In November, the Michigan men’s basketball team played three games in a hotel ballroom in the Bahamas. There was a temporary basketball court installed on top, of course — a luxury the Wolverines found themselves without on Monday night.
In an impressive effort to allow the Wolverines to use their Dayton hotel’s ballroom for a walk-through, Michigan’s student managers went above and beyond to tape out the features of a full court. It’s not hardwood, but the carpeting now features free-throw lines, 3-point arcs, baselines, sidelines at each end and even a restricted area in the paint.
“I got a call right after we got to Dayton,” said Business senior Danny Schrage, a manager on the team. “It was my boss (director of basketball operations Peter Kahler), who called me downstairs, and he opened the doors to the extra ballroom that we have. He looked at us, and he said, ‘Here’s your canvas — make me something beautiful.’ ”
The managers obliged, led by Engineering senior Spenser Pawlik, who adorned center court with a perfect block ‘M’.
The managers normally tape out a half-court mockup for the teams to walk through its actions and offensive schemes, but an NCAA Tournament weekend inspired them to reach higher — that, and a precedent set by some San Diego State football managers years ago.
Schrage said Associate Athletic Director Bob Lopez, Brady Hoke’s former director of football operations at both San Diego State and Michigan, once witnessed the Aztecs’ managers tape out a full football field in a hotel ballroom. Lopez traveled to Dayton with the team, and upon learning of the feat, the Wolverines’ managers decided they wouldn’t let themselves get shown up.
Michigan’s players, for their part, quickly took to the fancier-than-typical mockup.
“(Junior forward) Sean Lonergan came up to us and asked if we could get some guys together for 3-on-3 later,” Schrage said.
There’s just one problem: Even Michigan’s managers can’t fashion a basket support, backboards and a rim out of scotch tape.