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September 03, 2002 - Image 18

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The Michigan Daily, 2002-09-03

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18A - The Michigan Daily - SportsTuesday - September 3, 2002

Youth will
take place
n the post
By Chris Burke
Daily Sports Writer

New year offers challenges
and opportunities for Cagers


By Seth Klempner
Daily Sports Writer

Often during the 2001-2002 season,
the Michigan basketball team found
itself out of options up front. With only
one true big man,
now-graduated cen-
ter Chris Young, the BASKETBALL
Wolverines had to Notebook
plug 6'7" Chuck
Bailey into a post
position as a stopgap.
Because of their lack of inside depth
coach Tommy Amaker was determined to
upgrade the post positions for this season.
Enter 6-foot-l freshman Chris Hunter
and his fellow rookie counterparts, 6-foot-
10 Amadou Ba and 6-foot-9 Graham
Brown. The addition of those three play-
ers give the Wolverines a roster featuring
eight players of 6-foot-6 or taller.
But even with the increased visibility of
Michigan's inside presence, there's no
question that the graduation of Young
hurts in more ways than can be measured
with a ruler.
"Losing Chris is a big loss for us, I
think it's obvious," Amaker said. "You
lose a kid that's been in the program for
four years and has been in a lot of types of
roles, and he was even more valuable
because he was one of our top scorers and
"There. were a lot of things that young-
ster brought to the table."
With all of the intangibles that Young
added to Michigan's roster, Amaker is not
making plans for an easy replacement.
"We are not going to be a team that
replaces him with one player," Amaker
said. "We're hoping other kids can devel-
op in different ways - this team has to
scrap and claw not having Chris in. We're
looking for all our front line guys to con-
tribute in whatever capacity that they

Tommy Amaker's second sea-
son will begin with a little more
excitement than last year's opener
against Oakland as the Wolver-
ines will debut in the Virgin
Islands. Michigan will travel to
the warm climate in November
for the Paradise Jam.
The Wolverines will face St.
Bonaventure and Virginia Tech in
the tournament's round-robin first
round with the possibility of fac-
ing Brigham Young, Kansas State
or Toledo in the championship
round on Monday, Nov. 25.

Michigan coach Tommy Amak-
er will be looking to improve on
his 11-18 (5-11 Big Ten) debut, in
which Michigan finished a disap-
pointing 10th in the Big Ten and
advanced to the second round of
the Big Ten Championship after
an upset win over Northwestern.
This season the Wolverines will
play last year's NCAA runner-up,
Indiana, in addition to seven other
NCAA participants and five NIT
Michigan does have the benefit
of playing eight of its 13 noncon-
ference games at home this year,
with at least two more on a neu-
tral court. Michigan's nonconfer-

Without graduated Chris Young, Michigan will not only be short-handed for proven
leaders, but will need its younger stars to perform well down low in the post.

LAVELL THE LEADER?: Young's departure
also left the Wolverines without the player
who stepped forward as the team's leader
- its heart and soul.
With a fairly young team taking the
court this year, Michigan will turn to its
veteran tri-captains - fifth-year senior
Rotulu Adebiyi and seniors Gavin
Groninger and LaVell Blanchard - to
lead the way.
Blanchard, in particular, has been a
constant focus of attention since arriving
at Michigan from Ann Arbor Pioneer
High School four years ago, and his effort
this summer has Amaker convinced that
Blanchard will be ready to take charge for
the Wolverines.
"When you think of seniors, you think
of players who probably have a greater
sense of urgency and also a sense of
purpose and we see that in LaVell,"
Amaker said. "He's been focused this
summer and more dedicated. It's excit-

ing as his coach because the feeling
about him is that he needs to be the best
worker and best player."
BACK FOR MORE: As much as Amaker
would love to see all of his freshmen play-
ers step into the lineup and immediately
make an impact, he's sure to expect the
youngsters to struggle at first while they
get comfortable.
The difficulty of starting off fresh is
something that Amaker can relate to. Tak-
ing the reigns of Michigan's program last
year, Amaker used the season to get
acquainted with his new position.
That approach has left Amaker feeling
more at home entering his second season
in Ann Arbor.
"(In your second year) you're more
ingrained, comfortable and have a better
feel for things," Amaker said. "Now going
into (the season), you have an idea and
point of reference and anytime you have
that in this profession it's crucial."

The grind
Date Opponent 2001-02 record Time
Nov. 23 vs. St. Bonaventure (17-13, 8-8 A-10) 8:30 p.m.
Nov. 24 vs. Virginia Tech (10-18, 4-12 Big East) 8:30 p.m.
Nov. 25 Championship Round of Paradise Jam TBA
Nov. 30 Western Michigan (17-13, 10-8 MAC) 2 p.m.
Dec. 3 Central Michigan (9-19, 5-13 MAC) 7 p.m.
Dec. 7 at Duke (29-3, 13-3 ACC) 3:30 p.m.
Dec. 11 Bowling Green (24-9, 12-6 MAC) 7 p.m.
Dec. 14 Carleston Southern (12-17,8-6 Big South) 12:30 p.m.
Dec. 21 Vanderbilt (17-15, 6-10 SEC) 2:30 p.m.
Dec. 23 Eastern Michigan (6-24, 2-16 MAC) 7 p.m.
Dec. 28 at UCLA (19-11, 11-7 Pac 10) 2 p.m.
Jan. 2 San Fransisco (13-15, 8-6 WCC) 7 p.m.
Jan. 4 IUPUI (15-15, 6-8 Mid Con) 2 p.m.
Jan. 8 Wisconsin - (18-12, 11-5 Big Ten) 8 p.m.
Jan. 11 Penn State (7-21, 3-13 Big Ten) 4 p.m.
Jan. 15 at Ohio State (23-7, 11-5 Big Ten) 8 p.m.
Jan. 18 at Northwestern (16-13, 7-9 Big Ten) 1:07 p.m.
Jan. 22 Minnesota (17-12, 9-7 Big Ten) 8 p.m.
Jan. 26 Michigan State (19-11, 10-6 Big Ten) 1 p.m.
Jan. 29 at Illinois (24-8, 11-5 Big Ten) 7 p.m.
Feb. 1 at Minnesota (17-12, 9-7 Big Ten) 1:34 p.m.
Feb. 8 Iowa (19-15, 5-11 Big Ten) 12:17 p.m.
Feb. 12 at Indiana (20-11, 11-5 Big Ten) 7 p.m.
Feb. 15 Ohio State (23-7, 11-5 Big Ten) 3 p.m.
Feb. 19 at Purdue (13-18, 5-11 Big Ten) 7 p.m.
Feb. 26 at Wisconsin (18-12, 11-5 Big Ten) 8 p.m.
Mar. 1 Illinois (24-8, 11-5 Big Ten) 12:17 p.m.
Mar. 5 at Penn State (7-21, 3-13 Big Ten) 6 p.m.
Mar. 8 Purdue (13-18, 5-11 Big Ten) TBA

ence schedule is highlighted by
its semi-annual trip to Tobacco
Road against Duke and a late
December game against UCLA at
Pauley Pavilion. The trip to
Durham may be the Wolverine's
last for some time, with the 2002-
03 season marking the end of the
playing contract between Michi-
gan and Duke.
"We can only gain confidence
if we play well - play well and
win," Amaker said. "We are look-
ing forward to going on the road
to play two of the more storied
programs (in college basketball)
when we play at Duke and
In addition to its three noncon-
ference road trips, the Wolverines
will also get a chance'to play
teams from all over the nation
with games against teams from 12
different conferences featured on
the schedule.
The nonconference schedule
also offers a chance for revenge
against Western Michigan, Bowl-
ing Green and San Francisco,
each of whom Michigan lost to
last year on the road by less than
six points.
"Those teams are going to be
tough regardless of where we play
them," Amaker said. "All of them
are going to be tough to win, and
we need to have a lot of respect
for all of our opponents."
Michigan will start off its Big
Ten schedule with Wisconsin at
home on Jan. 8. Amaker will also
get his first chance to host in-
state rival Michigan State on Jan.
26, after playing the Spartans
only once last year (a 71-44 loss
in East Lansing).
The Big Ten Championship will
return to the United Center in
Chicago this year after being
hosted by Indianapolis last year.



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Waves too
much for
M' spikers
By Charles Paradis
Daily Sports Writer
For two games, the Michigan volley-
ball team traded punches with one of
the nation's elites. But in the end, No. 8
Pepperdine (3-2) was too much for
Michigan (2-1). After losing the first
game, the Waves drowned the Wolver-
ines in three straight games (28-30, 35-
33, 30-23, 30-21).
Coming off solid wins against
Clemson and South Florida, the
Wolverines entered the third and final
match of the Pepperdine Classic with
confidence and momentum on their
side. They had confidence despite Pep-
perdine's national ranking and home-
court advantage - the Waves have not
lost a home match since the 2001 sea-
son opener.
While Pepperdine cruised through
the final two games, it was hard pressed
by the upstart Wolverines early in the
match. Michigan shocked the Waves
early, winning the first game and reach-
ing game point twice in the second, but
it was unable to fend off the Pepperdine
"The first two games tonight were
great battles," Michigan coach Mark
Rosen said. "After we won the first
game, we had a lead late in the second
before they scored a few quick points
and tied it up. We battled back and
forth for a little bit before they won 35-
33. After that we were a little bit deflat-
By letting the game slip through their
hands, one of the Wolverines' best
weapons - momentum - was
crushed. Instead of being up two games
in a hostile gym, the match was tied.
"They are a very experienced team,"
Rosen said. "When we got a little frus-
trated, they jumped all over us in the
last two games."~
Sophomore Jennifer Gandolph, who
was one of two unanimous selections to
last year's Freshman All Big Ten Team,
led the Wolverines throughout the
weekend. Saturday's match against the
Waves was no different as Gandolph
recorded her third double-double of the
season with 15 kills and 15 digs.
"The coaches I've had in the past
have helped me to learn the skills, but
know that I know how to do them I've
been polishing them and perfecting
them" Gandolph said of her production
so far. "Playing with this team again
with the exact same lineup helps a lot."
Solid defense was a key component
in the Wolverines' success against
Clemson and South Florida earlier in
the weeked. Sna nPrhfetdin1 the defense

m -

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