Jamal Crawford was the man for the 10 or so games he was allowed to play. He was probably the most talented player that Michigan had since the fab-5 days.
I couldn't be happier for the Michigan Basketball team today. I am honestly not sure if I've seen UM play a better basketball game since Jalen Rose and Juwan Howard left. They were nearly perfect.
So today marks the end of the agonizing NCAA Tournament drought. I was a member of the Basketball Band while in college and I've followed the team closely ever since - even in the really bad years. My first season was right after Jalen and Juwan left. I got to experience 18 hour trips exotic NCAA destinations like Dayton and Milwaukee (the good land) to watch Ray Jackson and Jimmy King end the legacy of the Fab Five program with 1-and-done showings. The lasting memory was their final game, trailing by a basket, with the ball....only to see Ray Jackson dribble it off his foot to end the game five feet in front of me.
Well now we get to create some new tournament memories! But let's take one last look back on the past ten awful years. I had the idea of coming up with a "all-drought" squad. I decided to break it down in two. These are the players we'll remember (or hopefully forget) from the last ten years:
--- Team #1: These are guys who played their hearts out, were talented, and did what they could to bring Michigan back to the tournament:
PG - Daniel Horton
SG - Lester Abram?
SF - Bernard Robinson?
PF - Lavell Blanchard
C - Graham Brown
-- Horton and Blanchard are no-brainers
-- Abram went through a lot and was good, but not great.
-- Abram and Robinson both fit the Amaker era perfectly as they were good their freshman year and got worse after that.
-- Courtney Sims had the best stats at center, but I couldn't put him there. Too many bad memories.
Tell me who I missed! (Josh Asselin? Chris Young?)
---Team #2: These guys give you nightmares!
PG - Avery Queen
SG - Kevin Gaines
SF - Dominic Ingerson
PF - Courtney Sims
C - Josh Moore
-- I'll never forget that marketing poster with Queen and Moore after they signed. The tallest and shortest players in UM history.....and two of the worst.
-- Gaines was good but couldn't stay out of trouble.
-- Ingerson was a talented disaster
-- Sims was better than all these guys, but maddening
-- Also considered: Epke Udoh, Gavin Groninger, K'len Morris, Reed Baker.
Tell me what you think.....
That whole Jamal Crawford situation will always perplex me. There just HAD to be shit going on that we'll never know. How in the world is living with your AAU coach while in HS considered a major recruiting violation, or am I missing something?
Now that I think about it, maybe he took money or something because I remember the deal being that he had to pay back a certain amount of money in order to stay eligible and because of that he had no choice but to quit college and go pro. Well done NCAA, fine work you did taking the option of a college education away from a kid.
Man, we couldn't catch a break over the past 10 years......
It wasn't a recruiting violation; it was an "extra-benefits" violation. He received thousands of dollars in items from a man who wasn't his parent, and the NCAA ruled that this was on account of him being a star athlete.
Dion Harris should probably be on team #1. He was constantly asked to do more with little and had to play out of position on more than one occasion. I would put him on team #1 over Abram simply based upon amount of games played.
I don't know what to think of Crawford. He was definitely the most talented player. Manny reminds me of him sometimes. But he played 12 games before the NCAA screwed him (and Michigan) over. He could probably be on either team - as one of the best players, or as one of the most disappointing players.
As for Dion Harris, I guess you're right that he should trump Abram. I would have agreed that he played out of position, but frankly I'm not sure what his position was. He was yet another guy that had talent but rarely seemed to apply it. Maybe that's the team we should list - the all "unfulfilled potential" team: Harris, Robinson, Sims, Abram, etc.
Ladies and gentlemen - the Tommy Amaker Era!
I think what the NCAA said was that while living with his family friend (I don't remember it being his AAU coach, but maybe you're right) that guy gave him about $20k in "benefits."
That included room, board, food, clothes.... in other words, what a normal parent would pay for. After that, you're right - he was told he had to pay back a large chunk of it or he'd lose his eligibility.
Of course, they waited until the very end of the season to make that final ruling, and fearing sanctions UM refused to play him. I remember multiple games where he'd dress, only to find out right before the game that the NCAA hadn't decided anything.
I loved Dani Wohl. Seriously.
should be a 1st teamer on the dissapointment list. Athetic freak who could jump ouf of the building but couldn't hit a 10 footer. Highlights how bad Amaker was at player development.
I'd put Brandon Smith on the 2nd team. Remember the year when Brandon Smith and Leon Jones were our best players?
My gosh, there were some dark years.
A team of Horton-Dion-BRJ-Lavell-Graham could do some damage (at least in terms of potential).
I wish Lavell was playing today. Imagine him starting for us at the 4 today. He'd be a perfect fit for Beilein.
C'mon we cant leave off Sweet Lou Bullocks or Maurice Taylor. Definitly 1st Team Talent. And where to put the "Tractor" and Maceo Baston????
1. You want to name the players that brought about the destruction and ruin of Michigan basketball?
2. You realize that all those people played for Michigan's last tournament team and conference championship right? They're not part of the "wilderness".
The guys mentioned by poster "I LUV TDs" don't count in my list. All of those guys (Bullocks, Traylor, Taylor, Baston, etc.) were on the team during the last NCAA appearance when they won the Big Ten Tournament.
I don't remember why Kevin Gaines left the team. Knowing he was one of the Ellerbe thugs I can probably guess, but I don't remember the details.
I used to keep a list of all the players who left before their eligibility expired (some for good reasons, most for bad ones). I'd stare at that list while watching a crappy team and dream about "what if" scenarios.
Willie Mitchel (good riddence)
Olivie St. Jean
That guy who played for Oregon that I can't remember...
Kevin Gaines and Maurice Searight got into a drunk fist fight on the side of US-23.
...arm wrestling legend Leland Anderson