November 10, 2005
sports. michigandaily. com
- - ----- . . ... ........... .. - -----------
By Robert Kaitz
For the Daily
Pistons are still
beast of the East
T he world's best basketball team the game who's never tried to play the
plays in Auburn Hills. slow-it-down, grind-it-out, overwhelm-
I'll say it just four games into ingly defensive style that characterizes
the season. Brown's teams.
You see, the Pistons - despite win- As a matter of fact, the chief com-
ning the 2004 NBA Finals and making plaint from the squad's critics over the
it back to the championship round last past few years has been that watching a
year - might actually be Pistons game ranked some-
better than ever this time where between studying
around. for final exams and eating
Sure, the Pistons' season dorm food on the fun scale.
is young, but if you've seen But these detractors - and
any of their contests so far, I know plenty of students
you've probably noticed who fall into this category
some changes. Changes, - have no reason to whine
believe it or not, for the anymore.
better. I don't mean to take any-
This isn't Larry Brown's GABE thing away from Brown.
team anymore. The Pistons' He's clearly an excellent
nomadic former coach is EDELSON coach, and he probably pos-
mired on the bench in New Honest Cabe sesses the best X's and O's
Rivalries always have the unique way of bringing
out the best in both teams. The crowd was rocking,
the music from the band was blaring, and emotions
were running high at Cliff Keen Arena last night for
the volleyball team's game against Michigan State.
In a highly competitive match, the Wolverines dis-
patched Michigan State behind a vocal, enthusiastic
crowd in three games, 30-26, 33-31, 30-27.
With the victory, the Wolverines clinch the 2005
State Pride Series, having already won the first match
in East Lansing by a score of 3-2. The win returns
Michigan to the .500 mark for the season, with a 12-
12 overall record (6-9 Big Ten).
Junior Danielle Pflum and sophomore captain
Lyndsay Miller paced the Michigan offense with 14
kills apiece behind great passing from redshirt fresh-
man setter Mara Martin, who picked up an impres-
sive 44 assists. Sophomore libero Stesha Selsky led
the defensive effort with 14 digs.
Although many Wolverines put up huge individual
statistics in the victory, Michigan coach Mark Rosen
contributes the great performance to a collective
effort, and the players agree.
"We stuck together as a team and played great vol-
leyball," Pflum said.
The second game was filled with drama, and the
Spartans gradually built a 19-14 lead capped off by
sophomore Katie Johnson's kill. After Rosen called a
timeout, Michigan State (4-11 Big Ten, 11-14 overall)
moved out to leads of 22-14 and 27-20. It looked as if
the home team would head into the locker room tied
at 1-1, but Michigan rebounded.
"Everybody stayed positive, and we took it point
by point," Selsky said. "Looking at each point indi-
vidually helped us get back into the game."
The Wolverines inched back into the game behind
great offense from Miller and Pflum, who had four
kills and three kills, respectively, during the come-
"Winning, that second game was huge," Rosen
said. "It gave us a big cushion for the third game to
In contrast to the second game, the first game
was close from start to finish. Michigan State went
on a 4-0 run to open up a 19-17 lead, but Michigan
responded and held a slim 23-22 lead before Spartan
coach Kathy George called a timeout. The Wolver-
York, where he's enjoying
his "dream job" at the helm of the hap-
less 0-4 Knicks while working along-
side former Bad Boy and current bad
front-office executive Isiah Thomas. In
Brown's old spot is Flip Saunders, who
is everything his predecessor wasn't.
Flip has transformed this team's
personality. While the players remain
largely the same, they're actually
- gasp! - putting the ball in the basket
at an above-average pace. The Pistons
rank fifth in the league in scoring, aver-
aging over 102 points per game. That's
nearly 10 points better than last season's
average. Not exactly ugly basketball
The defense has remained predict-
ably stellar. The Pistons rank second
in defense, allowing just 85 a tilt. The
newfound offense and the smothering
defense have already combined to pro-
duce some serious blowouts. Tuesday
night's road win over the Sacramento
King's was the team's first in ARCO
Arena since 1996. The Pistons aren't
treading water or sinking from their
place among the NBA's elite. Instead,
they're moving forward.
Saunders is a (relatively) younger,
more dynamic players' coach who
refrains from ruling with Brown's iron
fist. He's an offensive-minded student of
mind in all of basketball. The
Pistons might very well not have their
diamond-encrusted world championship
rings without him.
But something tells me that Saun-
ders is a better fit for this year's team
than Brown would've been. Brown has
a reputation for molding young play-
ers into seasoned veterans and pushing
teams over the hump. That's just what
the Pistons needed when the team hired
Brown in 2003. Now that the players
- most of whom have played together
for several years - have extended post-
season experience, leadership abilities
and exceptional chemistry, the laid-back
Saunders has become the other half of a
match made in heaven.
Joe Dumars, the team's president of
basketball operations, has continued to
further his reputation with a near-spot-
less record of shrewd and well-timed
moves. Acquiring swingman Maurice
Evans, a bit player on last year's Kings,
has already paid immediate dividends.
When I heard about the signing a couple
months ago, I didn't expect Evans to
bring much to the table. Let's face it:
A player who averages six points and
three rebounds with an unrecognizable
name isn't usually something to get
excited about. But through the season's
See EDELSON, page 16A
Sophomore captain Lyndsay Miller recorded 14 kills in Michigan's 3-0 win over Michigan State last night.
ines finished the game strong, with huge kills from
Michigan carried the momentum from the sec-
ond-game comeback into the third game, quick-
ly building an 8-3 lead. But Michigan State did
not raise the white flag, and the Spartans pulled
within two. With Michigan ahead 8-6, the teams
put together an extended rally, which ended in an
emphatic kill by Miller. The Spartans clawed back
into the game, and they remained close until the
Wolverines pulled out the victory in the end. Fit-
tingly, the match ended on a powerful Pflum spike,
sending the crowd home happy.
Rosen is thrilled with the way his team is currently
"While the win is important, I like that we are
playing our best right now even more," Rosen said.
Behind great leadership from captains Katie Bru-
zdzinski and Erin Cobler, many Wolverines are step-
See SPARTANS, page 16A
WO MENS CROSS COUNTRY
No carbs, no problem for Gjesdal in her transition to 'M'
By Katie Field
For the Daily
Carbo loading - the guiltless, pre-race con-
sumption of carbohydrate-heavy foods like
breads and pastas that keep runners going dur-
ing challenging endurance events.
It could arguably be the best part of being a
But Ana Gjesdal, a fifth-year senior on the
Michigan women's cross country team, has
never been able to experience this usually
essential starch-induced bliss. But don't think
for a minute she's let it stop her.
For Gjesdal, her allergy to Gluten - which
requires her to eliminate most grains from her
diet - has never been more than a slight incon-
venience. This may come as a surprise to those
who wonder where she gets her energy to com-
pete at such a high level. Gjesdal not only runs
without carbohydrates, but she also runs more
miles per week - an average of 80 - than
almost anyone on the team.
"I never believed in carbo loading," Gjesdal
said. "Since I can't have what would be consid-
ered traditional runner food, I make sure what I
do eat is full of nutrients."
The California native has faced other obsta-
cles, but as a runner and a student she always
tries to turn things around and make the best
out of a difficult situation.
After high school, Gjesdal was registered
and ready to start at Michigan, but financial
situations arose that prevented her from attend-
ing. Instead she entered Glendale Community
College in California with enough AP credits to
finish her associates' degree in one year rather
than two. This unique experience is something
Gjesdal's teammates find interesting about her.
"She comes from a different background,"
said senior captain Rebecca Walter, who has
been Gjesdal's early-morning running partner.
"She didn't discover she was a great runner
until then. She ran a marathon prior to coming
to college. I think it was more developmental
for her, and I'm impressed that she was able to
Gjesdal said she was only an average run-
ner in high school, and she used her year at
community college to gain valuable experi-
ence that eventually enabled her to walk-on
to the Michigan team the following year when
her improved financial situations allowed her
move to Ann Arbor.
Now a master's student studying sports man-
agement, Gjesdal is enjoying her final year on
the team. Her success at Michigan has been the
result of hard work and her ability to overcome
less than ideal situations. Coach Mike McGuire
has observed this in Gjesdal throughout her
career at Michigan.
"More than anything, I'm really proud of the
commitment she's made to both her running
and academics," McGuire said. "Ana is really
someone who maximized what Michigan has
to offer by putting her max effort into every-
thing she's done."
Gjesdal can best explain her success.
"I'd rather run than anything," she said. "It's
not something I feel like I have to do. It's some-
thing I really want to do."
0 MENS BASKETBALL
Sims, Morris commit to Blue
I UMM =
By Scott Bell
Daily Sports Writer
With up to seven players leaving at the end of this
season, the Michigan men's basketball team faces the
daunting task of refilling its roster for years to come.
The process began positively yesterday when the Wol-
verines inked their first two
recruits for the 2006-07 season.
Michigan native DeShawn
Sims heads Michigan coach
Tommy Amaker's fifth recruit-
ing class. The senior at Detroit's
Pershing High School was a five-
star recruit courted by some of
the nation's top teams: Connecti-
cut, Illinois, Kentucky, Michigan
State and Syracuse.
Joining Sims will be K'Len Sims
Morris. Also an in-state recruit,
Morris should contribute to the
Wolverines' perimeter attack in
the upcoming years. The 6-foot-
4 shooting guard from Grand:
Blanc was a three-star recruit ..
and chose Michigan over schools
such as Purdue and Missouri.
"We are extremely excited that
these two young men will be a
part of the Michigan basketball Mois
program," Amaker said in a
statement yesterday. "Both play-
ers are versatile with outstanding athletic ability and
commitment to academics. We think they will have a,
very promising future here at Michigan."
After being named to the AP Class A All-State team
last year, both Sims and Morris will try to carry their
respective high schools to Class A state championships
in their senior seasons this year. Both are projected to
be candidates for Michigan's Mr. Basketball award.
Junior Dion Harris was the last Mr. Basketball award
winner to commit to Michigan and is the only one to
commit since 1995.
Sims averaged 21.4 points, 11.0 rebounds and 3.0
blocks last year while leading Pershing to the state quar-
terfinals, where it lost to now-Michigan freshman Jerrett
Smith's Romulus team. The 6-foot-8 Sims is expected to
be a small forward by most scouting agencies. His versa-
tility has been praised because he has shown the ability
to score from both the block and the perimeter. He's been
ranked as high as No. 6 in the nation at his position and
No. 19 overall. Almost all scouts place him within the
top-50 recruits in the nation.
Morris is listed as the No. 139 overall player by
RivalsHoops 2006 and as the No. 38 shooting guard.
He averaged 14.9 points, 6.9 rebounds, 3.2 assists and
2.5 steals during his junior year at Grand Blanc, which
went to its first regional championship game in over 50
"As a coach, when you're recruiting and trying to put
together your team, you certainly think of (balance),"
Amaker said during Michigan Media Day. "I think we
have a good mixture and balance with our club."
The addition of the two soon-to-be Wolverines will help
fill the void left by the outgoing seniors this year and main-
tain the balance that Amaker alluded to. Michigan will lose
key contributors Daniel Horton, Chris Hunter and Graham
Brown to graduation. Also likely to leave next year are co-
captain Sherrod Harrell, Amadou Ba and fifth-year seniors
Troy Sanchez and Hayes Grooms.
... &Y . . <. a .P.s .f,.