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January 24, 2002 - Image 5

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 2002-01-24

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abe 3trbigaun au ail
SPORTS

michigandaily.com/sports
sportsdesk@umich.edu

THURSDAY
JANUARY 24, 2002

5A

Sukrisins
Buckeyes t; ,
await Blue
By JoeSm t :.
Daily Sports Editor .4 S.

JON
SCHWARTZ

Martin has started a war
that he will never win

As Michigan coach Tommy Amaker shared his
sentiments on tonight's game against No. 20 Ohio
State, he seemed to be as excited about his team's
trip to Columbus as he would be to get a root canal.
"I think they're a solid all-around basketball team,
a team that is playing as well as any team in the
nation and a team that's very difficult to beat on their
home court," Amaker said.
"Having said all that - maybe we shouldn't show
up, he added with a smile. "But we'll give it a shot."
After taking a look at the Buckeyes, maybe they
shouldn't.
Unranked and underestimated in the preseason
after returning four starters to a team that finished
third in the Big Ten a year ago, the Buckeyes are
coming off an emotional victory over No. 24 Indiana
last Saturday. It was their eighth win in a row, and
their 12th straight in the Big Ten.
Jumping out to their best start in league play since
Jimmy Jackson starred at guard in 1990, Ohio State
(5-0 Big Ten, 14-2 overall) is the only undefeated
team in conference play.
The Buckeyes are also 13-1 this season at home.
Given that Michigan has recorded just two road vic-
tories in the past 369 days. Amaker knows his team
must play a near-perfect game to hang with the
Buckeyes.
The Buckeyes suffered a major blow before the

AP PHOTO
Brian Brown Is this week's Big Ten Player of the Week. He leads the Buckeyes, who have not yet lost a
game In the conference, and have lost only once in their past 14 games on their home court this season.

~hen I got to my seat at Yost
this past Saturday night,
primed and ready for the
Wolverines' meeting with Michigan
State, I realized that I was lucky to have
arrived 15 minutes before faceoff.
It gave me time to evaluate the letter
placed on every seat in and around the
student section from Athletic Director
Bill Martin, a respectful request that
fans show support for Michigan in ways
other than verbally attacking the Michi-
gan State players and their families.
I thought it was the first move Martin
had made in his nearly two years at the
helm that I really disagreed with.
I was still getting accustomed to life
at Michigan when former Athletic
Director Tom Goss was run out of town,
leaving a department in disarray.
And I remember well my reaction
when former University President Lee
Bollinger convinced his buddy Bill
Martin to take the interim position a lit-
tle more than a month later.
I have nothing but respect for the
man who, after eventually accepting the
position full time, decided to donate his
$250,000 salary for the first year to the
department, which was in financial
chaos by the end of the Goss adminis-
tration. Martin is the type of man who
always returns phone calls -if he
doesn't have time to before he leaves
work, he calls from his home. He real-
izes the importance of embracing the
students and their concerns, and is insis-
tent on maintaining Michigan's great
sense of athletic pride.
My gripe is not with the letter. I think
that politely asking the fans to change
their behavior is a respectable effort. It
doesn't matter how I, personally, feel
about the Yost chants; I think that if he
wants to change the appearance of the

program, that's his prerogative - and
his job.
But while I don't consider myself a
radical supporter of Thoreau's "Civil
Disobedience," I have no problem with
the fact that not only did the fans not
change their behavior, but they were
more vociferous than ever.
My problem is what lies behind the
letter. Anyone who read the note could
have figured that it was a thinly veiled
threat. Martin is so adamant about the
issue that he has admitted that he would
be more than willing to throw fans out
if the situation does not improve. He
told me that two months ago, when he
mentioned his plans to put a letter on
the seats (just as coach Red Berenson
did several years ago).
By putting the note on seats, the only
possible reaction I could have expected
was that a couple of thousand fans
would stand up, look around and realize
that they had the numbers war won.
Sure Mr. Martin. You and what army? I
was right.
Again, I do respect what Martin is
trying to do, even though I may not
agree with him. But there is a better way
to do it. He should be meeting with the
leaders of the student section and direct-
ing his impassioned plea toward them.
If he can appeal to the students' good
nature, and convince them to stop
embarrassing the families of players,
while still having fun, then more power
to him. I'll respect him even more.
But if he wants to go to the mattress-
es on this issue and bring martial law to
Yost, he needs to realize that he's not
going to win.

season, losing two-time Big Ten Defen-
sive Player of the Year Ken Johnson to
graduation. The Detroit native blocked
more shots (444) than anyone else in
conference history and was a big reason
that in each of the past three seasons,
Ohio State has won at least 20 games,
played in the NCAA Tournament three
times and finished no worse than third in
the conference his last three seasons.
Even without Johnson, Amaker said
the Buckeyes "don't beat themselves"

VALUE CII
Who: Michig
Ten, 7-8 overa
20 Ohio State
When: 7 p.m.
Latest: Ohio S
to its best lea
since the Jimn
days..

pound forward Terrence Dials. The freshman nearly
redshirted after a nagging knee injury caused him to
barely make it through practices at the beginning of
the season, but Dials persevered and now leads the
Big Ten in field-goal percentage (81
percent). He is also grabbing more
TY ARENA rebounds per minute than anyone in the
an 3-3 Bigconference except Iowa's Reggie
al) at No. Evans. Dials has shown the ability to
(5-0,14-2) score as well, notching nearly a dou-
, ESPN ble-double in his past two games by
tate is off finishing with 10 points and eight
gue start boards in each.
my Jackson His five consecutive baskets, two
offensive rebounds, one blocked shot
and one steal in the closing minutes
were instrumental in the Buckeyes' latest win over
Indiana.
"He's a freshman, and I think sometimes he does-
n't really know what he's doing out there and some-
timesle seems alittle lost," said OhioState assistant

coach Paul Biancardi. "But his productivity has been
tremendous at an early stage."
Michigan's backcourt will need to be instrumental
if the Wolverines are to have any chance in Colum-
bus, as it will have to not only put up offensive num-
bers but also contain Ohio State senior co-captain
Brian Brown. Biancardi labeled Brown "Mr. Consis-
tency," and the guard lived up to his name last week,
averaging 20 points in two key Big Ten wins -
including a career-high 26 points while shooting a
scorching 77 percent from the floor in the win over
Indiana.
Amaker also said that among Ohio State's
many strengths, the Buckeyes dribble-drive bet-
ter than any other team in the league, which
should be a big test for Michigan's aggressive
man-to-man defense.
"They're not flashy, don't have any so-called
superstars," Amaker said. "But they're as solid as
any team we've seen and we've got our work cut out
for us."

and have a "very underrated" post presence, which
could cause the depth-stricken Wolverines a lot of
problems.
One big reason for the Buckeyes' emerging post
presence is the surprising play of -4oot-9, 240-

Jon Schwartz can be reached at
jlsz@umich.edu.

.'Preppy' Rogers inspires mother

By J. Brady McCollough
Daily Sports Writer

It's obvious to anyone who watch-
es Michigan hockey practice that
defenseman Brandon Rogers is hav-
ing the time of his life. The New
England native is always one of the
last players to leave the ice after
practice, sometimes spending up to
30 extra minutes refining his skills
or just playing the game he loves.
Rogers' passion for hockey has
spread to his family, as the sport has
become a common bond for him
and his parents.
"My dad never played hockey, but
as soon as I started, he picked it up
and played Sunday morning men's
hockey," Rogers said. "Even now he
goes to high school games back
home because he can't watch me all
the time. My mom actually just
started to play hockey two weeks
ago. She got all the gear and is in a
women's league now at home, so it's
pretty funny."
When Rogers arrived on campus
this past fall, he knew that he would
be accompanied by nine other fresh-
man hockey players. He didn't know
that halfway through his first season
he would have nine brothers.
"It's a great mix of guys," Rogers
said. "The coaches did a great job
of getting us together, because from
the first day we were all great
friends. We were doing everything
together, and we still do it now.
There are no cliques. Everyone
hangs together."
While the entire group spends
most of its time "finding ways to
kill time" together, Rogers has per-
fected the art of slipping away.
"He'll tell us one thing and he'll
go somewhere else," fellow fresh-
man Michael Woodford said. "He'll
be hanging out with the nicest girl
on campus, and he'll tell us that he
went to go eat or something. He
gets all prepped up in his pink
shirts. He has the long hair. He's
just a sweetheart to all the girls.
They all love him.
"He has two wives, so watch out

comments like that. We do it in the
lockerroom, too - try to get each
other in trouble."
Rogers, or "the Rodgmeister" as
his teammates call him, hails from
Rochester, N.H. and attended a
small prep school - a far cry from
his current setting at Michigan.
"That's way up in the sticks, up in
the woods there," Woodford joked.
"This is his first time being away -
in the big city. He's the typical mold
of a prep-school boy. He wears his
nice, little shirts all the time."
Said Rogers in response: "That's
what everybody seems to think, but
it's not too bad. There were 500 kids
(in my high school), and obviously
coming here there's a pretty big dif-
ference. I'm glad I went to a college
that had a big population, because
the atmosphere is awesome. Every-
thing is better here than it is out
east."
Drafted by the Anaheim Mighty
Ducks in the fourth round of the
2001 NHL Draft, Rogers never con-
sidered choosing major junior hock-
ey instead of playing at the college
level.
"This is the best place to devel-
op," Rogers said. "And if hockey
doesn't work out, you can't get bet-
ter education and hockey com-
bined."
Rogers' collegiate career began
on a promising note, as the fresh-
man started the season paired with

Mike Komisarek on the Wolverines'
top defensive pairing. But his inex-
perience showed in Michigan's early
contests, and he was a healthy
scratch for a five-game stretch in
November.
"Not unlike any other young
defenseman, he's going to make
mistakes - costly mistakes,"
Michigan coach Red Berenson said.
"(College hockey) was a lot dif-
ferent for me," Rogers said. "(In
high school), if I made a mistake I
could recover easier, so I wasn't out
of position. If I wanted to go in with
the puck I was able to."
But Rogers didn't let this stum-
bling block keep him out of the
lineup for long. He listened to his
coaches and watched tape of him-
self to analyze where he needed to
improve. After evaluating his per-
formance, Rogers knew that he
needed to take a more defensive
approach to the game, and not
worry as much about scoring goals.
"He's not a kid who makes excus-
es," Berenson said. "That's why he's
back in the lineup. He's worked
hard trying to improve his game. I
like what he adds to the team. He
makes good plays with the puck
and can add to our offensive play
by making good passes to the for-
wards.
"I really like Brandon as a kid, a
student and a player. He's a tough
kid."

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