Friday, April 16, 1999 - The Michigan Daily - 13
Quiet leader nears end of career
As m %a - a
Continued from Page 11
recruiting trip to Michigan gave the
high school senior his first trip to the
Midwest, Alcaraz realized he could
rive in Ann Arbor.
"When I first came here I was
immediately impressed with the tra-
dition," Alcaraz said. "I went to a
football game and I toured the school
and I knew that this was the place for
me. It was the tradition that sold
While his early impression of
Michigan may have lured him east,
the former USA Baseball player of
the year was not about to be intimi-
ted when he kicked off his Big Ten
Still unwilling to let things come
slowly, Alcaraz was determined to
make an immediate impact.
"I came in to Michigan and I knew
that they had a rich baseball history,"
Alcaraz said. "But I made my mind
up that I wanted to contribute right
away. I wanted to help this team as
early as I could."
q True to form, the Puerto Rican-
orn standout wouldn't wait long. In
his very first trip to the plate in the
first game of his freshman season,
Alcaraz singled against Houston.
Alcaraz would go on to hit .421 dur-
ing the Texas trip, looking like any-
thing but a freshman.
Alcaraz would only continue to
impress onlookers throughout his
The only Wolverine to play in all
4 games that year, Alcaraz dazzled
is way to Big Ten Freshman of the
Year honors, while fast becoming
one of the conference's most promis-
ing young prospects and a corner-
stone for a bright Michigan future.
LIKE A ROCK
Three seasons later, that bright
hope has matured into a gifted leader
with an imposing presence at the
plate. His numbers, though virtually
unwavering in four seasons, have been
good enough to earn admiration from
teammates and respect from coaches.
"Jason's brought a steadiness, and
a quiet form of leadership," Zahn said.
"He's very professional in his
approach, he keeps plugging away at
the end of every year you look up and
see that he's hit .350."
And though his approach may be
subtle, the results of what he's done
loudly scream for attention. And its
not just his numbers that beg to be
Having missed only two games in
three seasons heading into this year,
Alcaraz has become the type of
calming, predictable influence that
the Wolverines have been able to
anchor themselves to the past four
"He's kind of like a nice little wind-
up toy," Zahn said. "You just pencil
him in and there you go, you know
Jason's going to get his hits. And he
always finds a way."
But there's nothing childish about
his play. And Alcaraz's presence has-
n't been limited to the plate as he's
become a respected fielder - an
aspect of his game he says he's
worked hard to develop.
"I've really tried to work on things
defensively, especially this season,"
Alcaraz said. "I've worked hard trying
to remain consistent from the plate
while improving my play in the field."
And in shining at both, Alcaraz has
developed into a balanced type of
player that will be hard to let go of at
the end of this season.
"He's played very well in rightfield
for us this year," Zahn said. "He's
really one of those players that is
going to be missed very much. He's so
ONE MORE SHOT
Make no mistake - neither Zahn
nor Alcaraz are making any plans to
say good-bye just yet. As they open a
crucial series with Minnesota today in
Minneapolis, the Wolverines hope to
further their plans of a charge to the
conference's top spot after a disap-
pointing showing against Ohio State
"We need to win this weekend, its
just that simple," Alcaraz said. "If we
can put some big wins together we
could have a shot at getting back to
And for a player with endearing
memories of a career of offensive bril-
liance - catching the final out of the
1997 Big Ten title game, said Alcaraz,
is his most cherished memory.
As Alcaraz and a talented group of
seniors who eye the dusk of their final
season make a final run at the Big Ten
title, steering Michigan back into
regional playoff action would be a fit-
ting curtain call, Alcaraz said.
"We've worked all season long to
try to win the Big Ten," Alcaraz said.
"When we won in 1997 we missed
making the regionals, but now that
they've expanded the playoffs we
could have a real good shot if we fin-
ish strong. That would be a great end-
But until that ending should come,
don't expect anything different out of
Jason Alcaraz - the solid veteran isn't
about to let up now. And be sure not to
get in his way - chasing down fly
balls, hustling to stretch a double into
a triple, or simply fighting down a
handful of cookies, Jason is in a hurry.
to dig out
Continued from Page 11
help us the rest of the year."
To earn victories in Minnesota the
team is going to have to make some
In the last two games, the team
fell behind early and was forced to
try to comeback.
The Wolverines' hitting has been
struggling a bit throughout the
Against Oakland, the team only
managed to shell out six hits. Four of
those hits came from guys who are
not regular players in the team's
"Against Minnesota you'll see the
same team that we usually have out
there," Zahn said.
The regulars are capable of lead-
ing the team to wins over the Golden
Bobby Scales has gone hitless in
the last two games, but has contin-
ued to get on base with his precise
Bryan Besco and Mike Cervenak
will return from a couple of days
"We want to take all four. We're
going to go out and play really hard.
We're going to fight and scratch
until we win," Brian Bush said.
Freshman Nick Bellows and Wolverines will have to turn around their recent struggles
In order to defeat the first-place team in the conference this weekend.
fi-Amin apologizes for marijuana arrest
STORRS, Conn. (AP) -- A contrite
and emotional Khalid El-Amin apolo-
gized yesterday to his family, his team-
mates and the people of Connecticut and
Minnesota for his arrest on marijuana
The Connecticut point guard called
the actions leading to his arrest Tuesday
evening "a gross error of judgment."
"I have earned the respect of this state,
ed I want the chance to prove myself"
he said. "To all the people who have
supported me - I am very sorry for this
incident. It will never happen again."
The Minneapolis native, was stopped
for a traffic violation in Hartford, and a
small amount of marijuana was discov-
ered during a pat-down search.
Connecticut scoring leader Richard
Hamilton was in the car, but was not
Sarged. El-Amin also publicly apolo-
ed to Hamilton on Thursday.
Calhoun stood by El-Amin since the
arrest, and Thursday called him an "asset
to the university and the program."
~Calhoun also ended any speculation
that El-Amin would not participate in a
victory parade on Saturday.
"I would tie him down to make sure
he's on the float," Calhoun said.
El-Amin was arrested 15 days after
leading the Huskies to their first nation-
championship, and a day after he was
nored in Minneapolis.
The public apology came hours after
EI-Amin appeared, in a Hartford court-
EAST LANSING (AP)- Michigan
State's first black athletic director
announced yesterday he will step down
this spring to join a firm specializing in
searches for executives.
Merritt Norvell Jr. did not specify
when his resignation takes effect - the
9 hool says that'll be within months -
ut said that joining DHR International
Inc. "is an opportunity that I feel is
best for my family and me."
Norvell, on the job since July 1995,
said in a statement he would become
Chicago-based DHR's president of its
new education-services division.
John Lewandowski, an assistant
Michigan State athletic director, said
Thursday night that Norvell's departure
m his $143,500-a-year job was a
mutual agreement between his boss
and Peter McPherson, the school's
Norvell has 15 months left on his
contract, which the university plans to
honor, Lewandowski said.
Norvell would sten down from the
room and entered a conditional plea on
the misdemeanor marijuana charge. He
drew a sentence of community service
and a stern lecture from the judge.
El-Amin also was ordered to speak to
school children on the evils of drug use,.
an assignment he said he welcomes.
"I am a role model and I'll continue to
be a role model," El-Amin said. "I just
want to help the youngsters understand
to make the right decision."
Judge Raymond Norko handed El-
Amin a rebuke along with the sentence.
"The court is aware of who you are,
where you are from and what you have
done," Norko said.
The judge reminded El-Amin of his
jubilant claim after the Huskies upset
Duke in the NCAA Championship game
March 29: "We shocked the world!"
"The epilogue to that is: 'I disappoint-
ed the world,"' Norko said.
El-Amin did not respond, except to
politely reply, "Yes, Your Honor" to
questions from the judge.
The arrest might not have been a coin-
cidence, The Hartford Courant reported
Thursday. The newspaper, citing police
documents and sources it did not identi-
fy, said an informant had tipped police
about El-Amin's trip to an area of
Hartford known for drug activity.
Detectives arrived at the parking lot
before El-Amin and saw him making
what appeared to be a drug transaction,
the newspaper said.
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Khalld El-Amin may have been the king of the court this past season, but El-Amin
wasn't feeling like royalty after his court appearance for possession of marijuana.
El-Amin was charged with possession
of less than four ounces of marijuana,
and his record will be wiped clean in 30
days if he completes his community ser-
His unspecified community service is
scheduled for April 21. The lectures to
middle schools are not yet scheduled.
A handful of Connecticut fans
watched the proceedings, one bringing a
basketball he hoped to have auto-
graphed. The 5-foot-10 point guard qui-
etly passed autographs to two courthouse
workers sitting behind him before his
lawyer instructed him not to sign any
Calhoun said the incident does not tar-
nish the program accomplishments this
"I looked at the trophy and it looked
exactly the same," he said. "I don't know
how this got involved with the basketball
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