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January 15, 2008 - Image 8

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8 - Tuesday, January 15, 2008

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

I

AIR CANADA
Shepherd takes off in win

By DAN FELDMAN
Daily Sports Writer
EVANSTON - Jevohn Shepherd knew what
he wanted to contribute this year.
"I just wanted to instill winning," the junior
said before the season. "In
previous years, upperclass- NOTEBOOK
men didn't assume that role.
They had other, individual goals, more than
team-oriented goals."
When given the chance, Shepherd did his
best to reverse that. In his first start of the sea-
son Saturday at Northwestern, the Michigan
men's basketball team snapped a five-game los-
ing streak. Shepherd's energy was clearly con-
tagious.
In the game's first four minutes, he made
two jump shots, grabbed two steals and took a
charge to help the Wolverines build a 9-2 lead.
Shepherd started in place of senior Ron Cole-
man, who missed the first game of his career
- ending a streak of 114 consecutive games.
Coleman injured his ankle against Indiana
Tuesday but said he plans to play Wednesday
at Illinois.
Although Shepherd played just 8.4 minutes
per game last year, his teammates' confidence
in him didn't waver.
"He justreally didn't get the opportunitylast
year because of some issues with the seniors,
and how everything played out," sophomore
DeShawn Sims said before the season. "I think
this is the time where he's goingto show people
what he can really do."
And Shepherd did it all. He finished with eight
points, five assists, four rebounds, three steals, a
block and just one turnover in 26 minutes.
JUST LIKE RUDY: As his team went through
practice last week without Coleman, it
occurred to Michigan coach John Beilein that
his team was a couple injuries away from a cri-
sis at small forward.
After a string of defections, a dismissal, and
an injury, Michigan finally beefed up its active
roster. Pete Burak, a team manager, dressed
for Saturday's game but didn't play. The sopho-
more wore No. 53.
"I have envisioned it so many times, it was
almost like second nature," said Burak, who
went to Ann Arbor Gabriel Richard High
School. "It was such a thrill. I don't know how
else to explain it. It was just so much fun."
Burak, who spent his childhood watch-
ing the Fab Five and dreaming of donning the
maize and blue, found out Friday that he would
join the roster and promptly called everyone he
knew.
"He was very happy," Beilein said. "The
team's happy for him. I know that was great for
him to warm up out there."
Burak, who excelled in the preseason timed
mile, plays small forward on the scout team.

'M' defensemen,
long quiet, pick
up scoring slack
By ANDY REID the Wolverine defenders doubled
Daily Sports Writer their season-long goal output.
Sophomore Chris Summers also
KALAMAZOO - Chad Kolarik lit the lamp Friday.
and Kevin Porter are putting up "During our three-on-three
the kind of rushes in practice, we're supposed
numbers to curl back and hit the weakside
most coaches 'D' coming in late," Kolarik said.
only dream "Quick had a goal like that. It's a
about. textbook play. We've been work-
And the ing on it for a long time now."
Michigan The defenders adapted to the
hockeyteam's Bronco pressure Saturday, playing
opponents QUICK more aggressively on offense. Sev-
finally seem eral times, they came as far as the
to be figuring that out. crease to help the attack. While
Several times in the Wolver- it wasn't as effective on the stat
ines' 5-1 win at Western Michigan sheet - Michigan defenders tal-
Saturday night, Bronco forwards lied just one goal -- it gave Kolarik
crashed down in their own zone and the rest of the offense more
to help their defensemen. That left support down low.
Michigan's blueliners alone at the Kolarik used the help to record
top of the zone while the Wolver- a career-high four goals, a feat that
ine forwards fought a 5-on-3 dis- propelled him to CCHA Offensive
advantage down low. Player of the Week honors.
Western Michigan experi- "We're trying to get our 'D' to
mented with this aggressive style join the rush more," Michigan
of defense partly because the coach Red Berenson said. "Not to
Wolverines have tallied less-than- lead the rush, but to join the rush,
spectacular offensive numbers so that if the forwards run into a
from the blueline so far this sea- lot of resistance, they can move it
son. back to the 'D."'
Coming into last weekend, Although having the defenders
defensemen had accounted for play closer to the net helped cre-
just three goals all season. At this ate scoring chances for the Wol-
point last year, Michigan defense- verines, it also opened things up a
men had scored more than three little in the other direction.
times that many. Three times when the Michi-
With so much of the Broncos' gan defense jumped deeper into
concentration focused on slowing the Western Michigan zone, the
down seniors Porter and Kolarik Broncos stole the puck, leaving
- an effort that proved fruitless goaltender Billy Sauer between
as the duo tallied six total goals in the net and an easy scoring chance
two games against Western Mich- for Western Michigan.
igan - the Michigan defensemen Fortunately for the Wolverines,
were had plenty of wide-open Sauer shut down each breakaway
looks at the net. attempt. Berenson said the best
And they didn't pass up the way to defend againstthose break-
chance to contribute. aways is smarter puck handling.
Friday, Kevin Quickbecame the "They had nothing to do with
first of Michigan four freshman the defensemen coming up,"
defensemen to notch a goal this Berenson said. "But they've got to
season. Kolarik, having trouble trust that the forward's going to
breaking the Bronco pressure, do the right thing with the puck,
dished the puck to Quick, who and if he's not sure, he should just
had jumped up higher in the zone stay back."
than usual. He hesitated slightly, If the production from Kolarik
looked to pass then ripped a shot and Porter slows downinthe com-
past Western Michigan goalie ingweeks - emphasis onthe"if"-
Riley Gill. the Wolverines have found a solid
Quick followed up his first- offensive solution. To paraphrase
career goal with another one Sat- the old adage, the best offense is a
urday. By the end of the weekend, result of good defense.

Junior Jevohn Shepherd took advantage of his first career start, helping the Wolverines secure a781
over Northwestern. The Toronto native had eight points, five assists, four rebounds and three steals.

"He's 6-1, but we're probably lying," Beilein
said.
COBLE CONTROL: Northwestern forward
Kevin Coble torched the Wolverines for 34
points. The sophomore entered the game as the
Wildcats' third-leading scorer, averaging 13
point per game.
"He's got that Larry Bird type of 'now I'm

here, and now I'm not,' " Beilein said. "There
were a couple times where he just turned, and
everybody in the gym believes he's going to
shoot it, except him."
Beilein said he won't use tape of this game to
get his players to focus on how to guard Coble.
Rather, he'll try to get them to emulate Coble's
offensive style.

Blue learning to win
the close games

With strong work ethic, Cameron
overcomes lei ailment to thrive for 'M'

By ANTHONY OLIVEIRA
Daily Sports Writer
Close Big Ten games were few
and far between for the Michigan
women's basketball team in past
seasons.
But for the
second consecu- NOTEBOOK
tive game, the
Wolverines found themselves in a
tight one against Michigan State
on Sunday.
Last Thursday against Purdue,
Michigan struggled at the end of
the game and failed to close out a
win. With a one-point advantage
and 4:17 on the clock, the Wolver-
ines squandered opportunities
and couldn't secure its first Big
Ten road win in four seasons.
But on Sunday, in front of a
record Crisler Arena crowd,
Michigan made the most of its
chances to seal the win over
Michigan State, 63-49. Rather
than trying to keep pace with the
opposition, the Wolverines dic-
tated play in the final minutes.
The big win came down to big
shots. After holding a 46-45 lead
with 6:10 left, Michigan extended
its cushion to 12 in the next four
minutes.
"When they get in games, good
players - players that have done
it before, players that are winners
- find a way to put the ball in the
basket down the stretch," Michi-
gan coach Kevin Borseth said.
If there was anything to com-
plain about in the Wolverines'
closing minutes, it their rushed
play on offense. At one point,
sophomore Krista Phillips had
control of the ball in the corner,
only to toss an ill-advised pass to
the other side of the court where
no one was waiting.
STICKING TO STARTERS:
Using the bench is supposed to
reveal a team's depth.

But ever since he played in bar-
league tournaments in college,
Borseth has been used to playing
without substitutions.
On Sunday,Michigan State's
reserves outscored the team's
starters 29-26. Guard Courtney
Davidson, off the bench, led the
Spartans with 13 points.
The Wolverine bench? Nada.
Four of Michigan's starting
five played 30-plus minutes and
scored in double figures. And
Borseth likes it that way.
"I'm not really comfortable
substituting," Borseth said.
But it's not because Borseth
doesn't have confidence in his
players. He believes there is bet-
ter familiarity and continuity
among the team when only a lim-
ited number of players see the
floor.
"I think the chances are defen-
sively, you're going to cover each
other's back and offensively,
you'll be spaced better, you'll feel
better," Borseth said.
OUTSIDE FOCUS: With 6-foot-
9 Allyssa DeHaan defending the
key, it's obvious not much produc-
tion will come from the inside.
But in the first half, it seemed
that Michigan didn't even think
about going down low.
The Wolverines put up just two
shots inside the paint. And while
that shouldn't be too surprising,
considering the team launches
close to 20 3-pointers per game, it
wasn't meant to be the gameplan.
"We actually worked on some-
thing of a continuous offense
to get it out to somebody on the
block," Borseth said. "We prac-
ticed it one day. We tried it in the
game, and just never got there."
Michigan reverted to its nor-
mal offensive set in the second
half and had a more balanced
offense, making as many paint
shots as three-pointers.

By COLT ROSENSWEIG
Daily Sports Writer
Freshman Chris Cameron
approached assistant coach Scott
Vetere at practice.
"I'm goingcto do mayhard ponsmel
horse set," he said. "Pressure-cook
me."
With a wicked grin, Vetere
obliged, setting Cameron up as the
final competitor on Michigan's ros-
ter for last Saturday's Windy City
Invitational.
"Ohio State's winning by five-
tenths," Vetere said. "You have to
nail your hard pommels set for us
to win."
Most people buckle under pres-
sure, but Cameron thrives on it. As
his teammates shouted and piled
the stress on, the whirling freshman
hit his routine. "We win!" laughed
Vetere.
Other teams, Michigan coach
Kurt Golder believes, may have over-
looked potential impact of the Win-
ter Haven, Fla., native because he
didn't compete at theJunior Nation-
als last year. But after committing to
Michigan, Cameron finished 14th
in the all-around at Winter Cup, a
competition for the best gymnasts
in the United States. And in his first
collegiate meet, the Windy City
Invitational, he hit every set.
With all that ability, it might be
easy to forget there's a reason team-
mates affectionately call Cameron
"Little Leg."
Cameron was born with a dis-
ease that made his right lower leg
significantly smaller than his left.
Although his right leg is still much
smaller in diameter than his left,
that hasn't held him back in the
least.
"It'ssortofbecomesomethingI'm
proud of, because I was able to work
through it and get good on floor even
though I have a little leg," Cameron
said. "It's just a prideful body part of
mine, because it works so good even

e

Freshman Chris Cameron has shown coaches and teammates he can perform with the best in the NCAA, des
with his right leg smaller than his left.
though it looks so bad." out maximums. Volunteer coach serve as a coach to1
When he visited Michigan, Cam- Derek Croad said Cameron's nasts. Some fresh
eron wasn't looking to be impressed drive to fix mistakes is his tech- trouble taking i
- after all, it was his very first nique makes him an ideal athlete. their peers, but Ca
recruiting trip. But the welcome he "Hewilljumpup intwoseconds and Cameron has
received from the Michigan men's do it until he gets it right," Croad one of the team's t
gymnastics team was every bit as said. "That's the kind of gymnast men, and earned f
warm as his native Florida. you want on the team, because he's at team events like
"Everything was bigger, every- going for perfection." on the Diag Day" a
thing was better than I expected it Cameron and his West Quad Blue intrasquad tI
to be," Cameron said. After taking roommate, fellow freshman Ian matic flare sequen
less-than-thrilling trips to Iowa and Makowske, are often two of the arounder, Camero
Minnesota and learning a full schol- last gymnasts to leave practice each far beyond pommi
arship to Michigan was available, day. allel-bar routines
Cameron jumped at the opportunity "They definitely hold everybody many jaws around
to become a Wolverine. to a higher standard as far as work pommel routines.
"The green light was just flashing ethic and how much they accom- At this point,C
in my face," Cameron said. "I just plish in a day," senior co-captain tial seems limitless
had to come here." Paul Woodward said. "Chris has sphere of colleg
From his first practice, Camer- an excitement for gymnastics that I plays right into h
on has wowed his teammates and don't think anybodyoelse in here has. sonality, and the is
coaches not only with his skills but It truly is his love." clear that the adde
with his tireless work ethic. The freshman slipped easily into nothing but help h
Most of the time, coaches need his niche on the close-knit team. "This isway bet
to set workout minimums for their By the end of September, he had peting by yoursel
athletes. bought into the team's philosophy afterward. "Being
For Cameron, they set work- of having every athlete on the team amazing."

their fellow gym-
men might have
nstruction from
meron didn't.
quickly become
op pommel horse
an-favorite status
e "Pommel Horse
nd the Maize and
hanks to his dra-
nce. But as an all-
on's skills extend
el horse. His par-
have dropped as
d the gym as his
Cameron's poten-
s.The team atmo-
iate gymnastics
is energetic per-
ntrasquad made it
ed excitement did
iim.
ter than just com-
f," Cameron said
with a team is

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