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June 19, 2006 - Image 13

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Publication:
Michigan Daily Summer Weekly, 2006-06-19

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Monday
June 19, 2006
sports.michigandaily.com
sports@michigandaily.com

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SPORTS

1 3-

Incomplete recruiting class for
Cagers sign of more trouble ahead

A nyone who watched the Michigan ment since I was in middle school. They did
men's basketball team this past sea- try. But this is Division I basketball, and you
son knows that the program was far won't get rewarded for just trying.
from a well-oiled machine. If just trying counted for something, next
Inconsistent play down year's team would look pretty prom-
the stretch, tanking impor- ising. I spent endless hours on mes-
tant games with postseason sage boards this year reading about
implications and a very dis- the next player Amaker seemed
appointing spring in terms to be wooing into coming to Ann
of recruiting are what the Arbor. It even seemed to be working
2005-2006 Wolverines will when he reeled in big-time in-state
be remembered for. That's not recruit DeShawn Sims in the fall.
exactly the legacy I'd want But after losing high-profile
from a season that could have guard recruit Patrick Beverley, hav-
been so positive. SCOTT ing the gem of its 2007 recruiting
Early signs pointed to pros- BELL class, Alex Legion, decommit and
perity rather than suffering: T seeing other valuable guard recruits
A showcase win over rival Soo n opt for more storied programs, it's
Michigan State near the Soon safe to say Michigan didn't keep
beginning of the conference season. that early-season momentum rolling.
A 16-3 start, along with a top-25 ranking How important was obtaining a strong
in the national polls. recruiting class for next season?
And a stud senior class that seemed to To say desperately is an understatement.
finally be gelling together. Next year's team will be without its play-
But we all remember the season ending in maker (Daniel Horton), its intangibles guy
the oh-so-familiar setting of the NIT. (Graham Brown) and its x-factor (Chris
All fans know the NIT isn't acceptable, Hunter).
and though Michigan coach Tommy Amaker So after a year of recruiting, who will
and most of the players put on a brave face be replacing these important pieces of the
during the postseason, everyone saw through puzzle (along with four others who gradu-
it. Michigan fans knew that the players and ated with them)?
the coaching staff wished they were playing DeShawn Sims: The lone incoming
in the real March Madness tournament. freshman who will probably have an impact
Now I've never run a basketball program, on next year's team. All indications are that
so I guess what is about to follow isn't exactly he should be the real deal, giving Michigan
expert advice. But, I do consider myself pret- some flexibility at the forward position. For
ty fluent in something called common sense. those of you hoping for an optimistic look at
Common sense tells me that if some- this recruiting class, you might want to stop
thing is broken, fix it. reading here.
Sounds simple enough, right? K'Len Morris: Signed with the Wolver-
I'm not saying that Amaker and co. didn't ines when Sims did. At the time, he was also
try fixing its basketball program - a pro- in the Rivals Top 150, but after an average
gram that hasn't reached the NCAA Tourna- senior season, he dropped out of the rankings
Dear Readers and Advertisers:

when they were reconfigured in the spring.
Anthony Wright: The good news: He
attended Oak Hill Academy for high school,
a school that has produced superstars like
Carmello Anthony, Rajon Rondo, Josh Smith
and Jerry Stackhouse. The not-so-good news:
He didn't even start for the team in high
school. Hey, I'm all about good pedigrees, but
if someone didn't start in high school, I'm not
too keen on the prospect of that person mak-
ing an impact on the collegiate level.
Epke Udoh: He's 6-foot-10, so anytime
size can be added to a roster, that's definitely
a plus. But a career 12.5 point per game aver-
age and questions surrounding his health are
what made him a prime candidate for a year
of prep school - his original plan of action
until he changed his mind and decided to go
to Michigan at the last minute.
Zack Gibson: If Udoh makes you feel
uneasy, then Gibson might give you a stroke.
He, too, is 6-foot-10, and he also has some
"offensive issues." The newest member of
Michigan's basketball team - he agreed to
transfer from Rutgers to Michigan and will
be eligible to play after sitting out a redshirt
season next year - averaged a whopping 1.1
points per game at Rutgers last season.
Not exactly the second coming of the
Fab Five.
Before I sound like a complete scrooge,
there's obviously the chance that I couldbe
wrong - it certainly wouldn't be the first
time. With the outgoing class of 2002, Hor-
ton was the lone high-profile recruit. Brown
and Hunter both flew under the radar and
ended up being diamonds in the rough for
this team. So maybe the 2006 recruiting class
could be the same.
But then that crazy concept of common
sense keeps rearing its ugly head again.Fz
eehFILE PHOTO
- Bell can be reached at scotteb@umich.edu. Tommy Amaker's recruiting has been less than stellar in recent years.

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