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March 05, 2008 - Image 9

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2008-03-05

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The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

Wednesday, March 5,2008 - 9A

Senior Chad Kolarik finished with the second most points in CCHA play despite sitting out the final four games with a hamstring injury he suffered against Lake Superior State Feb. 16.
On the mend, Kolarik could
rejoin lineup next weekend

Full team
hits road
in rare
Michigan brings five more
gymnasts than usual to Calif.
Daily Sports Writer
OAKLAND, Calif. - The night of the Pacific Coast
Classic wasn't one the Michigan men's gymnastics
team will treasure - the Wolverines finished fourth
of six teams with a 348.95 score.
But for many of the Wolverines, that afternoon was
one they won't forget.
Meet director Karen Owoc informed Michigan
coach Kurt Golder the week before that his non-start-
ers were welcome to compete in the afternoon session.
Michigan brought 20 gymnasts to Oakland, Calif.,
five more than usual, and seven extra athletes got the
chance to compete.
"It was pretty much disbelief," sophomore Evan
Heter said of his reaction to the news. "That's never
happened before ... to be able to go out of Ann Arbor
and put the block 'M' on my chest, it took like a week
to set in."
Non-starters from Stanford also participated, along
with Iowa's full squad and club teams from Arizona
State and the University of Washington. The Arizona
State gymnasts had a harder day than most. To earn
money for their team, they transported all the meet
equipment about 750 miles from Phoenix and served
as the meet's setup and tear-down crew.
For sophomores Heiter and Joe Levine, it was their
first time competing for Michigan outside of the pre-
season intrasquad. Most of their teammates in the
starting lineup for the evening session clustered by
the floor in a show of support.
Heiter was the first Wolverine to perform, sticking
his layout vault as his teammates in the cheering sec-
tion whooped.
"It's kind of hard to imagine that it happened,"
Heiter said. "It was a big honor for me to go. It was
good to do well in the first event, just because it was
the first one for Michigan of the day."
Levine competed on parallel bars and pommel
horse, scoring a 12.45 and 12.75, respectively.
"I was kind of nervous, because I hadn't really
competed except for inrasquad since I got to school,"
Levine said. "Once you get that first event under your
belt, you're usually good to go."
Michigan's more experienced gymnasts also shined
in the early session.
Senior co-captain Paul Woodward zipped smooth-
ly through his pommel horse set and earned the top
score. Junior Ryan McCarthy and Woodward tied for
fifth on the parallel bars' on the high barjunior Jamie
Thompson was second to U. S. Senior National Team
member Justin Spring.
"I'm an Olympic hopeful!" Thompson joked after-
ward. "I was within a tenth of Justin Spring."
Though the scores didn'thelp the team's cause later
that night, the early session brightened an otherwise
dismal day. And those seven Wolverines gained valu-
able competition experience, showing the depth oftal-
ent that could make Michigan a champion.

Injured senior
alternate captain
took practice with
team yesterday
Daily Sports Editor
Chad Kolarik's presence on the ice
during yesterday's optional practice
was too obvious.
While his teammates were divid-
ed between white and blue jerseys
for a player-run and rather ragged
scrimmage, the senior alternate cap-
tain wore 4 red sweater and socks to
mark him as an injured player.
Yesterday was his first time back
on the ice to practice with the team
since suffering a hamstring injury
two-and-a-half weeks ago. After
going down against Lake Superior

State, Kolarik was expected to be out
four to five weeks.
But while Kolarik's dress stood
out, his play didn't - and that was a
positive sign.
"I felt really good out there today,"
Kolarik said. "I wasn't really concen-
trating on it, which is good. It's all
Kolarik was so happy with his
skate, he declared himself ready to
go full speed when the team hits the
ice for an organized practice this
Michigan coach Red Berenson,
who watched the scrimmage from
the stands in the north end of Yost
Ice Arena, was pleased to see Kolarik
participate, but he wasn't quite ready
to call it a full recovery.
Still, Kolarik may have a chance to
be back in the lineup when Michigan
hosts a second-round CCHA playoff
series next Friday.
"The deadline for him in my mind
is next Monday," Berenson said. "Can

he practice with the team, and com-
pete and take contact and the whole
bit? Because there's no time for play-
ers that aren't 100 percent when you
get in the playoffs."
If Kolarik gets up to speed with
his teammates during the first three
days of next week, then he'll proba-
bly be in the lineup for the weekend,
Berenson said.
Kolarik wouldn't be ready to play
this weekend, but Michigan earned
a bye through the first round of the
playoffs - a break that will benefit
everyone, not just Kolarik.
The extra time gives players a
chance to take care of nagging inju-
ries, and, without an opponent loom-
ing, allows the team to concentrate
on its own game.
"We're not going to redefine our
game, but I think we can refine it,"
Berenson said.
Berenson listed defensive-zone
coverage, faceoffs, forechecking and
penalty killing - the Wolverines

gave up five power-play goals to Fer-
ris State last weekend - as key areas
the coaching staff will stress in prac-
The bye week also gives the
Wolverines a chance to mentally
The team is understandably
exhausted after a long regular sea-
son, especially having played emo-
tional matchups against Miami
(Ohio) and Michigan State in recent
"We've been playing hockey for a
long time now and it's nice to get a
few days off and just relax and catch
up on school work and stuff like
that," senior captain Kevin Porter
With the extra few days, Kolarik
may have the chance to catch up,
too. If Kolarik, who still finished the
season second in conference points,
makes it back, it will be even harder
for the rest of the CCHA to catch up
to Michigan.

Oh, Cecilia:
Church league
could be pipeline

Behind the scenes, new assistant
coach key to turnaround season.

Daily Sports Editor
The sign on St. Cecilia's Church
in Detroit reads "Sports Capital of
If one judges the structure by the
surrounding abandoned buildings,
one would ignore a true Detroit
For nearly 40 years, the area's
best basketball players have hit the
hardwood in the crammed facil-
ity. In the top league, professional
and college players compete on the
same teams. There are no pick-up
The list of players who have
graced the hallowed floor reads
like a list of the state's best: George
Gervin, Magic Johnson, Antoine
Joubert, Chris Webber, Jalen Rose.
And it's still the place to be for
top Detroit players.
"(Kids) hear about it once they're
younger, and they always want
to play there," said sophomore
DeShawn Sims, a Detroit native
who realized that same dream of
playing at
St. Cecilia's.
And as Michigan coach John
Beilein works to build the school's
basketball program back to nation-
al relevance, Sims believes the
resurgence will rely on recruits
who come out of St. Cecilia's high
school programs and the rest of
The Ceciliaville summer league
program is just one component of
what Sims said he would do to take
full advantage of the rich Detroit
recruiting base.
The other part is becoming a
recognizable presence at basketball
games, something Sims and fresh-
man and Detroit native Manny
Harris have personally done.
"Just go down there and see

them," Sims said. "Show them that
you're interested in them as play-
ers, not by sending them letters or
phone calls. Show up to the game.
They like to see a familiar face."
Last week, Sims went to Detroit
to watch his high school Detroit
Pershing play University of Detroit
Jesuit High in a state tournament
game. Sims watched 2009 Michi-
gan commit Jordan Morgan go
againsthis alma mater. With Sims's
busy schedule, he's only been able
to attend a few games this season.
But when he goes, people in
Detroit admire him.
"We're still young, so the kids
that we played with are in high
school," Sims said. "And they kind
of would listen to us and look tous
for advice. And we try and get them
to come to Michigan."
As much as Sims speaks fondly
about Michigan in his hometown,
Wolverine success with the new
system will get top talent to seri-
ously consider Michigan. Beilein's
unique offense is not a style many
Detroit high schoolers are familiar
"Once people see that it can
work, seeing that we're making it
work, (will change the mispercep-
tion)," Sims said.
Next year's recruiting class
currently features two out-of-
state recruits that fit into Beilein's
offense - a shooter from Indiana
and a big man from upstate New
Beilein pins the lack of instate
commitments on a down year in
the state of Michigan.
"Just this year, with the talent
that was there in specific spots
wasn't our need," Beilein said.
With a strong class coming
out of Michigan in 2009, chances
are Beilein will spend more time
around Ceciliaville.

Williams's teaching
skills propel Blue to
first winning season
since 2001-02
Daily Sports Writer
Mike Williams loves a chal-
Williams, the first-year Michi-
gan women's basketball assistant
coach, went from being the top
assistant coach at Grand Valley
State, which won the Division II
National Championship in 2005-
06, to a bottom-dwelling Michi-
gan team that hasn't recorded an
above-.500 record since 2001-
In fact, in his last two years
with Grand Valley State, the
team won more games (54) than
the Wolverines had in their last
five (48).
"The bigger the mountain, the
bigger the challenge," Williams
The coach has been helping to
lead this year's expedition and
deserves much of the credit. His
work often gets overlooked, as
praise for this year's turnaround
is usually given to Michigan
coach Kevin Borseth.
Williams, who concentrates
most on player development
rather than recruitment, spe-
cifically focuses on strength and
conditioning and fine-tuning fun-
damentals outside of practice.
"I get a chance to go and spend
time with them one-on-one or
one-on-two and really break
things down," Williams said.
Throughout the season, sopho-
more center Krista Phillips has
drastically improved her post
game. Her increased aggressive-
ness in the paint can be attributed
in large part to the time she has
put in with Williams.
Junior Ashley Jones also ben-
efited from her extra work.

Michigan assistant coach Mike Williams's(left) knack for player development has helped Wolverines such as sophomore
Krista Phillips and junior Ashley Jones develop their fundamentals and earn more playing time.

The forward struggled all sea-
son to make smart decisions on
the court, a likely reason Jones
played just 21 minutes on the
season before the Feb. 17 game
against Indiana. But against the
Hoosiers, Jones dished out four
assists in 26 minutes, a sign her
time in the gym with Williams
paid off.
Jones has played double-digit
minutes in each game since.
"Whenever we need to work
out he's always available," Jones
said. "Day and night almost. We
just text him. He's here and he
works on our shots and our layups
and going strong (to the hoop)."

The additional time in the
gym allows Williams to share his
knowledge of the game, and it's
one of the reasons Williams has
stuck with coaching for over 20
In 1986, both Williams and
Borseth coached in Ironwood, a
small town in the Upper Penin-
sula. Williams was the coach of
the girl's varsity team at Iron-
wood High School and Borseth
was the coach of the women's
team at Gogebic Community
In 1988, Williams spent one
season under Borseth at Michi-
gan Technological University.

The two have kept in touch
When Borseth took the Michi-
gan job last year, he reeled in
two assistants from Grand Valley
State. The first was head coach
Dawn Plitzuweit, who played
under Borseth at Michigan Tech.
The second was Williams.
"I knew that we had a lot of
teaching we had to do, (and) he
teaches extremely well," Borseth
said. "And unless you were really
under his guidance and worked
with him, it's hard to explain. He
really does a good job of feeding
these kids. I got a lot of confi-
dence in him."


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