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November 13, 2003 - Image 8

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2003-11-13

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8A - The Michigan Daily - Thursday, November 13, 2003

Luckily, Wright and Wildcats have speed

By Kyle O'Neill
Daily Sports Editor
Speed kills. In the case of Northwestern, though,
speed is what keeps it afloat.
In a league full of Apollo Creeds - very large
teams with above-average speed - the Wildcats are
the Rocky Balboa of the Big Ten.
They're quick, which is a good thing, because
besides their linemen, Northwestern isn't boasting
much in size.
"When I'm lined up across the other teams,
they're a lot bigger than the guys we see in prac-
tice," Northwestern running back Jason Wright
said. "College football, in general, is more of a
speed game anyway. There's always been a size dif-
ference between us and everyone else, but we're
bigger and ready to go."
But do the Wildcats have the greasy, fast speed that
Balboa had in order to get the top chickens ... or
rather goals that the team had set?
"Our team speed?" Wright said. "Very, very good.
It's very good, it's on par with anybody else. We have
extremely fast athletes on both sides of the ball ... I'm
not one of them."

Wright laughed at himself when he said this during
the Big Ten Kickoff Luncheon in July. The joke, how-
ever, is on anyone who actually believes the senior
tailback is not fast. Last season alone is reason enough
to prove otherwise. Finishing with 1,234 rushing.
yards, Wright also was fourth in the nation on kickoff
returns and in total all-purpose yards.
This season has been no different for him, as Wright
- one of three starting seniors on the underclassman-
driven Wildcats - has already accumulated 866 yards.
While his average is actually down from last season,
it's only because Wright has had to endure some recent
injuries and had to split time with emerging star Noah
Herron. Herron - a year younger and 20 pounds
heavier than Wright - has accumulated 320 of his 481
rushing yards over the past three weeks.
"I'm improving every week, and I feel like I'm
stronger this week, and hopefully that will mean I'm
effective this weekend," Wright said. "Noah is a huge
weapon for us regardless if I'm healthy or not, he'll be
getting his touches and hopefully, I'll be good enough
to do the same."
The only difference between the two is that Herron
will have another year to get Northwestern back into
the top echelon of the Big Ten. Wright and the rest of

the Wildcats' seniors have two games to get one win to
become bowl eligible.
"It's huge for us, in all reality we need to win the
last two games to make a bowl game," Wright said.
"We have to focus on this game, if we don't do that,
we'll get shellacked on Saturday by a Michigan team
that's as talented as any we've seen all year."
But even if the Wildcats do make a bowl game,
their real success is more than likely to.come in the
next two years. Sophomore quarterback Brett Basanez
will be back next year, as will the entire offensive line
(including backups).
"It's tough knowing we won't be a championship
team," senior wideout Kunle Patrick said. "But we'll
be watching them closely in the future."
Even without a Big Ten title, though, you shouldn't
feel too sorry for the seniors.
Wright is a pre-med at Northwestern and plans to
become a team doctor or go into family practice if his
career doesn't involve the NFL.
"We wouldn't be here if we didn't want to compete
at that highest level or football," Wright said. "I'd love
to if that opportunity affords itself. If it doesn't, I
might go on to med school or ... I might change my
mind. I'm kind of fickle like that."

Michigan center
Andrew Ebbett
was a late
addition to last
year's Michigan
recruiting class.
He scored 27
points In his
freshman year
and already has
10 in the 2003-
04 campaign.
Late deci~sionpaying
off for EbbettM

Coleman signs letter to Michigan, Crawford next?

By Daniel Bremnw
Daily Sports Writer
ROMULUS - The Michigan basketball program
received an official commitment from one recruit yes-
terday. But it's today's expected announcement from
another that is expected to make the most noise.
Ronald Coleman, a 6-foot-5 forward from Romulus
High School, signed an official letter of intent to
attend Michigan and play basketball for the Wolver-
ines next season.
Now, Michigan is waiting on word from highly-

prized recruit Joe Crawford of Detroit Renaissance,
who is expected to decide between Michigan and
Kentucky as early as today.
"He's still got Michigan on his mind," Coleman
said. "Michigan and Kentucky are the only two, and
he's supposed to sign this week."
Coleman, who led the Eagles by averaging 18
points per game last year, is regarded as the No. 13
small forward recruit nationally by rivalshoops.com.
He will play wing at Michigan and should make the
biggest impact scoring and rebounding.
"He fits into our scheme of being blue collar," said

sophomore Lester Abram, who played on the AAU
team "The Family" with Coleman. "That's the type of
player (Michigan) coach (Tommy) Amaker likes. He's
real versatile."
For Coleman - who knew he wanted to go to
Michigan since the days of the Fab Five and had ver-
bally committed to the Wolverines during his sopho-
more year - signing a letter of intent during the early
signing period (Nov. 12-19) will allow him to focus on
his upcoming high school season.
"I'm glad to get it over with;' said Coleman, don-
ning a new Michigan hat, tags still attached.

By Gennaro Flilce
Daily Sports Writer
By July 2002, the Michigan hockey
team had established another banner
recruiting class. Marquee names Jeff
Tambellini, Al Montoya and Danny
Richmond joined Brandon Kaleniecki
and Noah Ruden, giving the Wolver-
ines a plethora of talented fresh faces.
But in the last week of July, Mike
Cammalleri and Mike Komisarek unex-
pectedly left the team early for the NHL.
With Cammalleri lost and the ensuing
season growing closer by the second,
Michigan needed another center. The
coaching staff knew just where to go.
"We didn't know in July that
Andrew Ebbett was coming in in Sep-
tember; we didn't know until we lost
Cammalleri," Michigan coach Red
Berenson said. "And then when we lost
Cammalleri, then we called Ebbett"
Ebbett, a Vernon, British Columbia,
native, had agreed earlier in the year
that he would play one more season on
the Salmon Arm Silverbacks of the
British Columbia Hockey League and
then enroll at Michigan for the 2003-
04 campaign.
"But when Cammalleri left we
called him and said, 'Do you think
you're ready to handle a spot and be
ready in the next month?'" Berenson
said. "And he thought about it and said,
'Yeah. Absolutely."'
Although Ebbett's addition to the
team came late, the 5-foot-9, 160-
pounder made his presence felt. Ebbett
played in all 43 games and finished
sixth on the team in scoring with 27
points (nine goals, 18 assists).
"That was the thing that really
impressed me is that when he came in,
he adjusted quickly to the whole idea
of being here and getting in on the
scheme" Berenson said.
This year, Ebbett has continued to
improve. The sophomore currently
ranks third on Michigan in scoring
with 10 points (four, six). Ebbett feels
as though he's really found his niche

on the team.
"Since the start of the season, I
came in and things have just been
working for me," Ebbett said. "Last
year I got down on myself at times,
and this year I'm not going to worry
about the downs. I'm just kind of
keeping a positive attitude, and it
seems to be working."
"He makes players around him bet-
ter," Berenson said. "I think that's the
secret if you're a good centerman,
you're creating scoring chances for
wingers, and you're smart with the
puck and you can score yourself."
A complete player, Ebbett handles
faceoffs and is a regular on both the
powerplay and the penalty kill.
"He's become a real important play-
er on this team," Berenson said.
During his time at Michigan,
Ebbett has formed a tight bond with
fellow sophomore Brandon Kaleniec-
ki. Roommates as well as linemates,
Ebbett and Kaleniecki form one of
Michigan's finest combinations.
"Since we're good friends off the
ice, it makes things easier on the ice,"
Kaleniecki said. "We're both on the
same page on the ice."
But the duo has had trouble finding
a right wing to fill out their line. This
weekend, Michael Woodford will take
on that role.
"Kal (a left winger) and I were
talking about it last night, and I've
never had a right winger," Ebbett
said. "I've always had a left winger,
and hopefully Woodford's the one this
weekend and we'll stick together:'
Ohio State hosts the Wolverines for
two games this weekend. Last year
Michigan and Ohio State tied twice in
Columbus. In the first game between
the two teams, Ebbett evened the score
at four with one second left in the third
period, forcing overtime and the even-
tual tie.
"Yeah, I kind of like that place,"
Ebbett said. "It brings back good
memories. I'm looking forward to
going back down there."

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