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Webber decides to make jump to pros
By KEN DAVIDOFF played a pivotal role for the only team
ONLYBMaKEIALL R to ever start five first-year players in a
When it came right down to it, championship contest
Chris Webber simply thought he was "There'll never he another incom-
ready. Ready to compete against the ing group like the Fab Five," Webber
the adult responsibilities that accom- lasted."
panry the job. Michigan coach Steve Fisher said
Thus, the Michigan men's basket- he would love to have the power for-
ball player announced last Wednesday ward back, but he thanked Webber for
at Crisler Arena his intention to turn his two years of service.
professional and apply for the June 30 "For a person to come under the
National Basketball Assocation draft. enormous pressure that he did when he
The 20 year old joined an elite club of came to Michigan and live up to the
players -including formerLosAnge- expectations that were placed ou him,
lea Laker Magic Johnson, Detroit Pis- and not only do that bat in a style and
ton Isaiah Thomas, Denver Nugget with the grace and class that I think
Chris Jackson and New Jersey Net reflects Chris and his family, he has
Kenny Anderson - who entered the made all who are parl of Michigan
draft after only two years of school exremely proud," Fisher said. "There
'TIhere's no doubt in my mind I'm will not be another Chris Webber who
ready for the next level," Webber said. comes through Michigan. You can
Webber leaves behind a bevy of coach a lifetime and not get one of the
accomplishments. He became thefirst substance that you've got here."
player tonmake theNCAA All-Tourna- Webber'sentire family attended the
ment squad as hoth a freshman and a press conference, and all expressed ap-
sophomore. He ranked among the fi- proval of the decision, although they
nalists in the running for the Naismith admitted they didn't quite see it comn-
Award, the Wooden Award, and the lag.
I United States Basketball Writers "I was surprised at the timing,"
AssociationuPlayer-of-the-Yearhonor. Webber's mother Doria said.
He made the Michigan all-time top Michigan~ point guard Jalen Rose,
five lists for field goal percentage, re- Webber's longtime friend, respected
bounding and blocked shots. And he his teammate's decision but expressed
sadness over his departure.
"He had to make the best decision
for Cbris Webber," Rose said. "We're
altgoing tomiss him, but wegoutakeep
going, and we gotta still play forMichi-
gan and we gotta still win."
Golden State Warrors scout Scott
Schuler agreed that Webber can in-
deed succeed at the next level.
said. "He's ready. We would sure lave
to have him, but Idon't know if we'll
he high enough (in the draft) or not
Maybe we'll get lucky. He's gonna be
a good pro."
Mostextpertsexpect Webber tobe
among the first tm eplayers drafted.
Webber's exit leaves the Wolver-
ines with only nine scholarship players
for next year, includingremuits Bobby
Crawford and Olivier Saint lean.
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Chris Webber made the announcement all Michigan fans fears
last Wednesday at Crisler Arena -- he will turn professional.