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July 03, 2006 - Image 15

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
Michigan Daily Summer Weekly, 2006-07-03

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

The Michigan Daily - Monday, July 3, 2006 -15

Another
NEW YORK -
Isuppose it all started
because I didn't have
cable.
For a variety of reasons
I spent my formative
years watching must-see,
non-network events at my P
Grandma Nora's house.
And in 1994, the tradition
took on a life of its own.
You see, I fell in love
with the NBA Draft. G
For reasons I still don't EDt
fully understand, I trans-
formed from a casual, H
uninformed basketball G
fan (I vaguely remember Chris Webber
going to Golden State via Orlando) into
a full-fledged, hoops-obsessed draft
connoisseur (to the point where I can
tell you that Missouri's Jevon Crudup
was the 48th overall pick) sometime
between late 1993 and early 1994.
And since the '94 draft was broad-
cast on TNT, I was in a bind.
I had never cared so much about a
single sporting event - or any tele-
vised event, for that matter - in my
life. I absolutely had to see it.
So I went to Grandma Nora's house.
I can still remember that June night
12 years ago. I sat in front of the TV

T,
E
!o
A

draft, bu
with a yellow legal pad, dutifully
recording the draft's pro-
ceedings from the star-stud-
ded opening trio (instant
contributors Glenn Robin-
son, Jason Kidd and Grant
Hill) to the final selection
(Zeljko Rebraca, who
would be traded three times
before making his NBA
debut seven years later).
Because my sudden
ABE infatuation with the NBA
ELSON draft has held for so long,
I can remember exactly
onest where I was and how I
abe followed the event each
year from 1994 to the present. It's
like my personal Kennedy assassina-
tion moment, and I can count on it
every time late June rolls around. I've
watched at Grandma Nora's house six
times (always making sure to record the
draft order by hand). Three times I've
had to scour the newspaper for the draft
list when I wasn't near a TV (twice at
Camp Tamakwa in Algonquin Park in
Ontario and once in Israel). This is not
to mention the three times I've followed
the selections live on the Internet from
Spain, Italy and Russia from 2003-05.
This year, I was there.
With my media credential hanging

from my neck, I covered the 2006 NBA
Draft from The Theater at Madison
Square Garden. Granted, I was seated
in the left balcony and had to strain my
neck for a mediocre view of the stage
(The Michigan Daily doesn't get as
much respect as The New York Times
or ESPN.), but it was an unforgettable
experience.
After following from a distance
since I was 10 years old, it was strange
to see the developments unfold in per-
son. I spent much of the first round in
the interview area, set far back from
the theater itself. One by one, draftees
would trickle in and answer questions
from an assorted and constantly chang-
ing collection of journalists in those
familiar draft-day caps. Eventually, I
moved back into the theater to catch
the later stages. For the final 15 picks,
I took a seat right in front of the stage
to watch NBA Deputy Commissioner
Russ Granik work his magic. Granik
has announced the second-round
selections since long before I began
watching the draft, and his upcoming
retirement meant I was watching his
final appearance in a draft-night set-
ting from close range (and witnessing
a piece of history, according to my not-
exactly-normal standards).
When all was said and done, I'd

taken in some pretty interesting sights
and sounds. Some highlights:
Seeing Stephen A. Smith getting a
makeup job.
Speaking with NBA Commissioner
David Stern and Boston Celtics star
Paul Pierce at the unveiling of the
league's new Official Game Ball.
Getting Tyrus Thomas to say that his
draft-night clothing choice was "G-14
classified."
Realizing that former Piston Jerome
Williams (a.k.a. Junk Yard Dog) had a
brand new set of teeth while interview-
ing him. Needless to say, I didn't ask.
Hearing Knicks fans react to Isiah
Thomas's pick of Renaldo Balkman in
the first round.
Sure, it was a thrill to cover the draft.
I loved every minute of it.
But something was missing.
It was the feeling of lying on the
floor in front of the TV, writing down
pick after pick. It was the overwhelm-
ing certainty that I'd be back in this
exact same spot next year. It was the
sense of tradition.
Thanks, Grandma.
- Edelson can be reached at
gedelson@umich.edu.

f a different setting

The draft's No. 1 pick was Andrea Bargnani.

NOTES
Cagers ink another recruit for class of '06
Tommy Amaker has never seen Reed Baker play basketball, but that didn't
stop him from making him the newest part of the Michigan basketball team.
Baker, a 6-foot-1 point guard from Fort Myers, Fla. was made the fifth
member of the 2006 recruiting class this past week, ending a seven-month
long journey that brought Baker to three different schools before he finally
landed in Ann Arbor.
Baker was slated to attend the Citadel, but five months after signing with
the school, Pat Dennis, the team's head coach, resigned, causing Baker to
reopen his recruitment.
He then landed at Birmingham Southern, but left a month later after the
school informed him it would be dropping from Division I to Division III the
following year.
The Air Force then offered him a scholarship, but rescinded the offer when
the school found out that he had a peanut allergy. This brought Baker to Ann
Arbor, where Amaker signed him despite never seeing him play.
Baker could compete with Jerret Smith for time at point guard next season.
Last season's starting point guard, Daniel Horton, graduated along with six
other Wolverines.
Tanker named Big Ten male athlete of the year
Peter Vanderkaay, one of the most decorated swimmers ever to don the
Maize and Blue, added another award to his already crowded mantle last
week.
The senior was named the 2006 Big Ten Jesse Owns Male Athlete of the
Year. Vanderkaay already owns many collegiate honors, including being a
three-time Big Ten Swimmer of the Year and a four-time All-American.
The Rochester native also won a gold medal in the 2004 Olympics.
Vanderkaay is the first Wolverine to receive this honor since Charles
Woodson, who won the award in 1998 following his Heisman Trophy-win-
ning season at cornerback for the Michigan football team.
Vanderkaay finished his career at Michigan with a memorable senior sea-
son. He broke the NCAA record en route to winning the NCAA title at the
500-yard freestyle this spring, where he also finished second in three other
NCAA championship events.
DAILY SPORTS.
UNLIKE ENGLAND AND BRAZIL,
WE'RE STILL WORKING.

. J can Rest~,"
1930 Whi take
ypsilanti
34) (7)96.6646
Fax:(74)

est Margaritas inTown
Margarita Special every Tuesday -
$5 (small), $7 (jumbo), $9 (monster)
Les than 15- mInut drive from campus
}n P 'nCr Plaza {xi 13- 4E

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