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January 14, 2003 - Image 8

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The Michigan Daily, 2003-01-14

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Tuesday
January 14, 2003
michigandaily.com
sportsdesk@umich.edu

heORTchSgan Bailu

8

Horton
probable
tomorrow
By Seth Klempner
Daily Sports Writer
Freshman Daniel Horton's wrist has been
taking a beating over the past several weeks,
and falling on it during Saturday's win over
Penn State didn't help. While the injured wrist
has been a concern for Michigan head coach
Tommy Amaker, this week is the first time
that he fears the injury could affect Horton's
playing status.
Amaker said that Horton is having
treatment performed on the wrist daily
and that he would have a better grasp of
the severity of the injury today.
He also said that he listed Horton as
"probable" for tomor-_
row's conference road BASKETBALL
opener against Ohio
State. The wrist was Notebook
wrapped up in tape
when he came out for practice yesterday.
Horton originally twisted the wrist going
for a steal against San Francisco on Jan. 2, and
it has been bothering him ever since.
As one of the keys to Michigan's offense,
the coaching staff is being extra cautious to
prevent unnecessary damage to the wrist
during practice. But it is because of prac-
tice that Amaker feels Horton has been able
to make tremendous strides in the season
thus far.
"I think one of the reasons he has
played much better this year and grown
through the process has to do with the
fact that he has been able to practice and
put in extra work," Amaker said. "Some-
times, when you have a nagging injury,
you tend to hold back. And as a coach,
knowing that he is going to play extended
minutes, you are afraid that he is going to
re-injure it in practice."
But Horton insists that he is prepared to
play through the injury and do whatever
necessary to help the Wolverines continue
their nine-game winning streak. While the
injury is to his non-shooting hand, he
admits that he can't do everything he would
like to be able to and is just trying to main-
tain his rhythm through the pain.

D AVID
HORN

Pay up! LeBron King 'James
is worth the price of admission

TONY DING/Daily
Freshman point guard Daniel Horton has shined of late for the Wolverines, but a nagging wrist
injury could sideline him for tomorrow's game versus Ohio State.

The injury "affects a lot of things," Hor-
ton said. "Handling the ball and shooting in
particular. The other day it was real painful
to shoot, but I just had to suck it up and go
ahead and try and make things happen for
this team."
The point guard has been an integral part of
Michigan's offense this year, averaging 15.5
points and 4.5 assists per game. But it is the
nearly 35 minutes a game, with increasing
playing time over the past several games, that
has prevented him from fully recovering from
the injury.
Amaker, who has had Horton working on
cardiovascular machines to keep his level of.
conditioning up, admits that it is no substi-
tute for practice.
NOT STROKING IT: Senior Gavin
Groninger came to Michigan as a pure
shooter cut from the Indiana mold. But
thus far this season, he has been unable to
find his shooting touch.
Groninger has shot a dismal 7-of-37
from long distance to go along with his

2.3 points in 16.2 minutes per game.
Over his career at Michigan, he has aver-
aged 5.5 points per game with a .327 3-
point shooting percentage.
"We have confidence in him, and we hope
that things will turn around in terms of his
shooting ability," Amaker said. "But he is
going to be on the floor whether he makes
shots or not. He has been in our rotation, and
we need him out there. It would be ideal if he
could make a few - that is his forte."
But the shooting guard has been making
efforts to improve his .178 field-goal per-
centage. He has been working on his
shooting technique with assistant coach
Chuck Swenson before practice at Cristler
Arena. One of the things the coaches have
observed is the need for Groninger to get
more "leg" into his shot to prevent him
from coming up short.
"You let those thoughts creep into your
head, and that's not good," Groninger said of
his current drought. "I just need to shoot the
ball in a rhythm like I normally do."

CLEVELAND - I didn't go because I like to
watch high school basketball. I didn't go
because I had nothing better to do on a Sun-
day afternoon. I didn't go because I'm that curious
about Michigan recruit Dion Harris. I didn't go
because I had never been to Cleveland before.
I went to witness the second coming.
The Daily had an extra press pass for a game in
which Harris, the much-ballyhooed Michigan
recruit, would match up for the fourth and final
time in his high school career against the man-child
who will likely become the NBA's No. 1 draft pick
in seven months. This was an opportunity. I had to
see him.
I woke up hours before I would have liked to, to
schlep across the frozen tundra of Ohio, to Cleve-
land State's Convocation Center, to watch the
Huskies of Detroit-Redford take on the Irish of
Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary. It was not at all my
intended Sunday itinerary. But I told myself that if
I had a time machine, and I could go watch Kobe
or KG or T-Mac play in high school, I would. The
schoolwork and the job hunt and the NFL playoffs
- they all got trumped by LeBron James.
The scene you've seen - on ESPN, perhaps -
or read about in Sports Illustrated. Akron St. Vin-
cent-St. Mary has relocated many of its home
games to Cleveland to accommodate the hordes
of spectators that want to see the 6-foot-8 forward
- the flamboyant, high-flying forward who wears
No. 23 and plays well enough to justify the choice
in jersey. What has resulted in Cleveland is less a
circus than a royal court, on which King James
serves as both the entertaining jester and omnipo-
tent monarch.
James played an unmemorable first half. He was
charged with three personal fouls, and displayed
neither the playmaking ability nor the acrobatic
gusto that has accompanied his play this season.
But in the second half, James went nuts. Steals
and rebounds and dunks and assists and smiles and
cheers and a 40-point lead. I sat there and thought,
"Yeah. This is it. I'm seeing it. I'm watching
'Shaquille O'MJ' in high school." He took over
because it was time to; he made the boy's varsity
team from Detroit-Redford look like school chil-

dren because he could, and they are.
Much has been written about LeBron James, and
even more has been written about how much has
been written. They say it's too much too soon. They
say our priorities are grossly askew when a high
schooler's games are broadcast on national televi-
sion and he graces the cover of every sports maga-
zine and yada yada yada.
I hate that argument. Sports fans grant LeBron
God-like status because, in the world of sports, he
plays like a god. If there were no market for his tal-
ent or his persona, then nothing would be made of
it. They hype comes because LeBron IS going to be
drafted, and he IS going to sell a lot of tickets, and
he IS going to sell a lot of sneakers, and he IS
going to become the most recognizable name and
face in the country. We love basketball, and he will
BE basketball. And when all those things happen,
the search for young talent, and the attention that
surrounds that search, will become even more out-
rageous. Get ready for it. LeBron was given a new
Hummer by his mother, bought with a loan that
was secured because of LeBron's future earning
power. Imbeciles among us criticized the James
family. I say good for them-- Lebron is playing
the game. If everyone else is going to make money
off his talent (and many already are - tickets were
being scalped on Sunday for upwards of $60) then
he is certainly entitled to something as well. King
James is making the best out of a great situation.
At one point in the fourth quarter on Sunday,
LeBron layed the ball in when he could easily have
thread the rock between his legs and slammed it
down, just like he did last week. The disappointed
crowd reacted with a chorus of boos. LeBron was
messing with them. When asked about the surpris-
ingly unflashy maneuver after the game, Lebron
told reporters that he likes to do the unexpected.
Lebron was also asked to evaluate his performance,
,and he gave himself an "A-plus." Mature? No. He's
18 years old. Entertaining? Goodness yes. And if
he's enjoying himself, and we're enjoying watching
him, then I'm not sure I see the problem.
David Horn can be reached at hornd@umich.edu.

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