12A - The Michigan Daily - Thursday, November 14, 2002
Cagers ink three recruits in early signing period
By Seth Klempner
Daily Sports Writer
Short of "Selection Sunday," yesterday
was the most important day in the life of a
college basketball coach. It was the nation-
al letter of intent signing day, the day that
coaches can formally ink incoming fresh-
men for the next year and can stop worry-
ing if the verbal commitment their player
made will hold up.
The days leading up to yesterday had
been particularly hectic for Michigan coach
Tommy Amaker, who had to contend with
the fear of sanctions scaring away his
potential signees. But after calling them in
the weeks leading up to the announcement
of the self-imposed sanctions, Amaker had
assured them that there would be scholar-
"We are excited to have three high cal-
iber student-athletes join the Michigan
basketball program," Amaker said. "All
three young men are quality people and
exceptional student-athletes. We think
they will have a very promising future
here at Michigan."
Amaker has followed up his first impres-
sive recruiting class with an equally talent-
ed second effort. All three of his incoming
freshman are ranked in the top 100 by sev-
eral recruiting analysts and the class is con-
sidered in the top 10 nationally.
The star of this recruiting class is 6-foot-
3 shooting guard Dion Harris. Coming out
of Detroit Redford High School, Harris is
Amaker's first top-20 Michigan recruit and
is considered to be the first step toward
Amaker being able to even the playing
field for in-state recruits with Michigan
State coach Tom Izzo. Harris is ranked as
the nation's No. 16 player on Rivals.com
and averaged 22.1 points, 4.5 rebounds and
four assists last year.
Joining Harris is Brent Petway, a 6-foot-
8 forward from McDonough, Ga. Ranked
No. 87 by Rivals.com, Petway received a
great deal of national attention after his
stellar performance for his AAU team this
summer. He averaged 20 points, 12
rebounds and 4.6 blocks per game last year.
Rounding out the 2003-04 freshmen
class is 6-foot-11 center Courtney Sims.
Sims, who committed to Michigan this
September, was the last member of the
class to join the Wolverines. He averaged
18.9 points, 11.2 rebounds and 7.9 blocks
per game last season.
What makes Sims unique is that he
only started playing organized basketball
four years ago, and the Boston native
also won the Youth Games Nationals for
tennis three times.
"I think they've brought in good players,
their problems are pretty much fixed,"
HoopScoop analyst Clark Francis said.
"They've got Daniel Horton, they've got
Dion Harris - they're pretty well stocked.
I think they're in great shape, I think
they're a year or two away from turning the
corner and being a great team in college
J.C. Mathis will also be making his pre-
miere with the Wolverines next season. A
transfer from Virginia, Mathis is able to
practice with Michigan this year and help
some of the younger post players with their
adjustment to the college game.
While the letter of intent is a legal con-
tract between the players and Michigan,
binding them to attend next year, the
signees would be able to transfer to another
school without penalty if Michigan were to
be hit with further sanctions by the NCAA.
Tommy Amaker locked up his second straight impressive class of
recruits, despite self-imposed sanctions on the Michigan program.
NEW YORK (AP) - While most
head coaches arrive on the court after
their teams have begun their warmups,
Oklahoma's Kelvin Sampson wants to
be there from the start.
The third-ranked Sooners return four
starters from a
team that reached
the Final Four last
season, but it's the
new guys Samp- *
son wants to see
even before they
start their career
No. 8 Alabama in
the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic at
Madison Square Garden.
"Two of our top seven are true fresh-
men and I'm not sure how it will be for
kids from Stroud and Midwest City,
what it will be like trotting down that
tunnel in New York, on national TV,
against No. 8 Alabama," he said refer-
ring to in-state recruits Kevin Bookout
and DeAngelo Alexander. "I would
like to be in front of them to watch
their eyes as they take the court."
It could also be fun to watch Samp-
son's face before the nightcap of the
"I've got butterflies," he admitted
about his first time coaching in what is
called "The World's Most Famous
Arena." "There's very few venues as a
coach that you sit there and say 'I'd
like to take a team there and play.' But
Madison Square Garden is a little bit
special. That's a place where every-
body would like to go at least once in
their career. I'm tickled to death our
kids are getting to play there. I'd be
more tickled if they win."
The Top Ten matchup follows Syra-
cuse against Memphis, while tomorrow
night's doubleheader has Villanova
against No. 18 Marquette and No. 4
Texas meeting No. 16 Georgia.
The seventh annual Coaches vs.
Cancer Classic has a different format
because of the NCAA's changes con-
cerning exempt games. Instead of a
four-team tournament, there will be the
four games with no champion
"I'd rather have the tournament
atmosphere if the games are exempt,"
Georgia coach Jim Harrick said. "If
they're not exempt, then it's not feasi-
ble to have the tournament concept."
Teams used to be allowed to play in
a multi-game event and count it as one
game against its season allotment. The
NCAA has ruled teams may only play
in two exempt events in a four-year
period so tournaments such as this and
early seasons staples like the Maui
Invitational, Preseason NIT and Great
Alaska Shootout have had to scramble
as far as their fields are concerned. A
judge is reviewing a suit by the exempt
events that hopes to restore the situa-
tion to the way it was.
"I'm tremendously disappointed, all
coaches are,' Syracuse's Jim Boeheim
said. "The tournament format got more
people involved and excited. The
exempt events in November have been
great for college basketball. I don't
think there's any benefit for losing
these exempt events."
The games will be the debut of some
highly regarded freshmen.
CarmelosAnthony, who Boeheim
said reminds him of former Syracuse
star Billy Owens as a freshman, will
make his debut in tonight's opener and
Memphis coach John Calipari paid him
quite a compliment.
"I told our kids that we have to
understand this kid can embarrass
you," said Calipari, whose team won
the NIT at Madison Square Garden in
March but then lost freshman.Dajuan
Wagner to the NBA. "We'll pick straws
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