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November 21, 2003 - Image 11

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The Michigan Daily, 2003-11-21

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The Michigan Daily - Friday, November 21, 2003 - 11A

Helms deep provides challenge for Blue

By Daniel Bremmer
Daily Sports Writer
Can you name the leading returning scorer in Divi-
sion I basketball from last year?
No, it's not Connecticut's Emeka
Okafor or St. Joseph's Jameer Nelson.
Nor is it North Carolina's Ray Felton
or Duke's Chris Duhon, either.
The leading returning scorer from MIch
last year is Oakland guard Mike
Helms, who averaged 26.9 points per Tfme
game last season.
"He's an aggressive, athletic, very
tough kid," Michigan coach Tommy
Amaker said. "When you look at his
production over his four years there, I
think you have to give him a lot of credit and respect
for what he's been able to do."
When Oakland (2-1) comes to Ann Arbor to take
on the Wolverines in Michigan's regular season open-

t7
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er tonight, Helms will need to be in midseason form
for the Grizzlies to pull out a victory - something
he has been able to achieve in two of his team's first
three games.
Helms hit for 31 and 27 points against San Diego
and Illinois-Chicago, respectively,
(including a combined 8-for-20 from
behind the arc), but was held to just 14
points on 6-for-25 shooting in Monday's
10-point loss to Xavier.
While Amaker wouldn't specifically
p' _ indicate who would be responsible for
shutting down the 6-foot-0 senior, the
AM role should be split between sophomore
Daniel Horton and senior Bernard
Robinson.
"(Helms) is the focal point of their
team, and he takes the majority of their shots,"
Horton said. "Anytime you have a guy like that,
who's capable of putting up points, you have to
focus on him and do a good job on him defen-

sively."
While the Grizzlies are the clear underdog, they've
played that role before and came out on top. In 2000,
Michigan faced Oakland on the road, where the
Wolverines fell 97-90.
"This is a program and a team that has (upset us),
and I'm sure are coming in here with the attitude that
they're gonna do it again," Amaker said.
Horton said that the team knows it can't take Oak-
land for granted.
"If we play well and play to our capabilities, I
think we'll come out on top," Horton said. "If we
don't, Oakland's a good team, and we'll get beat."
Michigan figures to benefit from being healthy
for the first time all season, as sophomore center
Graham Brown is expected to play after missing
both of the team's exhibition games due to an
ankle injury. Brown participated in the full team
practice yesterday and Wednesday after practic-
ing "sporadically" for the rest of the week,
according to Amaker.

TONY DING/Daily
Michigan freshman guard Dion Harris slashes to the hole against Michigan Tech.
Harris and the Wolverines take on Oakland tonight at Crisler Arena at 7 p.m.

Ortmeyer gets his shot with Rangers

By Sharad Mattu
Daily Sports Writer
The New York Rangers have a loaded,
high-priced roster teeming with talented, yet
underachieving, players.
But in the last three games, a callup from
Hartford - someone who is making his
impact on the fourth line and penalty kill -
has gotten the attention of John Davidson,
the color commentator for the Rangers.
"He keeps talking about Jed Ortmeyer
like he's a star player," Michigan head
coach Red Berenson said. "Maybe it's
because Jed Ormeyer is bringing a different
dimension to the team than what he's used
to seeing. If you ask John Davidson right
now, Jed Ortmeyer is going to be a Ranger
for a long time."
Michigan's captain the last two years, Ort-
meyer signed with the Rangers in May after
going undrafted. He was skating for the
Hartford Wolf Pack of the American Hockey
League until joining the Rangers on Nov. 13.
Ortmeyer has never been a gifted scorer
and has made it this far largely due to deter-
mination and a tireless work ethic. His coach-
es in New York are quickly finding out what

his coaches in Ann Arbor already know -
that his presence may not show up on the stat
sheets, but he brings the intangibles that
make the difference between wins and losses.
"He's doing the same things in New York
that were so much appreciated here, and I
think they're being appreciated there,"
Berenson said.
"The way Jed Ortmeyer plays the game,
I'm sure it's a breath of fresh air at the NHL
level. I don't know that Jed ever led our team
in scoring, but he led our team. For me it's
just nice to see him get a chance to see what
he can do."
Ortmeyer, who spoke to Michigan assis-
tant coach Billy Powers Wednesday night,
has not been overwhelmed by the last week
and feels he belongs in the NHL.
That said, there was one moment during
the last week that he'll cherish more than the
others.
"He said that during the first game, to get
dressed and look across the lockerroom at
Mark Messier, was really one of those 'pinch
me' type moments for him," Powers said.
"He said that was really the only thing that
blew him away - being in the room with
Messier, who he had watched and respected

and tried to model his game after."
True to his character, Ortmeyer is solely
focused on what he's doing on the ice and
hasn't given himself much time to reflect.
"I guess it really hasn't set in yet," Ortmey-
er told the Newark Star-Ledger. "I haven't
had time to think about it, because we've just
been playing so much and practicing.
"But I do look around and try and absorb
all of it and watch what's going on, and take
advantage of the experience and the cama-
raderie there is with the guys while I'm
here."
Ortmeyer, who was called up because Eric
Lindros was injured, understands that he may
be sent back to Hartford at any time. But at
the same time, one of his teammates may
soon be looking over their shoulder.
"I think any coach who's had him would
say once you get him on the ice, you don't
ever want to lose him," Powers said. "Our
gut feeling was if they ever gave him a
stretch in New York and let him get his feet
wet and get comfortable, he would make it
very difficult on the coaches to send him
down.
"If he stays in New York, it won't surprise
anyone at Michigan."

TONY DING/Daily
Former Michigan two-year captain Jed Ortmeyer signed with the New York Rangers In May and now Is
playing on the fourth line and penalty kill for the Rangers.

FILE PHOTO
Ohio State's Cie Grant goes against
Michigan offensive tackle Tony Pape.

2002
Continued from Page 10A
almost 10 minutes longer than Ohio
State and outgained the Buckeyes, 368
yards to 264 yards.
For the Wolverines, the fact that they
played well enough to win makes the
loss all the more frustrating.
"Yeah we did some good things, but
you are disappointed when you don't
come away with a win," Navarre said.
Ohio State took the lead 14-9 on a
Maurice Hall 3-yard touchdown run
midway through the fourth quarter as
Michigan remained stuck at its halftime
score despite moving the ball well.
The drive was set up by running back
Maurice Clarett, who missed the past
two games with a shoulder injury and
was the lone bright spot on offense for
the Buckeyes. Clarett finished with 119
yards and one touchdown.
"He's the real deal;' cornerback Mar-
lin Jackson said. "He's got great vision
for a running back"
Both touchdown-scoring drives were
Clarett-heavy, as the freshman gave
Ohio State a dimension that the Buck-
eyes' other backs could not provide. His
performance is made all the more
impressive given that Clarett was not
playing at 100 percent and came off the
field, visibly in pain, several times.
After losing the lead, Michigan had
two chances for a game-winning score,
but both drives ended with a critical
turnover by Navarre - a fumble with
under three minutes remaining in the
game and the game-ending interception.
On the final play, there was apparent-
ly some miscommunication, as the
Wolverines ran a different play than the
coaches intended.
"We should have been three wide
there throwing the ball to the endzone,"
Michigan coach Lloyd Carr said.

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