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June 14, 2004 - Image 13

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Publication:
Michigan Daily Summer Weekly, 2004-06-14

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Monday
June 14, 2004
sports.michigandaily.com
sports@michigandaily.com

SPORTS

13

Gallo gets'Birdstone'd' at NCAAs .

By Seth Gordon
Daily Sports Editor
Junior Lindsey Gallo had Michi-
gan's best chance to bring home an
individual NCAA title, but in a fate
cruelly similar Smarty Jones', she
ran out of gas on the home stretch
of tbe 1,500-meter final. After tak-
ing bone tbe first two legs of her
triple crown - tbe Big Ten Champi-
onsbips and tbe NCAA Mideast
Regional -- Gallo was passed by
two runners and finished in fourth
place at the NCAA Outdoor Cham-
pionships on Saturday night in
Austin, Texas.
Entering the meet, Gallo was one
of the favorites to win the 1,500-
meter race having won the event at
the Big Ten Championships and the
NCAA Mideast Regional.
"The regional meet was the break-

out meet for Gallo," head coach
James Henry said. "She was able to
gain a lot of confidence from that
race that she could run with the best
in the country."
Several aspects of Gallo's per-
formance at the Mideast Regional
were noteworthy. In that race she
recorded a personal best time just
.06 seconds short of a school record
and also defeated eventual NCAA
champion Tiffany McWilliams of
Mississippi State. After that race,
Gallo and Henry felt she was capa-
ble of winning the NCAA title and
came into the meet with a mindset
to win the race.
"At regionals, I had a great race,"
Gallo said. "So coach and I decided
to go for it."
After making it through the pre-
liminaries without any problems,
Gallo was ready for the final.

The race began with a faster than
expected pace, led by McWilliams.
Gallo was able to stay with the lead
group for most of the race, but
McWilliams pulled away in the last
600 meters. Like Jones in the Bel-
mont, Gallo struggled on the home
stretch as two other runners from
the lead group passed her. Galls did
recover enough to maintain fourth4r "
position and finish wish a time of
4:15.33. -
"The fast early pace caught up
with me at the end," Gallo said. "I
didn't have much left at the end,
but I was happy that I at least went
for it." '
The rest of the Michigan team,
which only qualified five athletes to } <
compete in the championship, fin-
ished in a tie for 41st place. Howev- VID TUMAN /Daily
er, three of the five Wolverines Michigan junior Lindsey Gallo finished fourth in the 1500-meter final at the NCAA
See GALLO, Page 15 Outdoor Championships in Austin, Texas. She had won her past two1500-meter races.
Dunked over: LaVell's limbo

By Eric Ambinder
Daily Sports Editor
There's no shot clock here.
There are no 6-foot-7 defenders
or Maize Rage-like crowds.
No referees, either.
The coach doesn't wear collared
shirts, he dribbles a basketball -
panache is welcome.
Here, 12 points are enough to win
and some are alley-oops off the
backboard. Here, you can soar
above the competition ... even
wearing ankle weights.
The basketball courts at Michi-
gan's Central Campus Recreational
Building (CCRB) have to be the last
place LaVell Blanchard wants to be
right now.
Four years ago, playing in the
NBA was a lucid dream for the
Michigan basketball standout.
Smack in the middle of the high-
school-jumping era of McGrady,
Kobe and LeBron, the dream must
have been there almost every night.
"I don't even think about that, I
think of where I'm at right now,"
said Blanchard about his decision
not to jump early to the NBA. "If
you look back to the past, you can't
change anything. So you just go out
there and try to improve what you
can right now. All of the 'ifs' and
'ands' and 'buts' about the past,
what good do they do?"
Blanchard was named the
Gatorade National Player of the
Year in high school, beating out the
likes of current NBA players Carlos
Boozer, Jason Richardson and
Caron Butler. McDonald's honored
him as an All-American, and Duke
recruited him to play basketball.
But the Ann Arbor native chose to
stay home, where during four sea-
sons, he experienced teammate

Jamal Crawford's early exit to the
NBA, a coaching change, team-
mates' scandals, playing out-of-
position as a power-forward, never
playing in the NCAA Tournament,
an 0-6 start and post-season sanc-
tions during his senior year. He
might have been drafted in to the
NBA had he left Michigan after his
junior year, when The Sporting
News ranked him as the No. 1
shooting guard prospect in its NBA
pre-season issue. Through it all,
despite rumors of leaving, Blan-
chard never outwardly protested or
showed disdain; he remained loyal
to the Maize and Blue.
"I don't think there were any
low-points (during my time at
Michigan), I think they were all
high because of the experiences
that I had, the friends I made, the
people that I got acquainted with,"
Blanchard said. "The program
itself, as a team and family has all
been positive."

After graduating in 2003, Blan-
chard tested his game at pre-draft
camps. ESPN draft guru Chad Fora
ranked him ahead of current Laker
Luke Walton on his 'Top 15 Small
Forwards' list. But, there aren't
many current NBA superstars with
the same amount of college experi-
ence Blanchard has - four years. In
the past 10 years, just two four-year
Michigan basketball players have
been drafted into the NBA -
Jimmy King and Maceo Baston;
both second round picks are no
longer on NBA rosters.
Undrafted, Blanchard went to
Italy last fall and played with team
Reggio Calabria for one season4
averaging 7.4 points in 13 minutes
per game.
And now Blanchard is home,
back where he started. Except this
time, he's the salesman.
"Some (NBA) teams have showed
some attention, so right now I'm
See LAVELL, Page 15

LaVell Blanchard hopes to be dunking In arenas during the coming me
summer leagues. In the meantime; Blanchard tears up opponents In th

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