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November 08, 2001 - Image 20

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2001-11-08

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6B - The Michigan Daily - Tipoff 2001 - Thursday, November 8, 2001


The Michigan Daily - Tipoff 2001

Who's Tommy?

Michigan short on big men in the pal

As with any new coach, Tommy
Amaker has gotten his share of
praise and criticism. Here is what
various people have to say about
Michigan's new man in charge:
2002-03 Recruit Daniel Horton in
the Detroit News: "Some people
are saying, 'Michigan isn't going to
win for another four or five years,'
but I feel Michigan is on the rise
again because Coach Amaker is
there. He's a great recruiter - he's
going to get players."
Jerry izenberg of the Newark

Star-Ledger told the Detroit Free
Press: "Candor isn't one of his
strong suits ... He is not a guy you
can dislike. He does, indeed, have
charm and wit. But he also has a
frightening tendency to turn into a
cardboard man at the slightest sign
of a crisis."
Northwestern coach Bill Car-
mody: "I just know he is a real
great guy. I think he does what it
takes to have a real good team.
They have a very good school with
great tradition. I think he'll be able
to attract some good people there.

He already has some pretty good
players there."
Adrian Wojnarowski of the
Bergen Record told the Detroit
Free Press: "He leaves Seton Hall
messily, unfinished, and amazing-
ly, he leaves it in worse shape than
he inherited it four years ago ... In
his heart, this was wrong. All
wrong. And deep down, Amaker
knows it."
Purdue Coach Gene Keady:
"He's a class act - and after his
pedigree with Coach K - he's
already a step ahead."


By Benjamin Singer
Daily Sports Editor

Amaker has it right so far

Entering last season, the low post
looked like a strength for Michigan.
But the Wolverines have suffered from
some serious shrinkage. With the
departure of 6-foot-11 Josh Asselin,
Michigan lost experience, height and
Now only Chris Young and Josh
Moore stand tall in the paint. The
question becomes, for exactly how
long can they stay there?

"I think right now we recognize we
aren't as deep up front. I think we know
that we have a ways to go with our front
line because of being limited there,"
coach Tommy Amaker said. Young and
Moore "need to be healthy and we need
to keep them out of foul trouble. I think
that's going to be one of the keys for us,
how our frontline can stay healthy and
stay on the floor for us."
If last year is any indication, Michi-
gan will be hard pressed to keep its big
men in the game. Young and Moore
fouled out a combined nine times and

butt the job'
Whether it's high school coach-
es around the state or his new 1
players who are riding his
hype and enthusiasm like a magic car-
pet, the consensus seems to be that new 1
Michigan basketball coach Tommy
Amaker can do no wrong.
But it will be interesting to see theI
results when the games are actually
played. That's when we'll find out how
good a coach Amaker really is.;
He's done an admirable job so far, but
he's also been dealing with aspects of
coaching that tailor to his strengths. He
mended some bridges with high school 1
coaches in the state with his personable
nature. He brought in a top-10 recruitingI
class for next season. He's trying to bring
energy to a previously lifeless Crisler1
Arena with an overhaul, and has tried to
connect Michigan with its storied past.
All of this is part of turning the pro-
gram around, but we already knew he's
a savvy recruiter from his history at 1
Duke and Seton Hall, where he helped
nab top prospects like Shane Battier I
and Eddie Griffin. Plus, he knows how
to "play the game" with fans and1
media - something former coach
Brian Ellerbe could never figure out,
so of course he's a breath of fresh air.
Amaker seems to bring stability to
those who - in the past three seasons 1
- witnessed four of Michigan's five 1
most humiliating losses in its history
and a number of offcourt antics that i
tarnished a once-proud program.
Amaker was brought in for his image, 1
his background with Duke (where he
won two national titles as an assistant
coach) and for his Sweet 16 appearance
at Seton Hall.

's just begun
Imagewise, the Michigan basketball
program is definitely better off than it
was before Amaker. But what do we
actually know about Amaker's coach-
ing ability? We know he has four years
of head coaching experience, has one
Sweet 16 appearance, and a 68-55
That's just six more wins than
Ellerbe had in his four years at Michi-
gan (62-60) before he was fired.
As for the Pirates' run to the Sweet .
16, seven other coaches in the past five
years who've reached that pinnacle
have since been let go. Amaker, on the
other hand, was offered a more lucra-
tive job.
"Of the 319 coaches in college bas-
ketball last year, no performance was as
suspect as-Amaker's," Mike DeCourcy
of The Sporting News wrote.
Critics point to how Amaker lost
control of his Pirates last year. Griffin
punched junior Ty Shine in the face in
an argument over whether the fresh-
man phenom was getting the ball
enough in a double-digit loss for the
Pirates. Seton Hall - which started the
season ranked in the top 10 - finished
with a 16-15 mark, and a disappointing
5-11 record in the Big East.
Knowing that, Amaker is smart to
preach "passion and patience" with
Michigan fans, saying that his goal is
"improvement" rather than guarantee-
ing an NCAA Tournament appearance.
After all, it's still in debate whether
he has what it takes to make it happen.

were in serious foul trouble with four
or more fouls in 16 games each.
Moore was especially plagued by
foul trouble, averaging a foul every
three-and-a-half minutes-for the sea-
son. He once had a three-game stretch
in which he racked up 11 fouls in 14
Moore attributes his hacks in the
post to his inactivity during the year
between his high school graduation
and his first year at Michigan.
"A lot of my fouls came from frus-
tration. This summer I had a chance to
work every day and get back into men-
tal focus," Moore said. "A lot of those
stupid fouls won't happen."
With a 7-foot-2, 305-pound frame,
Moore is by far Michigan's largest
player. If the Wolverines are going to
have a presence in the post, game-in
and game-out, he will have to be on
the floor, and be productive. He
notched 4.4 points and 2.7 rebounds
per game last season.
"I think he carries his weight very
well. His physical conditioning needs
to be at a higher level," Amaker said.
"I think if he does that, he's going to
be more confident. I think he's not
going to be as fatigued to maybe make
some silly fouls.
"It goes without saying Josh is

going to be a player for us we need
very dearly."
Since Moore and Young cannot play
40 minutes a game, some will set
more time at new positions in the post
LaVell Blanchard, who typically start
ed at small forward for his first twc
years, will probably slide over to the
power forward in a small lineup.
"We wouldn't ask him to do it if we
didn't think he could do it. LaVell is
very versatile," Amaker said. "We
think he's as valuable as anyone."
Blanchard, who has shown a will
ingness to play any position his coacl
asks, will be undersized at 6-foot-
against bigger teams. He may fine
himself in the frontline with anothe
versatile player, Bernard Robinson
who played primarily as a guard hi
freshman year. But the Wolverine
think that what appears to be a disad
vantage may in fact be a plus.
"Bernard and LaVell. You don't ge
too much better than those two guy
on my right and my left," Moore said.
"From an offensive standpoint, I thini

While Bernard Robinson (21) usually plays the guard position, he may have to help
out in the post if Michigan's frontline is depleted due to foul trouble or injuries.




Joe Smith can be reached at

Continued from Page 5B
time since early childhood. His
future travels will take him away
from Ann Arbor, of which he says:
"I like being around here. I know
the streets, I still see my friend's
parents. But I definitely feel like I
need to get away. When I graduate,
my goal is to get away from Michi-
gan. I've been here, what, 20 years?
But I know that after that I'll end
up coming back here."
Law school is a likely option for
Adibeyi in the future. But for this
year, the focus remains on basket-
ball. The hope is that this team will
bond to a degree unseen in recent
years. There are changes every-
where - coach, uniforms, arena -
and the captains hope that team
chemistry will be added to that list.
"We're a lot closer as a team this
year," Adibeyi said. "We had a lot
of time to spend with each other
over the summer. Last year we had
only one senior (the departed Josh
Asselin). This year we have six sen-
iors and we're all close. We spend a
lot of time off the court together.
"The freshmen are cool. I got a
chance to hang out with them when
they first came here. They're will-
ing to learn, they pay attention. It's
just a really good group of guys."
Adibeyi doesn't see the minutes.
He doesn't often get to see his
name in the paper. But the local
boy will certainly be enjoying every
second of his final season as a
Wolverine. Adibeyi walked on to
this team three years ago, and will
walk off as part of a proud tradi-
tion. His name is a worthy addition
to that awesome list of Michigan


I ~ 3



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