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February 24, 1999 - Image 8

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1999-02-24

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MEN'S NCAA
BASKETBALL
(13)MIAMI, FLA. 85,
Pittsburgh 52
(14) N. CAROLINA 68,
Wake Forest 65 (OT)
(19) IOWA 65,
Northwestern 48
(22) PURDUE 54,
(25) Minnesota 42

WOMEN'S NCAA
BASKETBALL
(5) Connecticut 105,
SYRACUSE 43
(8) Rutgers 88,
WEST VIRGINIA 59
(10) NOTRE DAME
89, Miami, Fla. 62

(17) IOWA STATE 84,
Missouri 58
(25) Florida Intl. 84,
ARKANSAS STATE 64

t 1Jzu cIiuik

Check out the Michigan women's tennis team
tomorrow night at the Varsity Tennis Center. They face *
MiChigan State tomorrow at 6:00 p.m. to begin the
Big Ten season.

Wednesday
February 22, 1999

8

Class Bullock a
truneleader for M'
Louis Bullock sat silently, toying with the sheet of paper
in front of him. He didn't want to look at it, but at the
ame time he couldn't avert his eyes.
You can't blame him. The box score from Michigan's loss
to Michigan State last week was not a pretty sight.
The Spartans handed Michigan a 15-point loss, and
notched their first victory in Crisler Arena since Bullock
arrived in Ann Arbor.
Even more discouraging was the fact that Bullock's first
home loss to the hated Spartans seemed like it was played in
East Lansing, with Michigan State fans packing the upper
reaches of Crisler Arena.
The soft-spoken captain was diplo-
matic after the game, thanking the;
Michigan fans for their support. AN
nice gesture, considering they sat idlez
while chants of "C-B-A" from the
Michigan State fans rained down
upon Bullock in his own building.
But such gratitude is no surprise.
Bullock has been a class act all sea- ANDY
son. LATACK
He spends the entire game battling Counter
defenders who grab, push and check Latack
him - before he even gets the ball.
Everyone in the building knows that
Bullock is the Michigan offense, and he nevertheless man-
ages to get open and score over 20 points per game.
Still, the most impressive thing about Bullock cannot be
seen from the stands. It takes place in tiny rooms, far
removed from the court, in Crisler and places like Assembly
Hall and Cameron Indoor Stadium.
This is where Bullock patiently endures questions about
each Michigan loss, from Sunday's two-point heartbreaker
against Indiana to December's 44-point drubbing by Duke.
Just once, you want to see him vent some anger. Blast his
teammates. Criticize the officiating. Snap at a reporter.
You or I would have done it long ago.
Yet Bullock never loses his cool. No matter how disap-
pointing the loss, the team leader finds cause to be optimistic.
And so he talks about what the Wolverines did well. He
compliments his teammates.
Even when he admits that a loss is discouraging - as he
did after the Michigan State game - he does with a compo-
sure that could be mistaken for indifference.
But Bullock cares, deeply, about this team. It would be so
easy for him to take a rest from being the go-to-guy, even for
just a game. With the way opposing teams zero in on him, he
could just chalk it up to good defense.
Instead, Bullock works so hard to get open that by the time
he does get the ball, its a wonder he can do anything with it.
After the game, Bullock's attitude is equally impressive.
He admits that this isn't how he envisioned his final days as a
Wolverine, yet still he keeps his chin up.
And forgotten amidst the disappointment of this year is
the fact that Michigan is losing a truly great player.
So Crisler fans take note: Tonight is Bullock's last home
game. He has given himself to Michigan basketball for four
years, and never more so than in this tumultuous season.
Unless you're a diehard, this is your last chance to see him
play. You don't want the disaster against the Spartans to be
his final memory of Crisler Arena.
Got a midterm tomorrow? Lou has midterms, too. In fact,
this season Lou's had papers, exams and CRISP appoint-
ments, just like all the rest of you.
The difference is that he hasn't given up on the season,
even though everyone else has. Even though he won't tell
you himself, you owe it to Sweet Lou to show up and say
goodbye tonight.
-Andy Latack can be reached
via e-mail at latack@umich.edu.

UNSTOPPABLE FORCE
BY UMA SUBRAMANIAN DAILY SPORTS WRITER

Anne Thorius can't get enough of basket-
ball. No matter how much she watches
t, or how much she plays it, she's
always ready for more.
With Michigan's 1998-99 season winding
down, and NCAA Tournament hopes ques-
tionable, some would say that basketball was
over for the year. Not Thorius.
"I love basketball," the Michigan gurad
said. "Even during the summer when you're
supposed to take a break, I just can't. I have to
go practice. My friends and I meet up every
day just to play.
"I can't live without it."
Thorius grew up playing the game in the
relaxed atmosphere cultivated in Denmark.
The Danish view the game as just that - a
game.
In Denmark, basketball is not a profession,
nor is it a billion dollar industry. As a result,
basketball and sports in general are viewed
more as social gatherings than as competitive
outings.
The life of a potential collegiate basketball
player is also different in Scandanavia. Young
players don't play in schools, instead they play
in clubs that only practice three times a week.
"I remember the first year I was there, after
a game the team sat in the sauna and drank
soda pop. It was a real social thing." said
Michigan assistant coach Eileen Shea, who
coached Thorius' club team for three years.
Also, the players are on the court entirely
because they want to be.
"The parents over there are a lot different,"
Shea said. "The whole makeup is different.
The kids did it because they wanted to, not
because their parents pressed them into it.
Nobody's trying to be better than anybody
else. It's more of a team thing."
But though she grew up in an environment
where basketball was only a minor part of life,
Thorius wanted to make it more.
After going as far as possible with her club
Michigan forward
Brandon
Smithand his
teammates are
playing for the
ninth-seed in the
Big Ten tourna-
ment.
LOUIS BROWN/Daily

team at home, Thorius spent her senior year of
high school at a school in Sweden that had an
excellent basketball program.
Basketball wasn't always the obvious
choice. Before discovering the sport, Thorius
tried out several other sports including soccer,
badminton, swimming and European hand-
ball.
Finally, one day while shooting around in
the gym after watching her brother play,
somone noticed.
"One day this lady was like, 'Anne you
should try and play,"' Thorius said.
Since then, she hasn't looked back.
Through it all, Thorius has made a number
of fans. But the three people most devoted to
her game are her parents and brother. In
Denmark, they attended every game, even
drove all across Europe to watch her play.
Even now, separated by 4,000 miles and one
very large ocean, Thorius' family is still
actively involved in her basketball career.
"Her parents are always really good sup-
porters;' Shea said. "Her dad really got into it,
and would drive everyone everywhere. He
follows all the games on the Internet. Her
mom said she can't sleep at night until she
knows how the game went.
"We have a deal where he gives me money
and I go out and buy blank video tapes and
make a copy of every game and send them to
him. They want the team to do well, it's not
just about Anne. "
Thorius' parents also try to attend games at
least once a year, most recently witnessing
Michigan's matchup against Lousiana Tech
back in January.
Michigan is well known throughout
Denmark.
"When the Fab Five were here, there were
Chris Webber shirts all over Denmark,"
Thorius said. "The first time I came over, I
bought five Michigan shirts and sold them
right away.

"There was a little girl that said 'Anne,
Anne I want your shirt.' I was like 'I'm sorry I
can't give you my jersey, but I"11
buy you a shirt."'
But though Thorius was
exposed to life in Ann Arbor,
when she first arrived she
had what could best be
described as culture shock.
"It was kind of an adjustment for
her when she came over here;' Michigan
coach Sue Guevara said. "She didn't know
where BFE was. That's what the kids would
say, and I said 'I'm not going to explain that to
her. Someone else is going to have to explain
that to her.'
"But she's adjusted really well. She's very
independent. I'm really glad she's here."
Thorius also found another element of life
in the United States a little bizarre - dating.
"In Denmark, you don't see people asking
each other out even to go eat," Thorius said.
"You usually don't end up with a boyfriend
unless you hook up at a party first."
Thorius said she prefers the American sys-
tem.
Over the past year and a half, Thorius has
not only adjusted to life in the United States,
but has also developed into an on-the-court
leader.
She can't stop practicing, and that's been
good for her game. 1998-99 was a breakout
season for her, and over the course of the win-
ter, she has developed into what Guevara
called "the most consistent player."
Thorius and teammate Stacey Thomas are
the backbone of the team. The tandem com-
bine to generate the majority of Michigan's
offense, but more importantly they set the
examples for others to follow.
"She's so awesome as a point guard,"
Thomas said. "She's so unselfish. That's what
you love about point guards. Anne can see the
floor and she's determined. She's just a great
Basketbe

0

Michigan guard
Anne Thorius
can't get enough
basketball, no
matter what time *
of year.
DANA INNANE/Daily
all-around player.
"She's the floor general out there and can
take over at any time. She's got great leader-
ship abilities."
During this regular season, Thorius aver-
aged 11 points per game. But the most telling
statistic is the 115 assists she dished out in the
four months.
Off the court, in her limited free time,
Thorius cannot get enough of sports - espe-
cially college basketball.
With March Madness on the horizon, most
people get ready for an intense dosage of bas-
ketball. For Thorius that's all year long.
~li ockes

for tourney position

By Josh Kleinbaum
Daily Sports Editor
Break out the horses and let the
jockeying begin.
With just two games left in the
regular season and the Big Ten
Tournament looming eight days
away, the Michigan men's basketball
team's meeting with Penn State
tonight at Crisler Arena at 8 p.m.
isn't just another battle between two
lower division conference teams.
Tournament seeds are on the line.
The Wolverines (4-10 Big Ten, 10-
17 overall) and Nittany Lions (3-11,
11-13) are in ninth and 10th place in
the conference, respectively. On the
line tonight? Nothing less than the
all-important ninth seed.
In all likelihood, barring any
upsets in the team's final games,
tonight's winner will earn a No. 9
seed, while the loser must settle for
No. 10.
But do the Wolverines really want
to win this game?
A victory means the Wolverines
get the dubious distinction of facing
Northwestern in the Big Ten tour-
ney's first round, complete with its
beast of a center, Evan Eschmeyer.
When the two teams met earlier this
season in Evanston, Michigan found
itself unable to defend Eschmeyer en
route to an embarrassing 58-34 loss,
one of Michigan's worst of the sea-
son. The sixth-year senior scored 29
points, 15 of them from the free
throw line,

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And if the Wolverines get by
Northwestern. No less than mighty
top-seeded Michigan State, ranked
third in the country, will likely be the
next matchup.
But a loss could give Michigan an*
easier path in the tournament. If the
Wolverines take the tenth seed, they
will likely face Minnesota, a team
they've already beaten at home and
almost upset on the road. After that?
Ohio State, another team Michigan
has knocked off before.
But Michigan coach Brian Ellerbe
insists that the Wolverines aren't
looking ahead to the tournament, and
are just working on winning the rest
of their games.
"We haven't really looked ahead,"
Ellerbe said. "It'll shape up on its
own. What's important for us is to do
some things (on the court) that may
enhance our -chance to be a
Cinderella tournament team."
But Ellerbe is looking at tonight's
game. The Lions already beat
Michigan in what Ellerbe called
"one of our poorest performances"0
last January in State College by beat-
ing Michigan, 70-52.
"It was very difficult to watch,"
Ellerbe said. "We were very flat."
The Lions pose a potent inside-
outside threat with center Calvin
Booth, guards Joe Crispin and Dan
Earl and forward Titus Ivory.
"They remind me of us last year,"
Ellerbe said. "They surround Calvin
with two or three great shooters."
READ THE DAILY'S
COVERAGE OF THE BIG TEN
BASKETBALL ToURKAMENTS.
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