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October 29, 2001 - Image 15

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The Michigan Daily, 2001-10-29

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The Michigan Daily - SportsMonday - October 29, 2001- 7B

Illini's Williams
has high hopes
for this season
MEDIA DAY
Continued from Page 1B -
"It feels good," Williams said. "That's saying
that we've accomplished something over the
years, that guys are going to want to come and
knock us off now. It's saying that we've compet-
ed with the best and now we're one of the best.'
The junior has already decided that this will
be his last year in the Big Ten. He will join a
myriad of other former Big Ten stars in the
NBA next season.
The early departures of its best players has
left the conference in an unsure- position - -
considered weak by the national media, butcofdnthtiwllrbu .
"I think this is a league that year in and year
out replaces and develops the talent," Ohio
State head coach Jim O'Brien said. "We might,
be down a little bit early, but I think that it's not r
going to take long for our league to get the MARJORIE MARSHALL/Daily
respect it always gets to be one the premier Herb Gibson (left,) and freshmen Chuck Bailey (middle) and Dommanic Ingerson practice as they vie for
leagues in America. position and playing time.
Blanchard receives pLeseason Big Ten award
Point guard position still in question; Amaker eyes up-tempo style of play for Michigan

Tommy Amaker hosts
first coaches clinic

By Benjamin Singer
Daily Sports Editor

After watching Michigan State rise
to dominance, primarily on its
strength of in-state recruiting, new
Michigan coach Tommy Amaker has
made a conscious effort to connect
with Michigan high school coaches.
He tried to further bridge the gap Sat-
urday morning with his first annual
Coaches Clinic at Crisler Arena.
After opening remarks from
Amaker, former Wolverine and cur-
rent Clarkston High School coach
Dan Fife as well as Detroit Pistons
coach Rick Carlisle gave lectures to
over 200 Michigan high school
coaches. They gave advice; dis-
cussed their coaching philosophies
and answered the coaches' ques-
tions.
"We just got a flyer in the mail, a
good chance to know Michigan bas-
ketball a little bit," Aaron Fernalb
said, as he explained why he both-
ered to make the two-and-'a-half
hour drive from Cass City High
School. "He sends mail all the time
to all the high school coaches.
That's kind of nice to receive that'
type of stuff."
Amaker expressed his hope that
the clinic will be able to draw even
more people in the future.
"Coach Amaker is going to get
this program under control," Burr
Oak High School coach Ray Bohm
said. "The clinic is going to grow as

Michigan basketball becomes more
popular and successful."
Fife advised that one of the best
ways to learn coaching skills is to
observe other teams' practices, say-
ing he himself learned from watch-
ing current Texas Tech coach and
former Indiana coach Bob Knight
and former Michigan coach Steve
Fisher.
Amaker has made it known that
the doors are always open for local
coaches to see the Wolverines prac-
tice, including a practice session to
end the clinic.
"We're looking forward to get to
know you a lot better," Amaker said.
"We're hoping for you to come out
and see us."
Fife also pleaded to those in
attendance to see the importance of
keeping their players in state. His
son Dugan played for Michigan, but
his younger son Dane is currently a
senior at Indiana.
"We don't want that to happen
again, for a Michigan kid to leave
our state," Fife said.
Amaker also spoke about his
expectations for the future of
Michigan basketball.
He recounted a lot of the changes
that have already taken place, such
as the new floor and student bench-
es for a more traditional look, a new
lockerroom for the comfort of his
players and the banners at Crisler
being moved back so they can be
more easily seen.

By Joe Smith
Daily Sports Editor

CHICAGO - Michigan junior
forward LaVell Blanchard knew
that he'd be a marked man to all of
the Wolverines' opponents this
season, especially with the lack of
depth in the Michigan front line. It
was just made official this past
weekend.
Already a
preseason Nai- BASKETBALL
smith Award
candidate, Notebook
Blanchard was
selected by the conferences coach-
es and media as a member of the
preseason All-Big Ten Team.
"It's an honor, but it makes it
harder during the season," Blan-
chard said. "Guys look at you a
little differently when you come
into the gym."
Michigan coach Tommy Amaker
has said that Blanchard will have
to play several positions, including
power forward.
Blanchard averaged nearly 18
points and eight rebounds a game
last season, and welcomes the
expectations of having to do even
more this year.
"It doesn't matter, whatever
coach Amaker wants me to do, I'll

do it," Blanchard said. "As long as
the team wins, I can sit on the
bench and pass out water," he
added with a smile.
Blanchard may not have the
option of bench time if the rest of
the post players suffer from foul
trouble or injuries. Last Friday, big
man Josh Moore, suffering from
chronic back problems, sat out
practice.
"He's not 100 percent, his back
has been giving him some prob-
lems," Amaker said. "We're hop-
ing that he's going to get better,
but we're going to have to deal
with it because we don't have a lot
of big guys."
To counter the lack of depth,
Amaker and the Michigan coach-
ing staff have instilled a renewed
sense of team defense - focusing
on communication, work ethic,
discipline and attention to detail
which senior tri-captain Chris
Young said Michigan needs to be
successful.
"There's definitely been a
renewed sense of help-side
defe'nse," Young said. "We-simply
cannot foul people, because we
don't have enough bodies to hack
people - so there's been a major
emphasis on defense and I've
noticed a lot more guys willing to

sacrifice their body for their team-
mates."
Images of several Michigan
players taking charges, boxing out
and attacking the defensive glass
have been commonplace in Michi-
gan's open practices, along with an
enthusiastic and active coaching
staff that doesn't mind making its
points loud and clear. Whether
that's Amaker yelling during a
fast-break drill to "sprint back or
get the hell out" or players diving
on the floor for loose balls, the
message has clearly been
ingrained in the minds of the
Wolverines.
"We're so tuned into the system
that if you mess up, you're not
only going to have a coach let you
know, but a teammate may point it
out to you first," senior tri-captain
Leon Jones said.
POINT PARITY: After the first few
weeks of practice, the Wolverines
still haven't established who will
start the season as point guard.
Amaker said that his lineup is still
in the works, especially at that
position, with competition being
fierce.
In scrimmages during Michi-
gan's two open practices, sopho-
more Avery Queen and fifth-year
senior Mike Gotfredson have

played the position. Freshman
Marcus Bennett could also be used
in bringing the ball up.
RUN AND GUN: While Amaker
preaches defensive discipline,
early indications at practice show
that the Wolverines will have an
up-tempo style offense, wanting to
use their quickness and playmak-
ers like Blanchard and sophomore
Bernard Robinson to their advan-
tage.
"We definitely want to do that,"
Young said. "We think we're a
fairly quick team that can moved a
ball, both after a made or missed
shot."
UP CLOSE: While the student
season ticket deadline passed,
individual game tickets are avail-
able at the Michigan Ticket office
starting tomorrow.
Much like the luxury seats at
Yost Ice Arena, there will also be
nearly 100 courtside seats avail-
able opposite the newly installed
student bleachers at Crisler Arena.
The cost for a seat is a $2600
donation to the endowment fund
and $391 for the season pass, with
only .a one-year commitment
required. Michigan marketing
director Tom Brooks said that
about half of the tickets are
already sold.

Wolverines voted No. 1 by Big Ten coaches

By Charles Paradis
Daily Sports Writer
CHICAGO - There is no sure thing about
women's basketball in the Big Ten this season.
The coaches and the media have different views
of how the Big Ten will shape up, but all believe
that it is an open race.
"There is no clear-cut favorite," Michigan
coach Sue Guevara said. "It'll come down to who
can stay injury-free. That could take any team
down."
Both the Big Ten coaches and the media voted
for Purdue as the No. I team in the conference
this season. But while the coaches voted Michi-
gan as tied for the No. 1 spot, the media did not
even grant the Wolverines a spot in the preseason
top three.
Everyone understands that it's not where you
start that matters, but where you finish. Many

coaches do not even put much credence in the
preseason rankings.
"I think preseason rankings are wonderful for
alumni, season tickets - good for promotion,"
Illinois coach Theresa Grentz said. "But I've
never been in favor of them telling me what
teams can or can't do."
In fact, the only team that both the coaches and
media placed in the top three was Purdue. Last
season's NCAA Tournament runner-up will look
to repeat as Big Ten Champions, but the other 10
teams will not let the Boilermakers coast through
their conference schedule without a fight.
"There is no one team we want to go after, but
everyone wants to beat Purdue because they're
ranked No. I," Iowa coach Lisa Bluder said.
Michigan center LeeAnn Dies was named to
the preseason All-Big Ten team. Bies was thrilled
with the honor, but at the same time she recog-
nizes the expectations placed on her to perform.
C____GUEVARA
Continued from Page 11B

"It's nice, but then it puts the pressure on you
that you have to earn it," Bies said.
Penn State guard Kelly Mazzante was named
the Preseason Player of the Year. She was the Big
Ten freshman of the year last season and scored
in double digits in all but two games.
She averaged 18.2 points per game and shot
almost 37-percent from behind the 3-point arc
last season.
"It is nice and everything, but I think I have a
lot of team goals I have to overcome this year,"
Mazzante said. "That's the sort of thing that if it's
going to happen,.it's going to happen."
No matter what happens, and no matter who is
named Big Ten Player of the Year at the end of
the season, the conference race will be a tight
one.
"Given a here or there, I think anyone can be
in any spot," Ohio State coach Beth Burns said.
"It's close - as close as I've seen it."

COURTESY OF ATHLETIC-DEPARTMENT
Michigan basketball coach Tommy Amaker is hoping that his new coaches clinic
for high school coaches around Michigan will help with recruiting.

With 19 wins last season, Gue-
vara pulled within one victory of
surpassing former Michigan coach
Bud VanDeWege to become the
winningest women's basketball
coach in Michigan history.
Guevara's record is currently 93-
53, including last year's 81-71 over-
time victory against Virginia to give
Guevara her first NCAA Tourna-
ment win.
Also, with Michigan's first Big
Ten conference win this season,
Guevara will become the first
Michigan women's basketball coach
to earn 50 conference victories.
"It's been a long road for Sue,"
Michigan State coach Joanne P.
McCallie said. "She's done a great
job with her staff and her players -
I can only tip my hat to Michigan
and what they've accomplished."
But even with all the success and
praise Guevara has garnered, she
felt that last year's team could have
been even better. On several occa-

Wolverines now is proving right
everyone that has predicted great
things Michigan.
"We're right there every year,. we
just haven't been able to get that
breakthrough tournament win or
we'll get a national ranking and
then have a letdown," Michigan's
junior center LeeAnn Bies said.
"The key is actually just doing it -
we're right there, but we have to
follow through."
Regardless of the outcome of the
2001-02 year, it is hard to dispute
that Michigan's program in general
has benefited from the hiring of
Guevara in]1996.
"She's raised the expectations
high to what she wanted them at,
and now if she doesn't get them
people are upset," Wisconsin coach
Jane Albright said. "She's got a pas-
sion for Michigan - she's done
remarkable things there, really in
every way."
Getting it done
Since Sue Guevera officially took

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