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December 02, 2004 - Image 5

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The Michigan Daily, 2004-12-02

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Thursday
December 2, 2004
sports.michigandaily.com
sports@michigandaily.com

PORTS

5A

F ontcourt lone 5A

Frontcourt lone
bright spot for 'M'

It's time for trust
and renovations

By Josh Holman
and Brian Schick
Daily Sports Writers
There weren't many positives for the
Michigan basketball team to take away
from Tuesday's 99-68 loss at Georgia Tech.

But if there was one
glimmer of hope, it was
the play of the post play-
ers in the second half.
Despite being down
by 27, with the game
basically out of reach at
halftime, the frontcourt

stepped up the intensity in the game's final
20 minutes. Even in the lackluster first half,
Courtney Sims, Brent Petway and Chris
Hunter combined for 15 of Michigan's 32
first-half points. But during the second half,
they turned it up a notch.
"We made it a point of emphasis to try
to put the ball inside to them to at least
get them touches and get high-percentage
shots in the lane or even get fouled," Michi-
gan coach Tommy Amaker said. "I thought
they really tried hard and battled."
Sims led all scorers with 17, including
10 second-half points. He also managed
to shoot 6-for-12 from the floor, despite the
backcourt's shooting woes.
Playing in front of his family from near-
by McDonough, Ga., Petway displayed
some promising post moves en route to
tying a career high with 12 points. He often
passed up the dunk for close jump- and
hook-shots.
Hunter had perhaps the best night of the

three, forcing the Yellow Jackets' defend-
ers to regularly foul him. Making the most
of his 12 minutes of playing time, Hunter
dropped a career-best 13 points and went
5-for-6 from the stripe.
Along with Graham Brown's four
points, the Michigan frontcourt scored 29
of the Wolverines' 36 second-half points.
With Georgia Tech trying to run Michigan
out of the building in the first half, control-
ling the tempo was key for the Wolverines
to keep the game from becoming a bigger
blowout.
"We wanted to focus on posting up and
slowing down the offense," Brown said.
"Their transition game was spectacular,
and we had trouble stopping them. By
looking inside, we got some easy baskets."
WOLVERINES DON'T RUN: For the second
straight game, a new weakness emerged in
Michigan's performance that never used to
be a problem.
Michigan's 18 turnovers and a lackluster
transition defense led to fast break after fast
break for Georgia Tech - leading to 20
Yellow Jacket layups. Add to that stat the
amount of 3-pointers the Yellow Jackets
converted by hitting trailers on fast breaks
behind the 3-point line, and it's clear that
Georgia Tech thrived on the fast break.
"We were trying to play to the best of
our ability," sophomore Dion Harris said.
"But our turnovers led to a lot of fast break
points."
The lack of any sort of transition defense
compounded the scoring landslide started
by Georgia Tech. The Wolverines were
giving the Yellow Jackets free lanes to the

Graham Brown and the rest of the Michigan frontcourt were a bright spot on Tuesday.

basket on a night when they couldn't miss
even the hardest shots. Georgia Tech shot
13-for-23 from 3-point range as a team.
The barrage of fast-break points boosted
the Yellow Jackets' field goal percentage to
54 percent.
"They shot it well from three, and they
got layups," Amaker said. "It became a
track meet, and it was no match for us."
This problem was obvious after last
week's 72-63 loss to Providence in the con-
solation game of the Preseason NIT. Mich-
igan led early in the contest until a series
of fast-break points brought the Friars back

and kept them in control the remainder of
the game.
NOTEs: Junior wing Lester Abram
missed his fourth straight game on Tues-
day with a reaggravated shoulder injury.
He dressed, but did not enter the game.
Amaker labeled Abram as day-to-day and
hopes tohave him back by Saturday's con-
test versus Notre Dame ... Michigan's loss
evened its Big Ten/ACC Challenge Record
at 2-2 since the series began. The Wolver-
ines won their Big Ten/ACC Challenge
matchup last year with a 68-61 victory over
North Carolina State at Crisler Arena.

BOB HUNT
Unleashed
lthough its gates may be pristine
and its mystique may be grand,
ichigan Stadium is in need of
a face lift. Its aisles are narrow, its bath-
rooms are scarce and its infrastructure is
showing its age.
The administration of the Univer-
sity realizes this and is currently con-
sidering significant renovations to the
Big House. Unlike the changes that
took place in 1998 - which were a
quick response to Tennessee trumping
Michigan in having the country's larg-
est stadium - the plans in the works
could cost in the hundreds of millions
of dollars.
Some students and alumni may
approach these ambitions with skepti-
cism. After recently seeing a corporate
sponsor almost slapped on the Michi-
gan-Ohio State game, they may wonder
if these plans will lead Michigan further
toward the commercialization of colle-
giate athletics.
But people should look at these
renovations with an open mind. Full-
scale renovations at Ohio State, Notre
Dame, Penn State and other places
have, for the most part, only improved
those stadiums. The Michigan com-
munity should trust its administration
to do the same.
Both president Mary Sue Coleman
- who will give final approval to any
plans - and Athletic Director Bill Mar-
tin realize that what makes Michigan
unique is its aura and tradition. They
both know that anything done must fit
within what is Michigan.
Doubters may reference the 1998
renovations, which included a hideous
maize and blue halo around the rim of
the stadium that was lined with phrases
such as "Hail to the Victors." But neither
Coleman nor Martin were around then.
I spoke with Coleman two weeks ago
about the possible stadium renovations.
She said that she's concerned about
the experience fans have when they
attend Michigan Stadium, and that the
administration has the responsibility to
look at these issues. Although improv-

ing these things will likely include
"enclosed seating," or what many out-
side the program have referred to as
luxury boxes, it was clear that neither
she nor the regents will approve any-
thing distasteful.
When I asked her about what hap-
pened with SBC and the Michigan-Ohio
State game, she said, "It did not have
my approval." Once she heard about the
impending deal, she killed it immedi-
ately.
Although it was Martin who moved
the SBC deal forward, he is more than
capable of taking on this project the
right way. While many athletic direc-
tors have the bulk of their experience in
coaching, much of Martin's expertise is
in real estate.
Martin founded the First Martin Cor-
poration in 1968, which owns a number
of buildings around Ann Arbor includ-
ing the First National Building - one of
the most prominent properties on Main
Street. Martin is also responsible for the
corporate strategy of the investment arm
of First Martin based in Chicago and
started by his son Seth. He also founded
the Bank of Ann Arbor.
With his leadership, Martin has
steered the athletic department in the
right direction. When he took over in
2000, Michigan had one of the worst
athletic departments in the Big Ten in
soliciting donations. That has changed
under his tenure. The department now
has a clear vision for rebuilding the
infrastructure of its facilities, some-
thing that was previously lacking.
There is a new academic center for
athletes under construction on State
Street, and there have been discussion~
about renovating or rebuilding a num-
ber of Michigan athletic facilities.
Martin admitted that he made a
mistake with the SBC.situation, and his
experiences in real estate and as athletic;
director have prepared him for leading
this project.
If anyone can take the reins of
rebuilding Michigan Stadium, it's him.
For a school that has the tradition of
Michigan, there's always going to be
resistance to change. But renovating
Michigan Stadium is necessary in order:
to keep Michigan in the elite of college
football.
The time for change is now, and this
administration is the one to do it.
Bob Hunt can be reached a
bobhunt@umich.ed4

Blue finds inside presence in freshman

By Matt Singer
Daily Sports Writer

Last year, the Michigan women's
basketball team knew where to turn
when it needed scoring in the low
post. Former Wolverines 6-foot-4
center Jennifer Smith earned all-Big
Ten honors her senior year, leading
the team with 21.3 points per game.
But Smith's graduation left a gaping
hole in the Michigan frontcourt. Who
would be the interior complement to
senior Tabitha Pool's slashing, jump-
shooting game?
Enter freshman Ta'Shia Walker.
After two relatively quiet exhi-
bition games, the 6-foot forward
exploded onto the scene in Michi-
gan's season-opening 81-79 overtime
loss to Alabama. In just 19 minutes
of play off the bench, Walker poured
in 15 points and made all seven of
her free throw attempts. Walker was

immediately inserted into the starting
lineup for Michigan's home opener
against Washington and didn't disap-
point - scoring 22 points on 7-of-10
shooting. Just like that, the Wolver-
ines found their interior presence.
"Coming in as a freshman, you've
got to find your niche," Walker said.
"It takes everybody awhile to see
their place. Our seniors, our sopho-
more, they help us find what we need
to do, what's our role on the team."
Unlike Smith last year, Walker is
shorter than many of her opponents.
But much like former NBA star
Charles Barkley, Walker uses strate-
gic body-positioning and intelligent
play in the paint to overcome her
lack of height.
"Since I'm kind of undersized to
play in the post, I've got to use my
body, and I've got to use my ball-
fakes because everyone's so much
bigger than I am," Walker said.

Walker's prowess has even earned
her a nickname from her coach.
"I call her the 'ball-fake queen,' "
coach Cheryl Burnett said. "And she
is - she knows how to use the ball-
fake well."
Burnett has given Walker more
than just a nickname and a start-
ing role. She's made Walker a key
component of the Wolverines set
offense. When the ball isn't in
Pool's hands, it usually finds its
way to Walker. The proof: Through
Michigan's first four games, Walk-
er has led the team in scoring with
17.5 points per game.
"She's a go-to post player," Bur-
nett said. "If we have to run a set
play, we run special plays for special
players. And we're already running
a lot of things where we know that
'Shia's going to get her hands on the
basketball."
See WALKER, page 8A

RYAN WEINER/Daily
Freshman Ta'Shia Walker leads Michigan
in scoring with 17.5 points per game.

0 ICE HOCKEY
Henderson prepared for career in marketing

By Ryan Sosin
Daily Sports Writer

Brandon Rogers, Anaheim Mighty Ducks. David
Moss, Calgary Flames. Charlie Henderson, big New
York marketing firm.
College hockey has been touted as a place to see
tomorrow's stars today. But no one said they had to be
hockey stars.
After four years as a member of the Michigan hockey
team, Henderson is sending out resumes as he prepares
to move into a marketing career following his gradu-
ation. Between time spent on the ice, Henderson - a
sports management and communications concentrator
- spent the summer working on promotions and mar-
keting for the athletic department.
"It's a lot more fun to be in a jersey," Henderson said.
"But if you're not going to play in the NHL, you have to
be ready to wear a suit everyday."
Two of his roommates, seniors David Moss and Nick
Martens, have tried to provide Henderson plenty of prac-
tical experience in dealing with problems. Henderson is
the neatest person either of his roommates have lived

with, which makes their mess his problem.
"Moss and I try to mess up the house, so he can clean-
up after us all the time," Martens said. "He spends half
his time cleaning up after us and the other half (cleaning
up) after himself or doing his hair or something."
Henderson, who is known for his neatness and orga-
nization, has adapted to his roommate's schemes. He
has developed an eye for detail - a vital component to
analyzing marketing strategies - thwarting Moss and
Martens's attempts to covertly disrupt his stuff.
"Whenever we go mess with his room, he knows his
pucks are out of line or his bed sheets are a little wrin-
kled," Moss said.
Henderson's days on the ice surface at Yost Ice Arena
will provide him just as much benefit as his roommates'
antics. With everyday competition against his teammates
- whom Henderson calls the most talented players in
the world - the hockey program has instilled a strong
sense of competitiveness and work ethic in him.
"I think that's really important as far as legitimacy,"
Henderson said. "In marketing, you have to be competi-
tive and aggressive against the competition."
With two seasons in the North American Hockey

League preempting the beginning of his college career,
Henderson (24) is the elder statesman on the team. And
while his teammates give him a hard time when they
check out women as much as five years younger than him,
Henderson says he loves hanging out with the team.
"I think he's the oldest guy in the country, isn't he?"
Martens joked. "A lot of guys give him crap about being
old, but it's all in good fun."
The helping hand has gone both ways. The career-
conscious Henderson has offered his experience in resu-
m6-writing to his roommates.
"He likes to give me advice," Moss said. "He thinks
he knows what he's talking about."
Will Henderson put "Michigan hockey player" on his
resume?
"For sure," he said. "I'd be stupid not to."
Mori PRo-AM: Yost Ice Arena will play host to a char-
ity hockey game tonight featuring some of the NHL's
brightest stars. The game, which starts at 8 p.m., will pit
a team of NHL players led by Red Wings captain Steve
Yzerman and defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom against a
team of American amateur players. Proceeds from the
event will go to C.S. Mott Children's Hospital.

Michigan Stadium renovations will be a good thing for the Wolverines.
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