January 11, 2005
sports. michigan daily. com
By Eric Ambinder
Daily Sports Writer
Fifteen games into the season, Michigan 7
basketball coach Tommy A maker has already;
used 10 different starting lineups, and it's ..*K,.
hard to characterize the first half of the Wol-
verines' season without mentioning the wordh
Three of Michigan's starters from a year ago
- wing Lester Abram, guard Daniel Horton
and forward Graham Brown - have missed
a combined 27 games already. Abram is out
for the rest of the year. And while Horton is
back but, admittedly, not 100 percent healthy,
Brown - who has been sidelined since the
beginning of December after hernia surgeryy
- hopes to return when Michigan battles.
Penn State on Saturday. xx,..
But with wins over two top-25 teams -f
Notre Dame and Iowa - and an RPI rating of
63, the Wolverines have been able to salvagea
a season that was full of high expectations.
Michigan is 10-5 with 15 games left to play.x
"Regardless of who's in those uniforms, it
says Michigan on it." Michigan coach Tommy'
Amaker said. "I've been extremely pleased
with our effort. I think we've played hard and
While Amaker is pleased with the team's}
performance thus far, uncertainty looms going
into tomorrow night's Big Ten home opener
Junior Chris Hunter, who Amaker called
"our best player the second stretch of (this) h * RYAN WEINER
season," may not play against the Wildcats, Junior Chris Hunter's status is uncertain for Michigan's Big Ten home opener tomorrow against Northwestern.
and forward Brent Petway's status is uncertain
as well. Petway injured his shoulder late during Wildcats. guard Dani Wohl all ailing, Amaker said he
Saturday's game against Fairfield, and Hunter Like Brown, Horton said being out of action cautiously intends to keep the intensity and
suffered a high ankle sprain last Wednesday the past month has been painful, but the guard pace of practice the same but is not cognizant
against Iowa. added it has also been a learning experience. of a player's possible injury during games.
"I'm hoping that we have at least one of "It was hard not being able to play, but, at the If Hunter, Petway and Brown do not play
them back for Wednesday - hopefully both same time, I had to stay in it mentally because tomorrow, Sims and senior J.C. Mathis will
of them," Amaker said. I knew it was just a matter of time before I was play a majority of the frontcourt minutes.
Petway, however, was more optimistic. able to play again," Horton said. "I've never Mathis - who has averaged 6.6 minutes per
When asked if he expected to play tomor- been in a situation where I had to sit out and game this season - scored eight points in 16
row, Petway said: "I definitely do. I think I'm watch for a month, so I think sitting out and minutes against Fairfield.
ready to go. (Today) I should go 100 percent in watching it gave me a different perspective of "(Mathis) is a battler," Sims said. "He goes
practice, full contact." what this team needed. When I came back, it to war in practice. We know he can play. He
Horton said he is only at "75 to 80 percent" was a lot easier for me to fit in." has a lot of post moves and crashes the boards
but should play extensive minutes against the With Hunter, Petway, Brown, Horton and as hard as anybody on the team."
Goin' to Work
Afew years ago, after myg
lost her courageous battl
cancer, my grandpa mov
my family. As you might expect,i
a while to get accustomed to the c
was - not surprisingly - depres
probably a little lonely, and so mo
would pass with him just sitting q
one of the chairs around our hous
The only times in those first fe
that he perked up would be if a sp
event came on TV. Be it the Detr
a golf tournament, my grandpa w
a seat alongside my dad and me a
On days when the Tigers playe
games he would get out his handh
- at least for a while - and liste
Harwell while looking out the wi
our front yard. I always wondered
going through his head when he d
imagine he was reminiscing on d
by, maybe envisioning those after
his childhood where he'd head toc
Detroit to watch the Tigers.
As the years have gone by - a
grandpa has moved from East De
Grand Rapids to my family's hou
finally, into a retirement commun
simply has become harder and ha
him to indulge in the sports he se
His sight began to worsen, and1
ing followed close suit. But still, w
he could - for as long as he coul
sit and watch whatever sport wasc
turned up so he'd be able to at lea
game if he couldn't see it.
And yet some of my favorite m
of my times with him came durin
summer nights after he moved in}
Seven o'clock would roll aroun
Tigers' games would inevitably fi
way onto our TV and Grandpa wo
watch. And even though he woul
to see where I was in the room, he
the first to notice if the umpire ha
bad call in the game. I'd sit10 fee
to 94 more
and have to talk loudly so he could locate
me, but if a pitch grazed the outside corner,
he knew it.
I still haven't figured out how that worked.
My guess is that it worked because
- much like myself - the two things
that my grandpa has always been able to
count on are his family and sports. And
so sports have become part of his life-
style, part of his personality.
grandma A humble Italian man who grew up work-
e with ing to support his family, Grandpa doesn't
'ed in with open up about much. But, every once in a
it took him while, I've been able to get him to share
change. He some of his sports memories.
sed and In bits and pieces, I've heard him talk
st days about watching Willie Mays play or cheering
uietly in on the Lions when they were (gasp!) good
e. enough to challenge for the NFL title year
w weeks after year.
lorting There aren't that many people out there
oit Lions or who remember when that was the case.
ould grab And I think some of the happiest
nd take in moments he's had are probably when he's
gotten to combine those loves of sports
d afternoon and family - times like when he and my
held radio grandma would go watch me play hockey at
n to Ernie Joe Louis Arena or when he saw me make
ndow into a game-winning free throw during eighth
[what was grade basketball in Grand Rapids.
id that. I I know those are the times that have
ays gone meant the most to me.
noons from Today, my grandpa - Joseph Angelos-
downtown anto - turns 94.
There have been more athletic people
nd my born in the last 94 years, and it's those peo-
troit to ple who dominate the sports pages - names
se and now, like Barry Bonds and Hank Aaron and Jim
ity - it Brown and so on.
rder for But it's the people like Grandpa that make
ems to love sports what they really are.
Athletes always say that their sports are
his hear- nothing without the fans.
vhenever Well, Grandpa's one of the greatest fans
d - he'd I know. So, on his birthday, I'd just like to
on, volume take a moment to stop cheering the sports
st hear the stars that he and I both love so much and
iemories Because you can take away a man's sight
g those and his hearing, and even his ability to move
with us in around on his own, but you can't ever take
the love of sports out of him.
d, the Ninety-four great years, and here's hoping
nd their for 94 more, Grandpa.
ould sit and Maybe by that time, the Lions and Tigers
dn't be able will be good again.
e would be
d made a
t from him
Chris Burke can be reached at