Happy Birthday MJ. He’s 50 years old, but he still young and fresh in our mind, everything he created and gave us through God Given talent. We will not forget. For those of us who love the game, played the game Jordan is one of the greatest. We will remember the many great moments. The clutch shots, and yes the magnificent dunks. They are l=stuff legends are made of. We will remeber the five championships, the Olympic Gold Medals. The complete player that he was.
Thanks for the memories Michael and may you have many, many more.
The Fab 5 the latest installment of ESPN films premiered tonight. It proved to be another brilliant presentation. The documentary started by detailing the recruitment of Juwan Howard, Jimmy King, and Ray Jackson. Michigan then spent all the rest of the year recruiting Jalen Rose and Chris Webber.
Jalen Rose’s is the son of Jimmy Walker, former Detroit Pistons star, who played for the Pistons in the 60’s. However Jimmy Walker had no relationship with his son, Jalen Rose. Jalen Rose and Chris Webber were hot on this list of Steve Fisher, then the coach at Michigan. Rose attended Detroit Southwestern High School where nine to ten players went on to receive Division I scholarships.
Chris Webber wanted to be an inner city guy, but he wasn’t. Webber attended Country Day High School. Juwan Howard recruited Webber by calling him two to three times per weeks. They wanted to win. They were looking to recruit the best college team in the country. Michigan recruited five of the top high school players at the same time.
Jalen Rose says this revolution was televised, contrary to Gill Scott-Heron’s seventy recital, The Revolution Will Not Be Televised. Fisher was elated that he had this core of outstanding players,three freshman, Rose, Howard, and Webber in the starting line-up.
Jalen Rose said Duke only recruited black players who were Uncle Toms. Jalen Rose was upset with players like Grant Hill, but Rose resented everything that he was not, the product of an absent father, who did not accept him.
The match up with Duke was bitter, the game went into overtime. Duke won the game. Although the Fab 5 did not respect Duke, they thought Grant Hill and Christian Laettner and the rest of the Blue Devils were soft. They soon learned that they were not. They were excellent hard nosed basketball players.
So the stage was set, the country learned that Duke was king and the defending national champion and the Fab 5 proved they could hang with the defending national champions.
Ray Jackson struggled his first year at Michigan. He was a high school star in Texas, but Ray Jackson was not starting. He was out of his element, he had never seen snow and he was miserable and he was not starting. Steve Fisher finally relented and started Ray Jackson. They had a chance to finally see what they were made of. They were an electric team, they were now playing together.
Mitch Albom, well known Sports writer, said that Fisher created a hard thing to overcome by deciding to start the Fab Five as freshman. Michigan’s Eric Riley felt resentment, he lost his position and it was not taken lightly. Despite this the slighted upper class men were able to contribute and blend with the Fab 5. When the Fab 5 traveled like rock stars. They had to employ 24 hour security for a college basketball game.
Alumni became alarmed. Five inner city black kids represented Michigan and alumni resented them sending hate mail, calling them ‘the “N” word, so Steve Fisher took the heat for bringing them in. They were brash and did not take a back seat, even some of the majority white alumni could not stand this, so they did the unthinkable, sent out death threats.
But these were not Jackie Robinson clones, they were brash and out spoken and there in rubbed nearly everyone the wrong way. One can see the resentment that the Michigan alumni felt, because the Fab 5 talked trash to no end, but no one deserves to receive a death threat.
Most people thought that Steve Fisher let his players run over him. They accused Steve Fisher of coaching a playground team, typical of how inner city black kids are perceived. Undisciplined, and unable to play together.
Michigan lost the 1992 National Championship to a highly superior Duke team. The Fab 5 was not equipped to be national champions. They were immature and not ready for the spotlight. This would be illuminated in the next few years of the Fab Five era.
The next season, The Fab 5 knew they had to dominate every single game. Their goal was to win the national championship. As freshman they felt excited and as sophomores they felt exploited. Nike sold shirts and called everything Fab 5. Michigan made $10.5 million dollars on merchandising. However the Fab Five, like other college players received no revenue.
Jalen Rose was accused of being at a crack house and being on drugs. He was not of course, but it tainted his image. Rose said he was embarrassed and hurt.
Everything came crashing down when Chris Webber called the time out in the NCAA finals against North Carolina in 1993. It was something that no member of the Fab 5 can forget, Chris Webber declined to be interviewed for the documentary; that’s how devastating that moment was for the Fab 5. Webber has not put to rest the allegations that he took money from a friend.
Jalen Rose, Juwan Howard and Chris Webber went on to solid careers in the NBA. Juwan Howard plays for the star studded Miami Heat, with new stars like LaBron James, D-Wade and Chris Bosh, but none of the Fab 5 will forget the experience.
Chris Webb lied about getting money from a friend who some said gave money to many Detroit area basketball stars. Which is an NCAA violation. It is said Chris Webber received a significant amount of money. The legacy of the Fab 5 was tainted. Everyone was not involved in the this, but everyone suffered for this mistake.
Steve Fisher, today, says there are still times when he will get a call from one of the Fab 5 congratulating him for a win. They still stay in touch. Juwan Howard says the legacy still lives on and the Miami Heat players identify Howard by saying , “That’s Juwan Howard from the Michigan Fab 5”.
The key to the success of a college basketball team is the ability of the Coach. A successful bench coach can and will spell the difference of success and failure. Some coaches in the heat of the battle wilt when in pressure game situations. Usually because they did not manage the clock well during the course of a game. Depending upon how well the coach makes decisions and manages the game, determines how much pressure he will face with under minutes remaining in a game. The coach can create a pressure situation by mis-management of the game. The players are usually not disciplined enough to execute or the coach has a flawed philosophy in game management. Either way it is the coach’s job to get their team ready for any situation. What causes me to wonder is when a coach uses all of the allotted time outs and have none to call in crucial game ending situations. This happens a lot when coaches do not manage the game well. Being a top flight coach involves how well you manage crucial situations at the end of a game.
You must make all the right moves at the right time in order to be effective. With that said, I put together a list of coaches who I feel have demonstrated that they know how to manage the game and change strategy when needed. The coaches are not listed in any particular order, but all have demonstrated that they know how to manage a game, ultimately producing a win. Mike Krzyzewski, Duke- Without a doubt the most successful coach in the ranks of college basketball. He has had the good fortune of coaching superb basketball talent and the benefits of coaching at The Premier Basketball School in the country.
Coach K is at the top as America’s top coach on nearly every ones list. Bill Self, Kansas- He coached his way to the top, by winning the National Championship. This is the litmus test of the coaching ability of the coach. Self proved that he belongs in the top tier of coaches. Roy Williams, North Carolina-Williams came into his own when he returned to North Carolina as The Head Basketball coach. Great coaching ability and a unique ability to bring talent together and lot of it at Carolina. Jim Calhoun, UConn- The cornerstone of UConn’s offense is a great point guard combined with a good inside game. Usually the inside is occupied by a better than average center. But with Calhoun’s offense a good point guard is the key to push the ball up the floor, distribute the ball, or effectively take the three. Calhoun is great at managing the closing minutes of a game. Villanova- The three guard offense has been highly effective for Jay Wright and when he has three guard who can shoot from the perimeter, slash and dish effectively to the basket, he can break down the opposing defense fairly quickly. Wright because of his knack of recruiting exceptionally quick, efficeint shooting guards, has been able to manage the closing minutes of a game quite effectively.
Tom Crean, Indiana (Formerly coach at Marquette)- Crean is a master of managing a game and interchanging players at just the right time to keep the opposing team off balance on both offense and defense. He did this extremely well at Marquette. Look for Crean to recruit more power rated players at Indiana than he did at Marquette. This will insure that he will continue to have success in the closing minutes of a game. Crean is a master of managing a game.
Billy Donavon, Florida- Donavon is another coach who when he has reasonable talent, can effectively manage a game, by substituting strategically and effective pull out of game, by making superb coaching moves. Donavon won back to back national Championships and it was because he is a great bench coach.
Billy Gillespie, Kentucky- Although he had a mediocre year at Kentucky last year, Gillespie is a great recruiter and has a knack of drawing out the best of players who over the course of the year adapt well to his system. Look for Kentucky to remain one of the top echelon programs, because of the coaching ability of Gillespie. Last year was a great example of Gillespie’s coaching ability. Kentucky struggled all year long, but they game together in the end to win a seed in the NCAA tournament.
Rick Pitino, Louisville- Pitino is somewhat erratic at times. Does not manage the clock well and sometimes makes bone headed substitutions at inappropriate times. However, his teams or capable of hitting home run balls, via the three point line, which let him off the hook when making bad coaching decisions, and when he has managed the clock unresponsively. It is a situation where Pitino is on or he is not. Louisville rises and falls with the nuances and the management of the clock by Pitino.
Luke Olsen, Arizona- No coach has consistently managed a game better than Lute Olsen. He has accomplished this with great point guard play and above average inside game. But Arizona’s offense rises or falls with the point guard. And Olsen has had some good ones. He is without a doubt one of the top bench coaches in terms of managing the waning minutes of a game in America.
Ben Howland, UCLA- Howland brought his magic to Westwood and has created a talent pool that is exceptional to say the least. His clock management has been good and he has effectively advanced to the NCAA tournament enjoying good success.
Bob Huggins,West Virginia- Last year Huggins over achieved. The talent level at West Virginia was suspect, but Huggins managed to pull out a respectable year, making the NCAA tournament. For West Virginia, cloak Management became increasingly important. Look for Huggins to have the Mountaineers at the top through the upcoming season.
Bob McKillop- Davidson- Unless you were on another planet last year you have to be impressed with the coaching ability of McKillop. However one player made all of this possible and it was Stephen Curry. He is a shooter period. Enough said. He can get his shot off in a way that is not quick, but subtle. The point is he got his shot off consistently to get Davidson to the final eight last year. Curry is not a top ten player, so McKillop had to coach this team to success.
Mark Few-Gonzaga- Few coaches have done more than Coach Mark Few, to raise the National name recognition of one one school in ten years. Mark Few is an excellent bench coach and recruiter who has elevated Gonzaga to a household name. What can be said about the successes the Few has had. The best I can say is that he is an excellent bench coach.
Rick Barnes-Texas- Just study his history and the number of players that have made it to the NBA and how Texas is now known as a point guard factory and you see why Riick Barnes Made this list. He is an excellent coach and one of the great thinker in America. Best Of the Rest John Thompson III John Calipari Tim Floyd I’m sure there are others that should have been on this list.
Here’s a list of the top coaches from the past. Bobby Knight Adolph Rupp Denny Crum Al McGuire John Wooden Dean Smith John Thompson Gale Catlett
What John Edward did was wrong. He was unfaithful to his wife and to add salt to the wound; she was battling cancer. There is no justification for what he did. First reactions are, how could he do such a thing to his wife, particularly as she suffers from advance breast cancer? It is a common reaction; It’s human nature. It is regretable what he did. After watching the Nightline interview with John Edwards, Edwards says that he was trying to protect his wife from the mistakes in Judgements that he made and that he was contrite and sorry for his unfaithfulness.
His infidelity was unfortunate and wrong. But some things remain private, and for John Edwards and his wife to work out. It is apparent from the interview that he loves his wife and he did not wish to put her through the ordeal of invasive questioning that the situation would elicit. Edward lied to cover up his infidelity, which added salt to the wound. He says he has already atoned for his infidelity with his wife and with God.
Edward felt bad about what he did and for good reason. He says he told his wife about the affair two years ago. We can only take his word for it. Realistically, that may be a little hard to believe, seeing that he has not really been upfront and honest with us. Ultimately how he and his wife work this out is none of our business. But with the media scrutiny and the loss of privacy that Politicians and public figues have, it sometimes causes very private things that should remain that way, to be exposed.
Without knowing all the particulars of the situation, we really cannot cast Judgment on John Edwards. We need to respect the Edwards family and let them as a married couple work out their feelings in this difficult situation.
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