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February 16, 2005 - Image 9

Resource type:
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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 2005-02-16

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

Wednesday
February 16, 2005
sports. michigandaily. com
sports@michigandaily.com

SPIt iganbailg
PORTS

9

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

Amaker badgers
big men to step up
By Brian Schick to point to one of the key reasons for
Daily Sports Writer the recent losses.

Think about what
this means to Horton

The last time Michigan and Wiscon-
sin met on the hardcourt on Jan. 22,
Wisconsin center Mike Wilkinson was
close to unstoppable, scoring 28 points

and grabbing 15 rebounds.
Michigan coach Tommy
Amaker didn't hesitate to
describe the performance
as "flawless" after the
game, a 72-61 loss for the
Wolverines.
Flash forward to tonight.
When Michigan (3-8 Big
Ten, 12-13 overall) heads
to the Kohl Center to face

ismil

"They have to finish when they have
it inside," Amaker said. "This is an
area we need to do a much better job,
particularly (Hunter and Sims)."
It might seem surprising that Hunter,
Sims and Petway are all
currently shooting above
50 percent on the season,
but the trio has taken
about half the number of
shots compared to Mich-
igan's backcourt. This
would explain why, dur-
ing certain games, one
of the three will explode,
but then be kept in check

No. 20 Wisconsin (7-4, 16-6) again, the
Wolverines' frontcourt will have to try
and slow Wilkinson down once again.
That may be a tough order, as the trio
of Michigan big men - junior Chris
Hunter and sophomores Brent Petway
and Courtney Sims - have fallen on
hard times recently.
All three forwards have hit scoring
slumps - they each have scored below
their season average over the last five
games. Against Michigan State on Sat-
urday, the trio scored just 11 points.
While all three have had .flashes
of dominance in individual games,
Michigan's three forwards have not
been able to put together consistent
performances. Amaker didn't hesitate

the next.
"I think

we're really good in spurts

but also have lapses," Sims said. "Those
lapses have killed us (recently)."
In addition to the scoring, Michigan
has struggled to gain an advantage on
the glass. With Petway listed at 6-foot-
8 and Hunter and Sims at 6-foot-li, it
would seem that Michigan should have
a rebounding advantage. But over the
last seven games, the Wolverines have
failed to grab at least 10 rebounds on
the offensive end. Because Michigan
has been trying to run a slow-down
offense in recent games, the Wolver-
ines will need as many chances on
offense end as possible.
Amaker believes that the team has

Courtney Sims was outscored by Wisconsin's Mike Wilkinson 28-10 earlier this season.

been improving over the past few
games and is pleased with the effort
of his players. He stated that, if his
big men can start to play consistently,
Michigan might be able to end its cur-
rent eight-game losing streak.
"We need to be able to put ourselves
in a position to win," Amaker said. "In
the last few games, we've been in posi-
tion to make a few plays and be in a
position to win."

Being in a position to win in Madi-
son will be extremely challenging. The
Badgers have lost just one game at the
Kohl Center over the past four years
- to No. 1 Illinois three weeks ago.
"We know how difficult it is to play
Wisconsin, regardless of where we play
them," Amaker said. "Playing them in
Madison has become close to impos-
sible. It's an opportunity for our team
and a chance to get better."

JOHN HOLMAN
Part Icon, Whole Man
it's sad to say, but most sports jour-
nalists could benefit from some
exposure to the field of law.
Whether it's something as national
as Kobe Bryant being accused of rape
or as local as a football player getting
into a fight at a bar, each writer seems
to cover his or her share of athletes in
legal trouble.
Anybody that has had the
(mis)fortune of covering the Michigan
men's basketball team this year has
already seen one of its players go from
the front page of sports to the front
page of news, but not in a good way.
Junior guard Daniel Horton pleaded
guilty to misdemeanor charge of
domestic violence at a pre-trial hearing
on Valentine's Day, a sad irony to say
the least.
The shadow of the crime has
affected plenty of people connected to
Horton, the least of whom include his
teammates. Michigan coach Tommy
Amaker suspended Horton indefinitely
on Jan. 25, and he has missed the last
six games as a result. Probably not so
coincidentally, Michigan lost all six of
those games, as part of an even larger"
eight-game losing streak.
But it's easy for any sports writer to
break down this suspension in terms of
X's and O's - that's their job. And in
their rush toward statistical trends and
explanations for Michigan's failures
this year, it's also far too easy to forget
about the source of all these problems
and explanations.
As Michigan has floundered and the
media has broken down each aspect
of the team's eight-game losing streak,
Horton's name has only appeared in
reference to his suspension and his
two pre-trial hearings. He has not been
allowed to travel or even practice with
the team. His locker, the one that used
to attract the most members of the
press after games, sits curiously empty.
Even though his absence in games is
a factor the Wolverines can't seem to
escape, it wouldn't be a stretch if Hor-
ton somehow felt like the forgotten one.

If you step back and take a look at
it, what should a case of domestic vio-
lence have to do with basketball? What
should have been an argument that
stayed between Horton and his girl-
friend snowballed into something ugly.
It reached the court system, and right-
fully so, where a judge will decide on
March 9 just how much Horton should
pay, either through a fine or through
jail time.
But does any of this have anything to
do with basketball?
It's hard to imagine what Horton
and his accuser have gone through dur-
ing this whirlwind period. The mental
anguish is incomparable, and the media
would much rather take the easy way
out and write about how it has affected
Horton's team - not how it has affect-
ed Horton. It's easy to write the XYZ's
on what Horton's absence has done
to the Wolverines. It's right there on
the court. But to even dare to venture
where his state of mind must be right
now goes well beyond the boundaries
of sports journalism.
Well, Daniel, I'll give you the benefit
of the doubt. Horton's lawyer, Gerald
Evelyn, said that Horton decided to
plead guilty at his second pre-trial
because the name of his accuser had
been released by media outlets that were
already trying to contact her. Horton
didn't want her to have to go through the
same public scrutiny that he has faced,
so he made the decision to just put the
whole incident in the past.
Maybe I'm a sucker, and it could just
be one big ploy in order to beat the sys-
tem, but I believe him.
I'm willing to bet that what Horton
has gone through has been enough
emotional torment to pay for a crime
like this. If he truly regrets what he's
done and sincerely cares about the
well-being of his accuser, then all this
time off from the sport he loves was
justified.
But now he's willing to take what the
justice system considers a fair punish-
ment and accept it. We all should, too.
Daniel Horton needs basketball after
what he's gone through. This nasty
episode from his private life gone pub-
lic has nothing to do with the sport he
loves, and, if he's supposed to get back
to normalcy, then basketball is one way
to do it. Not for Michigan's sake, but
for Horton's sake.

SRyznar inches back

into
By Ryan Sosin
Daily Sports Writer
Just two weeks a
on his right hand, M
Ryznar had a hockey
it felt "pretty good.'
with a handful of hi

playl
fter breaking a finger
vichigan senior Jason
-stick in his hand, and
'Skating on Monday
is teammates, Ryznar

IP
ng shape
ice, but off it as well.
"They are similar, especially in the
discipline and the expectations they have
for their players," Pearson said. "(They're)
big in the academics. It's just as important
as the hockey."
QUICK Hrs: Michigan freshman for-
ward Chad Kolarik netted his first CCHA
Rookie of the Week award thanks to a
four-point weekend against Nebraska-
Omaha. Kolarik had a goal and three
assists against the Mavericks. ... Former
Wolverines Andy Hilbert and Mike Cam-
malleri started in this weekend's AHL
All-Star game. Hilbert, playing for Plan-
etUSA, scored a goal while Cammalleri,
who suited up for the Canadian All-Stars,
tallied an assist on the game's first goal.

occasionally grimaced,
but, for the most, the
Anchorage, Aka., native
looked comfortable.
Ryznar is just skating
right now as the hand
heals; he can't shoot,
pass or even touch the puck.
"It's not 100 percent yet," Ryznar
said. "But it should be in a couple of
weeks. So I will be ready to play when
I come back."
During the surgery two week ago, doc-
tors put five screws and a metal plate in
the forward's hand. But Ryznar hasn't had
to wear a cast, which has afforded him
the opportunity to skate. Under his usual
blue glove, Ryznar is sporting a sheath
that covers stitches just above the knuckle
on his pointer finger.
"The nice thing for him is he's going
to be able to skate," associate head coach
Mel Pearson said. "So when he gets back
into playing, he should be in at least
decent skating shape."
Ryznar injured the hand blocking a
shot against Northern Michigan on Jan.
30. If all goes according to plan, the
coaching staff hopes to give Ryznar some
ice time in the final regular season series
with Bowling Green on March 4-5.
But in the interim, Ryznar is focusing
on keeping himself ready for any scenario
that comes his-way.
"I'm really taking it day-by-day," he
said. "(I'm) just trying to get my range
of motion back. I won't know for at
least another week (exactly when I can
come back)."
BERENSON TIES MACINNIS: With a 4-3
win over Nebraska-Omaha on Saturday,
Michigan coach Red Berenson tied for-
mer Michigan Tech coach John Maclnnis
on the all-time wins list. His 555th career
win, all with Michigan, ties Berenson
for eighth amongst all NCAA hockey
coaches.
"(Red) has proven over the long haul
that he knows what it takes to win," Pear-
son said, "And that, if (a player) comes to
Michigan, their going to have a chance to
win on any given night."
Pearson has a unique perspective on
the tie between two of the top coaches in
college hockey history. During his colle-
giate career from 1977-81, Pearson skat-
ed for the Huskies under the tutelage of
Maclnnis. The biggest similarity Pearson
sees between the two comes from their
devotion to the product, not only on the

Josh Holman can be reached at
holmanj@umich.edu.

Senior forward Jason Ryznar has sat out the last two weeks with a broken finger.

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