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January 28, 2004 - Image 9

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2004-01-28

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January 28, 2004

PRheTSiclCgn Btilg


. . ......... ... ..

Free throws
could give life
ol to 'M' offense
By Dan Rosen
Daily Sports Writer
It was obvious against Indiana. Against Wiscon-
sin, too. It's obvious if you look at the season stats,
or at Bernard Robin-
son's numbers in the
Big Ten season so far.
Michigan has to get to
the foul line more.
When the Wolverines >' . .
take the floor against Time pr
Iowa tonight, they'll be CrilerArna
facing a team that has ESPN-phi
made 320 free throws
this year. Michigan has
only attempted 323 all season. Coach Tommy Amaker
described that differential as "incredible."
"I do think that we need to utilize the free throw
line better," Amaker said. "Certainly, if we're going
to have more success in our conference this year,
we're going to need that."
Without getting easy points at the stripe, the
Wolverines have struggled on offense. They are
seventh in the Big Ten in scoring, averaging 68
points per game. Add eight or 10 more points from
the charity stripe each night, and they'd be up near
the top of the league.
Without foul shots, Michigan's offense comes and
goes based on how well the team shoots from the
floor. And it can be hard to drop in shots at a high per-
centage for an entire 40-minute stretch.
In their home loss to Indiana, the Wolverines fell
behind by 10 at halftime, shooting a frigid 28 percent
and attempting zero foul shots in the first 20 minutes.

Brundidge seizes chance
to inspire young swimmers

Michigan wing Bernard Robinson has shot just three free throws since the start of the Big Ten season.

Robinson, who handles the ball a lot for Michigan,
has taken only three foul shots in five Big Ten games.
He led the team with 56 attempts during the non-con-
ference season.
It's something that he's been very conscious of late-
ly, but has had trouble trying to overcome.
"I think it's tougher when you try to go out there
and draw more fouls," Robinson said. "I think a lot of
things go the other way (when you do that), which
maybe has been my downfall."
Instead of trying to force a whistle, Robinson said
that he's going to try and get back to playing his game.
Sophomore Lester Abram agreed that his team
shouldn't go overboard trying to incite the refs.

"I'll take whatever the defense gives me," Abram
said. "I don't have a mindset to just go to the basket
every time (to draw fouls). If I'm open for a jump
shot, I'm going to take it."
The next offensive test is tonight against Iowa. It's a
game that's crucial to the Wolverines' Big Ten title
hopes. Every home game down the stretch will be. A
team can't win the conference title without defending
its backyard, especially if it's trying to rise up from
seventh place, like Michigan.
"I don't think we can lose any more home games,"
Abram said. "I think we let one slip away against Indi-
ana. It's tough to win road games in the Big Ten, so
you have to take care of your home court."

Full Court Press
.Clinique Brundidge's talent in the
pool is remarkable. The Tact that the
sophomore came to Michigan on an
academic scholarship, not an athletic.
scholarship, is remarkable. So is the
balancing act she pulls - swimming
for an elite NCAA Division I program
while majoring in materials science and
The fact that Brundidge is black is
not remarkable. It's just her skin color.
But it certainly makes her unique.
Jim Richardson, who has guided the
Wolverines since 1985, can recall
coaching just one other black swimmer
at Michigan. Currently, there are two
black female swimmers in the entire
Big Ten - Brundidge and Indiana's
Jinji Fraser.
But for Brundidge, who grew up in
Southfield, it has always been like that.
Her parents put her in swimming les-
sons as a child for safety reasons -
they knew several people who had
drowned. Brundidge took to the sport
and joined a YMCA team in Detroit
that had all black swimmers. She soon
switched to a more competitive team,
and since then, she has almost always
been the only black swimmer.
She could have felt isolated or intimi-
dated or discouraged. But Brundidge
didn't let that happen:She hasn't just
accepted being one of just a few black
swimmers; she has embraced that role.
"I have two different worlds,"
Brundidge said. "My friends from
home and from (school), and then my
swim team. And I don't know if it
would be okay if I had like a birthday
party, and they all came together. It
might be uncomfortable.
"But that's just how it is. And I don't
look at it as a negative. I look at it as a

positive. I can teach (one group) some
stuff that they don't know, and I can
learn something new that I can take
back to my other friends."
Richardson said Brundidge, who this
year switched from sprints to middle-
distance races and started swimming
the 200-yard butterfly for the first time,
has fit in just fine with her teammates.
"She's very comfortable, I think, with
who she is," Richardson said. "I think
that allows her to - in groups of peo-
ple that have their heads screwed on
straight about the quality of your char-
acter versus the color of your skin -
blend right in beautifully, because she's
a wonderful person."
Brundidge said that, for the most
part, people throughout her career have
been welcoming. But sometimes it's not
easy to be different from everyone else.
At a young age, "White people
would look at me and say, 'oh she's
black. I'm not used to black people.' So
I was a representation of all black peo-
ple. It's kind of a lot of pressure. Still,
people are looking at me all the time."
And that can be an opportunity - as
well as a sign of progress. When Brun-
didge was growing up, there was no
one to look to. Except for at one camp
she attended in Colorado, she rarely
met other highly-skilled black swim-
mers. So she's keenly aware of what it
can mean to have a role model, and she
gladly takes on that responsibility.
"I try to be inspirational to other
black people to come and swim, too,"
Brundidge said.
Brundidge goes back to Detroit to
talk to young swimmers, and when
she's at school, she sometimes calls
the kids to see how they're doing and
to encourage them. She said she
emphasizes not just her swimming
skills, but also the fact that she's an
aspiring engineer.
That's a heavy load - swimmer,
student and the sole role model for
young, black swimmers. But rather
than weigh her down, being in that
position motivates her.
"I'm setting a good example, and that
makes me not want to quit, because I
See LEWIS, Page 10

Kaleniecki scraps his way to success on ice

By Sharad Mattu
Daily Sports Writer

He tried to hold back - which is
usually easy for him - but his first
words made it clear: Brandon Kaleniec-
ki would've loved to be on the ice when
a fight erupted at the end of Saturday's
game against Western Michigan.
"That's great," the sophomore for-
ward said of the melee during Michi-
gan's 7-0 thrashing. "Well, we don't
want to say it's great. I think everybody
on our team would be willing to do it.

But it's good to see."
That's because, although he's only 5-
foot-9, there isn't a more scrappy and
confrontational player on the team.
It's a fact that may surprise oppo-
nents. Although Kaleniecki, at 193
pounds, has plenty of weight to throw
around,.opponents tend to overlook him
- literally and figuratively.
"Not being very big has its advan-
tages," Kaleniecki said. "When people
come at you, you're already low to the
ground. If they come at you nonchalant-
ly, you can hit them pretty hard, and

they aren't expecting it."
While he has the ability to knock a
player on his back, Kaleniecki also does
something else for the team. He puts the
puck in the net.
Ten current Wolverines have been
drafted by NHL teams, but it's Kale-
niecki who leads the team in goals
with 10.
His goals, don't come from one-on-
one brilliance or breathtaking speed. He
leaves that to his current linemates,
Milan Gajic and T.J. Hensick. Instead,
his focus is on creating opportunities

for himself and others with physical
play and smart spacing.
His three goals this weekend were
scored in that fashion: Kaleniecki
hid behind unsuspecting Broncos
during a line change and got a
breakaway, snuck behind a defense-
man for an easy slapper and trailed
the puck expertly on an odd-man
rush for a one-timer.


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