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July 07, 2003 - Image 11

Resource type:
Michigan Daily Summer Weekly, 2003-07-07

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JULY 7, 2003 ,11 i

Fox signs
deal with
By Josh Holman
Daily Sporta Editor
When the Chicago Cubs came call-
ing, it proved too much for former
Michigan catcher Jake Fox to turn
down. Fox decided to forego his senior
year as a Wolverine and signed a con-
tract with the Cubs on June 28.
"It was a relief because it was a long
process and kind of strenuous," Fox
said. "We finally got it settled and it
took a lot of weight off my shoulders. I
finally get a chance to make a dream
come true."
In his junior season with Michigan,
Fox hit .357 and led the team in home
runs (15), RBIs (67) and slugging per-
centage (.696). He received the Ray
Fisher Award as team MVP and
became the first Michigan player to
earn Baseball America All-American
honors since Jim Abbott in 1987.
The Cubs drafted Fox as the 73rd
overall pick in the third round of the
2003 Major League Baseball First-Year
Player Draft on June 3. The two sides
did not come to terms on a contract
until a little more than a week ago.
Fox was recently assigned to Mesa,
Ariz. with the Cubs' Rookie-League
team. He has received a physical and is
undergoing workouts with the team.
"The last couple of days have been a
waiting game for me," Fox said. "You
wait at the airport and wait for your
ride, and then you come here and you
wait in line to meet the coaches and
get your equipment. It's a lot of paper-
work and a lot of waiting."
Fox's future still remains somewhat
hazy. He expects to be reassigned
within the next few weeks to either
Chicago's short-season Class A team
in Boise, Idaho, or possibly the low-

NHL offers collegiate
players better chances

Former Michigan catcher Jake Fox couldn't turn down an offer from t
Cubs, signing his professional contract last week.

level Class A team in Lansing.
Not only would a move to Lansing
be a step up for the fresh new rookie, it
would also put him back in the state
where his early success paved the way
to a professional career.
"(Michigan coach and former minor
leaguer Rich Maloney) is pretty excit-
ed for me and has warned me of what
I'll be going through here," Fox said.
"He said the first day I get to Lansing
to make sure and give him a call and
he'll be there with his family."
Fox's climb to success is no sure
thing, though. The Cubs selected catch-
er Tony Ritchie from Florida State in
the fourth round, as well as catching
prospects Matthew LaPorta of Charlotte
High School and Landon Powell of the
University of South Carolina in the 10th
and 25th rounds, respectively.
The Cubs are thin at catcher at the
major league level, so this quartet may
have a better opportunity in the big
leagues than a normal prospect.
"It's not what they do that's going to

get me to where I want to go," Fox said.
"I have to make sure I show up every
day and do the things that I do best."
Ritchie has already signed a contract
and is playing A Ball.
Despite the long road ahead, Fox
still feels he has what it takes to be a
major leaguer someday.
"I've talked to some big leaguers
that have been there and one attribute
they say that got them to where they
went is perseverance - not necessarily
the physical ability or what you did,"
Fox said. "It's showing up every day
and keeping the right attitude. I think

As I was watching the NBA Draft,
ESPN ran a series of promotional
commercials for the draft - which I
thought was odd since I was already
watching it. The ad campaign featured
players like LeBron James and
Carmello Anthony, among others,
boldly saying "I'm ready." When I saw
these ads for the first time - and it
wasn't the last, sadly - I was sur-
prised because the NBA Draft has
become such a crap shoot in recent
years. Hardly anyone knows ifa player
is ready to make an immediate impact
in the league anymore.
With an influx of foreign players
and high school seniors constantly tak-
ing the top spots in the first round,
NBA scouts are having a harder time
making a solid decision on who is truly
ready to play professionally. Anthony
made a name for himself in just one
year of college ball and James became
the "King" by embarrassing high
schoolers. But regardless of their expe-
rience - or lack thereof - Anthony
and James were both taken in the first
three picks. Itis obvious scouts are
now drafting on potential rather than
actual impact.
Although few probably knew about
it and even fewer watched it, the NHL
Draft took place on June 21. The only
conceivable reason to watch was to see
what teams would draft Michigan play-
ers. Other than that, you're wasting
your time. If you think Nedzad
Sinanovic is an obscure NBA Draft
pick (54th overall to Portland), try
Marc-Andre Fluery in the NHL Draft
(Never heard of him? He was picked
first overall by Pittsburgh).
But what the NHL Draft lacks in TV
appeal, it makes up in its ability to pro-
duce quality players in the future. The
NBA Draft may have exponentially

higher ratings, but the chances of the
first 30 NBA picks being successful
are no where near the chances of NHL
picks. The reason is simple: once a
NHL club calls the name of an under-
classmen, he can still finish his colle-
giate career.
For some reason, the NCAA has two
different policies towards amateur
drafts in the NBA and the NHL. Once
an underclassmen basketball player
declares himself eligible for the NBA
Draft and hires an agent, his remaining
years of eligibility vanish like Georgia
players from a classroom. But once a
NCAA hockey player is drafted, he has
the option to finish his collegiate
career. While this may seem trivial, it
makes a world of difference in player
For example, Michigan forward Jeff
Tambellini was selected 25th overall
by the Los Angeles Kings. All signs
point to him returning for his sopho-
more season. Although he possesses
great skills and led the Wolverines in
scoring this season, the Kings wouldn't
dream of him sitting on the bench at
the Staples Center next fall. Why?
Because they know he has up to three
more years to fine-tune his skills and
talents and prepare for competition
against the world's best. Therefore,
rather than spending the next five or so
years in Manchester, N.Y. - L.A.'s
minor league team - to work on his
game, he can spend the next three at
Yost competing for a national champi-
onship in front of 6,500 fans dying to
spout profanity.
It's no secret that most of the basket-
ball draft picks may never pan out into
even role-players or 12th men on a
NBA roster. ESPN's Jay Bilas, an
expert on both NBA and NCAA bas-
ketball, bluntly stated that the majority
of players taken in this year's draft,
especially in the second round, will
never see the inside of a NBA arena.
See NHL DRAFT, Page 12


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