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April 11, 2014 - Image 8

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 2014-04-11

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8 - Friday, April 11, 2014

Sports The Michigan Dail - michi andaiiy.

Where's everyone going already?
Horford to transfer next year

Redshirt junior is
eligible to transfer
to any school
By DANIEL WASSERMAN
Daily Sports Editor
In a rather shocking
development, the first Michigan
men's basketball player to
announce his departure this
offseason is Jon Horford.
On a day that began with
reports that sophomore guard
Nik Stauskas had decided to
depart for the NBA Draft -
Stauskas later shot down the
notion that he had reached a final
decision - the Wolverines lost a
player who was expected to be
an integral part of next year's
lineup.
"My time at Michigan has
been the most beneficial period
of my life in terms of athletic'

enlightenment," Horford said in
a statement. "The bonds created
over the last four years are
everlasting, and the memories
made are truly priceless. As on
all journeys, new paths must
be taken and intuition must be
trusted. I leave Michigan with
nothing but love in my heart."
Horford, who averaged 3.8
points and 4.2 rebounds in
slightly less than 14 minutes.
per game this season, started
seven games before fifth-year
senior forward Jordan Morgan
took over the majority of the
minutes at the '5' spot. However,
with Morgan graduating and
sophomore forward Mitch
McGary's status still in limbo
- he, along with Stauskas and
sophomore forward Glenn
Robinson III are contemplating
whether to forgo their final two
years of college eligibility in
favor of a professional career -
Horford could've found himself

significant minut
Because Horfo
next month, he
any school and pl
next season, soio
in a graduate prc
offered at the
University, per
NCAA rules.
Should
McGary
decide to leave,
Michigan's
only true post
player with
experience
would be
Max Bielfeldt,
though the
redshirt sophom
only in spots -
Horford or Mo
foul trouble. Bie
in just 19 of the
games this seas
total points and r
rebounms ner va

es next year. at a time.
rd willgraduate Freshman Mark Donnal, who
can transfer to redshirted this season, will also
lay immediately likely play a prominent role in
ng as he enrolls the lineup. Donnal added 10-15
ogram that isn't pounds since the season began
and has raised
eyebrows in
practice lately.
"I leave"He's
becoming
Michigan with a force,"
Morgan said
nothing but love two weeks
ago. "He's
In my heart." hard to guard
down there in
the post, and
he's definitely

Guard Nik Stauskas was reported to be headed tothe 2014 NBA Draftlby ESPN
Stauskas to leave.

.ore has played
- mostly when
rgan were in
lfeldt appeared
Wolverines' 37
on, scoring 15
pulling down 1.1
me mhilerarelv

come a long way.
"Over the past couple months,
he's just become really good.
Really dominates, shoots the ball
well."
Another option, one Michigan
coach John Beilein hinted at
during his Wednesday press
conference, is seeking a transfer
to fill a void - a practice he
used regularly while coaching
Richmond, Canisius and West
Virginia.
"If we have openings and
there are transfers that fit who
we are, we are open to that,"
Beilein said.
With Morgan gone, Michigan
also loses another active voice
in the locker room. Should
Robinson leave too, Michigan
would have to replace each of its
captains for the second offseason
in a row.
"Jon has been an integral part
of our many accomplishments
over the last four years,"
Beilein said. "He brought great
enthusiasm, leadership and work
ethic to our program. Jon is a
wonderful young man who has a
very bright future ahead of him.
"We will be rooting for him
every step of the way."

By SIMON KAUFMAN
Daily Sports Writer
Sophomore guard Nik Stauskas
was following in the steps of
former guard Trey Burke.
Burke led the Wolverines to
the Final Four last year; Stauskas
carried the team into the Elite
Eight this March. Burke was
named last year's Big Ten Player
of the Year; Stauskas took home
the honor in 2013-14.
Thursday morning, a report
from ESPN's Jeff Goodman said
that he'll be following Burke again
- this time to the NBA.
Goodman reported that a
source close to Stauskas said that
he had made his decision and
would announce his intentions to
declare for the NBA Draft shortly.
Stauskas took to Twitter
shortly after the report surfaced
to reiterate that any decisions
about his future were not final yet.
"Just wanted to reiterate that
any reports about my future
intenions are FALSE!" Stauskas
said on Twitter. "I have NOT
made ANY decisions on my future
yet!"

Later Thursday, the guard told
ESPN.com that he had not made a
final choice as to whether he will
return for his junior season in
Ann Arbor. His father reiterated
a similar message to UM Hoops.
The sophomore spent last
weekend at home in Mississauga,
Ontario, weighing his decision
with family and friends.
The6-foot-6guard led theteam
in scoring this year, averaging
17.5 points per game. He shot 47
percent from the field and 44
percent beyond the arc, and he
also had a team-best 118 assists.
The stats were good enough for a
spot on the NABC All-American
first team.
After his freshman season,
Stauskas stayed on campus to
work on his game and his body.
He added 16 pounds of muscle,
which helped him transform his
game by giving him the ability to
drive and get points in the paint
Experts have him slotted as
a mid-first round pick on the
cusp of the lottery. Gary Parrish,
a national columnist for CBS
Sports, has Stauskas going as the
15th pick to the Atlanta Hawks.

PAUL SHERMAN/Daily
Redshirt juniorJon Horford announced he will transfer after averaging 3.8 points and 4.2 rebounds last season.

Once a walk-on, Lindsay Williams emerges

By CINDY YU already been counted, she
Daily Sports Writer clinched a much-needed, season-
best score of 9.825 in the anchor
Lindsay Williams didn't know position.
what it was like to be a key player. The following week, Williams
For all but one month of contributed another solid beam
her collegiate career, the set at the Big Ten Championships,
sophomore was an alternate for helping the team clinch the
the No. 7 Michigan women's conference title.
gymnastics team. The Northville, "We were the underdogs going
Mich. native has frequently into that afternoon session and
exhibitioned throughout the we had something to prove since
season, making the occasional it had been two years since we
appearance on uneven bars and won Big Ten," she said. "It was
balance beam in the six-up, five- nice to see our team score hold
count team format. out in the evening session. It was
On March 15 at the Big Ten the most unbelievable feeling
Quad, however, Williams was ever."
thrust into a starting role where As the postseason approached
she has competed like a seasoned and the stakes grew bigger,
veteran. Williams expanded her role on
Stepping in for sophomore the team at the NCAA Regionals.
Briley Casanova after the beam With sophomore Austin
specialist strained her ankle in Sheppard out with an ankle
practice,Williamsprovedshe was injury, Williams was called upon
able to deliver in high-pressure to compete on bars for just the
ci.9irc s t .r . vinrr t._ire -:- a a t ic a: - -

In an uncharacteristic fashion, showed consistency with her
senior Joanna Sampson recorded third hit beam routine in a row.
her first fall of the season after Her two routines were crucial to
missing her release move. the team's first place finish.
Preventing "For her
the fall from to be able to
counting and step in at the
backing up "Een , end of the
her teammate, Even if she s season after
Williams notth os things have
rallied in the the most already been
anchor spot talented kid established
and set a new kid and people
career high, she has earned are in their
9.850. flow of what
"After she respect." they're doing
landed her is amazing,"
bar routine, I Sampson said.
literally had A key factor
tears of joy," to her recent
Sampson said. success is her work ethic.
Added Williams: "I just tell "You get exactly what you
myself that there's no way I'm not see," said Michigan coach Bev
going to make that routine." Plocki. "Even if she's not the
Keeping her team in the most talented kid on the team,
running for the top spot at she has earned the respect from
regionals after bars, Williams very single one of her teammates
because of her work ethic and her
commitment. She's just a very
sincere, likeable, hardworking
student-athlete."
Williams started out her
freshman year as a walk-
on gymnast. Because of her
progress and value to the team,
she earned a scholarship at the
t end of the summer before her
sophomore year.
Former assistant coach
Shannon Walker first recognized
the youngtalent when he saw her
compete at nationals. It onlytook
a few visits for her to be set on
Michigan.
"When I came here, it just
clicked," Williams said. "I felt
most comfortable with the girls
at Michigan and the coaches
made me feel really welcomed.
Just seeing the facilities and the
school, and knowing how great
academically it is and how great
G the tradition is, it just really gave
K.COM/UM Gme the feeling that this is where
I wanted tobe."
Since then, she has grown
tremendously, with her physical
strength showing the greatest
improvement.
When Williams first started
training with the Wolverines,
she wasn't 100 percent. One

of her thighs was significantly
smaller than the other because
of a knee injury that required
surgery her senior year of high
school.
By focusing on strength and
conditioning, Williams has
made significant strides in her
endurance and ability.
Now, Plocki feels confident
about putting in Williams
because of her dependability
her competition performance
reflects her arduous training
regimen.
Her role as an alternate
throughout the majority of
the season hasn't diminished
her competition her input into
training and her work ethic is
the same in the gym and in the
classroom. Earning Academic
All-Big Ten recognition, the
neuroscience major values her
education.
"Even though you're the
alternate, you're right on the
edge," Williams said. "You need
to think of yourself as being in

the lineup because if something
happens to someone, or there's a
situation where you need to go in
essentially, you are in the lineup,
so you just have to train with that
mentality."
With the Wolverines
constantly pushing people in the
lineup, alternates help the team
effort as a whole and separate
the top teams from everyone else
in terms of depth.
Intheupcomingseason,Plocki
sees her as a threat for a lineup
spot on floor. But for now, only
one thing is on the 20-year-old's
mind: NCAA Championships. As
the team prepares for nationals,
Williams can feel secure about
her spot in the bars and beam
lineups.
"I love seeing success stories
like this because she's been
working extremely hard and she
got to where she is today from
putting in so much blood, sweat
and tears into what she's doing,"
Plocki said. "It's paying off for
her and for us."

Lindsay Williams has overcome knee surgery to be a critical part of th team.

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