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March 10, 2004 - Image 10

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2004-03-10

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March 10, 2004
sports@michigandaily. com

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Drew: Call when yo'v
w~k , Vgh { " Sbo ' 3 accepteds baseball failure

. .v ... . v vanl JOEL FRIEDMAN/Daily
TJ, Hensick led the Matt Hunwick is part
CCHA iin assists of Michigan's top
this season. defensive pairing.
Wolveiines highig-ht All-Rookie 1team,a

By Michael Nisson
Daily Sports Writer
At the end of the regular season, there are a
few things that can be expected from the Michi-
gan hockey team. The Wolverines are usually
near the top of the Central Collegiate Hockey
Association standings, and at least one player is
ranked among the league leaders in points or
goals scored.
The program also has another accomplishment
almost annually that shouldn't be overlooked:
Placing a few freshmen on the CCHA All-Rook-
ie team.
The CCHA announced its All-Rookie team on
Monday, and this time around two Wolverines
made the cut - defenseman Matt Hunwick and
center T.J. Hensick. The pair is joined by Miami
forwards Matt Christie and Marty Guerin, and
Michigan State's defenseman A.J. Thelen and
goaltender Dominic Vicari.
This marks the seventh-straight season that a
Michigan freshman has been named to the team.
It is also the third season in a row that more than
one Michigan player has been selected.
"It is an honor to be considered one of the top

rookies in this league," Hensick said. "There are
some good rookies out there that did not make
the team, and it is kind of nice to get that recog-
Hensick, who leads the Wolverines in points, is
an obvious choice for the All-Rookie team. Fans
are entertained week-in and week-out by his arse-
nal of offensive moves.
His most memorable play came in Michigan's
7-0 drubbing of Western Michigan on Jan. 30.
Hensick collected the puck just outside Michi-
gan's blueline and then proceeded to easily blow
by both Bronco defenders. He finished the play
off with a quick move on Western Michigan
goalie Scott Foster to score the goal.
"T.J.'s very creative," associate head coach Mel
Pearson said. "(One thing) that you notice with
him is his individual skill package - his skating
(and) shooting."
But what is unique about Hensick is that,
although he is endowed with a wealth of goal-
scoring ability, the Howell native is even better at
helping his teammates find the back of the net.
He is currently tied for the CCHA lead in total
assists, with 30, and is also fourth in the nation in
assists per game with a .83 average.

"For me, I'm definitely thinking assist first,"
Hensick said. "I'm a point-maker who can score
goals when needed."
Hunwick, who plays alongside senior captain
Andy Burnes on Michigan's top defensive pair-
ing, has been a starter since day one. After expe-
riencing a short down-period in the middle of the
season - a time when Michigan coach Red
Berenson says fellow freshman Jason Dest
jumped ahead of Hunwick - the Roseville
native returned to form. Hunwick is currently
tied with Burnes for the team lead in the plus-
minus category with a plus-13.
Hunwick's solid play early in the year provided
him with a unique experience in December. Hun-
wick, along with goaltender Al Montoya, partici-
pated on the United States Junior National team
that beat Canada 4-3 for the gold medal in
Helsinki, Finland.
Berenson feels that because Hunwick is not
necessarily an offensive defensman, the coaches
might miss his stellar play, as they select the All-
Rookie team. But the coach notes that even if
coaches only look at statistics, Hunwick's
plus/minus is best on the team, and plays an
important role on the team.

The Realest
if iif Drew Henson calls, tell
m I'm not doing any more
Don't get me wrong - he's polite
and engaging. But I can't continue to
watch him go through denial. Let him
know I'll be here for him when he's
ready for the other three stages of grief.
We met in the summer of 2001 for a
story I ran in the Daily. He had just left
Michigan for the New York Yankees'
Triple-A affiliate, the Columbus Clip-
pers. He was batting .201 at the time.
The denial had just started.
Drew said he needed more experi-
ence - fair enough, he had been split-
ting his time between football and
baseball for three years. The jump to
Triple-A ball was too fast.
But what he said next was a red flag
for denial: "The last three weeks, I've
been swinging the bat with more confi-
dence and feeling more comfortable."
During a background check, I dis-
covered his average actually dropped
during that stretch -pretty tough to do
when your average is so low.
A year later, he was batting just .242
and led the league in strikeouts. Fool-
ishly, I fed him an excuse, specifically
asking about the difficulty of enduring
a full season in the minors.
"Obviously, (the season) is long and I
can tell my body is more tired than it
has been," Henson said in the article I
wrote, which ran in The Detroit Free
Press. "The number of games, the
amount of times you come to the ball-
park, it takes a toll on your body. As
laid back as baseball is, your body can
get worked down if you let it."
Henson was starting to sound like
Roger Dorn from "Major League." Did
he really expect me to believe it was
more grueling to field ground balls and
take batting practice than to get blind-
sided by a 250-pound linebacker?
Would anything shake this guy up? I
had to find out.
I recalled a night during the school
year when I met a high school girlfriend
of Drew's, although I'm sure she didn't
remember my name five seconds after
the introduction.
So I flipped the interview on him
right as it was about to end.
"By the way," I said, "(girl's name)
wanted me to say 'Hi' for her."
Drew immediately froze and took a
glazed look to the outfield for reflec-
tion. Then, he muttered, "She's a cute
girl, she's a cute girl ... "
100-percent true story.
You see, Drew accepted that he and
his ex weren't meant to be. Now if only
he could come to that realization with
his baseball career.
Instead, he's delved further into denial.

On ESPN's "Outside the Lines" just
a couple weeks ago, Henson said that
he was leaving baseball because he
missed the camaraderie of football.
What's that supposed to mean - Hen-
son got jealous watching Brett Favre
hand out butt slaps on Sundays?
Drew said he'd still be returning to
football even if he was penciled in as the
Yankees third baseman this season -
sorry for the lack of a direct quote, but
I'd throw up if I saw the interview again.
People say he spotted a curveball
about as well as Pedro Cerrano and suf-
fered from paralysis through analysis.
Whatever the reason, it just didn't work.
It's sad Drew is ashamed of his
failure (and no, playing nine games
for the Yankees doesn't make the stint
a success).
Maybe the people around Drew have
brainwashed him. I mean his agent at
IMG insists Henson could still play
Major League Baseball if he wanted to.
I picture this guy like Bob Sugar in
"Jerry McGuire": constantly referring
to Henson as "baby" and telling him
he's "money."
But I think the real problem is that
Henson is just so used to being the
"Golden Boy." Failure - and admitting
failure -just isn't an option. Want
proof? According to a Michigan foot-
ball player, Henson said he preferred
playing on the road while he was a
Wolverine because of the pressure he
felt in the Big House.
Drew, even Jordan failed at baseball.
Jordan also said this: " can accept fail-
ure. Everyone fails at something. But I
can't accept not trying."
I really respect Drew for passing up
on being the top pick in the NFL Draft
to fulfill his dream of playing in the
Majors (ignoring the fact he left Michi-
gan out to dry after Lloyd Carr agreed
not to recruit another blue-chip quarter-
back to compete with him) and working
his ass off to make it come true.
It's not like Drew is another athlete
answering questions about murder, bat-
tery or drug trafficking: There's no need
to deny anything.
I just hope he doesn't head to the
NFL afraid of failing again, because
that's the only thing that will stop him
from becoming the type of star he
hoped to become in baseball.
Drew, look how easy it is: I personal-
ly messed up this week's SportsMon-
day. The last word in Gennaro Filice's
hockey column ("Fielding Yost's worst
nightmare comes true") got cut off on
our lead page. Not because of my night
editors, Sharad Mattu and Ellen
McGarrity. Not because of the paper's
computer program, QuarkXPress. And
not because of our online staff,
although I'd like to blame them.
I personally ruined SportsMonday's
lead page, and I accept that.
Hell, there are probably errors all
over this colum.
Jim Weber swears all errors in this article
are intentional and can be reached at

Miciga n struggles on South Carolina links

By Stephanie Wright
Daily Sports Writer
Escaping the return of winter to
Ann Arbor, the Michigan men's golf
team traveled to Myrtle Beach, S.C.,
to compete in the General Jim Hack-
ler Intercollegiate Tournament over
the past two days.
The Wolverines finished with a
team score of 920 for the 54-hole tour-
nament, placing 14th out of 19 teams.
Pepperdine won the team title with a
870 total.
Michigan coach Andrew Sapp was
not pleased with his team's 311 first-
round score on Monday. The team's
poor play in the round especially upset

the coach.
"We were one of only three or four
teams to have everyone break 80,"
Sapp said. "But our guys were just a
few shots away from having great
Even though the Wolverines
improved their score in the second
round by just one stroke, Sapp was
happy with his team's overall perform-
ance. The wind began to affect shots,
and Sapp said that a "310 in those con-
ditions was much better than 311 in
the first round."
The second round was suspended
due to darkness with three holes left to
play and was finished yesterday before
the third round.

"We got off to a good start, shoot-
ing par or one-under on those holes,
and it helped us in the final round,"
Sapp said.
Michigan's 299 total in the third
round was its best score of the spring
season and helped the team move up
four places in the tournament.
"It was good to see our guys fight
and play well the last round and move
up the leader board a couple spots,"
Sapp said.
Freshman Kevin Dore led the
Wolverines with a 225 total and fin-
ished in a tie for 29th place overall. In
his second tournament of the season,
senior Rob Tighe carded a total of 229
to finish second on the team and tied
for 44th overall.
"I was pleased to see Rob play so
well," Sapp said. "I think that bodes
well for him to improve in the future,
once he gets a little more rust off of his

Freshman Matt McLaughlin and
sophomore Christian Vozza each strug-
gled in the second round, carding
scores of 82 and 87, respectively.
Sophomore Brandon Duff was the
most consistent performer for the
Wolverines, shooting rounds of 78,
78 and 77. But, Sapp believed "each
round could have been 74 or even
According to the coach, consistency
and putting were the biggest problems
for Michigan in this tournament. And a
few triple bogeys didn't help the cause.
"When you have big numbers on
holes, it doesn't matter how many
birdies you get, it's going to hurt your
score," Sapp said. "We don't want to
give away shots."
The Wolverines will have a chance
to improve their consistency when
they return to South Carolina on
March 26 to compete in the Furman


rw1 'I'

The MichianDal
D e


" .«._



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Two years ago, Drew Henson was in spring training with the New York Yankees. Now he
Is ready to jump back into football.

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