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February 12, 2002 - Image 9

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2002-02-12

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PO1e ARSiligR TSil


FEBRUARY 12, 2002


Rams too much
in overtime for
tired Wolverines
By David Horn
Daily Sports Editor


What had been a recurring problem for Michigan
early this season came back to haunt them last night
against Colorado State. Senior center Chris Young
- the Wolverines' lone
legitimate big man - has j MICHIGAN 66
* been unable to stay out of
foul trouble for Michigan COLORADO ST. 70 (OT)
(5-6 Big Ten, 10-12 over-
all). In last night's 70-66 overtime loss to Colorado
State (1-7 Mountain West, 9-13 overall), Young exit-
ed with 4:41 remaining in the second half with his
team leading by four. He was able to play just 16
minutes all game because of early fouls, and the
Wolverines could not adequately respond to the
worst team in the Mountain West Conference.
"We really did not have a post presence tonight,
Michigan assistant coach Chuck Swenson said.
LaVell (Blanchard) played well but most of his game
tonight was on the perimeter. Us not having an
inside game was key ... Chris.fouling out was really
the key. Credit Colorado State for going after him.
The first thing they did in the second half was go at
him and it worked out well for them."
Another trouble from which Michigan has not had
any relief this season has been its inability to close
the first half strong. Last night was more of the
same, as the Wolverines could not further their four-
point lead in the waning minutes before the inter-
mission, heading into the lockerroom with just a
29-25 lead, despite poor shooting by the Rams.
Colorado State kept the game close throughout
the second half, and with three and a half minutes
left an Andy Birley 3-pointer gave the Rams their
first lead (56-54) since the game's early moments.
After a Matt Nelson tip-in gave Colorado State a 59-
56 lead with less than a minute to go in regulation,
Michigan sophomore forward Bernard Robinson hit
a 3-pointer of his own to tie the game. Robinson fol-
lowed that feat by tipping away the Rams' inbound
to force overtime.
In overtime, an overtired Michigan squad - play-
ing with its emotional leader and predominant post
presence on the bench - could not match baskets
with Colorado State. The Rams capitalized on their
early overtime possessions and built a 64-59 lead. A
M'recruit me

Parrish was the least of
Varsity s'offensive woes

Michigan's senior Chris Young fouled out with 4:41 remaining In regulation last night against Colorado State.
With their best post player on the bench, the Wolverines were unable to pull out a win against the Rams.

Leon Jones 3-pointer brought the Wolverines to
within two, but Colorado State responded with a Joe
Macklin tip-in. Blanchard - who once again did
not start for the Wolverines - shot up an airball
with 33 seconds remaining. Michigan proceeded to
foul Colorado State forward Brian Greene, who sank
one of two free throws. Blanchard responded with a
successful 3-pointer, but it would be the last Michi-
gan basket of the night, and at 67-65, the closest the
Wolverines would get.

This was the first ever win for Colorado State
over Michigan, and the first time the Wolverines
have lost an overtime game since Feb. 16, 1997,
when they lost 84-81 to Indiana.
Michigan is now 1-8 on the road this season, and
does not have time to recuperate before it boards a
plane from Denver to Detroit, then flies immediately
to West Lafayette for tomorrow's Big Ten matchup
against Purdue.
See RAMS, Page 10

As I stood on the sidelines in
the closing minutes of the
Citrus Bowl on New Year's
Day, listening to Tennessee's "Pride
of the Southland" band blaring
Rocky Top for the 40th time, I real-
ized that I was witnessing the con-
clusion of the most forgettable
season of Michigan football in near-
ly 20 years.
After losing at Michigan State -
again - and getting embarrassed by
Ohio State - at the Big House,
with the Big Ten championship, a
BCS bid and Ohio State coach Jim
Tressel's credibility on the line -
Michigan went down to Orlando and
treated its fans to the worst bowl
blowout in school history. If there
was any question that this year's
Michigan squad had major prob-
lems, Tennessee's 45-17 abasement
of the Wolverines should have
silenced all of the doubters.
It didn't take a genius to figure
out that something had to change, so'
what was Michigan coach Lloyd
Carr's response? After examining
everything, he made a bold move
and ... replaced offensive coordina-
tor Stan Parrish with, in all likeli-
hood, offensive line coach Terry
I hate to burst the bubbles of my
fellow Michigan students who
expect the Wolverines to bounce
back and go 10-1 next year, but try-
ing to fix Michigan's offense by
replacing Stan Parrish with Terry
Malone is like treating a case of
malaria with Tylenol.
Certainly, Parrish has to accept
some of the blame for Michigan's
pathetic offensive showing this year.
Any time the Wolverines finish
ninth in the Big Ten in total offense,
the offensive coordinator has some
explaining to do. For starters, Par-
rish could try to convince us that
there was some logical explanation
for running the ball right at Ten-
nessee's All-America defensive
tackle John Henderson on Michi-
gan's first three plays of the Citrus
That aside, the Wolverines' trou-
bles on offense this year ran a lot
deeper than Parrish's questionable
play-calling. Michigan fans who are
looking toward next year have to
face a few facts.
For starters, the Wolverines do not
possess anything close to a big-time
tailback. Chris Perry has yet to
prove he can carry the ball 25 times
per game. Meanwhile, B.J. Askew is
a good fullback, but it became pret-
ty obvious during the course of the
season that he's not a featured tail-
back. If he's eligible next season,
Kelly Baraka could be the answer,
but it's hard to imagine that he's
going to step in right away and rush

for 1,200 yards.
Then there's the receiving corps.
Now that Marquise Walker has used
up his eligibility, the Wolverines
don't have anyone resembling a go-
to receiver. Heck, they don't have
anyone resembling a possession
receiver, either.
Junior Ron Bellamy started along-
side Walker this season but was
largely invisible; Tyrece Butler
made just one reception of any note
all year (remember that catch he had
against Iowa?); and Calvin Bell
demonstrated his mastery of the
reverse, but has yet to show he can
be a dependable receiver. Throw in
the departure of two of Michigan's
top three tight ends (Shawn Thomp-
son and Bill Seymour are both grad-
uating) and the Wolverines are
clearly going to be hurting next year
for anyone who can catch the ball.
That brings us to the quarter-
backs, and I don't even have to say
anything about this position. John
Navarre's play this year did all of
my talking for me, and Michigan
fans have to pray for one of two
things next year: A) Navarre magi-
cally discovers poise, accuracy and
the ability to look off his primary
target, or B) Incoming freshman
Matt Gutierrez is as good as adver-
tised and wins the starting job. As
for Spencer Brinton and Jermaine
Gonzales, here's my question - if
neither one of them could beat out
Navarre this season, where is the
evidence that either of them will be
any better next year?
Last, but not least, there's the
issue of Carr's offensive philosophy,
which is not going to change. It's
the same problem the Tampa Bay
Buccaneers have had the last few
years - former coach Tony Dungy
kept switching offensive coordina-
tors and bringing in high-priced free
agents, but his conservative
approach on offense doomed the
Bucs to an early playoff exit every
In fairness, Carr has been willing
to unleash talents like David Terrell
and Drew Henson on occasion, but
this is still a man who once said,
"We're going to run the ball or die
Now, having said all that, who
knows? Maybe Michigan's new
offensive coordinator - whether it
is Malone or one of Carr's other
offensive assistants - will come in
and shake things up. Maybe Navarre
will start spreading the ball around
to Butler, Bell and Bellamy. Maybe
Baraka will be the nation's leading
rusher next year.
Maybe ... well, maybe not.

iy be the next Chris Young

By Joe Smith
Daily Sports Editor
Graham Brown simply cannot sur-
render to senioritis.
Not with the teachers he's got.
The Mio native will be donning the
maize and blue next fall as a member
of Michigan coach Tommy Amaker's
first recruiting class. But for right
now, Brown has a few influences to
keep him grounded at home.
Graham's father, Richard, is his
teacher for both English and French
at Class D Mio-AuSable High
School. Richard has had the peculiar
yet enjoyable experience of teaching
all three of his sons - Graham (18),
Griffin (23) and Gabe (29). Also in
the same school district is Graham's
mother, Mary, who is a fifth-grade
"It's weird to have them in the
same school," Graham said. "But you
get used to it."
Did the sons ever slip and call their
teacher, "Dad?"
"Always," Graham said with a grin.
"He doesn't care."
Said Griffin: "I can't ever imagine
calling him 'Mr. Brown."'
That doesn't mean his classes were
"It's the total opposite of that,"
Griffin said. "He was even harder
on us."
While somewhat uncomfortable,
having their father as a teacher cer-
tainly didn't hurt the Brown boys
academically. Both Gabe and Griffin
are Michigan graduates and mechani-
cal engineers in Holland.
Gabe was a manager on the Michi-
gan basketball team when the "Fab
Five" graced the Crisler floor -
something that helped peak Graham's
interest in becoming a Wolverine
even more.
"We were always huge fans," Grif-
fin said. "It was almost a no-brainer
for him. He kept his options open in,
the beginning, but there was never

any doubt where-he was going."
As a very polished 6-foot-10
power forward, Graham had plenty of
options to choose from. He said he
received interest from several Big
Ten schools, including Northwestern,
Minnesota, Ohio State and Penn
"Michigan State wanted me pretty
bad too," Brown said.
This past summer, Graham played
on the same AAU team as fellow
incoming recruit Lester Abrams from
Pontiac Northern High School. That's
when Michigan assistant coach Billy
Schmidt first approached him.
Right away, Graham said he con-
nected with the Michigan coaches,
saying that he liked Amaker's
"friendly" demeanor and how he
"stood up for his players." Graham
also knew that he could make an
impact immediately, as an already
depth-stricken Michigan frontline
will lose it's only legitimate post
player in 6-foot-9 in senior Chris
"They said I can come in next year
and play right away if things go
well," Graham said. "They need a big
guy real bad like Chris Young, and I
think I can be that."
Not coincidentally, Young is the
player to whom Graham compares
himself, saying that he likes to "post
up and bang bodies" down low. But
Graham said he "can step out and
shoot a little better than Young."
What does Young have to say about
"Is he another Chris Young? I don't
know," Young said. "He'll probably
be better. He's only 18, but he's just
as big and strong as I am now. You
could look at us and think we're
"I'm cuter though."
Attractiveness aside, one thing that
Graham's father thinks is different
about his son is his fresh demeanor
on and off the court.
"You'll never see him get mad on

the court," Richard said. "The other
night, he got the living daylights
knocked out of him - and he was
still smiling."
Graham has good reasons for
being happy, as he averaged 24
points, 20 boards and eight assists
per game as a junior last season. This
year he is close to the same totals for
the undefeated Thunderbolts - who
are ranked No."3 in Class D by the
Detroit Free Press.
"He can play right away," said
HoopScoop recruiting analyst Clark
Francis. "Is he going to be great? I
don't know. But in a year or two he
can be a heck of a player."
Mio is a small town, but Griffin
said that "everyone in Northern
Michigan is afraid of Mio's basket-
ball team, because they're the best."
Griffin said that the 1,000-seat
capacity gym that the Thunderbolts
play in is always packed, and Graham
is a big reason for that.
At Michigan, Graham will have
some help in the post, as two other
big men join him in the 2002 recruit-
ing class, which has been ranked in
the top 10 nationally by several pub-
lications. Chris Hunter (6-foot-11,

210 pounds) and Amadou Ba (6-foot-
10, 240 pounds) will provide the
Wolverines with some much needed
depth in the paint.
Ba can supposedly speak five dif-
ferent languages, but how many can
Graham use efficiently?
"Or;, maybe two," Graham said
with a grin. "My French is kind of
Better not tell his dad.

Arun Gopal can be reached at

Grant Brown will have an immediate
impact for the Wolverines next year.

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