out
our position previews.

The envelope,
please... The Daily's
experts make their
preseason picks.

sth
Purdue
t. Cleaves
Michael Redd - Ohio St.
Bullock
Calvin Booth - Penn St.
Eschmeyer
Bobby Knight

5th
Purdue
Cleaves
Scoonie Penn - Ohio St
Luke Recker - Indiana
Brian Cardinal - Purdue
Eschmeyer
Gene Keady

5th
Michigan State
Cleaves
. Michael Redd - Ohio St.
Recker
Quincy Lewis - Minnesota
Eschmeyer
Knight
Cleaves
Albert White - Missouri
Hamilton
Tim James - Miami (Fla.)
Brand

Let Ellerbe swprke you

Laron Profit - Marvlond Andre Miller ...; Utah

(Player of the Year
in bold)

+Fiw ~ f v.. e.",. ar tlt/svva tuu. -fit - M yrvktfu fnflum1"idiIGr- Vuta
-- -. --- - .. -- - ..- -'' ...... .. ..
B.J. McKie - So. Car. Vonteego Cummings - Pitt. Arthur Lee - Stan.
Richard Hamilton - Conn. Hamilton Hamilton
Trjan Lingdon - Duke Lee Nailon - Tex. Christian James Posey - Xavier
Elton Brand - Duke Brand Brand

Not more than a month ago, I was
walking into the office of Brian
Ellerbe. I sat down in the corner
of his office, about to discuss the
upcoming season with Michigan's
newest head basketball coach.
I'll be honest, I was the biggest skep-
tic you could find when it came to dis-
cussing the basketball team. Graduation
left this year's squad with Louis Bullock
and Robbie Reid running the show, and
a bunch of role players surrounding
them. Not a pretty sight, I thought.
And I was confident sitting in
Ellerbe's office that he wasn't going to
convince me otherwise. But he did do
something in the hour or so I spent in
his office - something that completely
took me by surprise.
He interested me. He made me look
forward to the upcoming season - a
season without Traylor, Baston and the
rest. I actually couldn't wait to see guys
like Josh Asselin, Brandon Smith and
Pete Vignier take the floor.
Huh?
Sure, these guys were no more than
role players a year ago, but something
about Ellerbe's pitch made me believe
that they could be much more.
So why should we believe him? The
better question is: Why shouldn't we?
If you recall, this time last year, no
one was high on a Michigan team with-
out Maurice Taylor. And after the tur-
moil surrounding the NCAA investiga-
tion, Steve Fisher's firing and early
losses to teams such as Western
Michigan and Bradley, it seemed like
there was no reason to get excited about
Michigan basketball. I know I wasn't.

Slowly, things began to turn around.
The Wolverines upset No. I Duke.
They pulled off a stellar victory against
Indiana and a Big Ten Tournament vic-
tory over Purdue.
Ellerbe and the Wolverines started
surprising people.
All of a sudden, Michigan was the
hottest team in the country heading into
the NCAA Tournament. The Wolverines
took care of Davidson in the first round,
and people were excited about Michigan
basketball again. Sure, they ended up
losing in the second round to UCLA -
but it was fun, wasn't it?

NCAA Final Four Duke Duke Duke Maryland
(Champion in bold) Connecticut Connecticut Connecticut Kentucky
Indiana Washington UCLA Michigan State
Stanford Stanford Purdue Stanford
Surprise NCAA team Miami (Ohio) lona California Miami (Fla.)
Best name in the game Nacho Rodriguez - BU Duany Duany - Wisc. Frantz Pierre-Louis - Wagner Obinna Ekezie - Mary.
Best football player Antwaan Randle El - Ind. Jermaine Sheffield - E. Mich. Ronald Curry - UNC John Lumpkin - Ohio St.
Michigan MVP Bullock Brandon Smith Smith Bullock

Daiy Top 25
Team Coma
1. Duke ( 1) After '91
2. UCLA (1) You see
3. Stanford Chelsea
4. Kentucky AshleyJ
5. Utah Utes ha
6. Michigan State (1) Saban c
7. Detroit Second
8. Long Island Who nee
9. Connecticut (1) Most ex
10. Xavier Stop prc
11. Oklahoma State Ride 'ei
12. Syracuse McNabi
13. Purdue Cardina
14. Davidson Two str
15. Athletes In Action Bad cal
16. Indiana Should'
17. North Carolina So, Dea
18. Miami (Ohio) Oppone
19. Akron Returnc
20. Lee Bollinger House p
21. lona Should'
22. Wofford . Coot na
23. Cleveland State Yikes!
24. Prairie View band Tromboi
25. Northwestern Would h;
Others receiveing votes: John Glenn (yes
High School, Vanderbilt, Cleveland St. Ig
College Prep, Elizabeth Hurley, Alan Gokc
Michigan fast facts
First season of play: 1909
Overall record: 1,193-759
Big Ten record: 624-538
Big Ten titles: 13*
Last Big Ten title: 1986
NCAA Tournament appearances: 20
NCAA Tournament record: 41-19
Last NCAA title: 1989
First-team All-Americans: 4
First team All-Big Ten selections: 2C
*1998 Big Ten tournament champs

Most overrated team
Ugliest Tipoff writer

Kentucky
Reddy

Michigan State
Latack

Maryland
Kleinbaum

Connecticut
Freeman

Elierbe and new staff a perfect fit

It w as fun
finally wvatching a
Michigan basket-
ball team exceed
your expectations,
as opposed to lag-
ging behind them.
For all the Fab
Five accolades
and the next Fab
Five' hype, we
never saw the
Wolverines actu-
ally reach their

PRANAY-
R EDDY
R eddy
or Not

potential.
But this season, there's no danger of
that. No one expects anything from this
team - and maybe Ellerbe prefers it
that way.
When you tell him where 'experts'
predict Michigan to finish this season,
Ellerbe just smiles knowingly. He
smiles because he's seen it before -
and he surprised people then, too.
- Pianav Reddv can be reached via
e-mail at pk7-pClawnich.edu.

By Andy Latack
After taking over as Michigan's inter-
im coach before last season, Brian
Ellerbe had a lot of things going for him.
One of the most sought-after jobs in
the country. An incredibly talented squad.
Hundreds of screaming Crisler fans.
But one thing he didn't have was time.
Thrust into the head coaching position
less than a week before practices began,
Ellerbe didn't exactly have months to
prepare to lead the Wolverines.
He didn't even have a week.
But this year, after being named head
coach in March and securing a long-
term deal in August, the former Loyola
College (Md.) head coach can finally
plan to run the Michigan basketball pro-
gram the way he wants to run it.
And despite his newfound job securi-
ty, Ellerbe isn't relaxing.
"In some areas, (the stability) allows
you to breathe a sigh of relief,' Ellerbe
said. "But at the same time, the intensity
doesn't dwindle. There's a lot of chal-
lenges we need to tackle."
One of those challenges presented
itself to Ellerbe shortly after he was
hired. He was given full control of
selecting a coaching staff, and set out to
find people who could do the job the
way he wanted it done.
Less than two months after the interim
tag was removed from his job title,
Ellerbe found those people. He already
had the services of assistant coach Scott
Trost, who was returning for his third
year. with the Wolverines. Before the
month of May was over, Ellerbe had
added two more assistants.
The first addition to the coaching staff
was Lorenzo Neely, then an assistant
coach at nearby Eastern Michigan.
Neely also played for the Eagles in the
early 90s, and his combination of youth
and recent playing experience sold
Ellerbe on the Detroit native.

"Coach Neely has endless energy,"
Ellerbe said. "Being an ex-player at the
college level himself, he really knows
how to develop skills in individual play-
ers. That's a big part of today's game."
Neely filled the gap created by the
departure of longtime Fisher assistant
Brian Dutcher, who resigned in May.
Administrative assistant Tom Soroboro,
who served as a Loyola assistant coach
for a year under Ellerbe, also was hired
along with Neely.
Ellerbe solidified his new staff shortly
thereafter, hiring former Eastern
Kentucky head coach Kurtis Townsend.
Before that, Townsend played at
Western Kentucky, where he got a
chance to play under two of the most
revered coaches in college basketball
today. Purdue's Gene Keady was then the
head coach of the Hilltoppers, and
Minnesota coach Clem Haskins was an
assistant under Keady.
"Kurtis has a great background of
being around some of the better defen-
sive minds in college basketball,"
Ellerbe said. "I'm anxious to get deeper
POLO
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into the philosophies of defensive bas-
ketball with him."
Townsend credits all of his former
coaches with shaping the way he thinks
today. He not only mentions Keady and
Haskins, but also Bud Presley,
Townsend's coach at Menlo (Calif.)
Junior College. Presley later went on to
coach with the Portland TrailBlazers.
"All of my coaches influenced my
style of play and what I believe in,"
Townsend said. "Intensity, toughness and
the 'defense wins championships' philos-
ophy - I got a lot of that not only from
Gene Keady, but from Bud Presley"
Townsend will specifically work with
Michigan's post players, and he special-
izes in teaching defense. He also assists
Ellerbe with the program's abundant
recruiting duties.
Ellerbe feels that the new staff's
strengths complement each other nicely.
"We have a very difficult combination
to put in place with our staff, which is
experience along with youth and enthu-
siasm," Ellerbe said. "I think we're very
lucky."

o

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f[

I '.7--1

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TV~

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241 E. Liberty
Ann Arbor
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Fax 998-0303
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Sun. 12 noon- 10 PM

ili i

ipoff '98 str
Basketball writers

r

Soup or Cold Drink,
- --- - - -
2) Buy one dinne
a

Rick Freeman
Josh Kleinbaum

Andy Latack
Pranay Reddy

Staff

Editor-in-Chief
Managing Sports Editor
Sports Editors
Photo Editors
Cover Art
Special Sections Manager
Special Thanks

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Jim Rose
Sharat Raju,
Mark Snyder
Warren Zinn, Margaret Myers
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