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November 16, 2011 - Image 6

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The Michigan Daily, 2011-11-16

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"

6A - Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

Mailbag: Horford or Morgan?

By LUKE PASCH was still too frail. To me, he was
Daily Sports Editor just the lankier, more-human
younger brother of Al Horford,
Feast your eyes, basketball somehow cursed with an even
fans. It's the moment you've all funnier-looking set of ears.
been waiting for. Welp. Horford shut me up this
The inaugural event. The offseason. I'm sure you've heard
grand opening. Your first ever: - he gained nearly 30 pounds,
weekly hoops mailbag. The men's nearly all of it muscle. I wasn't
basketball writers have heard there, so I'll assume his summer
your questions, and after (rela- involved 5 a.m. mornings, daily
tively) prolonged deliberation glasses of raw egg and slaughter-
and a gaze into the crystal ball house punching bags.
(iTunes visualizer), we have your I can't say I was surprised
answers. Don't know the sto- when Beilein named Horford
rylines of the 2011-12 Michigan the starter over Morgan in the
basketball season? Prepare to be exhibition, even though Morgan
enlightened. excelled in his starting role last
season. Beilein loves Horford,
Jon Horford started the and the kid is supposedlytougher
exhibition over Jordan Mor- now - so why not experiment?
gan - was this a reflection of a But now I wonder if Horford
newfound confidence in Hor- peaked over the summer. He
ford by the coaching staff or is didn't have a great exhibition
Morgan still the unquestion- against Wayne State, and he was
able leader in the post? hardly present in last Friday's
-John Person season opener against Ferris
State (no points, no shots, three
To be clear, John, there is no boards and a turnover in 15 min-
real leader in the postright now. utes of action).
Michigan coach John Beilein Not Memphis. Not Duke. Fer-
was distraught with the perfor- ris State. One needn't be a basket-
mance of his bigs after Monday's ball fan to know a Big Ten starting
victory against lowly Towson, center should wipe the floor with
and he seemed desperate to find the Bulldog frontcourt. And you
his leader before traveling to the probably don't know - because,
highly anticipated Maui Invita- honestly, why would you - that
tional this weekend. Ferris State returned exactly
But I'll say this - Beilein abso- zero starters from last season. So,
lutely loves Jon Horford. That Horford'slackluster performance
love isn't secret, and it ain't new, against inferior competition is
either. troubling, to say the least.
Early last season, when Hor- And Morgan hasn't been turn-
ford was scrapping for minutes ing heads, either. He reclaimed
behind Morgan in the paint, the starting role against Towson
Beilein stood on a podium and on Monday, but that was more a
proclaimed his love for the then- product of Horford's unimpres-
freshman center. I wasn't the sive play than Morgan asserting
only reporter there who perked himself on the court.
up - you mean that beanpole?I'm Thursday night's matchup
pretty sure he could get worked against Western Illinois provides
over in the paint byO5-year-olds in Beilein with his final opportunity
the CCRB. to find a frontcourt leader before
Our reactions may have been Michigan (2-0 overall) runs into
short-sighted. Horford did Memphis in Maui.
appear to have solid instincts in
his post game, and he had that What is Coach Beilein doing
prototypical Beilein-center-who- to help the team's free throw
could-occasionally-pop-the- troubles?
midrange-jumper look. But he -Christopher James Hung

Senior guard Courtney Boylan has averaged 19.5 points per game this season.
Boylan abandons the
e si
3-pon ,silsoe

TODD NEEDLE/Daily
Sophomore forward Jon Horford started the season opener last Friday against
Ferris State but came off the bench Monday night against Towson.

Beilein is very aware of the
free throw issue. He said Monday
night that his team can't contin-
ue to shoot 50 percent from the
line and win (that's just a luxury
of starting the season against
a Division-II opponent and an
opponent with no returning
starters).
But what can Beilein do?
He'll just have his players
shoot a few extra free throws in
practice. He's a Division I col-
lege basketball coach, not acamp
counselor teaching a three-day
seminar for Detroit youths on
proper form.
Beilein recruits shooters. And
over time - though sooner would
be better than later - they'll
shake off that early-season rust
and start knocking down free
throws. Remember, even Ray
Allen misses from the line some-
times.
But I would recommend that
the Wolverines try to penetrate
a bit more so his players could
get to the free throw line more
frequently. It's hard to do in his
shoot-happy offense, but we

could see more free throw oppor-
tunities if the bigs emerge from
dormancy sometime soon...
When do you think Stu
(Douglass) will be relieved at
point guard?
-Erin Hutchinson
I'm not sure you watched the
same game I did on Monday.
Douglass was relegated to the
sixth-man role he owned through
most of last season, while fresh-
man stud Trey Burke took over at
the point, and it will likelybe that
way for the long haul.
It's easy, really. Burke is the
only true point guard on the
roster, and Douglass is a natural
shooter who thrives in the two-
guard position.
Beilein was actually ready to
make that move for the season
opener last week, before Burke
showed up late to the team walk-
through on the day of the game.
The coach benched him for dis-
ciplinary reasons, but both have
now dismissed the issue as a
rookie mistake that won't hap-
pen again.

By MICHAEL LAURILA
Daily Sports Writer
Courtney Boylan was the only
player in Crisler Arena yesterday
afternoon at 12:30 p.m. - well,
besides her rebounder.
It was before the Michigan
women's basketball team started
practice, and the senior guard -
the team's leading scorer - was
shooting 3-pointers and practic-
ing various post moves.
"This is a pretty typical day for
her," said Michigan coach Kevin
Borseth. "She's in here everyday.
I don't want to say seven days a
week, but she's working on her
gameyear round. She realizesshe's
not very big so she's got to take her
advantage where she can."
In last Friday's season-opener
against Florida, Boylan scored a
team-high 21 points, which was
also a career high. After her per-
formance, she received her first
Big Ten Player of the Week award,
making her the first Michigan
player to do so since graduated
Veronica Hicks did last season.
"(Winning the award) was a
nice honor," Boylan said. "I really
wasn't expecting it at all, but it
was a big win for the team so it
was exciting. I'm not looking into
it too much, just trying to help our
team win."
Last season, after junior Nya
Jordan suffered a knee injury,
Boylan was thrust into a starting
role. Since Hicks was the go-to
scorer for the Wolverines, Boylan

mostly ran the point, which lim-
ited her scoring production.
At home against Florida Atlan-
tic on Monday, Boylan's offensive
success continued. Though she
wasn't Michigan's leading scorer
- junior center Rachel Scheffer
took that honor with 20 points -
she was a close second with 18.
"I've seen her score on small
kids, big kids, fading away and
stepping through," Borseth said.
"She can do a lot of things with
that ball, but most importantly
she can handle it. And we need
her to be able to do that."
Boylan's 70-percent mark from
the field is 17 percent higher than
the team average, a large margin
for any player. Last season, she
shot a mere 32 percent from the
field and only averaged 6.8 points
per game, which was a career
high. But she was consistently
taking 3-pointers, contributing to
her low percentage.
Her high percentage this year
has partially been because she
hasn't attempted a three-pointer
in either game, instead mostly
scoring near the basket. At 5-foot-
7, she is the smallest player on the
Wolverines' roster. But, that has
not stopped her from also averag-
ing 4.5 rebounds per game - dou-
ble her career average.
"It's going to get a little bit
more demanding for her as people
figure out some of the things she's
good at," Borseth said. "She's like
abowlinachinashop around that
basket. She's tough."

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