Mike Lantry, 1972
The stock on Michigan Basketball couldn't be hotter right now and alot of credit goes to where it should - like Beilein and his coaching staff, and the players. The last few years have brought acclaim and fun basketball back to Ann Arbor. Michigan recruits good kids who represent the school well. And, we're competitive with the elite programs and improving year by year.
But, I've noticed that members of the community have been dogging Jalen for being so vociferous about inclusion of the Fab 5's inclusion back to the fold. I, for one, think it could have a good effect on the school. Alot of ppl now a days dont even know the history of the team and its iconic brand of basketball. But alot of ppl do and I'm glad that Beilein and Co. have been so receptive of their input and support.
Jalen Rose wasnt implicated in the Martin Scandal and by all measures has been a model for the school. He had an illustrious NBA career and has become a solid broadcaster and personality. His Grantland segments are gold. He loves Michigan almost as much as he loves himself. So, why begrudge him to use his platform to try to get what he wants. It might be what is best for the school.
So, my interest was piqued, so I figured I'd share. During the halftime show for the Lakers-Clippers game, Magic congratulated Jalen on his alma mater's success. Some banter broke out, with the following dialog:
Question: Is there even a slight chance we'll see the Fab in the stands tomorrow?
Jalen: There is a slight chance. I'm working the phones right now.
There is a nice column by Mitch Albom on how the current Michigan team can be more remarkable than the Fab 5. (LINK: http://www.freep.com/article/20130402/COL01/304020124/mitch-albom-michigan-wolverines-final-four-could-be-better-story-than-fab-five
I know many of you don't like Albom at all. Many of you also love the Fab 5. But without being disrespectful to the past, I think Albom has written a nice piece comparing the new team to the old, and also giving honor to John Beilein and his success. Albom writes,
You can make a case that this 2013 group is poised to weave an even more remarkable story. That's not hyperbole. It's fact. Remember, the 1993 Fab Five team was five sophomore starters who had been together for two seasons, three of whom had been starters from their very first game. Today's U-M group starts three freshmen -- one of whom only got his starting role a few weeks ago -- plus one sophomore superstar and one junior. Collectively, that's a lot less experience than the Chris Webber-Jalen Rose ensemble.
Albom goes on to say,
This group is more impressive (than the Fab Five.) The Fab Five, a No. 1 seed, beat a 16 seed, a 9 seed, a 12 seed and a 7 seed to make the Final Four. Their real test came in the national semifinals against top-seeded Kentucky, which they edged by a few points in overtime. Beilein's group, seeded fourth, already has beaten a No. 1, No. 3, No. 5 and No. 13 seed -- all but one by fat margins. If Michigan gets past Syracuse, another fourth seed, on Saturday night, it will have gone as far as the Fab Five ever did. And will be poised to do something that legendary group could never do. Win it all.
On Beilein, he writes
The fact that Beilein has done it with intelligence, humility, discipline, hard work, good recruiting and a sense of history makes it all the better. Remember, this is a guy who, like the kids, had never been to a Final Four, despite nearly four decades in coaching. . . the fact that he rebuilt this program smartly and patiently, with year-by-year improvement and steady, heady leadership, is even more impressive.
While you may not care for Mitch Albom, today's column doesn't descend into treacly nonsense. But it does a nice job of praising Beilein and the current team, and also does well in comparing the team to our last high point.
Jalen MC'd the Michigan Mock Rock last night at Hill. He made a few comments regarding the Fab 5 returning to Michigan. He said that all of the Fab 5 love Michigan and love the Michigan fans. He said that this team could be good enough to cut down nets and if they do he wants to watch from the seats with the other 4 of the Fab 5.
He was a pretty good MC. He brought out Jimmy King at one point and Hardaway and GRIII for a few seconds. Hoke was there and Jalen thanked him for bringing Michigan football back.
I realize that the Fab 5 are a touchy subject for some Michigan fans but I'm 44 and remember bumping into the Fab 5 at the Spaghetti Bender back in the day! You are old school if you remember the Bender. I'm a fan of all the Fab 5. Even CWebb. I don't get a vote but I say bring em all back. It was over 20 years ago.
Jalen Rose is going to join ABC/ESPN's pregame NBA Countdown show this year in addition to analyst on ESPN2's Numbers Never Lie, current podcast on Grantland Network, and new role on ESPN College Basketball Gameday. He may be spreading himself thin, but he is now a rising media star and going to be one of the most visible analysts on ESPN.
He taped a new podcast with Bill Simmons yesterday as they are both joining NBA Countdown this fall, and Jalen offers some insight on his recruitment, relationship with Chris Webber, Ed Martin, and rooming together in college. Sounds like Webber took the money right before he left school and turned pro.
Our favorite really motivational and sometimes secret leaking (see the "YESSSSSSSSSSSS" tweet that was removed just before Mitch McGary's committment went public) assistant basketball coach Bacari Alexander is at it again, tweeting "Stay Tuned. We will reunite soon...... Juwan Howard and Jalen Rose share a Fab Five moment" with a link to the Youtube Video embedded in the first comment.
There's been a lot of speculation already with the rededication of Crisler Arena and the "10 Year Ban" coming off the books in 2013 that the Fab 5 would be recognized in some way. 4 of the 5 (Not CWebb) have already been welcomed back in some form, most notably Jalen's "Rose Garden" section of seats that he buys for children.
I don't want this to turn into another "They cheated, I hate them!" "I love them!" thread, so what would your perfect "Reunion" be? I'd take having all 5 of them back at Crisler, maybe Jalen speaking to the crowd, and a new display case on the Crisler concourse showing the whole history - The baggy shorts, the final 4 banners, the downfall, the scandal, the cultural impact, etc. Lay it all out there. It's history, to be celebrated and scorned and most importantly remembered.
Oh, also, Juwan should do the Cabbage Patch again.