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December 05, 2007 - Image 8

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The Michigan Daily, 2007-12-05

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8A - Wednesday, December 5, 2007 The Michigan Daily - michigandailycom

Michigan's GLI
roster raided by
national teams

By NATE SANDALS
Daily Sports Editor
Come Christmas, most members
of the Michigan hockey team will
have three letters on their mind
- G, L and L
By then, NOTEBOOK
Michigan will be
in full preparation for the annual
year-end Great Lakes Invitational
at Joe Louis Arena.
But for a trio of Wolverines, three
other letters will be at the forefront
- U, S and A.
Sophomore Chris Summers and
freshmen Max Pacioretty and Matt
Rust were named last night to the
United States roster for the Inter-
national Ice Hockey Federation's
World Junior Championships,
which runs from Dec. 26 to Jan. 5
in the Czech Republic.
Even though their sweaters will
be red, white and blue, the Wolver-
ines know they'll be showcasing
two additional colors during the
tournament - maize and blue.
"Aside from representing our
country, I want to be able to rep-
resent Michigan with Chris and
Matt," Pacioretty said.
Michigan coach Red Berenson
is used to losing some of his top
under-20 talent for the GLI, atour-
nament Michigan hasn't won since
1996.
While Berenson never discour-
ages players from playing for their
national teams in tournaments
as big as the World Juniors, the
absences certainly make his job
more difficult.
"There was a year that we had a
player that didn't want to go and I
convinced him that he should go,"
Berenson said "It would be a good
experience for him and it was OK
for Michigan, and we won the GLI
then. That was a long time ago, but
since then, we haven't won it."

Berenson knows firsthand how
valuable experience in the World
Juniors and other premier tour-
naments can be. Berenson took a
semester off as a freshman at Mich-
igan to play for the Canadian team
at the World Tournament. Even
today,Berensonisgladhis coachAl
Renfrew, and then-Athletic Direc-
tor Fritz Crisler encouraged him to
participate in the tournament.
Summers and Rust have experi-
ence playing internationally from
their time as members of the U.S.
National Team Development Pro-
gram. Pacioretty played interna-
tionally three summers ago as a
member of the Under-18 Select
Team, coincidentally in the Czech
Republic.
The list of absentees from the
GLI isn't limited to the trio skating
for the Stars and Stripes. Freshman
CarlHagelinhas aspot on Sweden's
roster.
Even though the United States
and Sweden are on different sides
of the bracket, the mere possibility
of playing his teammate on a world
stage brings a smile to Rust's face.
"Carl's the type of kid that will
start talking to you in the middle
of the game," Rust said. "He'll just
strike upa conversation."
Notes: After a monster month in
November, two members of Mich-
igan's top-line received conference
awards. Senior captain Kevin Por-
ter was named the RBC Financial
Group CCHA Player of the Month.
The nation's scoring leader posted
18 points in nine games, a span in
which the Wolverines posted an 8-
1-0 record.
Porter's freshmanlinemate, Max
Pacioretty, was named the CCHA
Rookie of the Month. The Montreal
Canadiens' first-round pick in this
year's NHL Entry Draft posted 10
points in Michigan's nine Novem-
ber games.

0

Junior Zach Putnam and the Wolverines will take on the Mets in February as part of the Major League club's springtraining.
Big Ten v Big Apple
Michigan will travel to Port St. Lucie, Fla., to play
the New York Mets in a February exhibition game

By ANDY REID coach Rich Maloney has continu-
Daily Sports Writer ously said he wanted to recruit
withinthe state before looking out-
Watch out, New York Mets. side of the Wolverines' backyard.
The Michigan baseball team is If Michigan's 2007 early signees
comingto town. are any indication, Maloney has
The Wolverines have been begun to spread his recruiting
scheduled to play the perennial base.
National League power in an exhi- Of the seven future Wolverines,
bition game Feb. three are from out of state. Coley
26 in sunny Port NOTEBOOK Crank of Berkeley, Calif., will be
St. Lucie, Fla., traveling the farthest from home.
during New York's spring train- Crank has a solid reputation as a
ing. big power hitter - just imagine
Although junior Zach Putnam the name-related puns the Michi-
isn't expecting too much from gan fanbase could use if that repu-
the game, he says the team is very tation follows him into The Fish.
excited for the opportunity. John Lorenz from Frankfort,
"It should be a lot of fun," Put- Ill., is the No. 8 prospect from the
nam said. "I think it's something state of Illinois. Maloney called
that Michigan baseball has never the shortstop an "outstanding
had the chance to do, so it'll be infield prospect."
exciting to go down there. Ann Arbor's own Bobby Bros-
"I'm not really sure (what to nahan will don the Maize and
expect). I know that we probably Blue, too. The pitcher garnered
won't be up against the playoff all-state second-team honors as a
Mets and we're going to be throw- junior at Pioneer High School.
ing a lot of guys, but it'd be a nice Pitcher Brandon Sinnery
feather in our cap if we got a win." (Franklin, Mass.), shortstop Kevin
Many schools with big baseball Krantz (Traverse City) and pitch-
programs schedule exhibition ers Kevin Vangheluwe (St. Claire
games with Major League teams. Shores) and Tyler Mills (Mt.
Florida State, for example, has Pleasant) also signed their respec-
played the Philadelphia Phillies tive letters of intent.
each of the last two seasons. "We're excited about the
NEW WOLVERINES: Michigan incoming recruits that we'll have

for next season," Maloney said
through the athletic department.
"We've got some outstanding
arms in this class and very tal-
ented athletes, so we've continued
our trend ofrecruitingmulti-sport
athletes who are versatile and can
fill several different roles. We feel
really good about each of these
kids and think they will make a
difference for Michigan baseball
in the future."
The early signees will join
Michigan's roster for the 2009
season.
CROSS COUNTY: Michigan
assistant coach Jake Boss has left
Ann Arbor for greener pastures.
Eastern Michigan green, that
is:
The Wolverines' recruiting
coordinator accepted the head-
coaching job on Washtenaw Ave-
nue. Boss served as an outfield,
catching and hitting coach during
his three seasons at Michigan.
"Jake has done an outstanding
job for us as recruiting coordina-
tor," Maloney said though the ath-
letic department. "We are excited
for him and his family to have this
opportunity. Eastern Michigan is
getting a good man who is ready
to make this nextstep. I knowhe'll
do a good job for them."
Boss, who was an assistant at

Eastern Michigan before he joined
theWolverines'staff,istakingover
for now-retired Roger Coryell.
"When we started the process
of searching for a new head base-
ball coach, the name Jake Boss
was at the top of our list," Eastern
Michigan Athletic Director Der-
rick Gragg said through the Eagles'
athletic department. "Coach Boss
had tremendous support from the
entire baseball community, and
we are excited that he willbe join-
ing the Eastern Michigan Univer-
sity athletics staff."
STADIUM UPDATE: Construc-
tion on The Fish started immedi-
ately after the Wolverines hosted
the Big Ten Tournament last sea-
son, which prevented them from
having home-field advantage for
the Super Regionals.
But if the construction stays on
track,itwillpayoffinthe longrun.
Michigan could host a Regional of
next year's NCAA Tournament.
"We couldn't be happier with
the new facilities," Putnam
said. "Every time I drive by it
there's always something new,
and they're that closer to being
finished. I think the only thing
Michigan baseball has been lack-
ing compared to some of the elite
programs in the South is great
facilities."

a

Former commit to
leave Kentucky

By DAN FELDMAN
Daily Sports Writer
Last November, the Rivals.com
No. 18 recruiting class committed
to Michigan on the first day of the
early signing period.
But the trio of Alex Legion (four
stars), Manny Harris (four stars)
and Kelvin Grady (three stars)
made for just a flash-in-the-pan
buzz.
Legion decommitted in favor of
Kentucky after Tommy Amaker's
firing, and the Wolverines left
Rivals.com's top 30.
The Wolverines have never been
ranked in any of the top classes
Rivals.com has listed (2003-2008).
Now, there's more movement
among this year's original class.
Legion, who was averaging 6.7
points in 17 minutes per game and
had played in all six of the Wild-
cats' games, including starting
two, decided to transfer Monday
night.
"It's unfortunate and not what I
wanted to hear, but I understand,"
Wildcat coach Billy Gillispie said
through the Kentucky Athletic
Department. "We met with Alex
and his mother Friday, and she
informed us of her desire to seek
a release for her son. Shortly after
that meeting, Alex told me that
he still wanted to be a part of our
program. He played in the game
against North Carolina Saturday
and seemed happy when I spoke
with him Sunday."
It's ironic that Legion's mother,
Annette, could be the driving force
behind her son's transfer given her
comments just a few months ago.
"I had no clue Kentucky was
a basketball school, no clue,"
Annette told the Lexington Her-
ald-Leader in September. "But God
knew. ... Me being a prophet, he
has truly ordered my son's steps....
I'm a prophet ... someone who can

prophesize about your future and
what's going on in your life.
"The Lord has shown me:
They're going to the Final Four ...
providing they play together. ... I
have spoken these things into exis-
tence.... It's not by accident that my
son is here and now the Final Four
is in Michigan."
Rumors have swirled about
Legion, an Inkster native, consid-
ering the Maize and Blue again.
But there is a question of whether
Legion, who decommitted twice
from Michigan and has a bit of a
reputation of being a team cancer,
would be welcomed back by Mich-
igan coach John Beilein and the
Wolverines.
Legion would fit well on the
court with the other two-thirds of
the original class, Michigan's cur-
rent starting backcourt.
Harris leads the team in points
(16.6), assists (3.1) and steals (1.9)
and is second in rebounds (4.3).
Grady averages seven points per
game and has a team-best 2.6
assist-to-turnover ratio.
"I think Manny Harris and
Grady, the two freshmen kids,
are going to be tremendous," said
Amaker, who recruited the pair,
after his Harvard squad beat Mich-
igan. "I think you see the impact
of a Manny Harris, how good he's
going to be, and how good he is.
He's fearless, and he's a leader."
But for the Wolverines (3-5),
it's obvious Harris and Grady will
need help as the program goes for-
ward. Legion's ability to drive and
shoot the 3-pointer would open
things up for Harris and Grady in
Beilein's offense.
"I want to bring the tradition
back," Legion said last winter
when committed to Michigan. "I
think that's why (Manny and I)
decided to stay in the state - to
bring Michigan basketball back to
the top."

Borseth searches for the perfect starting lineup

By ANTHONY OLIVEIRA
Daily Sports Writer
Michigan women's basketball coach Kevin
Borseth has always emphasized the next play.
But after several slow starts, maybe the
focus should shift to the first play.
And the first play is only as good as the
starting lineup.
In Michigan's loss against Notre Dame
Sunday, Borseth stared sophomore Krista
Phillips in place of junior Carly Benson. He
made the move to get more rebounds and
scoring in the paint.
While Phillips reached one objective (tying
the game-high at eight rebounds), she, as well
as senior Ta'Shia Walker, struggled to take
control inside on offense.
Although the switch didn't provide the
offensive spark Michigan needed, Borseth is
committed to finding his lineup.
"It takes time," Borseth said after the 77-
46 loss. "That's why we're going tolet these
five kids figure it out. They'll learn to play as
a group cohesively. As long as the other nine
players that are watching them support them,
they're goingto be all right. They're going to
figure it out."
Much of the figuring out has already hap-
pened in the backcourt. Junior Jessica Min-
nfield, senior captain Janelle Cooper and
senior captain Krista Clement have started all
six games this season.
Since each of the guards average more than
30 minutes on the court, Borseth has made
this part of the lineup pretty clear.
The clarity is refreshing compared to last
year's indecision.
Former Michigan coach Cheryl Burnett
used 14 starting lineups last season and
played no Wolverine more than 26 minutes
per game. No lineup lasted more than four
games.
Borseth, on the other hand, doesn't believe

in changing the lineup all too often. His first
starting lineup lasted five games. He explains
that messingtoo much with the starters just
creates confusion and a lack of confidence.
With the three guards outside, all the Wol-
verines have left is wondering what works
best down low.
As of now, the only lock seems to be
Walker. What she lacks in her size, she makes
up for with basketball IQ, which Borseth fre-
quently commends.
But who should join her?
The candidates seem to be junior Stephanie
Skrba, Phillips and Benson.
Benson, who started in the season's first
five games, has the ability to be an inside-
outside threat. Benson lead the Wolverines in
field goals and 3-pointers made last season.
But her recent struggles with rebounding and
shooting (33.3 percent from the field) hold her
back.
A 6-foot-6 center, Phillips provides a threat
to post defenders, but she struggles to go
toward the basket, opting to pass the ball back
out on the perimeter too often. Borseth said
the way to cure this is by getting her more
touches down low. But Phillips needs to help
herself by not picking up unnecessary fouls.
Skrba shoots well but at times seems timid
with the ball during games. At 6-foot-2 and
with tremendous leaping ability, she could
be the answer to the Wolverine's rebounding
woes. Before the Notre Dame game, Skrba,
not Phillips, was Michigan's leader on the
boards.
But no matter whom Michigan chooses,
Borseth said the situation will play itself out.
"We're goingto stay the course," Borseth
said. "We're goingto do what we do, do what-
ever it takes and just don't make any excuses
and keep on going."
And with the last few blowouts coming
as a harsh reality, Walker understands that
Borseth's process to get the right combination

U
I
6
a

SeniorTa'Shia Walker has secured a starting front-
court spot. Who will join her?
takes time.
"He's tryingto see matchups, see who plays
well with whom," Walker said. "I know me
and KP have really had the opportunity to
play together the last couple weekends when
we originally weren't goingto play together
at all."
But once the five start playing together,
Borseth is sure the Wolverines will get it.
"If we play five kids for the rest of the year,
those five kids are goingto figure it out,"
Borseth said. "And I guarantee you, I promise
you, at the end of this year, you're goingto see
a different team."

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