Tell me about the Fab Five II

Submitted by Wolverine Devotee on February 23rd, 2018 at 10:43 PM

The Fab Five has been beaten to death and written about to death. The footage is all out there on youtube.

But looking for any other Michigan Basketball game beyond 1994 (The Fab 4 year) is a fruitless task. Until recently I found a video highlighting the Fab Five II. Some great footage of their 4 years, including the following year when Traylor and Bullock came in.

The Fab Five II was a recruiting class signed in 1994 that comprised of Travis Conlan, Willie Mitchell, Maurice Taylor, Maceo Baston and Jerod Ward. 

They've much faded into obscurity. So much so that I didn't recognize the name of that class or the hype machine that was behind at first. Not much has been written about them. Apparently Baston had a Webber timeout moment in a tournament game in the mid-90s? There is no video of it anywhere.  

I also noticed that 3 game win streak over Duke in the 90s. Something the Fab Five never did once despite having 3 guys who had long NBA careers.

Share your memories/stories of watching them. I'm starving for anything on MBB history. It's not like Football where there are 10 documentaries and 30 books out there. There is one big book but it was written in 1977. 

 

Comments

Wolverine Devotee

February 23rd, 2018 at 10:44 PM ^

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There are some thunderous dunks. It looks like those teams played a lot of playground ball. That may be why none of those extremely talented teams in the 90s won a B1G Championship. Imagine if Beilein had that talent.

Blue in Paradise

February 24th, 2018 at 1:39 AM ^

in the intro to accounting class where I was the GSI. He turned up for class like 3 times and then I got a call at the end of the semester from both Jerod and a tutor (or maybe a counselor) asking me what needed to happen for him to pass. I said he needed to turn in his assignments and take the tests.

As a GSI, I didn’t have much authority anyway so I referred it to Prof Klemstine (he was a great guy / btw) and I never heard of it again and never found out what happened.

Guy was the #1 recruit in the country that year but never quite got his stuff together on or off the court.

Other Andrew

February 24th, 2018 at 8:13 AM ^

I was in the same section of accounting as Ward, but I can’t remember of it was the first semester or the second. My recollection was that he had some absences, but was there about 65% of the time. Mostly I was shocked that he would be enrolled in such a class. The other eight “stars” spent their evenings “studying” in a room at the UGLi goofing around the whole time, but I never saw him there with them.

So I always had this image of him as the rare top recruit who wanted to get the most out of his uniceraity education. You’ve now shattered that image for me, which is a bummer, but surely accurate. Sigh.

FWIW he seems to be doing all right as a motivational speaker these days.

Also, if it was the same course, I canno recall who you are or what you looked like (sorry), but I do recall enjoying the class a lot. (And thanks for the A.)

Chalky White

February 24th, 2018 at 10:39 AM ^

He didn't make the NBA but he was supposed to be a can't miss prospect. IIRC, it was supposed to be a toss up between Ward and Felipe Lopez for best player in the country. Neither became a superstar. Lopez did play in the NBA.

I remember they said Ward dribbled down the court, shot a 3 with his right hand then came down and shot one with his left. He was supposed to be someone similar to Tracy McGrady but was more like Cameron Chatman. Just imagine if they would have added Kevin Garnett to that next class.

stephenrjking

February 23rd, 2018 at 11:08 PM ^

If not that specific title, at least that general idea. I certainly rememberr that talk being common when they came in. My dad even took me to their opening practice after a football game, where they held a dunk contest that was predictably won by Maceo Baston. 

 

goblue16

February 23rd, 2018 at 10:59 PM ^

I really wish I could get footage of Beileins win against OSU in his first season and his win against Illinois that same year. The Illinois game was actually my first ever game at Crisler Center or arena back then

Toledo_M_Fan

February 23rd, 2018 at 11:03 PM ^

Willie Mitchell was a Michigan Mr basketball who ended up transferring to UAB I believe. Ward was a top recruit who ended up a bust, injuries didn't help. Taylor played as a freshman and is well known. Baston was a fan favorite for his defense and play around the rim. Conlan didn't do much as a player but was around the program after.

Cali Wolverine

February 24th, 2018 at 12:43 AM ^

Best Memory was Senior year...had first row seats behind Coach K...upset a great Duke Team at home. Ward was one of the most overrated recruits ever, Mitchell was a close second. Conlan was mediocre at best. Taylor was a stud, and Baston was fun to watch, but was a toothpick.

Team got significantly better with Traylor’s bulk, Bullock’s shooting and White’s game (before the transfer).

You don’t hear much about them because they didn’t perform close to expectations, and thanks to Traylor’s rollover accident with Manteen Cleaves in the car...the NCAA came down on Michigan trying to figure out where he got a new Ford Explorer and Manteen Cleaves went to Michigan State...and so began the fall of Michigan Basketball and the rise of Michigan State and Izzo. So Fab Five II kind of has a huge underperforming , dirty cloud hanging overhead.

Cali Wolverine

February 24th, 2018 at 12:51 AM ^

come to Michigan. I remember him visiting freshman year for his recruiting trip, and another basketball player telling me that there was no way he would ever academically qualify to play for Michigan (and that was saying a lot at that time), but that Garnett really wanted to join the team. Taylor, Traylor and Garnett college backcourt would have been ridiculous.

Toledo_M_Fan

February 23rd, 2018 at 11:05 PM ^

The following year brought in bullock, traylor, and slbert white who transferred to missouri i think. Clark Kellogg once said during a broadcast that white had a game like a baby's bottom, smooth but it can be explosive.

umchicago

February 23rd, 2018 at 11:07 PM ^

1. Ward was the #1 recruit in the country.  he had injuries and never lived up to the hype.  i remember him having a solid senior year.

2. Taylor - was a great post player; a poor man's (no pun intended) chris webber. made it to the nba for a few years. 

3. Basten - solid rebounder; excellent shooter inside of 10 feet.  great bank shot.

4. Mitchell - didn't do much. i think he transferred after one season, iirc.

5. Conlan - shot a lot of airballs.  fisher still started him a lot along side of dugen fife, iirc.

finally, in the 1997 big ten tourny ellerbe started basten (usually the 6th man) and went big along side of taylor and traylor.  and guess what, UM won the first big ten tourny; later vacated.

that's all i've got, hopefully it's accurate...

mbrummer

February 23rd, 2018 at 11:11 PM ^

Conlon was a good glue guy.  He was a taller spike version.  But not on par with anyone in the original Fab 5.

Mitchell was former Mr Basketball,  seemed to get lazy in college and or just couldnt cut it.  Transferred to Alabama -Birmingham.  R

Ward was the #1 overall player from Mississippi, truly one of the great what -ifs.  Couldn't stay healthy with his knees until his senior season.  Came out of nowhere to committ to Michigan.  Let's just say, thinking about it now it's very suspicious.  

Taylor was the prototypical PF with a NBA body a Juwan Howard post up game.  Super active on the boards.

Baston was a Spider Salley clone who was pretty raw but could jump out of the gym.  Pretty skinny.  A typical dunk and defense 5.

On a side note, I will go to my grave that not only was Bullock dirty taking money, again one of those recruitng battles from DC that went our way.  He was shaving points Specifically the 99 MSU game at home.  With a spread of 6-7 in favor of MSU, he missed 2 free throws ( he was 90%) went 0-5 from 3, he was 40%,  and during the last 4 minutes with us threatening the spread.  He got a technical foul!  His first tech of his career!  How many tech's are given to players that arent taunting? On reflection may have been 2000.

mbrummer

February 23rd, 2018 at 11:30 PM ^

UCLA went 9-17 from 3.

Bullock had an awful shooting game.  But considering UCLA had 3 NBA guards. Bailey, Watson and Baron Davis!  

Bullock using 27 shots to get 16 points to makes my head explode.

 I want to say this was more of a typical Michigan loss. We tried to run with them. Negating our advantage in bigs.  And their guards were better.

NittanyFan

February 24th, 2018 at 12:38 AM ^

Michigan got up double-digits early and that is what it remained til the end.

That UCLA team had a lot of talent, but they also went 0-4 against Arizona & Stanford and had 35+ point losses to each of UNC and Duke.  They were a very dangerous #6, but they also earned their #6 seed - their regular season resume didn't deserve better.

As I recall, I expected Michigan to win pretty easily against UCLA.  I was sports betting a lot at that time of my life, think I put some $ on U-M.  Didn't win that bet, of course. UCLA got up double-digits in the 1st half and Michigan never really could get the lead back.  Bullock wasn't very good in that 1st half, something like 1-for-9 on triples (whole lot of 3s), which I suppose looks suspicious in retrospect.

 

snarling wolverine

February 23rd, 2018 at 11:36 PM ^

 

Taylor was the prototypical PF with a NBA body a Juwan Howard post up game. Super active on the boards.

 

Gotta disagree here. Taylor always struck me as a guy with incredible potential but not the drive.  I thought he never developed into the rebounder/defender he could have been.  We saw that in the pros as well - he was a good scorer with the Clippers but never a very reliable rebounder despite having a chiseled 250-lb frame.

 

Hawkfire269

February 23rd, 2018 at 11:37 PM ^

Been a reader of this blog since its inception in 2005 but never registered to reply to a board post - until now.  To this day I thought I was the only one noticing Bullock shaving points in 1999, but mbrummer I have found a kindred spirit.  

I had a pretty good view of it all as well - I was in the Maize Rage in 1999, its inception year and quite a rag-tag group given the dire straits of M basketball at the time (12-19 record in 98/99).

Let it be repeated for all to hear: Louis Bullock absolutely, 100% shaved points at Michigan.  I appreciated Brian's line about Bullock some time ago: "Louis Bullock can die in a tire fire for all I care"  

BeatOSU52

February 23rd, 2018 at 11:48 PM ^

Any footage of the 2nd round loss to Wake Forest in the 1998 tourney? I was too young to remember much of it but my dad is adamant to this day Bullock was throwing that game . If true , too bad as that team was stacked . I believe I remember seeing some footage of the ‘98 game of Michigan blowing the shit out of Indiana that season.

BeatOSU52

February 24th, 2018 at 12:26 AM ^

UCLA.  Knew I should've fact-checked.  I remember in the '98-99 season going to an early non-conference game at Van Andel arena in GR, I believe against Western Michigan.  Bullock was the star of that team but the rest of the team freaking sucked.

mbrummer

February 23rd, 2018 at 11:50 PM ^

I remember when I had to throw away my original maize rage shirt.  Sad day.  

It's funny I remember that Brian quote too.  And took it to mean the same thing.  Since all 3 of us were at the school at the same time.

RobM_24

February 24th, 2018 at 12:17 AM ^

That's astonishing that this is the first thing in a decade+ that made you want to make a comment. You really pick your spots, lol. I was a middle schooler in the Bullock era, so I'll always view him differently I suppose. I loved watching him and Robbie Reid launch threes after all the talent left Michigan.

Hawkfire269

February 23rd, 2018 at 11:38 PM ^

Been a reader of this blog since its inception in 2005 but never registered to reply to a board post - until now.  To this day I thought I was the only one noticing Bullock shaving points in 1999, but mbrummer I have found a kindred spirit.  

I had a pretty good view of it all as well - I was in the Maize Rage in 1999, its inception year and quite a rag-tag group given the dire straits of M basketball at the time (12-19 record in 98/99).

Let it be repeated for all to hear: Louis Bullock absolutely, 100% shaved points at Michigan.  I appreciated Brian's line about Bullock some time ago: "Louis Bullock can die in a tire fire for all I care"  

mbrummer

February 23rd, 2018 at 11:51 PM ^

I remember when I had to throw away my original maize rage shirt.  Sad day.  

It's funny I remember that Brian quote too.  And took it to mean the same thing.  Since all 3 of us were at the school at the same time.