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December 02, 2004 - Image 8

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2004-12-02

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8A - The Michigan Daily - Thursday, December 2, 2004

For tanker, Games
are no distraction

Making a statement:
Illini blow out Deacons.

By Kevin Wright
Daily Sports Writer

Every summer break, the classic
question arises: Where's the best
vacation spot?
Junior swimmer Peter Vanderkaay
could make a respectable argument
for Athens, Greece, where he swam
on the Olympic team and won a gold
medal in the 800-meter freestyle
relay this past summer.
"It was a great experience,"
Vanderkaay said. "It was an eye-
opener to the highest level of sport. I
had a great time."
While enjoying success on the
international stage during the sum-
mer, Vanderkaay remained intent on
helping the Wolverines this year.
"I learned a little bit about top
competition at Athens, but now I
just want to focus on Michigan,"
Vanderkaay said. "If I just keep
doing what I've been doing, I'll be
okay. It got me here and it will get
me through the rest of my career at
During his career at Michigan,
Vanderkaay has excelled. He has
received numerous awards, includ-
ing last year's Big Ten co-Swimmer
of the Year and Big Ten Freshman
of the Year in 2003. Vanderkaay has
also won three NCAA titles in the
400-meter freestyle, the 800-meter
freestyle relay and 1,500-meter free-
Vanderkaay has had a solid start
to this season with wins in 100- and
200-yard freestyles at Wisconsin
and 100- and 1,650-yard freestyles

at Michigan State.
While fatigued due to intense
workouts, swimmers generally don't
worry as much about individual
times in early-season meets as they
do during meets later in the season.
Still, Vanderkaay and the Wolverines
have jumped out early to a 3-0 over-
all record (2-0 Big Ten), and Michi-
gan is ranked ninth nationally.
As the season progresses,
Vanderkaay knows that, while his
accomplishments in Athens helped
improve his stroke, his time spent
with his teammates will be the key
to success for the Wolverines.
"Doing stuff around here will help
my teammates more than my time
at Athens (did)," Vanderkaay said.
"The guys are really training hard.
They have to be mentally focused
because that will be more of a fac-
tor than my experiences. I can still
encourage them and tell them to stay
When preparing for a meet,
Vanderkaay understands the impor-
tance of staying focused. But at
the same time, he tries to remain
"I try to stay confident and focused
on the race," Vanderkaay said. "I
try not to over think the event. For
shorter distances, I think about the
little things that make the most out
of my race. For longer distances, I
try to think about repetition and
maintain a steady pace and keep my
stroke together."
While his achievements in his
first two seasons with the Wolver-
ines would be more than sufficient

Peter Vanderkaay won two events against Michigan State in the team's last meet.

CHAMPAIGN (AP) - With about
2 1/2 minutes still left in the game,
Illinois' rabid "Orange Krush" student
section started chanting "We're No. 1!
We're No. 1!"
No. 5 Illinois certainly made a case for
the top ranking last night, turning No. 1
Wake Forest into a nonconference patsy
with a 91-73 rout that wasn't nearly as
close as the score indicated.
"They played infinitely better than
we did. I don't know how much more
clearly I can say it," Wake Forest coach
Skip Prosser said. "They made shots
that were open, they made shots that
were contested. Their offense was
exponentially better than our defense,
hence the score of the game."
Roger Powell Jr. scored 19 points, Dee
Brown and Luther Head added 16 each
and the Illini (5-0) beat Wake Forest (5-1)
in every single phase of the game. Illinois
led by double-digits the last 28-plus min-
utes of the game, and were up by as much
as 32 in the second half.
That was even with Deron Williams
having an off night. Williams, the pre-
season pick as Big Ten player of the year,
missed much of the first half because of
foul trouble and finished with only eight
points, though he did have a team-high 11
"Playing without Deron, the best player,
player of year is tough," said Brown, who
added seven assists. "He's a great asset to
our team, but when he goes out, someone
else has got to step up, and I think Luther
and Rog and myself made some shots and
played hard."
The Illini were so dominant in stretches
they looked like the Globetrotters. They
held the Demon Deacons to 39 percent
shooting, and their two best players were
never a factor. Chris Paul, the leading
vote-getter on the AP's preseason All-
America team, had 10 while Justin Gray,
MVP of the preseason NIT, had 11.
Continued from page 5A
While carrying such a big share
of the offensive burden, the 18-year-
old will inevitably have some bumps
along the road. Tuesday night was one
of them. The Wolverines suffered a
disappointing 61-60 loss to Drake at
Crisler Arena, and Walker was clearly
off her game, scoring 11 points on
just 5-for-20 shooting. But given her
play in the first three games, there's
no reason to believe that Walker won't

"I don't know what to say," Brown said
when asked if the Illini should be No. 1.
"After that performance, you tell me."
The Illini are now 2-19 in games against
No. 1 teams - but they won both played
at Assembly Hall. They beat then-No. 1
Michigan State 57-55 in 1979 - if it's any
consolation to the Demon Deacons, the
Spartans still won the national champion-
ship that year.
Illinois has now won 35 straight at
home against non-conference opponents,
a streak dating back to Nov. 17, 1998. The
Illini are 67-3 overall at Assembly Hall
since the 2000-01 season.
"You don't get many chances to play
a No. I team on national television," said
Jamaal Levy, who had six points and
seven rebounds. "They were definitely
ready. They proved they wanted it."
And Wake Forest, which earned its first
No. 1 ranking last week, proved it has some
work to do. Though the Demon Deacons
won the preseason NIT last weekend, they
looked at times like they were still trying
to find their rhythm against Providence
and Arizona.
Illinois didn't give the Deacons time
to catch their feet, let alone get a rhythm.
Harassed and badgered anytime they
tried to get close to the basket, the Demon
Deacons had no answer for Illinois' speed
- oritssmoothness.
"We're a good team, but the way they
shot the ball they couldn't be stopped,"
Paul said. "And then they'd turn around
and defend"
The Illini shot a blistering 60 percent,
including 8-of-16 from 3-point range as
they raced out to a 54-33 lead at the half.
They had assists on 27 of their 38 baskets,
and they played with a crispness that will
make opposing coaches jealous.
"We tried different defenses, but the
bottom line from a defensive standpoint
was we couldn't guard them in man-to-
man," Prosser said.
continue to be Michigan's steadying
presence in the middle.
"Our team just gets so much confi-
dence off of what Ta'Shia does because
she understands the game so well," Bur-
nett said.
Walker's smarts on the court are
matched by her intelligence off of it. She
was the valedictorian of Sexton High
School in Lansing and was also a Nation-
al Honor Society member there. Walker
plans to major in sports management,
working towards her goal of becoming a
marketing executive for Nike.

to most people, Vanderkaay stays
driven and continues to make new
goals for this season and beyond.
"I'd like to try and repeat for the
national championships and improve
on what I did last year," Vanderkaay
said. "I think I'm going to try to go
to the Olympics again in four years
and make it (a regular) thing."
The Wolverines face their first

true challenge of the young season
as they travel down to Texas for
the Texas Invitational, where they
will swim against four other top-25
teams today through Saturday.
"I'd like to see where I'm at physi-
cally, try to get some season best
times and get some racing under my
belt going into the middle of the sea-
son," Vanderkaay said.

After fight, two fans barred from the Palace

AUBURN HILLS (AP) - Two men were
banned from events at the Palace for what the
Detroit Pistons say is their involvement in last
month's brawl during an NBA game.
John Green and Charlie Haddad have been
sent letters informing them of the ban, which
also includes events at DTE Energy Music The-
atre in Clarkston, Pistons spokesman Matt Dobek
said yesterday. The Clarkston location is another
holding of the Palace Sports and Entertainment
Green, of Oakland County's West Bloomfield
Township, is accused of lobbing a cup at Indiana
Pacers forward Ron Artest on Nov. 19, sparking
the brawl. Haddad, of Burt, ran onto the court that

night, Dobek said.
The brawl spilled into the stands and led to
three Indiana players being suspended for 25 or
more games - including a season-long penalty
for Artest.
"That's ridiculous. Are they going to ban Artest
and the other Pacers who ran into the stands and
beat up on our fans and the people that live in this
community," Shawn Smith, Green's attorney, said
Wednesday. "They're completely picking on the
little guy. It's not fair."
Ron Baker, an attorney representing Haddad,
said: "Charlie would like to stress ... he's an avid
and loyal Pistons fan. He was injured in that brawl
between the Pacers and the fans. He'll have more

to say in the future about it.
"He just wants to have his normal life back."
No criminal charges have been filed in the
brawl. Oakland County Prosecutor David Gorcyca
said Tuesday that police must finish their investi-
gation first.
"It is obvious from the multitude of videotapes
that numerous Pacer players and fans are impli-
cated in criminal wrongdoing," Gorcyca said in a
statement. "To issue charges in haste and before
a thorough investigation is completed would be
irresponsible and a dereliction of our duties."
Gorcyca had told The Detroit News that Pacers
players will be charged, but declined to specify
which players or what charges he expected to file.


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