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November 12, 1998 - Image 26

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The Michigan Daily, 1998-11-12

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Irusy, 1 TTtor 4

6B - The M~igan Daily - Tipoff '980 Thursday,_November 12, 190

0

0

Elderly Eschmeyer to lead Northwestern's charge

Cameron fun, but*
not for every game

You could tell he hated it. It was
written all over his face - a cross
between anguish and boredom that
just screamed, 'Get me out of here!'
But there was no escape.
Fv n Eschmever was surrounded
h port\rs A whole table-full of
iem. pI -recorder , notepads, and
tie\eion ca0meras were everywhere.
1 hc'y ill wanited a piece of one of the
fcA tgI men lc in the lig Ten.
:\ ii tbLstern's ent er had better
oct used to the Tsp lght.
I st season, Lsc hmeyer est a b-
Sishe d hi ms l f as the premier c enter
in the conference. Averaging 21.7
points, 17 rebounds and just under
a block a game, he was a force in the
paint.
The scary part? According to his
coach, he's gotten bigger and better.
Ilis weight is up 20 pounds, from
245 to 265. And it's not fat. In fact,
his body fat is down six percent from
a year ago.
He's developed a jump shot from
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the 15-foot range. He went to Pete
Newell's Big Man Camp, playing
against the best big guys in the coun-
try - not college players, but NBA
ones.
"He worked out three to four times
a day on his own," Northwestern
coach Kevin O'Neill said of his 6-
foot-1l center. "Skill-wise, he's bet-
ter. He's bigger, stronger, better."
And as the elder statesman in the
conference -- he's been on
Northwestern's roster since just about
the Mesozoic era - he knows the Big
Ten as well as anyone.
"I'm an old man." Eschmeyer said.
"I've seen three coaches, two AD's,
four secretaries, three weight coach-
es, a couple university presidents.
I've been around."
When you throw in sophomore
shooting guard Sean Wink, who shot
46 percent from long range last sea-
son, the Wildcats have a potent
inside-outside threat.
Wink's overall field goal percent-
age, 44, was actually lower than his
percentage from beyond the arc, help-
ing him average 12.1 points per
game.
But past the shine of Eschmeyer
and Wink, things look dim for the
Wildcats. No one else averaged dou-
ble-digit scoring, and only Julian
Bonner put up more than five points
per game.
The Wildcats lost just one player
from last season's squad - Joe
Branch, a guard who started just
more than half of the Wildcats' games
- and add four freshmen to the ros-
ter, all of whom should see consider-
able playing time.
But that doesn't mean they'll be
successful.
O'Neill himself said he doesn't

know if returning four starters is a
good or bad thing. The near-identical
team could only put together a 10-17
record a year ago, including a 3-13
mark in Big Ten games and 0-1l away
from Welsh-Ryan Arena, despite hav-
ing one of the best centers in the
country.
O'Neill expects big things from his
freshmen. One of them, David
Newman, will be thrown right into
the fire as the team's starting point
guard.
"There will be days when I feel like
killing him or he'll feel like killing
me," O'Neill said. "But he's the best
guy on the team to play the point."
--Josh Kleinbaun
NOR THWESTERN
Coach: Kevin O'Neill
1997-98 Record: 3-13 Big
Ten (T-10th), 10-17 overall
Player to Watch: Sixth-year
senior Evan Eschmeyer, one of the
best centers in the country
Returning starters:C
Eschmeyer (6-11, 244/Sr.), G
Sean Wink (6-2, 176/So.), G Julian
Bonner (6-1, 203/Sr.), F Joe
Harmsen (6-9, 248/Sr.)
Look out for: Wink, who shot
46 percent from beyond the arc,
and he should get plenty of
chances with opponents following
Eschmeyer

As storied as the Duke basketball
program is, and as storied as the team's
rivalry with Michigan has been since the
Blue Devils broke the hearts of the Fab
Five in the 1992 NCAA championship
game, this season, it might not be the
same. But that was the popular belief
before Michigan shocked the then-top-
ranked Blue Devils at Crisler.
Cameron, of course, it different. It's
full of Crazies.
"They get there way before the game
and they're just screamin'," Michigan
senior guard Louis Bullock said.
Technically, it's called Cameron
Indoor Stadium. And now that Robert
Traylor is gone to cool his overiszed
heels in the NBA, it might be the struc-
ture that most captivates the college bas-
ketball world.
"That's just an amazing atmosphere,
really what college basketball should be
about." Bullock said. "I think they get
the most out of their players by being so
enthused."

Actually, how could Traylor ever
compete? He broke a backboard.
Cameron has broken hearts - lots of
them.
But never Michigan's since Bullock
has been on the team. In fact, it was
Traylor who broke the Blue Devils'
hearts two seasons ago, slamming home
a Michigan victory as time ran out in
1996.
That shut the Crazies' traps. And
even though the taunting can make Yost
Ice Arena seem like, well, Crisler by
comparison, Bullock said he still gets a
thrill out of playing there.
"But then also, it's something you
don't want to do every day, when you're
on the road," Bullock said.
Althought it might be better to end
games with a minimum of nail-chomp-
ing, against Duke, that hasn't exactly
been the case.
"It's always us having to make a
comeback;' Bullock said. "You always
say every year 'Can't we just lead the

DUKE;.
Coach: Mike Krzyzewski
1997-98 Record: 12-2
Atlantic Coast Conference, 25-6
overall
Player to Watch:Shane
Battler can drive opponents battier
than anyone else -he might be
the best defender in the country
Returning starters: F
Battier (6-8/So.), C Elton Brand (6-
8/So.), G Trajan Langdon (6-3, Sr.),
Look out for: The Cameron
Crazies -they've got taunts that
make Yost Ice Arena fans look
tame
whole way through and not make it be as
tense during the game?"'
If they did that this season, it'd be an
even bigger shock than last season's vic-
tory. But the floor wouldn't be so crowd-
ed.
- Rick Freeman

B ..
radley
ight ge
lucky9
again
Bradley coach Jim Molinari s
his office, saying all the right th
We're lucky to play Michigan,
privileged to have a team like
Wolverines on our schedule, m
Michigan is real nice to let us
them.
From the way he spoke,
wouldn't have imagined tha
team actually beat the Wolve
last season.
But the Braves did just that.
On the strength of 19 point
seven rebounds from center Adc
Akinkunle, the Braves
Michigan in Peoria, 63-58.
But can they do it again?
Molinari says he doesn't thin
"We got lucky last year al
Michigan," the eighth-year c
said. "It's just a privilege to p
team like them."
The Braves also no longer hal
services of Akinkunle, their le
scorer and rebounder, due t
graduation.
But the Braves return pretty
everyone else, including
dynamic guards. Juniors Rob
and Eric Roberson and sophc

Panthers face tough road ahead

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AP PHOTO
Northwestern center Evan Eschmeyer (42), one of the elder statesmen of the Big
Ten, is poised for another strong season.
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It's an unusual circumstance
when a coach is in a position to
worry more about his team's sched-
ule than the team itself. Most coach-
es give the standard, 'It doesn't mat-
ter what they do, it's what we do,'
response to a question about a diffi-
cult opponent.
And then there's Florida
International coach Marcos 'Shakey'
Rodriguez, who doesn't beat around
the bush when it comes to his team's
schedule.
"The schedule is ridiculous,"
Rodriguez admits. "Not too many
teams in the country would do what
we're doing. But I'm not complain-
ing."
No, of course not, coach. Why
FLORIDA INTERNATIONAL
Coach: Marcos 'Shakey' Rodriguez
1997-98 Record:13-3 Trans-
America Athletic Conference
(East), 21-8 overall
Player to watch: Small for-
ward Raja Bell, who averaged 16.6
points and 4.1 rebounds per game
Returning starters: G
Carlos Arroyo (6-2/So.), F Bell (6-
5/Sr.); C Darius Cook (6-9/Jr.), F
Anthony Harris (6-9/Sr.), G Damien
McKnight (6-2/ Sr.)
Look out for: Rodriguez's run-
and-gun offense, which averaged
87.3 points per game last season

complain when your still-wet-
behind-the-ears team faces a non-
conference slate of Michigan, North
Carolina and the preseason NIT
field?
Oh, and don't forget about the
Golden Panthers' jump from the
Trans-America Athletic Conference
to the Sun Belt Conference. While
Florida International and College of
Charleston have dominated the
TAAC for the past couple years,
Rodriguez felt it was time to make
the move from a league that he con-
sidered to be a bottom-feeder.
So with the change comes a new,
improved schedule against new con-
ference foes like Arkansas State and
Southwest Louisiana. Though cer-

tainly not the Dukes or UCLAs of
college basketball, it is still a step up
for Rodriguez and the Panthers.
Regardless, with a run-and-gun
mentality and speedsters such as
guard Carlos Arroyo and small for-
ward Raja Bell guiding the offense,
Florida International will be ready to
make a run at its conference crown
- especially with five returning
starters.
"For me to say we are going to
win 21 games again this year is a bit
of a reach," Rodriguez said. "I don't
know where we are going to be, but I
can tell you this - we're a much bet-
ter basketball team than we were last
year."
- Pranay Reddy

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