Luke Waltons Forehead presented by the Sports Dude.

Wednesday, March 09, 2005 at 2:14 PM

College Basket-BLAH!!!!

I don’t talk college basketball too often, but I think I will today. There are many reasons why I don’t get into college basketball anymore, mostly because the team I root for (the Wolverines) are stuck somewhere in hell. When I first started playing basketball, when I really started to get into it, is when the Fab Five hit the scene in Ann Arbor. To me, the black socks, the baggy shorts, just the damn arrogance – those five cats changed the scene of college basketball as we know it. I am not going to get into the NCAA scandal, which is not why I soured on college basketball. I could care less if they were guilty or innocent, no one will ever know. It is a shame that they no longer truly exist, all their records, banners, etc. were all but removed from U of M in an attempt to “right the ship” in Ann Arbor. That is a little depressing, seeing how no one can argue that college basketball is the way it is today because of the Fab Five, but in my heart and in many a peoples hearts they still exist. What soured me on U of M basketball and then college basketball as a whole because I had no team to root for, can be summed up in two ugly words – Brian Ellerbe.

He was Tom Goss’ buddy, Tom Goss’ pal and Tom Goss’ pick. To me, Brian Ellerbe did more to screw up U of M basketball then Steve Fisher or Chris Webber combined. The guy got the job for the wrong reasons, was hand picked by a guy (Tom Goss) who was brought in to fire Lloyd Carr and was under qualified at best. Yes, that is correct – the only reason why Tom Goss himself was ever hired was because he was supposed to have the balls to fire Lloyd. So what does Lloyd do? He wins the National Championship the following season, which was suppose to be his last, and outlasts Goss in the end. Goss hand picked Ellerbe, turned the other way when Ellerbe fucked the program to all holy hell and was eventually fired because he was a fuck up as well. Basically, the whole U of M basketball program went to hell in a hand basket because the University of Michigan hired a guy (Tom Goss) to fire Lloyd Carr. And that same guy hand picked Ellerbe to run the basketball program, even though at the time there were two candidates readily available and more qualified to take over – Brian Dutcher (who was Steve Fisher’s top assistant and had been there longer than Ellerbe) and Perry Watson, who was rumored to be interested in coming back. But Goss picked Ellerbe, who ran the program into the ground with a bunch of hacks and thugs, and I could no longer watch. Basically I soured on the program as a whole because Goss picked “his guy” who I knew was going to be a joke. What happened in the end? U of M is now short scholarships, was ineligible for post season play for a couple seasons and, most importantly, no one wants to come here. They are viewed by recruits as a second tier program in the state behind the Spartans and that never should have happened. Ellerbe really fucked this place up and now Amaker is trying his best to right the ship. What is the moral of this story? Never fuck with U of M football if you know what is good for you.

For what it is worth, last year I began to watch U of M basketball again, but it is still not the same. I am cautiously watching, but not fully yet. I used to be so addicted to U of M basketball that I got into a fight with my mom one year because she planned my birthday party on the night U of M was playing Jamal Mashburn and Kentucky in the Tourney. I told her that there was no way in hell I would miss that game, so she had better either reschedule my party, have it early, tell the guests to just bring gifts and leave me alone or just skip it all together. I still got to watch the game, but it was on in the background. Let’s just say it still ended up being the shortest birthday party I ever experienced! But that is the passion, geeky or not, that I use to feel for U of M basketball. I remember the Fab Five feeling, the 1989 team, all of it – and Ellerbe just pissed on all of that like a cheap suit and let it all become tarnished. I never really blamed Webber or the other Fab Fivers, I always laid the blame for all the mess on Ellerbe and Goss, period. They ruined it all for me and it has not been the same sense. Seeing how I had no team to root for in college basketball (even in all my hatred of U of M hoops, I still would never root for Sparty) I just gave up on college ball all together.

But now Amaker is there and I really like him and I hope he gets the chance to coach here. I think if he gets that extra scholarship back it will help immensely. Crap, he lost his two most important pieces this year in Horton and Abrams, as well as other injuries during the season that stung, and not having depth hurt them. I mean, they had walk-ons starting and playing significant minutes, not just mop up duty. I think if Amaker is given the time he deserves, and I believe he will, then he will continue to move this program in the right direction. I like the guy, I think he is a respectable man who brings credibility to the program, something it lacked fully with Ellerbe. I think they would have made the Tournament this year if the injury train (and Horton’s choking issue) would have given them the pieces they needed. But, without their best players and no depth, they were all but hog tied into a losing season. Next year, I think will be the season we see what Amaker is all about and what he brings to the table as a coach and person.

Anyway, here are a couple articles from the Detroit Free Press about some college basketball type stuff, both of which I thought were good reads. This one is about the pressures of coaching and how the “win now” motto sometimes takes its toll. The other is a small feature on the Spartans Chris Hill, who has been the target of Spartan fans everywhere. All though he is a Spartan, I will say that the garbage these student athletes have to put up with sometimes is unfair and I feel bad for the dude. Just ask John Navarre, whom I always liked, about being treated like shit. I thought Navarre was a hell of a QB and an even bigger man for taking all the garbage and just setting it aside and doing his job. The same can be said for Chris Hill, whom has persevered in the same way.

Well, that is all I got for today – later – the sports dude.

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