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November 11, 2004 - Image 17

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The Michigan Daily, 2004-11-11

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The Michigan Daily - Tipoff 2004

6B - The Michigan Daily - Tipoff 2004 - Thursday, November 11, 2004

Critical Mass
Will Courtney Sims's newfound bulk help or hinder?
By Megan Kolodgy 9 Daily Sports Writer

Courtney Sims was tired of getting
pushed around.
When he joined the Michigan men's
basketball team as a freshman last sea-
son, the 6-foot-I1 Sims brought solid
.height for the frontcourt and a shot-
blocking ability that made him the Big
Ten's best in that category. There was
just one problem - he brought fewer
than 230 pounds to throw around in the
His wiry figure, which helped him
become a national tennis recruit out of
high school, was not conducive to the
constant physicality necessary to be a
-successful college forward or center.
So, when Michigan coach Tommy
Amaker and Sims's mother, Yvonne
Sims, both told Courtney he had to
get real about the hindrance his low
weight, the "big man" took it to heart
- and got much bigger.
With the help of a five-day-a-week
weightlifting regimen and his mother's
health-conscious cooking, Sims man-

aged to put on about 25 pounds of mus-
cle over the summer.
"I couldn't believe how much weight
I gained," Sims said. "I just gained it."
Well, it wasn't quite that easy.
Sims's weight training was fairly
standard - he worked various muscle
groups, particularly his arms, chest and
shoulders. Meeting his dietary require-
ments, however, was more of a chal-
"He loves Wendy's," Yvonne said.
"And he's a very picky eater."
But Yvonne was determined to help
Courtney stay on track through the
duration of the offseason.
"I tried to get him to eat vegetables
- he doesn't like vegetables," she said.
"I just made an effort to cook what he
liked. I just gave him more."
So what, exactly, did Yvonne feed
her vegetable-detesting, fast-food-crav-
ing son?
"We don't eat red meat," Yvonne
said. "(1 made) a lot of chicken, tur-

key, fish, broccoli and sweet potatoes.
He also likes these shakes that I make
- with fresh strawberries, bananas and
apple juice. He drank a lot of those."
Sims's weight currently hovers
around 254 pounds, and he doesn't
think he'll have much trouble keeping
the pounds on.
"I haven't (been) under 250 since I
came here, and I've been playing a lot,"
Sims said. "So I think I'm going to be
able to maintain it."
Yvonne is far less certain that Sims
will have the self-control to resist the
soft, red glow of the Wendy's sign in the
basement of the Union, and also under-
stands that Sims would have to go out
of his way to get food of as high a qual-
ity as she would prepare for him.
Therefore, she has taken all the nec-
essary precautions to see that Sims's
newfound bulk doesn't fade away.
"I've sent food overnight," Yvonne
said with a chuckle. "I freeze up din-
ners and send them overnight - but
you can only do that so often."
Although Sims put on 25 pounds
quite deliberately, his considerable
jump in weight has given Amaker cause
to worry a bit about adjustments the
center will have to make.
"I think Courtney has great hands
and he's added some strength and some
weight," Amaker said. "We're anxious
to see what that does for him. Hopeful-
ly that doesn't slow him down or hin-
der his ability to run and to maneuver
and be quick and agile ... I think one
of the keys for our team, and certainly
for Courtney's improvement, is if he
can become a big-time rebounder and
if he's going to be a big guy that can
really sprint the floor."
Sims believes that the weight has,
thus far, done little to slow him down
- and although a spectator might not
be able to notice a huge difference in
size between last year's version of Sims
and the current one, he feels that the 25
pounds have already begun to impact
the way he plays.
"People can't push me around," he
said. "And just leaning on (opponents),

it gets them tired and stuff. Just the
extra weight - I can take getting hit in
the air and stuff like that a lot better.
And I don't really feel any slower - I
feel the same as I was last year. So the
weight, it helps me a lot."
Sims hopes thata more formidable
floor presence will help him to have a
more definitive role among the Wolver-
ines than he did when he was a fresh-
"I really didn't know what I was
getting myself into last year - how
physical it was," Sims said. "Really, I
didn't even know my role. Now, I
know what my role is - I know
what I need to do to make the
team successful.
"I really want to con-
centrate on rebounding. I
only averaged four or five
rebounds a game last year,
and I'd like to
get that up to at Recipe
least nine or 10
this year." fo r ccess
His team- Yvonne Sims helped her
mates, who son put on 25 pounds of
have been prac- muscle through enforcing
ticing against healthy eating habits. To
the bulked-up male Courtney's favorite
smoothies, blend the fol-
Sims for a few lowing ingredients...
months, have * 2 cups of apple juice
noticed slight
alterations in strawefriesn
Sims's game. * 1 whole banana
Graham Brown * 2 scoops of
believes the vanilla ice cream
weight's impact * 2 tablespoons of honey
is more psycho-
logical than physical.
"Maybe gaining weight has helped
his confidence a little bit," Brown said.
"But he really hasn't learned to use that
weight as well as he has the ability to."
Still, Brown appreciates Sims's
efforts to improve.
"Courtney has worked a lot in the
offseason and he's improving slowly
but surely," Brown said. "We're always
trying to take a couple of steps forward,
and he's done a great job with that."

By Eric Ambinder 9 Daily Sports Writer

a -0

Daniel Horton made us forget about postsea-
son sanctions, forfeited games and invalidated
championship banners.
But he couldn't make us forget about his fresh-
man year.
Horton won Big Ten Freshman of the Year honors,
then played inconsistently on offense during his sopho-
more year. A discrepancy in points per game - 15.3 as
a freshman down to 12.3 as a sophomore - and assists
per game - 4.5 to 3.6 - provided an easy diagnosis:
the sophomore slump. Horton's critics and those who
pondered the decline kept reverting to what he did as
a freshman; the two versions of Horton were, for some
reason, different.
So what should we expect this year? According to
Horton, we should expect "the same." But as he begins
his third season at Michigan, memories of those first two
years raise questions about the future.
bout two months after being named the
Big Ten's best freshman, something
appened to Horton that he never
experienced before - he was cut from a bas-
ketball team.
"One thing about Daniel, is that he is
a winner," said Horton's father, Daryl.
"He's been winning his whole life."
So, at first, Horton couldn't under-
stand why Oregon coach Ernie Kent
cut him from the USA Basketball
Men's Junior World Championship
Qualifying Team during the sum-
mer of 2003. Kent told Horton that he
wanted to put together a certain kind of
team, one that featured a system Horton ;
wouldn't fit into.
"When I went (to the tryout), I played
well enough to make any team," Horton
said. "During the whole process, it really
bothered me because I didn't know why I
wasn't playing."
Horton's uncertainty carried over into the
fall of his sophomore year, when fans and the media
criticized him for not being the type of player he was a
season earlier.
"I think he was finding his identity, his role, his niche,"
Michigan State coach Tom Izzo said. "There are not many
people that can do all kinds of things. It's hard to find that.
And Daniel, sometimes he's a shooting guard, a point
guard, he's both. And to try to adjust and be both is hard."

Horton remembers a swirl of speculation that some
off-court issues affected his play. No such problems sur-
faced; Horton feels there is a simpler reason for his per-
formance last year.
"When I got (to Michigan), coach (Tommy Amak-
er) basically let me play," Horton said. "He let me do
what I felt was necessary for the team to win. Cer-
tain guys were allowed to do a little more because
the team needed us to do more. And then sophomore
year came along and we had better depth, better tal-
ent, more overall talent. Coach asked me to become a
more complete player - a quarterback."
Freshman year, Amaker would allow Horton to push
the ball up-court so that he could try to beat his man and
score. But last season, Horton said the Wolverines didn't
need him to do that anymore. Amaker needed Horton to
adjust to the influx of talent the Wolverines recruited in
the off-season.
"If Daniel played the way he did freshman year, a
lot of kids would have been unhappy on that bas-
ketball team," Indiana coach Mike Davis said.
Said Horton: "(Last year) we had a team where
we could make five, six, seven, eight passes and
were able to get a good shot. It was tough at first
because I've always wanted to be in a position
where I've wanted the team to depend on me,
and it's not like that anymore."
H owdoes a kid from Texas end
up playing basketball? Horton
did play quarterback before a
fractured collarbone interfered with the
upcoming basketball season. He traded
his No. 5 football jersey for a No. 30
basketball jersey. Horton attended Cedar
Hill High School, located in a suburb of
Dallas, Texas. The areas basketball class of
2000 was one of the its best recruiting crops
ever. The top prospects, known as "The Big
Six," consisted of Horton, Indiana's Bracey
Wright, Illinois' Deron Williams, Toronto
Raptor Chris Bosh, Arizona State's Ike Diogu
and Southern Methodist's Bryan Hopkins. And Horton
was the star.
In high school, Horton almost outscored The Colony
High School backcourt of Wright and Williams - 26 to
30 - during one game. He scored 36 in a crushing win
against archrival Duncanville High School, and totaled
47 against Bosh's Lincoln High School. The list goes on
and on. More likely than not, Horton was the best player





The extent to which the added bulk
will enhance or detract from this even-
bigger man's playing this young season
has yet to be determined. In the Wolver-
ines' exhibition game against Michigan
Tech on Sunday, he scored 13 points
and appeared better equipped to get
knocked around in the paint and still
follow through with his shots. He also
recorded three blocks, and considering
the fact that Michigan Tech primarily
shot from the perimeter, this illustrated
that his weight will not take anything
away from his most prominent stat.
This year's team will require more
from this heavier center than last year's
squad did from the lanky freshman.
What, exactly, Sims's new role will be
has yet to be seen.
But until someone instructs him oth-
erwise, he'll just stick to one simple
"I just eat anything my mom makes
Healthy, medication-
free volunteers, ages
18-45, are needed for a
research study involving
visits to U of M hospital
and blood draws.

Finding his niche wasn't all smiles for Horton.
on the court in those days.
"Those were the times," Daryl remembers. "Each on
of the teams (that featured the Big Six) was nationall
ranked. It was really an exciting time."
Arizona, Texas, Stanford and Illinois all came call
ing, but Horton chose Michigan because he wante
to restore the winning tradition of the Fab Five.
Horton became instantly synonymous with th
rejuvenated Michigan basketball program. He wa
the go-to guy, over the more experienced Lave]
Blanchard or Bernard Robinson Jr.
Just seven games into his college career, Horton
scored 24 first-half points against Bowling Green it
Michigan's first of 13 consecutive victories. Durin
the winning streak, he capped a Michigan comebac
by nailing the go-ahead basket against Wisconsit
with 7.1 seconds to go, and then blocked the Bad
gers' final shot attempt to preserve a 66-65 upse
that emptied the student section onto the Crisle
Arena floor. He scored six of Michigan's final eigli
points in a 60-58 win over Michigan State - th
Wolverines' first win over the Spartans since th
1997-98 season.
See HORTON, Page 8E



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