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OCTOBER 18, 2001
By Naweed Sikorar__
Daily Sports Writer-
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One week ago, new Michigan
coach Tommy Amaker con-
ducted his first public order of
business for the 2001-02 season by for-
mally introducing himself and his team
to the press on media day. He described
the experience as "another new begin-
There have been plenty.of firsts for
Amaker already and there will be plen-
ty more to come. His first team meet-
ing surely was significant to the
players, his first verbal commitment
meant something to his coaching staff
and his first burp while sitting at his
desk in his office likely meant nothing
to no one. (I have absolutely no idea if
Amaker has ever in fact burped in his
office, it's just an assumption).
But today's first will be the one most
salient to the fans, and as such, perhaps
the most important. One of Amaker's
goals is to endear himself and the team
to the student body in an attempt to
rebuild the program. He is taking his
first step in bridging the gap with the
It won't be at midnight, but the
Michigan basketball team is opening
Crisler's doors at 3 p.m. tomorrow to
allow fans to come watch the Wolver-
ines practice for the first time.
No one went to watch them play
actual games, last year. Now people are
supposed to go watch them practice?
It may sound a little backwards, ask-
ing fans to make the trek down to
Crisler before Michigan has proven
itself. But in an extended metaphor that
would make my 11th grade English
teacher proud, Amaker explains why it
is that he is asking for excitement from
the students before the Wolverines
have earned it.
"My grandmother once said that peo-
ple need love and understanding, most
probably when they least deserve it,"
Amaker said. "It's kind of like when
you think of a game, an opponent is
making a run and we struggled maybe
the last five possessions. Turned the ball
over or missed shots. Sometimes you
hear the crowd get more involved in it
to try to help the team get going. That's
one of those moments for us now. We
need the students to help us get going."
The Wolverines had plenty of those
moments on the court last year. Some-
times those droughts lasted for an
entire half (see last year's game at
Duke). Now Amaker's challenge is get-
ting enough people in the stands to be
able to pick them up.
Traditionally, schools with strong
followings (and more often than not,
poor football teams) start their basket-
ball frenzy as soon as the clock strikes
12 on the first day of official practice.
Amaker passed on that chance last
week. He did have a midnight practice
for his team, but no Midnight Mad-
ness. He said a Midnight Madness
didn't fit "our situation."
What he didn't say was "our situa-
tion" meant a basketball team that can't
win a game and can only muster inter-
est from a little less than two percent of
the student body. And with the home-
coming football game against Purdue
scheduled for 12 hours after the start of
the would-be Midnight Madness, it
was reasonable to fear that most stu-
dents would opt to get a good night's
rest for their long day of drinking and
A Midnight Madness would have
looked pretty silly without the madness.
While Michigan students may always
play favorites, giving special attention
to football, there's no reason that bas-
ketball has to be the neglected son.
There's enough drinking and screaming
to spread around for both children.
(Somehow I feel like this analogy
has gone awry - I guess Amaker is
better at this whole metaphor thing
than I am.)
Michigan basketball is making its
first strides in reconnecting with the
fans, and if there is going to be any
immediate impact, the students have to
meet the Wolverines halfway. If you
are going to sit around and wait for
Michigan to be a power again before
you go to Crisler, you may be waiting
awhile. After all, Amaker did say the
goal for this year was showing
improvement. That's the same thing
Northwestern's Bill Carmody said. If
you want the first and only Midnight
Madness since the freshman year of the
Fab Five in 1991, you don't have to
pack the house tomorrow, but a pres-
ence should be felt.
Amaker said the power in the Big
Ten was "outside of Ann Arbor." That
may be true as long as the fans are out-
side of Crisler Arena.
Benjamin Singer can be reached at
Before the start of the Michigan hockey sea-
son, nobody - including coach Red Berenson .
- knew who would supply the offense after the
premature departure of Hobey Baker Award
finalist Andy Hilbert. Most expected junior
Mike Cammalleri to shoulder the load, with
help from last season's third leading scorer
John Shouneyia and new team captain Jed Ort-
Although those veterans have done their part
thus far, the Wolverines have received an offen-
sive boost from a surprising and unexpected
source - freshman forward Jason Ryznar.
"Jason's gotten off to a strong start," Beren-
son said. "From day one of practice, he has
shown a lot of confidence, desire and hustle.
He fit in right away because he was in sync
with the speed of Division I hockey."
Ryznar's early-season success began at the
"Cold War" against Michigan State two weeks
ago when he recorded three points - a goal in
the first period to tie the score at one, and an
assist on each of Cammalleri's two goals.
He also added another goal in Michigan's 6-3
win over Providence this past weekend and is
currently second on the team in scoring with
Ryznar attributes most of his success to his
linemates.Cammalleri assisted on his goal
against Michigan State, and Ortmeyer assisted
on his goal against Providence.
"When you're playing with guys like Cam-
malleri and Ortmeyer, you're destined to get
some points out there," Ryznar said.
In order to stay relaxed and focused on the
ice, Ryznar says that he focuses on the basics.
"I just try to play every game like it's a nor-
mal game. It doesn't matter who the opponent
is, I just have to keep it simple and play hockey.
I think that once you get that first goal, it
becomes a lot easier because you can just play
"He's done all the things that he's good at,"
Michigan entered this season with many questions, especially on offense. Thanks to the performance of
freshman forward Jason Ryznar, the Wolverines already have an explosive first line to count on.
Berenson said. He's been strong along the
boards, he's been able to control the puck down
low, and he's passed the puck well. Also, he's
taken advantage of his scoring chances."
With the addition of Ryznar, the Wolverines'
first line has the potential to be one of the best
offensive lines in the CCHA. Already, the line
has tallied six goals and six assists.
Having already responded well in high-pres-
sure situations, Ryznar is looking forward to
the upcoming weekend against Western Michi-
gan, which should prove to be a very demand-
ing series for both clubs.
"I think it will be a good chance for us to
have a good game and to work hard," Ryznar
said. "Western is not a team to be taken lightly,
and we will have to play our best if we want to
Buckeyes lose Johnson, move focus to outside
By Benjamin Singer
Daily Sports Editor
Last year, Ohio State was antici-
pating a letdown after the loss of its
backcourt that featured Michael
Redd and Scoonie Penn. The Buck-
eyes found that big man Ken John-
son, a Detroit native, was able to
carry the load as he led Ohio State
to a third-place finish in the Big
Ten and 20-11 overall record.
Based on some predictions for
Ohio State - as low as eighth in
the conference - it may need to
brace itself for a hard fall from
The Buckeyes aren't prepared to
put too much stock in the preseason
predictions, but will put it on their
"We lose one player and add three
pretty good players and we drop
BIG TEN PREVIEWS
As the college basketball season approach-
es; the Daily basketball writers will give you the ,l
inside scoop on every Big Ten team as they HIT N
count down the days until they release their CONFERENCE
special section "Tipoff" in November.
per game) and Boban Savovic (8.9
points per game) give the Buckeyeh
some height as both are 6-foot-5.
The incoming freshmen may also
get a chance to play, with three for-
wards entering their first season.
Parkhill did not want to predict
what kind of minutes the newcom-
ers would have, but he did say that
Terence Dials at 6-foot-9 is the
team's "one big guy."
from third to seventh or eighth, I
don't know what it is all about. It
should give our team motivation,"
head coach Jim O'Brien said.
Ohio State needs to return its
focus to the backcourt. Guards
Brian Brown and Brent Darby are
the top two returning scorers, aver-
aging 14.5 and 9.6 points per game,
"We're going to rely more on
perimeter play," associate coach
Bruce Parkhill said.
But even if the Buckeyes find a
way to score from the outside, John-
son's irreplaceable defense will be
missing. Even more impressive than
his 7.3 rebounds a game were his
125 blocks for the season - his
"We have to come every game
ready to play good defense," Darby
said. "This year we can't rely on
Ken to be back there, so we will
have to get back more quickly."
"Ken was not the only guy who
was on the floor for us," O'Brien
said. "We had other guys who fac-
tored in. Ken was a major part of it
but all of these guys have had
something to say about it, now they
have to have a little more to say
Most of the experienced players
on Ohio State are all listed as
guards. Sean Connolly (7.6 points
Inside the paint
OHIO STATE BUCKEYES
11-5 Big Ten, 20-11 overall (No.24)
Pos. NAME 2000 STAT
G Brian Brown 14.5 ppg
G Sean Connolly 41.7 3-pt pct.
F Clark Williams
F Terence Dials
G Brandon Fuss-Cheatham
F Matt Sylvester
C Ken Johnson
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