4E - New Student Edition - The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, September 6, 2000
Ellerbe safe as coach,
Continued from Page 1E
"I'm happy for him, but I'm also
sad," sophomore forward LaVell
Blanchard said. "I want to win,
and he's a big part of us winning."
One thing is for sure about next
season, Brian Ellerbe will return
as head coach of the Wolverines.
Michigan interim Athletic
Director Bill Martin called an
informal news conference at the
end of March to quell the rumors
about Ellerbe's status, but he did
not guarantee that Ellerbe's job
security will continue beyond the
"Brian Ellerbe is our coach, and
he'll be our- coach next year," Mar-
tin said. The rumors are "not fair
to Brian, to Michigan and to our
Ellerbe is 52-42 overall after
three years as head coach, includ-
ing one season with interim status.
He has four years left on his
With his job secure, Ellerbe is
quick to point out that depth
should not be a concern thanks to
his second highly regarded class in
Big Ten final standings
as many years.
"Near the top 10" is where
recruiting analyst Clark Francis
ranks this year's class.
The class is led by wing-forward
Bernard Robinson and 7-foot-I,
350-pound behemoth Josh Moore. k
Lightening-quick point guard,.
Avery Queen and Maurice
Searight will try to fill Crawford's
void in the backcourt.
The class will allow Ellerbe to
be versatile with his lineup, as
Michigan should effectively go I 1
Big Ten Freshman of the Year
LaVell Blanchard and senior
Brandon Smith will likely be the
Wolverines' starting forwards.
Sophomore playmaker Kevin
Gaines will start as the team's
point guard with the freshmen
guards competing with three- F
point marksman Gavin Groninger
for the starting shooting guard.
Moore will likely replace senior
Josh Asselin as the starting center.
"We have some depth," associ-
ate head coach Scott Trost said. MARJORIEMARSHALL/Daly
"We're in good shape." Chris Young tries unsuccessfully to box out Notre Dame's Jere Macura in Michigan's final
Preseason optimism is nothing game last season. The Wolverines lost the NIT first-round game to the Irish, 75-65.
new around here.
was a season divided1ntot tree
A realistic view of*
Gentle Michigan fan: over the course of this year you will be
subjected to sometimes blinding points of view regarding
the status of this basketball team. It will be difficult to make
your way through the smoke and sort out the truth.
Luckily, you have me here to help.
ISSUE No. 1: Does Brian Ellerbe deliberately avoid recruiting th*
city of Detroit?
RADICAL VIEW: Ellerbe has a vendetta against the Detroit Public
School League and refuses to seriously consider these players for
his team. Any efforts he makes to recruit the PSL are token at best.
ELLERBE'S VIEW: He says that he does recruit the PSL, as evi-
denced by his interest in Al Anagonye two years ago, and more
recently, his interest in other upper-echelon players from that
REALISTIC ViEw: Ellerbe probably does make enough of an
effort to recruit the PSL. Whiners about the lack of Detroit players
on Michigan's roster must remember that the Motor City is no 0
longer the state's hotbed for basketball talent, and thus Ellerbe is
wise to apportion his efforts accordingly.
ISSUE No. 2: What does last year's 15-14 record imply about
Ellerbe's coaching abilities?
RADICAL. VIEW: This is absolute proof of why you don't hand an
inexperienced young coach the reins of a top-notch program like
Michigan. Ending the year in the NIT the way the Wolverines did
ELLERBE'S VIEW: He feels that his players were robbed of any
chance to finish the season the way they started it after 16.6 points
per game were taken away from them, referring to Crawford. Also,
the fact that the Big Ten is the toughest league in the nation didn't 0
help them any. Believes the team had a successful season given the
REALISTIC VIEw: Ellerbe makes good points, though he
would've come under fire had Michigan lost post-Jamal games to
Penn State and at Northwestern, two lower-end teams, after holding
double-digit leads in both.
IssuE No. 3: What about the future? Is Michigan doomed to
repeat the pattern of the past two seasons?
RADICAL VIEw: The combined 27-33 record of the past two sea-
sons is an indicator that this program will continue to underachieve
until a big-name coach is brought in to fix the situation. Ellerbe was
not the solution and never will be.
ELLERBE'S VIEw: He's brought in nine highly regarded players
- eight, if you exclude the NBA departed Crawford - in his first
two full recruiting years. Wait and see his young guys develop, and
good things will happen.
REALISTIC VIEw: If the question is 'Will Michigan be knocking
off Michigan State soon?', the answer is probably not, at least for
another two or three years. If the question is 'Can Michigan be
competitive in the Big Ten and return to the NCAA Tournament?',
the answer is this year or next. Michigan does not want to gain a
reputation for being a Minnesota - the perennial bride of the NITW
- C/iris Duprev can be reaclied at cdupe (a umich.edu.
Ohio State 13 3
Michigan State" 13 3
Purdue 12 4
Illinois 11 5
Indiana 10 6
Wisconsin 8 8
Michigan 6 10
Iowa 6 10
Penn State 5 11
Minnesota 4 12
Northwestern 0 16'
Here are the players, old and new,
that will deepen Michigan's basket-
bal squad. As of June th.
By Chris Duprey
Daily Sports Edtor
SOUTH BEND - One late-January
evening in Iowa City, LaVell Blanchard
floated outside, received a routine pass and
drained a routine 3-pointer.
It gave Michigan a 41-29 lead over Iowa
on the road, and with a 12-3 record enter-
ing the game, the Wolverines had every
right to feel good about themselves.
It would be one of the last moments of
this season that they would enjoy.
The Hawkeyes stormed back to beat
them that night, and all of a sudden,
Michigan had lost seven in a row, it had
lost Jamal Crawford, and the 1999-2000
season became one for the naysayers.
Brian Ellerbe said that the 29-game
schedule took its toll on his freshmen.
"It's like three different seasons," he
said, comparing the college game to high
In a way, it has been three different sea-
sons for the Wolverines - only not in the
By winning their first six games and
staying close to Duke, the Excitement
phase kicked into high gear. Losing seven
in a row signalled the Back-to-Earth
Finishing the season the way Michigan
did, mostly beating the teams it was sup-
posed to beat and dropping games to more
experienced clubs, represents the Expected
Had circumstances - both Crawford-
related and others - been different for the
Wolverines, the perception would be much
different right now.
Rather than backing into the postseason
and backing out, Michigan would have
won a game or two in one of the two tour-
naments, been eliminated and then headed
into the offseason with the theme that it's
the team of the future.
Instead, they must shield themselves
from talk that the program is headed
downward and that their coach won't be
around much longer.
The Wolverines struggled during the Big.
Ten Tournament and the NIT, dropping
their first round contest in each.
Big Ten Toumament: March 9, (9) Penn
State 76, (8) Michigan 66
NIT: March 15, Notre Dame 75,,
The on-court performance will undoubt-
edly improve, if for no reason other than
,Michigan's promotion to a sophomore-
based team, instead of a freshman-based
team. The Big Ten loses quite a few talent-
ed seniors, and the Wolverines will benefit
from minimal graduation losses.
Nevertheless, this program is not as far
away as some think. Most are just disillu-
sioned with the fact that, despite being
warned, this group really wasn't the next
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