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December 06, 2007 - Image 5

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The Michigan Daily, 2007-12-06

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The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

Thursday, December 6, 2007 - 5A

Guard
adjusts
to life
mA2
By IAN ROBINSON
Daily Sports Writer
At the beginning of the neason, freshman
Kelvin Grady admitted he wan behind the curve
in picking up Michigan coach John Beilien's
offense.
But he wan ahead of the curve in other fac-
ets.
Kelvin's older brother, junior Kevin Grady, is
a runninghback for the football team.
The older Grady was invaluable in helping his
younger brother adjust to life at Michigan. But
the jump to college also the chance to spend
more time with a family member whom he had
lived away from for more than two years.
Kevin enrolled in Ann Arbor a semester early,
in January 2005, to acclimate to college and
participate in spring practice. This extra time
in Ann Arbor meant less time with his younger
brother in Grand Rapids.
S Now the siblings are reunited and making up
Wfor lost time together.
The brothers eat meals. After study table,
Kelvin sometimes goes to his brother's to hang
out. He spends more time there on weekends,
though.
"It's obviously an advantage to have my
brother here," Kelvin said. "To be able to (call
him and say), 'Rev, come to where I am. Let's
rtalk face to face.'
"That face-to-face conversation and being
with your family members and being able to
relate, growing up in the same household, same
mom, same dad, pretty much made of the same
caliber. To be able to have him on campus is
great."
with his brother's experience, Kelvin avoid-
ed some of the issues that first-year students
typically face.
"He has the key," Kelvin said. "He's been here
for three years, so he's going to tell me the ins
and outs of what's going on."
On the court, Kevin can't help out as much.
But that didn't stop Kelvin from seeking out

On top line,
frosh shines

By MICHAEL EISENSTEIN
Daily Sports Writer
There are two reasons fresh-
man first-line forward Max
Pacioretty has gone relatively
unnoticed so far this season: his
linemates.
Kevin Porter is leading the
country in scoring with 26 points.
And alternate captain Chad
Kolarik is third in the country
with 22 of his own.
Pacioretty? He just scored
his fourth and fifth goals in the
Michigan hockey team's 4-2 win
over Ohio State Saturday.
His linemates have tallied
flashier statistics, and the New
Canaan, Conn., native isn't even
the team's highest-scoring fresh-
man.
But it'd be incorrect to say
Pacioretty, who towers over
the two 5-foot-11 seniors by at
least three inches, hasn't played
an integral part in Porter and
Kolarik's career-best seasons.
"He's a complementary player,"
Michigan coach Red Berenson
said. "He's given the line some
size and physical presence."
OK, physical presence might be
a slight understatement.
"He bangs everything that
moves," Kolarik repeated multiple
times. "He creates so much space
for Porter and me."
Between his YouTube-worthy
big hits, jawing after the whistle
and team-leading 11 penalties
(equivalent to spending half a
game in the penalty box), there's
no doubt that Pacioretty is a
bruiser.
With Porter and Kolarik
marked men facing up against
other teams'toplines,Pacioretty's
presence has helped the top line
score 32 of Michigan's 66 goals.
"We're both a little more offen-
sive and when we have more room
it helps us out a ton," Porter said.
"The bigger he is and the more
room he takes up, it gets us a little
bit more room to move around the

offensive zone."
His hard-hitting style made
a particularly big statement in
Michigan's series against Alas-
ka. In the closing minutes of the
game, Kolarik was hit hard on a
cheap shot in the neutral zone.
Not a blink of the eye later, Pacio-
retty was defending the alternate
captain.
"To stick up for a teammate ...
I respect that so much," Kolarik
said. "He was the first guy in there
and laid a couple of bombs on him.
I know if he didn't have a broken
wrist at the time he would've
fought him for sure."
The referees issued Pacioretty
a double minor and game miscon-
duct for the retaliation.
"He doesn't have to be told,"
Berenson said. "He knows to stick
up for his teammates."
The freshman's style of play
made him stand out to Berenson
as the team's "most physical for-
ward every night," but the first-
round draft pick's goal-scoring
ability didn't kick in until the sea-
son's sixth game, when Michigan
faced Boston University.
Playing with a cast on his bro-
ken wrist, Pacioretty was the last
of the six freshman forwards to
register a goal in the Maize and
Blue.
But Pacioretty hasn't stopped
scoring since then, and his shot
and stick handling look more con-
fident with the cast off, according
to Berenson. Pacioretty is now
fourth on the team in scoring
with 15 points - five goals and 10
assists.
This week, he was named
CCHA Rookie of the Month for
November.
"He's been a good two-way
player as a freshman, to be able
to come in and play (on the first
line)," Berenson said. "Think
about it. Porter's line every night
plays against the other team's top
line, and Maxhasbeenabletohold
his own in that department defen-
sively as well as offensively."

Freshman point guard Kelvin Grady has started all eight games this season and is averaging seven points and 2.6
assists per game.
advice elsewhere. that I would love him. We both came from a pro-
Before the season, Kelvin was curious about gram where Beilein was the type of coach that
what it was like to play on a John Beilein- would fit perfect in our program."
coached team. Taking what he learned from his brother
So he called his former teammate from East and his high school teammate, Kelvin has had a
Grand Rapids High School, Jamie Smalligan, smooth transition into college basketball.
who played for Beilein at West Virginia. Smal- He has started every game this season, dis-
ligan actually transferred to West Virginia to playing a quickness and shot that's making
play for Beilein. Michigan fans excited for the next four years of
"(Jamie) said he loved him," Grady said, "and basketball in Ann Arbor.

With help of team, Bass fights through illness

By ANDY REID
Daily Sports Writer
Some mornings, it's hard for sophomore
point guard Sireece Bass to get out of bed
and make it to class. Although this may be a
common occurrence for any college student,
Bass's struggles are caused by more than just
laziness or a hangover.
Her joints throb with pain, fatigue easily
takes hold and she sometimes struggles to
breathe.
And on top of all that, Bass has to suit up
for basketball practice in the afternoon.
But she just presses on.
As a budding women's basketball star at
Detroit's Pershing High School, Bass was
invited to play in a Nike Skills Camp in India-
napolis after a sensational sophomore season.
But while at the camp, Bass fell ill.
Before beginning her junior year of high
school, she was diagnosed with lupus, a dis-
ease in which the immune system attacks
healthy cells and tissue, resulting in inflam-
mation and tissue damage.
In Bass's case, the effects are tender and
sore joints - especially her knees - and
trouble breathing from inflammation in her
chest.
The situation became life-threatening
when her kidney failed toward the end of the
summer.
Exhausted, weak and in far too much pain
to play basketball, Bass was forced to sit out
from the game she loved.
"At first, I was really negative about the
situation," Bass said. "I couldn't understand
why it happened to me. I asked all the ques-
tions that anybody would ask when they had
an illness. I was mad because I couldn't play,
mad because I couldn't do normal things and
mad because I had to be hospitalized. I was
angry about a lot of things."
Without basketball in her life, Bass
could've let her ailment get the best of her.
But she never gave in to the difficulty of her

situation. It has become a common theme in
her life. No matter how hard she has to work,
Bass won't ever let up.
Even though she didn't play at all during
her junior season, Bass recovered in time to
make an impact on the AAU circuit through-
out the summer.
Myriad basketball camps welcomed her
that summer, including the Adidas All-Amer-
ican Camp, where she blew away the compe-
tition on her way to being recognized as one
of the camp's top-10 players.
With the accolades pouring in, few real-
ized how much Bass's condition still affected
her.
While her kidney was back to normal with
the help ofmedication, lupus itself is an incur-
able disease. Some days, Bass can compete at
the top of her game. On others, she's forced to
battle the fatigue, aches and pains that come
with the illness.
It would be easy for Bass to quit on those
rough days, but basketball is something she
will always need in her life.
"I was away from (basketball) for about
three or four months," Bass said. "That was
the worst three or four months of my life.
I just couldn't step away from it. ... I had a
really good AAU season, so I thought I could
make some stuff happen on the college level,
and I decided to give ita try."
The natural choice for Bass was to wear
Maize and Blue. Bass said that former Michi-
gan coach Cheryl Burnett had contacted her
before the diagnosis and remained dedicated
to the young point guard despite her illness.
So, by the time she outperformed the rest
of the field in AAU, Burnett and the Wolver-
ines already stuck out in Bass's mind because
they never gave up on her.
Even though Burnett had actively pursued
Bass, she wasn't always certain the Detroit
native could recover enough to play at the
college level.
"We watched her play in AAU and in the
Adidas camp against the very best players in

the country, and due to the evaluation, we
accepted her verbal (commitment), knowing
that compromises would have to be made,"
Burnettsaid. "We didn'tknowtowhatextent,
but neither did she at that point."
Current coach Kevin Borseth said at Mich-
igan Media Day that he hadn't yet experi-
enced how much Bass's disability affects her
ability to play on the court. But he has had
players with medical issues before, so he's
ready to handle the added challenges.
"How do you describe it?" Borseth said.
"Those kids are of a pretty tough breed. They
really are. And again, I knew Sireece has dif-
ficulty with lupus, butI really haven't experi-
enced any of that yet."
Although she has contributed to the team,
Bass missed numerous practices and games
last season with what Burnett referred to as
"bad days" when Bass's joints were very sore.
"She wishes she was at 100 percent," Bur-
nett said. "She loves to play. She struggles
with the fact that she knows she can play at
a higher level."
But Bass isn't about to let her condition get
her discouraged.
"Regardless of how I feel, coach is going
to evaluate me the same as someone that's
healthy," Bass said.
Fortunately for Bass, she has encouraging
teammates to help her through tough times.
And while her teammates always help her
with her bad days, Bass's reluctance to quit
inspires those around her to play at the top
of their game.
"She encourages me to do better with my
life," sophomore LeQuisha Whitfield said.
"The (Iowa) game (last year), Sireece could
hardly breathe and she still wanted to play.
She's inspiring because it's like, if she can
fight through something like that, I can fight
through anything that comes at me."
While Sireece Bass's condition may some-
times impede her on the court, she'll never
let it get to her spirit.
She just presses on.

Sophomore Sireece Bass became ill at the Nike Skills Camp after her sophomore year of high
school. She has been battling Lupus ever since.

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