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March 11, 2014 - Image 8

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 2014-03-11

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8 -- Tuesday, March 11, 2014

r t
i
The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

What a night for Jordan Morgan

Sophomore Nik Stauskas was named the Big Ten Player of the Year Monday.
Stauskas tabbed
Bi g Ten's best

rankie Valli and the Four
Seasons declared that
"Big Girls Don't Cry" in
their 1962 hit single, and you
better believe they would've
said the same for bigboys.
So you can only imagine that
the 1960s pop band would've
been disappointed when min-
utes before tipoff on Saturday
night, 6-foot-8 forward Jordan
Morgan jogged to half court
accompanied by his parents
with tears
running
down his
face. The
fifth-year
senior was
greeted by
a bear hug
from Michi- SIMON
gan coach
John Beilein KAUFMAN
and a stand-
ing ovation
from a sold-out Crisler Center
crowd.
Morgan waved to the fans
that came to watch the Michi-
gan men's basketball team take
on Indiana and to see him in
action for the last time on his
home court. He was the lone
senior on the roster honored
before the game on Senior Day.
Frankie and Co. might've
disapproved of his pregame
emotions, but they would've
asked for an encore after seeing
him play.
Jordan Morgan "Walked Like
a Man" towards center court to
assume his starting position,
and then scored and rebounded
like a man, too.
He had the Wolverines' first
six points, grabbing rebounds
and finishing in the paint
among a crowd of Hoosier play-
ers. He finished the half with
eight points and six boards,
helping an inefficient Michigan
offense go into the locker room
trailing by just six.
Midway through the second
half, left all alone down low,
Morgan caught a pass and fin-
ished with a dunk, giving the

PATRICK BARRON/Daily
Fifth-year senior forward Jordan Morgan played in his final home game, an 84-80 win over Indiana, on Saturday night.

By SIMON KAUFMAN
Daily Sports Writer
The Michigan men's
basketball team's trophy
case better be big, because
its recently acquired Big Ten
championship trophy is going
to have company.
On Monday night, the Big
Ten announced individual
postseason honors for the
recently completed 2014 regular
season, with the Wolverines
racking up the awards.
Sophomore guard Nik
Stauskas was named the Big Ten
Player of the Year, Michigan
coach John Beilein earned
Coach of the Year honors from
the media, freshman guard
Derrick Walton Jr. claimed
a spot on the all-freshman
team and sophomore guard
Caris LeVert was selected
to the all-conference second
team. Sophomore forward
Glenn Robinson III also was
among the winners with an all-
conference honorable mention.
Stauskas' honor makes
it back-to-backhyears that a
Wolverine has won Big Ten
Player of the Year. Former
Michigan guard Trey Burke
took home the award last
season - the first Wolverine
to do so in program history.
Stauskas was also the only
player in the conference to
receive a unanimous nod for
All-Big Ten first team by the
media and the coaches.
Stauskas - who also earned
Big Ten Player of the Week
honors on Monday for the
fourth time this season -
helped lead Michigan to its
first outright conference title
since 1985-86. The 6-foot-
Mississauga, Ontario native
led the team in scoring,
averaging 17.4 points per
game - good enough for
fourth best in the conference.
His 71 3-pointers and nearly
46-percent mark beyond the
are were third best among Big
Ten players. The guard also
averaged more than three
assists and rebounds per game.
Burke was the ninth overall
pick in last year's NBA draft,
and many project Stuskas
could follow in his footsteps
and go early in the first round
of this year's draft if he were to
declare for it.
Beilein's Coach of the
Year honor is the fifth of his
career. He received the honor
in 1981 while coaching Erie
Community College, in 1988
at LeMoyne, in 1994 while
heading Canisius' program and
in 1998 at Richmond.
Beilein led Michigan to
a 23-7 overall record and a
15-3 conference mark. In his

seventh season as coach of
the Wolverines, Beilein was
faced with the challenge of.
replacing the pillars of the
team that reached the National
Championship last year in
Burke and former Michigan
guard Tim Hardaway Jr.,
who both left for the NBA.
To make matters worst, he
also had to replace sophomore
forward Mitch McGary who
underwent back surgery early
in the season.
But Beilein made due with
the players he had, many of
whom stepped into bigger
roles to replace the lost talent.
LeVert, who was a redshirt
prospect last year, stayed in
Ann Arbor over the summer
along with Stauskas to prep
for his sophomore season.
LeVert's work in the weight
room paid off - he bulked up
from 170 pounds last year to
185 pounds this season - as he
became one of the Wolverines'
most dangerous and consistent
offensive weapons.
The sophomore guard
started in every one of
Michigan's 30 games and
averaged 13.4 points per game
- usually while guarding
the opponent's best offensive
player. LeVert led the team in
steals with 36 on the season -
12th most in the conference.
Walton's all-freshman
team honor helps carry on a
Michigan freshman tradition.
Walton is the fourth straight
Wolverine to receive the
honor following Robinson
last season, Burke in 2012 and
Hardaway in 2011.
The first-year guard from
Detroit averaged more than
eight points and a touch
fewer than three assists per
game. After adjusting to the
pace of the college game, he
showed tremendous poise
quarterbacking Michigan's
offense. In late January he
stepped up in East Lansing,
scoring a career-best 19 points
to help lead the Wolverines
past Michigan State.
Despite averaging 13.2
points per game and scoring
in double digits on 22 different
occasions, Robinson's award
is a disappointment. He was
selected to the preseason
All-Big Ten team and after
averaging 11 points last year,
many thought he would put up
numbers more comparable to
Stauskas'.
The awards are nice
reminders of the regular
season year that was. But
ultimately, Michigan hopes
to have the newly collected
hardware overshadowed by
an even bigger team-earned
trophy in April.

Wolverines a six-point lead,
their largest at that point in the
game. Later in the frame, he
reached down to grapple for a
loose-ball rebound and came up
with the ball - his 10th board
of the night to complement his
15 points - his first double-
double of the season and fifth of
his career.
With three seconds left in
the game, and Michigan's four-
point lead safe, Beilein put
Morgan back on the floor so
that when the buzzer sounded
in the senior's final home game,
he would be out there to take it
all in.
December 18, 2007 - not
"December 1963," but still
"Oh, What a Night" for the
Wolverines. It was then that
Morgan committed to playing
basketball at Michigan. More
than six years removed from

the decision he made as a junior
at Detroit Jesuit High School
and he finally got what he came
for - a Big Ten title that was his
alone.
No, Morgan is not this team's
MVP, and chances are, after
this year, his master's degree in
manufacturing engineering will
be a more likely to land him a
job than his rebounding ability,
but the captain is still a critical
part of the Wolverines' success.
"I just think (redshirt junior
Jon Horford and I) have a
perspective of this team that's
kind of the last of what was of
Michigan basketball," Morgan
said in October at Big Ten media
day. "We've seen the good and
the bad, and we know what it
takes to make it to where we've
gotten - Big Ten championship,
National Championship
appearance. So I think we just
kind of do a good job of keeping
everybody focused."
That leadership and

mentality, to go along with more
than five points per game and
nearly five rebounds per game
this season, earned Morgan,
and the Wolverines another Big
Ten championship banner -
one they don't have to share.
"I mean you talk about
five years worth of emotions
wrapped up into one day,"
Morgan said after the game. "So
much work, sweat, adversity
that went into just putting this
program where it is, just years
and years of battling. It's like a
constant battle for five years no
matter what it is, whether it's
on the court or off the court.
This is the culmination of all
that."
And on Saturday, Morgan
cried like a bigboy. He walked
like a man. And oh, what a night
to go out on.
Simon Kaufman can be
reached sjkauf@umich.edu
or on twitter @sjkauf.

Through example, not words, Kevin
Clare leads Wolverines into weekend

Ke
or qui
Th
defen
with
aroun
just n
In
befor
of hi
chose
But h
this
alway
Per
"H
since
said

By GREG GARNO And Clare's performance of tremendously. He's playing
Daily Sports Editor late has earned him a spot on some of his best hockey he's ever
the power play and penalty kill played right now and I think he's
vin Clare isn't one to be shy - roles he rarely took on in the really carrying the defensive
iet, or so his teammates say. first half of the corps with him
ey say the senior season. right now."
seman is a vocal player "He's our But even
an outgoing personality steadiest " He'sp laved last year when
d his teammates, though, defenseman P Y he played in 19
ot outside the locker room. and has been his best hockey games, missing
the week of preparation all year," b hthe second half
e the final home series Berenson since he's come of the season
s collegiate career, Clare said. "He's with an injury,
not to speak to reporters. definitely been to M ichigan. his 40 shots
e's never led with his words one of the guys was still good
year anyway. Instead, he's that's picked And you look for for third.
s led by example. up the slack "He's
rhaps now more than ever. when Mac that in a senior." always been
e's played his best hockey Bennett was pretty steady,"
he's come to Michigan," gone. Whether Bennett said.
Michigan coach Red it's on our "He set the bar

seemingly avoided the spot-
light off and on the ice, has yet
to speak to reporters this year,
choosing to let his game speak
over his words.
As Michigan continues to
search for an identity late into
the year, maybe it'd be wise to
take a page out of his book.
NOTES: Bennett returned to
skating with the team on Mon-
day after he missed the past two
weekends with what was called
an upper-body injury. Beren-
son says Bennett is "on track"
to return this weekend against
Minnesota. ... Junior forward
Andrew Sinelli sat out prac-
tice with a bag of ice taped to
his shoulder. Berenson says his
progress is still being monitpred
and a decision will be made
later this week. Sinelli played
both games in the series against
Michigan State.

Berenson. "And that's what you
look for in a senior. You look
for him to be a guiding light on
defense, make big plays, and for
the most part he has."
This season, Clare has
blocked a team-high 72 shots,
27 more than the next closest
teammate - senior defenseman
Mac Bennett. Over the past six
games, Clare has recorded a
plus-five rating and blocked 18
shots, which rankes among the
top on the team in that span.
Clare's game has become
similar to his personality. It
isn't nonexistent, just what's
necessary. It isn't over the top
or flashy, but it gets the job done.
"He's not quiet, he's not loud,"
said freshman defenseman
Kevin Lohan. "He's a funny guy,
though."
On a team that has struggled
to show consistency and put
together a series without a split
as of late, Clare's presence has
been important.He rarely takes
a penalty - only four this year
for eight minutes - and he has
posted a plus/minus rating of
zero. His willingness to block
shots and to make an extra pass
has been key. Clare's 10 assists is
second only to Bennett.
His play has helped a
Michigan defense limit teams to
fewer than three goals per game
in Bennett's absence.

penalty killing, shot blocking or high for himself and he needs to
power play." lead by example. And he's doing
Added Bennett: "I think that right now."
Kevin Clare has stepped up Clare, often one who has

LIKE SUSHI? US TOO.
WANT TO HOOK UP?
NO, NOT LIKE THAT, LIKE FOR
LUNCH. LET'S GRAB SUSHI.
FOLLOW US @THEBLOCKM

.
!,;'

JAMES COLLER/Daily
Senior defenseman Kevin Clare may not be the most vocal player, but he has excelled at leading by example this season.

4

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