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April 16, 2003 - Image 12

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0

Wednesday
April 16 3
michigandaily. com
sportsdesk@umich.edu

PORTS

12

No. 1 leads deep
group of receivers

After four years, kid
bids adieu to Hub

By J. Brady McCollough
Daily Sports Editor
By choosing to wear the No. 1 jer-
sey, Braylon Edwards showed that he
wants the spotlight. But if he doesn't
produce next season, the man who gave
him the number just might take it away.
"You might see him wear Number 1
one day and Number 80 the next,"
Michigan coach Lloyd Carr joked.
Edwards earned the prestigious num-
ber - worn by Michigan wide receiv-
ing greats Anthony Carter, Derrick
Alexander and David Terrell - by
catching 67 passes for 1,035 yards and
10 touchdowns last season, establishing
himself as one of the top receivers in
the Big Ten.
"I got a deal with Edwards, which I
won't go into," Carr said. "When we
recruited him, he wanted (No. 1). I told
him he could earn it. So he's earned the
opportunity to wear it."
"I noticed that the great receivers
wore Number 1, so I just wanted to be
a part of that tradition, and coach Carr
gave me the nod," Edwards said.
But there's more to wearing that
number than just running crisp routes
and being faster than the guy across
from you. Carr is hesitant to give out
the number for a reason.
"To me, that number signifies that
you will play with certain characteris-
tics," Carr said.
Time will tell whether Edwards pos-
sesses those, but it's obvious that the
junior wants to prove to Carr and his

teammates that he does.
"I see myself as a leader, because
anybody who has success is looked up
to as someone who has to lead the
team," Edwards said. "I definitely have
to lead by example. This summer, we're
going to practice hard.
"(No. 1) is a significant number on
any team, and people will go after (No.
1), but even if they go after me, we
have a great receiving corps."
Edwards' prediction for his unit may
not be far off. Sophomore Jason Avant
and junior Jermaine Gonzales are the
front-runners to accompany Edwards in
two- and three-wide receiver sets, and
seniors Tyrece Butler and Calvin Bell
give the Wolverines experienced depth
that could explode at any minute.
"We'll be able to have four or five
wide receivers at a time," Edwards
said.
Avant logged significant minutes as
a true freshman last season =- an oddi-
ty at Michigan, and Carr is so excited
about him that he wouldn't even distin-
guish between Edwards and Avant
(regardless of what the jerseys say) as
No. 1 or No. 2 on the depth chart. Carr
stressed how important it was that
Avant was involved in every gameplan
last season.
"Avant you just love, because Avant
is an all-out, all the time, pure football
player," Carr said. "He is a great block-
er, a tenacious competitor, and he's
having a very, very good spring. He
will catch the ball over the middle. He's
smart, he can play any of those posi-

TONY DING/Daily
Braylon Edwards struggles to corral a pass in the final spring practice Saturday.
Edwards recieved All-Big Ten honorable mention honors last season.

tions. We have four- and three-wide
receiver sets, so the more a guy knows,
the more valuable he is. I like him. I
like him a lot."
Gonzales, who switched from quar-
terback just one year ago, showed in the

final spring practice Saturday that he
has learned how to find holes in the
defense. While redshirt freshmen Carl
Tabb and Steve Breaston are still
unknown quantities, they both are in
contention for playing time next season.

SETHEFORD KLEMPNER
Klempie's Korner
Some people take this space to
complain about unfulfilled prom-
ises made by the Michigan athlet-
ic department. "Why haven't we won
more national titles?" they bemoan as if
Michigan sports bounced a check on
them. Sure I could complain - and do
often enough - but the fact is that the
Michigan athletic department has ful-
filled its end of the bargain.
It has provided us all with four
exciting years of athletics and, accom-
panying those games, some of the best
memories of our lives. And what's
more, covering some of those teams
for the Daily has afforded me the
opportunity to gain access to stories
and events that I would not otherwise
be privy to.
While I have done my best to allude
to some of those events, there are lots
that I haven't had the chance to get in
the Daily. And as I will probably never
write a memoir on my time here, I fig-
ure why not use this parting shot to get
some things out in the open.
Some of them were more benign
than others - like passing first round
draft pick Troy Murphy at the Notre
Dame tennis center while at a women's
tennis match between Notre Dame and
Michigan. But others were less so, like
the time two summers ago I enjoyed
the festivities of the Michigan hockey
reunion/golf outing.
While riding around with some of
the alumni, I got the chance to see
Blake Sloan, a defenseman from 1993-
97, have to do a dickie - whipping
"it" out and taking a swing with "it"-
after shanking a tee shot that didn't
manage to pass the woman's tees.
I also ran into Marty Turco, the two-
time national champion goaltender.
After an afternoon of golf and heavy
boozing, Turco admitted what had been
suspected for years - that the freshman
class from 1997-98, coach Red Beren-
son and the rest of the team road the
coattails of his super-hot goaltending to
the 1998 national championship.
And there is no way of forgetting my
first class at Michigan when B.J.
Askew, upon entering the classroom
five minutes late, was asked by the
professor if he had any nicknames he
would like to be referred to. Without a
flinch in the most serious voice he
could find, B.J. answered, "Yea -just
call me Heisman." The answer sent

everyone into laughter, and I haven't
stopped laughing since.
But not everything has been funny,
nor have I been able to get players to
be honest with me. In fact, I often had
to nod and smile when knowing that I
was being lied to. Countless times
Berenson would look a reporter in the
face and talk about the parity in the
CCHA or how Bowling Green was just
as talented as Michigan.
And there were also things that I
wish I hadn't seen - in addition to
crying, naked hockey players after the
Frozen Four loss in 2002.
During an icebreaker event at fresh-
man orientation, a football player from
the Deep South exposed his unawareness
of the liberal setting ofAnn Arbor. When
asked what his pet peeve was, the player
went into deep thought and came out
with an answer in a heavy Southern
drawl that surprised everyone in the
room - "gay people." As jaws through-
out the room dropped, the player expand-
ed on his pet peeve until another player
was finally able to step in and shut up the
player expounding on his peeve.
There were also factual errors that we
never owed up to. On Feb. 13, 2003, it
was reported that the Michigan basket-
ball team was the only loser against Indi-
ana. But in fact, the Hoosiers also
suffered a loss that night, in the form of a
giant red cheerleading flag that several
rabid and disgruntled Wolverine fans
were seen removing from Assembly Hall
hours after the game ended.
These are just a few of the memories
that had never gotten into the Daily
(before today), but they are in no way
exclusive. They are incidents that are
experienced by every sports fan at this
school, and invoke the swelling of
fuzzy feelings during the end of our
Michigan experience.
We all recall with warm nostalgia
the first time we entered Michigan
Stadium as students, feeling as if we
were a part of something bigger than
ourselves. Nearly getting killed on a
road trip, burning like a bad French
souffle on a hot September Saturday at
the Big House or being so drunk or
hungover for a game that you were
amazed you could stand, are experi-
ences that every fan goes through in
their own unique way.
They are the events that make our
experience at Michigan memorable.
And, in the end, the scores of the
games will fade into ether, but what
will remain are the memories of com-
peting with Jamal Crawford for the
same girl, and all the friends along the
way that helped you through it.
Seth has lots of other stories that he would
love to tell you ifyou have the time. Ifyou
want to hear them, you can email him at
sklempne@umich.edu.

4
9
U

Cagers announce new team tn-captains

By Naweed Sikora
Daily Sports Editor

Following Michigan's loss to Indi-
ana in the Big Ten Tournament on
Mar. 14, soon-to-be senior Bernard
Robinson expressed his excitement
about the upcoming season. He said
that with Michigan's added depth
and experience, the Wolverines
could be a tougher team down the
stretch, and a serious competitor for
the Big Ten title.
Robinson will get an opportunity
to lead this team to victory, as he,
along with Colin Dill and J.C.

Mathis, were elected tri-captains for
the 2003-04 Michigan men's basket-
ball team by their teammates. Every
player was given a vote except the
graduating seniors. The announce-
ment was made by coach Tommy
Amaker at last night's team awards
banquet.
"We have a great deal of faith and
trust in our players, and that's why
we allowed them to elect their own
captains," Amaker said.
Amaker spoke about team
defense, and how with Robinson
leading by example out on the floor,
the Wolverines should keep oppo-

nents' scoring to a minimum. The
junior emerged a solid and depend-
able defensive stopper for the
Wolverines this season.
"We take pride in our team
defense. One person each game was
going to be responsible to guard
their highest scorer. I will be disap-
pointed if you don't win this award
for the Big Ten next year," said
Amaker, as he presented Robinson
with the team defensive player of
the year award.
Each member of the team was
acknowledged at last night's ban-
quet, as the Wolverines honored
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their departing seniors and took a
glimpse into the future.
LaVell Blanchard was recognized,
alongside freshman Daniel Horton,
as co-MVP. Blanchard also took
home some more hardwood - the
Loy Vaught Rebounding Award for
leading the team in rebounds for
four consecutive seasons.
Blanchard hugged Amaker as he
approached the podium to be recog-
nized, but did not shed any tears. He
did reminisce about his long and
illustrious career.
"It seems like yesterday I was
looking at a photo of five freshman
walking down the tunnel," said
Blanchard about his freshman class.
"I'll be watching you guys for the
rest of my life. I sat here with
(Chicago Bulls guard) Jamal Craw-
ford saying how this would never
happen. But here it's happening."
Crawford did not attend the ban-
quet because he was busy racking up
33 points and eight assists in the first
half of the Chicago Bulls/Philade-
phia 76ers game in Chicago.
But if things go well for Blan-
chard in the upcoming NBA draft,
he could be rejoining his former
teammate in the professional ranks
very soon.
Amaker also recognized Rotolu
Adebiyi and Gavin Groninger,
Michigan's other departing seniors,
for their effort, determination and
leadership through the years. An
individual video composed of sea-
son highlights was shown for each
player.
"I didn't know I had that many
highlights," said Adebiyi jokingly.

6
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