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The Michigan Daily - SPORTSMonday - Monday, October 16, 1995 -5B
H e missed the shot.
Without question, the biggest shot
of his life, and he didn't even hit
One shot at national fame and fortune -
well, sort of-- and Subash Mani left it a
couple feet short and left.
Mani, a freshman, survived the prelimi-
nary rounds of ESPN's halfcourt shot
contest to earn a chance at the grand prize.
And grand it was: had Mani converted the
near-fifty footer at MoonJam '95, he would
have greatly pleased his parents by bringing
home tuition, room and board for a year.
It was not to be: the shot
classes are still costly,
and Mani's parents are
probably a little disap-
pointed - as was Maceo
forward/center for the
team and erstwhile coach
of the anxious shooter.
"I told him how to
shoot it, but he didn't
listen to me," Baston
said. "I told him to throw
it high and it might go
Before Mani's nation-
ally televised shot,
was off, the
lot of pressure on him, so we just tried to
relax him, have him take his time, but a
halfcourt shot is tough."
So he missed. But any of us can miss a
halfcourt shot. The real test was sitting at
the scorer's table for the two long hours
that divided the preliminary round from the
final shot, sequestered from his friends,
thinking about being on ESPN.
"1 just want to hit the rim and not make a
fool of myself," Subash Mani said 90
minutes before the shot.
The ESPN people stuck him somewhere
they could find him easily - at the south
end of the scorer's table about 200 feet
from anyone he knew, A head-setted deputy
assistant to the associate production director
continually pestered him about issues that
were trivial to Mani but crucial to ESPN.
"How do you pronounce that name? Mah-
nee or man-ee?"
"Y6u're from Lexington, Massachusetts,
or Novi, Michigan?"
"Your parents reside where?"
"In-state or out-of-state tuition?"
The network people weren't the only ones
pestering the shooter.
"Shooting for in-state tuition ... what a
waste," and similar sentiments were
repeated several times well within earshot
ESPN's insurance company must have
been happy to hear that the payout in the
case of a bucket was only in-state tuition,
but students in the crowd were less
"I think they should have had (residency)
on the application," said freshman Kevin
Fritz, a Long Island native who wasn't quite
joking. "Yeah, it's exciting now, but if it's
for twice, three times the money, it's just
that the stakes are bigger."
Master of ceremonies Van Earl Wright
stopped by to ask Mani what he was going
to do to dispel his nervousness; fortunately
Mani's response was mumbled and inau-
dible over the public address system.
Suffice it to say that had Mani fulfilled his
own prediction, the wet spot on his pants
would have caused him no small embarrass-
Mani's prospects were looking up about
an hour before the shot. Michigan coach
Steve Fisher hinted that he might find a
roster spot for Mani if the shot fell.
Based on the freshman's preliminary-
round performance, that might not have
been a bad idea. The feat that earned him
the television appearance was also a
halfcourt job, nothing but the bottom of a
rather distant net.
Did Mani think Fisher would have a uniform
for him? "Maybe as a ballboy," he said.
Regardless, he sat courtside waiting
during a parade of inane contests and
exhibitions, trying his best to look stoic and
doing a pretty good job.
Don't be fooled. The stakes were too big
and public for him to be not a bit nervous,
although as Mani himself said, he had
nothing to lose and everything to gain. Still,
he had to be thinking about Corey Closs,
the Cincinnati student who splashed his
money shot a year ago to snatch some free
"That's probably going to jinx me," he
said. "The odds aren't good of it happening
two years in a row."
He gave himself a one-in-10 chance.
Baston had less faith, calling it one in 100;
Bullock, ever the confident shooter, put the
odds at one in five.
"Want something from Campus Corner to
calm your nerves?" asked some sarcastic
"Give me a six-pack of Rolling Rock," he
said. "That would be nice."
Hey - aren't you a little young for that?
Nice try, anyway.
PO UTSY vO F rAN HAN
Despite the sign above him, Michigan student Fan Zhang finished 776th in the ironman Triathlon.
Zhang finish esIromnani
Baston and his Wolverine cohorts engulfed
him, dispensing advice and encouragement
as if they had some secret formula for
halfeourt shots. Mani disappeared in the
midst of a huddle containing 300-pound
Robert Traylor, 6-9 Maurice Taylor, and
more diminutive Wolverines like 6-8 Willie
"We tried to encourage him to get some
height," said freshman guard Louis Bullock,
Michigan's heir apparent for the long-
distance sharp-shooter role that was often
unoccupied last season. "He probably had a
Continued from page 16
them over. Then it was fine."
Michigan coach Steve Fisher em-
barrassed master of ceremonies Van
Earl Wright in a free throw shooting
contest by hitting almost all of his
foul shot attempts.
With all of the fanfare, the biggest
moment of the night was the half-
court shot attempt by Subash Mani, a
freshman economics major.
Mani qualified for the chance to
shoot by hitting from mid-court dur-
ing the preliminaries. If he had hit
his do-or-die shot, ESPN would have
awarded him a free year of tuition,
room and board.
Unfortunately for Mani, his shot
went wide left and he'll have to pay
for tuition like everybody else at
By Brian Sklar
Daily Sports Writer
Fan Zhang completed the achieve
lifetime Oct. 7 in Kailua-Kona, Hawai
that day that Zhang became the first C
athlete to compete in and complete th
Ironman Triathlon World Champions)
Zhang, a Michigan doctoral studen
the competition with a time of 12:1
cluded a 2.4-mile swim in the rough w
Pacific Ocean, a 112-mile bike race a
mile marathon. He placed 776 out o
athletes that completed in the event.
This year's competition featured t
worst weather conditions since 1983.'
winds off the islands helped force 165a
of the race. This made completing the
more special for Zhang, who had limiti
tion time because he had been work
dissertation in pharmaceuticals.
Even with the short practice sched
felt he was well prepared for the event
"I trained very hard for the compe
said. "When I was in Hawaii, I stayed
did the necessary work and didn't sight
lot of inspirational reading."
No matter how Zhang trained for th
tion, it was tougher than he expected.
physical and psychological demands a
competitors in an event such as this, i
difficult to deal with the intense winds
"The biking part was especially diffic
said. "The headwinds were incredible.]
downhill you still had to pedal hard."
Zhang finished the first event of the compe-
tion, the swimming, in 1:20:02. The biking
ement of a event was the most grueling for Zhang, who
i. It was on finished it with a time of 7:18:16. He expected
hinese tri- to have some problems with this event becauie
e Gatorade he has an old bike in need of some repair. He
hip. made up for some time in the running event,in
nt, finished which he passed overthree hundred competitots
4:48. It in- in finishing the race.
aters of the When he crossed the finish line, Zhang's drea~i
and a 26.2- of completing the Triathlon became a reality."
f the 1493 "It was a great feeling," he said. "I was on cloud
nine. I was so excited, I went sleepless that night."
he event's Besides thepersonal reasons forparticipatingin
The heavy the triathlon,Zhang had other intentions. Hehopes
athletes out that his participation in such a prestigious athletic
event even competition will inspire other Chinese athletesfo
ed prepara- compete in distance events, including the ones in
ing on his the 2000 Olympic games in Sydney, Australia.
"It is great to represent my country,"Zhang sai4.
ule, Zhang "I want to bring the sport into China and have more
t. people doing distance events.
etition," he Zhang dedicated his performance to the student
focused. I movement of China who protested for democracy
tsee. I did a in 1989. He is proud of his accomplishment, but
does not want the government to glorify it.
e competi- "I want a keep a low profile," he said.
While the As far as future competitions, Zhang feels h
re great on will betoooldand busy with hisjobheplanstotake
it was also at Park-Davis toparticipate in the Olympic Games.
. He looks forward to competing in the Ironmin
ult,"Zhang again, though.
Evengoing "I got hooked," he said. "It's an incredible
The Michigan basketball team packed the lower bowl of Crisler Arena Saturday night for Mooniam '95, part
of ESPN's Midnight Madness coverage of the first college basketball practices of the year.