1986 UM Indiana flashback - Knight on Canham

Submitted by k.o.k.Law on March 10th, 2013 at 11:33 AM

(If you want to skip my reminiscing, scroll to the end and click on the link for Bobby Knight good naturedly ripping into Don Canham after the final game of the 85-86 basketball season, Indiana at UM)

We won the Big Ten hoop title outright in 1984-85, and I wanted to see the games the next season.

Cheap bastard that I am, I asked a friend in the athletic department how he could get me in for free.
Well, I could assist another of his drinking buddies and guard the press parking lot, making sure only those with proper passes entered the reserved section.  The requirement was to be there at least an hour before gametime, then we could watch the game from the tunnel.

This was after the first Fab Five, Paul Jokisch, who went exclusively to football, Robert Henderson, Butch Wade, RIchard Rellford, and Roy Tarpley.

Both title teams went on to disappointing second round exits in the NCAA tournament, but enough of that.

Bill Frieder emphasized offensive efficiency, and we set a second consecutive record for team field goal percentage, 51.6%.

The Scott Skiles led MSU team swept us, the home loss ending a 24 game home win streak, and we lost one other conference game, at Minnesota, which ended the still record 10 game road winning streak.

But, Indiana came in with the chance to tie us for the title with a win.

For the only time in my memory, standing room tickets were sold, so the paid attendance was over 14,000 at a time when Crisler sat 13,609.

We crushed them.  The outcome was never in doubt.  We even had a five on zero fast break.

I had a video camera, the early edition, about two feet long, not counting the protruding microphone.  

With the demise of Dr. Strange Hayes, Bobby Knight was the reigning Big Ten villain.

I was hoping for some fireworks after the game, so I brought my camera, with tripod, and set it up in the room then used for post-game pressers.

Believing it is easier to get forgiveness than permission, I shared my plan with no one.

My pass entitled me entrance to the room, and I just tried to make sure none of the media bumped into my camera.

As luck would have it, during Knight's remarks, Don Canham entered the room and stood almost right behind the camera. 

When Knight noticed him, he directed some pointed comments his way, that, well, look at the tape, put on line by the inestimable Wolverine Historian.

1986 post-game press conference



March 10th, 2013 at 12:55 PM ^

"This was after the first Fab Five, Paul Jokisch, who went exclusively to football, Robert Henderson, Butch Wade, Antoine (Judge) Joubert, and Roy Tarpley."

Richard Rellford (a pretty good football player in HS IIRC) should replace Joubert in that list.

- - -

Joubert was supposed to be the second coming of Oscar Robertson. He was a very high-profile recruit with offers from lots of big schools. Similar to (but not exactly like) LaVell Blanchard and Jerod Ward later, he had a decent career but didn't live up to the hype. He was closer to 6'3" than 6'5", he had some weight issues, and he wasn't that great on defense.

snarling wolverine

March 10th, 2013 at 1:48 PM ^

I thought Blanchard pretty much lived up to the hype, but he just didn't have much talent around him.  The poor guy came here at the worst time, with Ellerbe as the coach, and then we were banned from the postseason his senior year when we were actually good.



March 10th, 2013 at 1:57 PM ^

I watched Joubert play a lot.  His regional was at EMU when they would eventually lose the MHSAA title game.  He scored over 40 points every game I watched, and his natural shot was from about halfway between center court and the top of the key.  When he got to Michigan, Bill Frieder ruined him.  He wouldn't let him take his natural shot, and tried to change him from a bomber into an "unselfish player."  Predictably, Joubert had a mediocre career at Michigan.

For his last game at Crisler, against first-place Purdue, Frieder gave Joubert the green light.  He scored 30 points, made it look effortless, and Michigan won, 104-68.  At the time, most of the hardcore fans wondered why Frieder hadn't given Joubert the green light for the last four seasons.

Actually, I still wonder why, and it's one of the few things about the past that I occasionally get pissed off about.  Bill Frieder's ego ruined Antoine Joubert's career.

It's tough to find anything about basketball back then, but here's a link to the AP story on the game via NYT.



March 10th, 2013 at 3:20 PM ^

I hear you on some of that. Frieder was pretty uptight and that couldn't have helped his relationship with some of the players. That's one of the reasons why the '89 tourney is a fascinating "what if" scenario. (I'm thinking they lose to Carolina in the third round if Frieder is driving.)

As for Joubert, yeah, he may not have operated under ideal circumstances. There are plenty of cases, though (even some of Amaker's guys, like Chris Hunter and C. Sims), where a mishandled player of high ability eventually finds his way to a cup of coffee (at least) in the NBA. Antoine never got close to that and had to ply his trade overseas. I think he may have had a "man among boys" phase in HS that just wouldn't consistently translate (Purdue game aside) to the next level (or the one beyond it).


March 10th, 2013 at 8:16 PM ^

your thread title now is very destructive. I always look to see if a new diary has been posted... and now only see your title.  Indiana Flashback now means something totally different to me - missed FTs and a ball that just refused to go in the bucket.  Bad trip, man, really bad trip.


March 11th, 2013 at 4:17 PM ^

We lost twice to an outstanding Illinois team in 1989 before beating them in a thrilling national semifinal in 1989,  We then went on to win the title against Seton Hall with Rumeal Robinson making the key free throws at the end.  This is the flashback that came to my mind.

Maybe this is our year to beat Indiana in the semis and beat whoever makes it through in the final game.  Much like this year, we were undefeated in pre conference play with all our losses occurring in conference play. There were multiple Big Ten teams in the tourney in 89 as expected this year.  Indiana won the Big Ten but lost twice to Illinois and recieved a #2 seed with a #1 going to Illinois even though they came in second in the conference.  We were a #3 seed that year.  Iowa and Minnesota also made the tourney that year.  GO BLUE!