"The University of Illinois is also in turmoil. The university sports an Interim Chancellor, an Interim Athletic Director, and an Interim Football Coach; the game will be played at Soldier Field, making this an Illini Interim Home Game."
Very thoughtful letter that I feel resonates with the team's situation today.
I have been thinking of you a lot since I sat glued to the TV during the championship game. I know that there may be nothing I or anyone else can say to ease the pain and disappointment of what happened. Still, for whatever it's worth, you, and your team, were terrific. And part of playing for high stakes under great pressure is the constant risk of mental error. I know. I have lost two political races and made countless mistakes over the last twenty years. What matters is the intensity, integrity, and courage you bring to the effort. That is certainly what you have done. You can always regret what occurred but don't let it get you down or take away the satisfaction of what you have accomplished. You have a great future. Hang in there.
Sincerely, Bill Clinton
After finally closing out this season, I thought it worthwhile to spend a few moments on the MBB seniors. There are five of them. None of them start. None of them see many minutes. How rare is that in today’s game? Think about that. Five seniors, none of them with significant minutes. And yet, they are as much a part of this team as Trey, THJ, Mitch, Jordan, GRIII, etc. Let’s look back to when they agreed to give of themselves to Michigan:
Eso Akunne: When he signed, there was broad agreement that his tank of a body would someday be filling the lane, getting to the rim, and shooting copious amounts of free throws. It was assumed he would be the future point guard. That was before we knew two years of Darius Morris would yield to two years of Trey Burke and now Spike Albrecht. By his senior year, the only question was how soon would he be launching a three?
Matt Vogrich: When he signed, everyone agreed he would be the shooter John Beilein covets and the fan base was already checking how many threes it would take to break Louis Bullock’s record. Then we learned the kid could hustle and get a few key rebounds. Now my lasting image will forever be Vogrich measuring up his three pointer as soon as he passed half court to make sure he got in the box score* against an already defeated Florida team. And all his coaches and teammate cheered when it went in. And no one felt it was running up the score.
*for the younger crowd, in the old box scores the only way you got in the box score was if you scored. They had to conserve space in these things called newspapers so only scorers showed up.
Josh Bartelstein: Let me correct that, Team Captain Josh Bartelstein. Admit it, when he joined the team and you learned his Dad was a well known sports agent two thoughts crossed your mind. 1) This has to be good for recruiting, right? 2) Please no infractions, please no infractions. I’m not sure Josh has even scored in a game. I know he has seen the floor in the ultimate clean up minutes. He’s still one of the voices of the team, in fact, he was the first person who got the megaphone when they got back to Ann Arbor after beating Kansas and Florida.
Blake McLimans: When he signed, everyone agreed Beilein had brought in some height and had his sweet shooting power forward. Could he be Pittsnogle Jr if he puts on weight? I still have visions of Minute Bol launching threes when Blake gets all those arms into shooting motion to launch a three. He got those arms coiled one more time as the final seconds were draining off against Florida, sadly, his did not go in, but the team and coaches still cheered.
Corey Person: When he signed on as part of the Kalamazoo Plan the first question was, does this count as a scholarship or did Michigan just get a free player. The second questions was, is he part of “THAT” Person clan? Because Chuck “the rifelman” and nephew Wesley could shoot it. If so, great. Moar shooters please. Corey got off a few shots over the years in garbage time.
What we thought when they arrived isn’t important. What’s important is that they came…and stayed. They came on a promise. A promise of better facilities. A promise of conference championships. A promise of beating our rivals. A promise of Tournament appearances. And yes, probably a promise of a National Championship. Thanks for staying and fulfilling the promises that were made to you.
May you five be remembered when that 2013 National Runner-Up banner is raised to the rafters of the now Crisler Center. You helped make it all happen.
The basketball team is expected to arrive at the Crisler Center today at 3:45 p.m. North tunnel doors will open at 3:00.
Let's celebrate an amazing season of Michigan basketball, coaches, and players with a big welcome home!
I remember, as a child, going to Big Boy with my mother for lunch. I'm not sure why my father and brother never went along, but it was just the two of us. She always ordered the Farmer's Omelet. I was a Brawny Lad kind of guy.
This crossed my mind as I'm sitting in the ATL Delta SkyClub, looking across the table at my 11 year old son. The attention isn't being returned, as he's currently engaged with the iPad.
So, my thoughts are wandering...and I'm reflecting on last night and on the other 15 or so UMBB games he and I attended together this year in Ann Arbor and Auburn Hills.
And, even though he doesn't realize it right now, I know how he'll always look back on this basketball season as one of the highlights of his childhood. If going to Big Boy with my mother made such a lasting impression on me, certainly this will do the same for my son.
I came of age as a Michigan sports fan during the era of Rick Leach, Rob Lytle, Phil Hubbard, Rickey Green, etc. Some of my recollections of this period are more vivid than my recollections of what I did yesterday. My son is fortunate that he's experiencing the same with Denard, Trey, Novak, etc. When he plays basketball, he takes pride in making moves "just like Trey Burke."
My attention to all sports started to wane when I became busy with work and family in the late '90's. Between my son's excitement for Michigan sports and my discovery of this community of Michigan sports blogs, my obsession is now greater than it has ever been.
Whether we've been sitting in the Big House, traveling to Indy for last year's Big Ten Tournament, or stopping off in Atlanta for last night's game on the way back to Detroit from Miami, sharing U of M sports with my son has created some of the most meaningful moments of my life.
I know there have been a lot of threads created in the past 48 hours, but I thought this would be at least a somewhat different perspective. Being a Michigan grad and fan really is special.
As much as I enjoy the information/facts/data/analysis on this blog, it's even more interesting (to me at least) to hear everyone's personal stories...whether they're related to sports or not.
So, I thought I'd share mine. I hope other MGoFathers on here are able to share their love of all things U of M with their kids.
By the way, look who we bumped in to at the airport. It was a pleasure to be able to thank him for everything he's done for the basketball program...and a fitting ending to our 24 hours in Atlanta.
USA Today states that Bellein's mistake with Michigan's foul situation (he thought we were in the 1 and 1 when we were not) was a gaffe, which they suggest without stating so precisely was a factor in our losing the game, as "wasting those 23 seconds proved to be crucial."
I don't see it that way. I see Louisville as slightly superior last night and therefore a deserving winner. And coaching mistakes, like player mistakes, are going to happen to even the best coach. My question is, do you guys feel that the mistake was "crucial" in the loss? I frankly don't know enough about final minute basketball fouling strategy to comment.
Wanted to share this tweet midgame from the Northwest Indiana Times' PrepBeat columnist Steve Hanlon from last night (the NWI Times is like the Detroit News of The Region, except more widely published and read):
Branden Dawson won the NWI Times POY 2 years in a row (here's the article about 2011), joining a list that includes 2008's Zack Novak and 2002's Chris Hunter, and of course 2012's GRIII (and 1989 & 1990's GRII).
Michael "Spike" Albrecht was runner-up, and now: buyer's remorse? :)