Fab 5 Doc. Quick Hits and Questions

Submitted by 2Blue4You on March 14th, 2011 at 10:00 AM

Sorry for the additional posts on the Documentary but I thought it was very well done and really enjoyed it.  

I was pretty young when it all went down so I have vague memories of it all.

I thought Brandon came off as pretty arrogant but I cannot think of a better way for it to be handled from his position.  Unlike Ohio State, Michigan was trying to maintain some type of integrity and punish themselves for these violation of rules.  I think by letting it all stand we would be no different from what we think OSU is going to do with their situation.  It is not fair to the rest of those players and it seems Ray Jackson feels slighted by Michigan but there is not much of an alternative.   I couldn't help but see some parallels between Tressel and Fisher.  National Championship, great recruiter, took a program to the next level, etc.  Fisher was fired.  We will see what happens to Tressel.

The wins can be vacated and the banners taken down but Jalen said it best when he asked who won the national championship 3, 5, 8 years ago?  Everyone remembers the Fab 5 and their effect was profound and will last forever.  Juwan plays with Wade, Lebron, and Bosh and he isn't known for that but rather he is one of the Fab 5.  It is clear that will always be remembered.  

Jalen seems to be the catalyst that is needed to bring them together and salvage some type of relationship between the Fab 5 and Michigan.  Hopefully he is able to do that with Webber and I do think if we could hear Webber's side we could welcome back all 5 with a huge Crisler  ovation.  Only time will tell but I like what I see from Jalen.  

So, hopefully our boys on this years team are inspired and can "shock the world" this weekend in Charlotte.

Edit:  What do we think about embracing the Fab 5 as a cultural icon and displaying the banners somewhere besides the archives of the historical library?  The new basketball facility may be too close to the program but maybe somewhere else where the story can be told.  I can see many areas where these events are significant in not only Michigan's history but American Sports Culture.  

When can we bring back the shorts with the huge block M on the side?  Go Blue.



March 14th, 2011 at 10:35 AM ^

You can't have anything relating to Chris Webber with the University on 2013..... I think it is "telling" that the banners exist, and were not burned. Meaning, they will be back up as soon as the 10 year ban is over, IMO. 

Jalen, Jimmy and Ray all came back for a game this year. Howard would have, but he was still playing hoops in South Beach. Webber, as we know, cannot be invited. 

The healing has started, and we'll see them all together again.

I was a Freshman at UM with the Fab 5, hoops was great. Also, it may have been noted, but that Saturday in Dec vs. Duke was the same day Desmond officially won the Heisman Trophy. 


March 14th, 2011 at 2:44 PM ^

I don't think the banners will ever be raised back.  (Well, I guess it's possible that the 1992 one could be, since we didn't start vacating games until after we clinched that one.)  I 'd love them to be, but I just can't see the vacated games ever being reinstated, and if they aren't, I don't think the NCAA would look kindly upon us recognizing those teams' accomplishments.  

The banners will never be destroyed, though.  They're part of U-M athletic history and deserve to be preseved.


March 14th, 2011 at 11:17 AM ^

Between Tressel and Fisher is that they are both liars.  If Fisher did not know who Ed Martin was and his relationship with some of his players, he is either stupid or a liar.  To this day Fisher has never come clean about what happened under his watch at Michigan and he acts like Sargent Shultz from Hogan's Heroes.  He sees nothing, knows nothing, etc.  The fact that he left the Michigan program in shambles for years and now he is hailed at San Diego St. as some hero is maddening!


March 14th, 2011 at 1:52 PM ^

He turned a blind eye to Ed Martin, sort of like Richard Nixon's "plausible deniability." That's why U-M got hit for lack of institutional control.  If only Maurice Taylor had been a better driver.


March 14th, 2011 at 2:03 PM ^

What would you call about never telling the truth about knowing who Ed Martin was?  Even in that documentary Fisher and his assistants act like they knew nothing.  Just like Perry Watson did not know how all those great basketball players just happened to end up at Detroit Southwest while he was coaching.  As a major college coach it is your job to know who Ed Martin is and why he is spending all this time around your program.


I do agree that Fisher was like Nick Nolte's character in the movie Blue Chips.  In that he was under pressure to win and then made a deal with the devil, that said basically let the players come and I do not care how you do it.


March 14th, 2011 at 2:51 PM ^

Watson's claim ("He told us he was a retired electrician and that's where his money came from") was pretty disingenuous.  There is no way he couldn't have known who he was.  

I think it's possible that Fisher did not recognize what Martin was doing during the Fab Five years.  Later on, when Taylor, Traylor and Bullock were driving around in luxury SUVs, it became impossible to ignore.  But it seems like Webber really didn't do much with the money, if he had it while he was here.  People who were on campus at the time can confirm that he didn't seem very wealthy.  Mitch Albom's hypothesis (that Martin didn't really start forking it over until the spring of '93 when Webber declared pro) is plausible to me.

Fisher did make some effort later on to put a stop to things.  He did, for instance, stop Martin from paying for one of the players' apartments when he learned about it.  But he didn't think to ban Martin from the program until after the NCAA investigation began, and he seems to have never bothered to ask Taylor, Traylor and Bullock just where their large amounts of cash came from.  I don't think he knew for a fact that it was Martin giving them money.  But it was his job to find out.


March 14th, 2011 at 10:58 AM ^

The other four were clean, at least according to the NCAA, so it shouldn't be any problem for them to have a relationship with the school.  The bottom line is that Webber cheated, those he "turned on" to Ed Martin cheated, and Michigan is 100 percent justified in washing their hands of those who are documented to have accepted Ed Martin's money, especially in the incredibly large amounts that transcend any discussion of a "gray area." 

Rose, Howard, King, and Jackson should be given as honored and hallowed a place in University of Michigan basketball history as anyone except Cazzie Russell and the 1989 National Champions.  I might include Russell's teammate Bill Buntin, a two-time All-American, in there, too. 

As for Webber, he can blame the system all he wants, but he really has nobody to blame but himself.  The system is totally unfair, but that is not the issue.  Webber signed an agreement to follow the rules when he signed his athletic scholarship papers, and he reneged on that agreement.

The saddest thing about the entire Webber saga is that from every source I have ever heard, Webber's parents raised him a lot better than how he turned out.  I can only imagine how mortified they must be every time Webber opens his mouth in public. 


March 14th, 2011 at 1:38 PM ^

Chris Webber is absolutely fantastic on television. I love watching him and McHale on NBA TV. In fact, I would say it makes me want to watch the NBA more.

As his parents I think I would be proud of him for everything except this Ed Martin business of which nobody knows the full details.


March 14th, 2011 at 11:17 AM ^

I thought he made a good point, namely that in a team sport you rise and fall with your teammates, however unfairly.  Brandon has to make sure that Michigan holds itself to a higher standard than Chris Webber held himself. 


March 14th, 2011 at 11:34 AM ^

What I came away with more than anything was that these guys, and Jalen especially, kind of felt like this just happened to be at the University of Michigan, but the experience was really about that close knit group of people (the coaching staff included). I don't think they have the fondest feelings for the entity that is the University of Michigan. Maybe not outright dislike but certainly it wasn't, you know, about the school. This is especially true because they seemed to feel exploited (because they were).

At the same time I've heard Jalen talk about how he went to school for mass communications and he's grateful he has the chance to use his education at ESPN. I don't know what the rest of them studied.



March 14th, 2011 at 11:45 AM ^

I got that sense too.  A little disapointing that they seem to see themselves as sort of separate from Michigan, but I suppose they are a little bitter about the self-imposed sanctions. 

The documentary makes it seem like they, C-Web, or Ed Martin didn't do anything wrong and MSC and Bill Martin overreacted.  I wouldn't agree, but I can see why they'ld be a little bitter.   


March 14th, 2011 at 1:35 PM ^

I have a hard time not sympathizing with taking a little money for pocket change here and there.

The alleged charges against Webber are obviously a lot more extreme but frankly it sounds like things got really bad after they left, not during their playing days. We may never know.


March 14th, 2011 at 2:37 PM ^

The thing that struck me the most from the film (which I thought was extremely well-done) was how Brian Dutcher really got jobbed.  He was a huge part of Fisher's program - the go-to recruiter.  As noted, he was the lead recruiter for Juwan Howard, whose commitment got the ball rolling.  He knew the state of Michigan inside and out.  And for the record, he was never cited in any of the NCAA's reports, so he didn't have dirty hands.  When Fisher was fired, Dutcher should have been named our interim coach.  We very likely would have avoided a lot of pain if he had been.

Fisher had two longtime assistants, Dutcher and Jay Smith.  He also had Perry Watson for two years, followed by Scott Perry.  In 1996, Smith left to become CMU's head coach, and was replaced by Scott Trost.  Then in the spring of '97, Perry left for another job, and was replaced by Brian Ellerbe.  This meant that in the fall of '97, Fisher had only assistant who had been with the program for a long time - Dutcher.  He was the obvious candidate to take over when Fisher was fired.  Instead, we hired Ellerbe.  Dutcher, understandably miffed at being passed over, left the program.  So Ellerbe's staff had no one with deep Michigan connections.  It killed us.  We were basically shut out of all the quality prospects in our own state and were left to go after  head cases (Kevin Gaines, Avery Queen, Josh Moore, Maurice Searight...) who ran amok and the program died.

Bando Calrissian

March 14th, 2011 at 3:23 PM ^

You've made this point a lot over the last week, and you're completely overlooking the fact that Dutcher's deep connection to Fisher is precisely why he -didn't- get the job.  Fisher was fired about five minutes before practice started, and Tom Goss cleared house of everybody who was around the program when violations were occuring.  Thus, Dutcher got axed along with everyone else.  Except Brian Ellerbe, who had been on the job for a matter of months.  Doesn't matter if Dutcher wasn't directly implicated.  He was an intimate part of a program that was essentially turning a blind eye to a variety of things you don't want your program to turn a blind eye to. 

On paper, Ellerbe wasn't a terrible hire.  And after the sheer chaos the program had been through, it wasn't controversial in the least to put the interim tag on the guy with zero connections to any of it.  He had been a head coach, had no connections at all to anything that had happened at Michigan with the Ed Martin scandal, was a pretty well-spoken, seemingly well-liked guy.  Sure, you can make the recruiting argument, and that's all well and fine, but I think we would have had problems recruiting quality kids to that program as it was.


March 14th, 2011 at 3:40 PM ^

Ellerbe was a worse hire than he was in reality. Which was pretty bad. His resume barely made him a Division 2 head coaching candidate, no more the head guy at a major program in a major conference. And there needed to be some vetting, because the "well-liked" guy became a raging tyrant once in the position, and no one liked him. If there was no other answer at that late date, poorly planned for firing, an interim tag could be excused with throwing out the season, but a full time hire was just short-sighted cowardice, afraid to do a search and actually find (and pay for) a good coach.


March 14th, 2011 at 3:47 PM ^

Ellerbe wasn't a bad hire?  What?  He went 34-47 at Loyola (Md.) and got fired.  He was not known as a good recruiter.  He was in such low demand after that that he agreed to come here as Fisher's #3 assistant.  How can you possibly defend that hire?

Dutcher was the only viable candidate on the staff.  If he wasn't the guy for the job, then Goss should have gotten off his ass, fired Fisher back in the summer (when the NCAA report came out) and then made an external hire.  Goss, for reasons that have never been explained, waited two months to fire Fisher.  By the time he did so there was next to no chance of hiring an external candidate.  Either he should have pulled the trigger in August or he should have hired Dutcher in October.  Brian Ellerbe should have been a non-starter.  His gross failure at Loyola should have made that clear.