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January 10, 2008 - Image 8

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The Michigan Daily, 2008-01-10

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8A - Thursday, January 10, 2008

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

From MAAC to'M,'
w Lee proves his worth

0

ZACHARY MEISNER/Dail>
Freshman Carl Hagelin stood out overseas, winning a silver medal with Team Sweden at the II HF World Junior Championships.
Players rejoin team after
in ernational tournament

By MICHEL EISENSTEIN
Daily Sports Writer
A few days before his teammates
clinched their first Great Lakes
Invitational title since 1996, fresh-
man Carl Hagelin was focused on
another intense competition as well
in the Czech Republic.
In a fierce Christmas day contest,
Hagelin helped catapult the Swed-
ish junior national team's fourth
line to victory in one game of the
IIHF World Junior Championship,
held in the Czech Republic.
He also helped his team win a
Christmas skit competition as part
of Team Sweden's holiday activities
a day before the IIHF World Junior
Championship began in the Czech
Republic.
(If you were wondering, Hagelin
played one of the three wisemen in a
scene about the birth of Jesus.)
More importantly, though, Hage-
lin and Sweden took home a silver
medal after sweeping Group A,
beating Russia in the semifinal and
losing 3-2 in overtime to Canada in

the gold medal game.
As the No. 1 Michigan hockey
team won its 12th GLI crown, the
lone Swede in Wolverine history
became the 12th Michigan player
to win a championship medal in the
World Junior Championship.
"It was cool - it really was,"
Hagelin said. "It was a once-in-a-
lifetime experience."
Though Hagelin received limited
ice time, mostly on the penalty kill,
and didn't tally a single point, he
was able to go home for five days,
where his parents threw him a sur-
prise party. Hagelin returned to
Ann Arbor earlier this week, eager-
ly anticipating his first start in more
than a month for Michigan.
"It was funto be home,but as soon
as I came back here, it felt like this is
where I belong," Hagelin said.
Three other skaters - sophomore
Chris Summers and freshmen Max
Pacioretty and Matt Rust - partici-
pated in the championship for Team
USA.
But unlike second-place Sweden,
Team USA came up short of the

podium, falling in the to Canada in
the semifinals and to Russia in the
third-place game.
"We obviously came up a little
short," Rust said. Still, he added, "It
was a great, great experience."
Now, the players must prepare for
the second half of the season.
For Hagelin, the last person off
the ice in yesterday's practice, that
entails doing some extra sprints and
gasping for air.
"I'm just trying to get my skating
going," said Hagelin, slowly tak-
ing in each breath. "I feel I'm really
tired right now, I'm trying to work
hard so I can get back right in it."
For Rust, who skated Tuesday in
an exhibition against his old team,
the U.S. National Team Develop-
ment Program, was all about fight-
ing off the jet lag.
"After a long period like that,
three weeks in Europe, you're a little
mentally drained," said Rust, who
was given the day off from practice
yesterday. "I think I'll be fine physi-
cally, but I just want to focus on get-
ting some sleep and stuff like that."

Despite small size,
junior plays big role
behind the scenes
By DAN FELDMAN
Daily Sports Writer
With his 3-pointer on Mich-
igan's first possession Tuesday
against Indiana, which gave the
Wolverines their only lead, red-
shirt junior C. J. Lee made a rare
immediate impact.
Lee went from a bench player
in the Metro Atlantic Athletic
Conference to a Big Ten starter,
transferring from Manhattan and
sitting out last year..
"He came out of nowhere," said
K'Len Morris, a redshirt fresh-
man guard who left the team last
month for personal reasons. "I
walked out of the locker room and
saw some kid. I was like 'Maybe
that's (former Michigan) coach
(Tommy) Amaker's nephew or
something like that.' "
Listed generously at 6-foot,
180 pounds, Lee doesn't have the
intimidating stature of many col-
lege basketball players.
Buthe's proving thathe belongs.
Lee has earned more consistent
minutes as the season has pro-
gressed. He started the Wolver-
ines' last two games, replacing
freshman Kelvin Grady.
.His smart play, good on-the-
ball defense and ability to hit open
3-pointers have meshed well with
the skills of freshman Manny Har-
ris and sophomore DeShawn Sims,
starters who benefit from having
the ball in their hands.
"One of the things we're strug-
gling with right now is people
being vocal on the floor," Michi-
gan coach John Beilein said after
Lee's first start career start at Pur-
due Saturday.
"If you've ever met and talked
with C.J., he's very vocal. That
was part of the reason -just to
get somebody out there talking, to
lead the others a little bit."
Lee was born in Saginaw and
lived in Lansing for 12 years before
moving to Rochester, N.Y. Despite
being recruited as a cornerback

Redshirt junior C.J. Lee, a transfer from Manhattan College, has become a vocal
leader for his vounger teammates.

by Penn State and Syracuse, he
took an offer to play basketball for
Manhattan.
He doesn't offer much of an
explanation for leavingthe Jaspers,
just saying he wanted a change.
He has family all over Michigan,
where he calls home, and knew he
wanted to come to Ann Arbor. It
wasn't until he was accepted at the
school that he decided to try out
for the basketball team.
When Lee joined the team as
a walk-on, Morris and Zack Gib-
son, both in their first year in Ann
Arbor, took the transfer under
their wing, and the trio quickly
became close friends.
"Last year, we were all kind
of like a real quiet team," Morris
said. "So Zack and I went out there

and were like 'If you want, you can
hang out with us. We know you're
new around here, don't really
know anybody."
It didn't take long for Lee to fill
that leadership void. Respected
by his teammates, he often takes
them one-on-one to help them in
various ways - like telling senior
forward Ron Coleman to shoot
more, discussing academics with
Grady or driving Morris 20 min-
utes to take his car to the shop.
"If I was a coach and I had a
scholarship to give out, I would
give it to C.J," Morris said earlier
this year.
After giving so much to the pro-
gram, Lee is finally getting some-
thing back. He's on scholarship
this semester.

Blue has eyes on Purdue,
first place in the Big Ten

f

By ALEX PROSPERI
Daily Sports Writer
In a season of reclamation, the
Michigan women's basketball team
has yet another chance to prove its
streak of losing
seasons is over. Michigan
If the Wolver- at Purdue
ines take care of
business against Matchup:
Purdue tonight, Michigan 9-4;
and Minnesota Purdue 6-8
loses to Illinois, When: 7 p.m.
Michigan (2-1 Big Where:
Ten, 9-4 overall) Mackey Arena
will find itself
either tied or Stats:
alone atop the Big
Ten - a feat few
saw coming.
But to dothat, Michigan will have
to exorcise some old demons.
Michiganis12-45 all-time against
Purdue. The Wolverines were blown
out last year in West Lafayette, 79-
35, and lost at home, 59-54. To top
it off, Purdue has a 17-game winning
streak against the Wolverines, dat-
ing back to the 1999-2000 season.
This game seems like a great chance

for Michigan to break the streak.
The Wolverines are playing their
best basketball in years, and the
Boilermakers (2-1, 6-8) are coming
off a devastating 100-50 loss to No.1
Connecticut. But the Boilermakers'
record is deceiving, considering the
team's tough non-conference sched-
ule.
Purdue also returns nine let-
terwinners and two starters from
a team that reached the Elite Eight
last year.
Tonight's game could be atrap for
Michigan, with archrival Michigan
State visiting Ann Arbor Sunday.
Michigan is 1-6 since the 2003-04
season in games preceding Michi-
gan State.
"Coach Borseth's done a good job
of getting them focused on the next
day, the nextgame," Michigan assis-
tant coach Mike Williams said. "We
really haven't looked ahead."
In preparation for Purdue, Mich-
igan has focused on stopping the
Boilermakers' transition offense.
. "They're a team that likes to
score in transition off a missed bas-
ket," Williams said. "They like to
get it and go. Whoever rebounds it,

down the floor they go. They're very
aggressive and attack the offensive
glass. When they get it they score
it."
If the Wolverines can stall Pur-
due's fast break, it will force the
Boilermakers to play more in the
half-court set and take more 3-
pointers. That could turn out well
for Michigan. Purdue ranks last in
the Big Ten from long range, shoot-
ing under 30 percent on the season.
The Boilermakers also have the
worst assist-to-turnover ratio in the
conference, so Michigan plans to
pressure Purdue's ballhandlers.
The Wolverines will have to pay
special attention to Purdue's two
talented post players - junior for-
ward Lakisha Freeman and junior
center Danielle Campbell. Freeman
averages 13 points per game (11th
in the Big Ten) and 6 rebounds per
game while Campbell tallies 12 ppg
and 8 rpg (5th in the Big Ten).
"We've been working on defend-
ing in the post, defending their flash
cuts," sophomore center Krista Phil-
lips said. "When the time comes,
we're going to stick back to the stuff
we did in practice."

Senior inspires tumblers in
return from severe injury

Bruck rejoins team
for final year despite
tearing tendon and
losing scholarship
By JASON KOHLER
Daily Sports Writer
One year ago, senior Lindsey
Bruck was lying helplessly on a
floor mat in Morgantown, W.Va.,
clutching her ankle in pain.
Moments before, duringthe sec-
ond tumbling pass of her floor rou-
tine in the Wolverines' first meet of
the 2007 season, Bruck attempted
a pike double back that went awry,

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landing on her side and slamming
her ankle against the mat.
The music went off, the trainer
came out and the grim prognosis
soon came - Bruck had snapped
her Achilles tendon.
A year later, on the eve of the
Wolverines' first meet of the 2008
season, Bruck reflected on last
year's injury.
"At first, when I did it, I was just
mad that I fell," Bruck said. "Then
I realized that I was actually
injured and couldn't get up. When
I figured out what happened, I was
devastated because we were hav-
ing a good meet as a team and I just
wanted to get out there and help
the team."
From the moment Michigan
coach Beverly Plocki saw Bruck
land, she knew it was a severe
injury.
Bruck was taken back to the
training room, but returned on
crutches by the final rotation to
cheer on her team. The Wolverines
went on to narrowly defeat West
Virginia and James Madison.
"Some of the first things she told
her teammates were that she was
going to be in the gym everyday
kicking their butts," Plocki said.
"She spent only about five minutes
crying and feeling sorry for her-
self."
Bruck wondered about her
future as a gymnast at Michigan.
She was uncertain if she would be
able to recover from the injury, and
if she could, whether she would be
eligible to compete the next sea-
son, since she was a senior.
It didn't help that all the avail-
able scholarships for this season
were already taken.
Bruck's career at Michigan had
been brilliant. She was a two-time
All-American, earning a first-team
selection on the balance beam her
freshman year. In 2006, she was
the beam and all-around Big Ten
Champion. Bruck had hoped her
senior season would be even bet-
ter.
"She'd had an incredible fall

training, she was a senior, a cap-
tain, and was looking so forward to
an incredible season," Plocki said.
"To have something like that hap-
pen right out of the gate is a dis-
heartening feeling."
Six days after the meet, Bruck
had surgery, followed by five
weeks off her feet. Then, she began
personal training to improve the
strength of her ankle.
"There were times she would
get frustrated watching her team-
mates do what she wanted to be
doing," Plocki said.
Bruck received a medical red-
shirt from the NCAA because she
injured herself in the season's first
meet. Now she has returned to lead
Michigan as a fifth-year senior.
But Bruck was unable to secure
a scholarship forthe season. Tech-
nically a walk-on, she is paying her
own tuition with help from her
family.
"I admire and respect her so
much," Plocki said. "Most of the
time when you're a senior you feel
like it's time to be done, but she has
so much love and passion. She was
not going to let her career end that
way."
Every time Bruck steps onto
the mat, she's aware of what could
happen. She has to focus more
attention on her technique to avoid
re-injuring her Achilles. The hard-
ship has only made her work hard-
er than ever in the gym.
"As I go into the gym every day,
I'm honored to be doing gym-
nastics again," Bruck said. "I'm
thankful to be part of a team and
program that make gymnastics
fun again."
Although Bruck hasn't compet-
ed intover a year and might notbe
able to perform exactly as she did
before the injury, her coaches and
teammates appreciate her more
than ever.
"Every girl in that gym works
hard for the program and for
Michigan, and a little bit for her,"
Plocki said. "They want to make
this a special year for Lindsey."

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