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FEBRUARY 18, 2002
Cagers' freshman backcourt
By Chales Paradis
Daily Sports Writer
The prospect of a freshman backcourt may scare
more than a few college coaches, but Michigan bas-
ketball coach Tommy Amaker has found a pair of
freshmen that play well beyond their years. Point
guard Daniel Horton and swingman Lester Abram
have averaged a combined 25.8 points a game, and
Saturday, the two had explosive games against Ohio
State, combining for 38 points in the 70-54 win.
After what he considered a sub-par game against
Indiana last Wednesday, Abram was determined to
perform better against Ohio State.
"I didn't really do anything at Bloomington, I only
had three rebounds and 1-of-7 shooting, and I know I
am a much better player than that," Abram said. "I was
determined to get off to a better start in this game."
Abram's determination paid a huge divident, as he
had the hot hand early, scoring 10 of the team's first
12 points in the first half. Abram also pounded the
glass, pulling down five defensive rebounds in the
first half alone. In the second half, the Buckeyes tried
to shut down Abram on the offensive end of the floor.
The added pressure helped free up his teammates who
benefited from his passing.
"In the second half, I just tried to hit the open guy,"
Abram said. "They were tyring to clamp down harder
on me in the second half because I made a couple of
shots in the first half. But I was just trying to find
LaVell (Blanchard) and Daniel, and they were seem-
ingly open a lot to my surprise."
The smooth lefty finished with 17 points -- includ-
ing a 3-of-3 mark from behind the 3-point arc - and
eight rebounds during a team-high 38 minutes. With
junior forward Bernard Robinson confined to the
bench with foul trouble, Abram shared the responsibil-
ity for guarding one of the Big Ten's premier scorers,
Brent Darby. Robinson and Abram are both 6-foot-6,
and the added reach and strength helped contain the
"I just tried to stay in front of him, not go for any
head fakes, stay disciplined and keep a hand in his
face," Abram said. "He is going to shoot his shots, but
you just have to make it a tough shot."
Abram's quick burst out of the gate was picked up
by Horton. The sharp-shooting point guard showed his
range and touch Saturday, connecting on 4-of-7 from
beyond the arc and displaying the ability to hit both
the long-range shot and the shot coming off a screen
on the perimiter.
Horton also pulled up and pulled the trigger on
several quick treys in transition. While the Buckeyes
were scampering to get into a defensive position,
Horton used the confusion to open himself up for a
"In the last few games, when we'd move the ball
down the court, the defenders would get a head of
steam and keep dropping back," Horton said. "I just
wanted to use that space to be able to pull up and hit
the shot right there."
The two have been an integral part of the Wolver-
ines' success this season. All this despite having to
adjust from the high school game to the college game
Nebraska state legislator
Michigan freshman Lester Abram fights for a rebound.
and being freshman to boot.
"They came here and they had to play like they were
in sophmore or junior standing because we needed
production out of them immediately," fifth-year senior
and ti-captain Rotolu Adebiyi said. "As you can see,
they have stepped up to the challenge really well, and
they have been really big for our team this year."
Kalenlec kianticipates return this weekend
taking a nec(
Nka state Sen. Ernie Cham-
bers has served in the Nebraska
statehouse since 1970. And
while I am not entirely familiar with the
work he has done on behalf of the good
people of Omaha in his 33 years, I am
going to go ahead and say that his most
recent endeavor may very well be his
most brilliant. It seems that Chambers
has concocted a dazzling piece of legis-
lation that -Are you ready for this? -
enables the University of Nebraska to
pay its football players.
I know. Compose yourself.
Chambers, in his statement of purpose
for Legislative Bill 688, writes, "Just as
the Declaration of Independence spelled
out a detailed bill of particulars justifying
the separation of the American colonies
from England, LB 688 sets forth very
precise and specific reasons that lead
inexorably to the conclusion that Univer-
sity of Nebraska-Lincoln football players
are entitled to compensation in the same
manner that other students are compen-
sated when they perform work for the
university. Plus, they are the only catego-
ry of students that produce, rather than
Chambers has more for Miles Brand
and the boys in Indianapolis: "Because
of the plethora of tangled, complicated
and often unfair rules imposed by the
National Collegiate Athletic Association
(NCAA), big-time college football play-
ers are subjected to treatment, restric-
tions and conditions that would never be
tolerated if applied across the board to
all students ..."
Boo-ya. Stuff that in your antique pipe
and smoke it, NCAA. Ernie Chambers
1, Status quo 0.
Chambers proposed similar legisla-
tion 15 years ago, but after Nebraska's
unicameral legislature passed the bill, it
was vetoed by then-Gov. Kay Orr. This
time around, Chambers has found a
chief executive - Gov. Mike Johanns
- who agrees that the Cornhuskers
should share in the bounty of their crop.
The proposed legislation in Nebraska
would allow for a monthly stipend that
would amount to something close to
minimum wage, and the bill would not
take effect until three other states that
have schools in the Big 12 Conference
pass similar legislation.
Kansas? Texas? Oklahoma? Let's get
on this thing. The sooner states show
that the NCAA's policies present an
unlawful infringement on the labor
rights of its student athletes, the sooner
the NCAA will be forced to address
their antiquated and unsuccessful rules.
There are critics who will question
how such a rule change could be recon-
ciled with Title IX and its ambitions of
gender equality. For every college foot-
ball team that turns a multi-million-dol-
lar profit and is thus indebted to its
athletes, there is a women's basketball
team that is struggling to stay out of the
red. But just as many have suggested
that football be exempted from a
school's Title IX consideration because
of its size and unique fiscal situation, so
too should non-revenue sports of both
genders be exempt from legislation that
prescribes a stipend.
There are also concerns that the ama-
teurism that is sacred to college sports
will be compromised. But the NCAA
can make all the rules it wants that pro-
hibit the payment of players, but so
many of them will continue to disregard
those rules. People are doing it anyway
- legalize it and diffuse the bomb.
Of course, the fact that people are
doing it anyway is not reason enough to
allow for these stipends. The real justifi-
cation is that so many football players at
major college programs (like Nebraska,
or Michigan) are exploited by a system
that accumulates enormous profit on the
backs of unpaid labor. Allowing students
to earn a wage off the football field is a
step in the right direction, but paying
them for the work they do on the field
(which generates a penny or two more
for the folks at the top than working the
circulation desk at the law library) needs
to be very seriously considered.
By Dan Rosen
Daily Sports Writer
All indications are that Michigan
forward Brandon Kaleniecki will be
back this weekend. And he's already
begun to take the Wolverines on his
back - literally.
After practice yesterday, Kaleniec-
ki, who hasn't played since suffering
from a high ankle sprain 10 days ago
against Northern Michigan, took a
loose puck in on backup goaltender
Noah Ruden and slid the puck
between the goalie's legs. But Kale-
niecki fell as he was shooting, and
Ruden decided to jump on his back
rather than push the puck aside.
It was a light moment that must have
looked good to the Wolverines, who will
undoubtedly benefit if their second-
leading goal scorer is back for the trip to
Nebraska. Kaleniecki was injured when
Northern Michigan goalie Craig Kowal-
ski landed on the freshman's back in the
first game of the Feb. 7-8 series.
No one will benefit more from his
return more than his linemate, Andrew
Ebbett. The two have combined to be
one of Michigan's most consistent pair-
ings this season and one of the only
groupings to play together all season.
"I think I (missed him) a little bit,
just because of the chemistry," Ebbett
said. "We've had a pretty good chem-
istry out there so far this year."
The freshman's return is not guaran-
teed. He said yesterday, after his first
regular practice with the team, that he
still felt some discomfort on the ice,
mainly stopping and starting.
"There's obviously some things that I
still don't feel comfortable doing,"
Kaleniecki said. "But hopefully it will
get better as the week goes on."
Kaleniecki was especially frustrated
having to watch his first Michigan-
Michigan State game from the side-
lines this past weekend. The Livonia
native had seen a number of games
between the rivals at Joe Louis Arena
Michigan assistant coach Billy Pow-
ers said that he could see improvement
in Kaleniecki when he skated on Satur-
day before Michigan's game in East
"I would tell you that even Saturday,
if that's a playoff game, a Joe Louis
game or an NCAA game, I think he
probably could have played," Powers
If he does play, Kaleniecki is aware
he might have some rust to shake off.
"I'm sure it's going to take a little bit
of time coming back," Kaleniecki said.
"It's going to be a little bit tougher, so
we'll see how it goes."
I ------------- I
David Horn can be reached at
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