As Derek Jeter and a number of the New York Yankees came into
the Michigan lockerroom following Friday’s win over Oakland,
almost all of the Wolverines wanted to get autographs of players
they’ve seen on television.
But not Lester Abram.
“There were too many people surrounding (Jeter),”
Abram said. “I didn’t want to bother him. They want to
relax. They came here to watch the game and watch the football
Abram has taken the same approach throughout his Michigan
career. Last season when all of the attention surrounded LaVell
Blanchard, Bernard Robinson and Daniel Horton, Abram was a modest
constant, averaging 34 minutes and 11 points per game during Big
And it looks like the sophomore from Detroit will be at it again
this season. After pouring in 16 against the NBDL’s
Fayetteville Patriots, Abram was the Wolverines’ second
leading scorer on Friday with 19 points, quietly scoring in a
variety of ways inside and out.
Despite his early season performance, Abram didn’t receive
much of the preseason publicity surrounding this year’s
Wolverines. Much has been written about Horton, Robinson, the
new-found front court depth and even the freshmen, but Abram
figures to be an important fixture in the starting lineup just as
he was last season.
The fans and the media may not have noticed, but his coaches and
teammates sure have.
“It’s unfortunate,” Michigan coach Tommy
Amaker said. “It never seems like I mention Lester.
He’s always straight down I-94, you can count on him.
That’s the way he has been, and we’re very fortunate
that we have him. He’s very reliable, he does his job and
goes about his work in a worker-like manner. And I love that about
Freshman guard Dion Harris, who played with Abram on the AAU
team “The Family,” stressed how important Abram is to
the team even though not as many people notice him.
“Every game Lester is solid, he’s aggressive and he
really gives us that extra scoring punch, that extra defensive
punch on the court,” Harris said. “He’s solid
every game, and that’s the key.”
On Friday, Abram played solid defense, used his jump shot
effectively, fought for rebounds inside and showed off his ability
to create his own shot. In the second half, Abram ignited the crowd
by blowing right by Oakland star guard Mike Helms down the baseline
for a one-handed jam.
A number of reporters surrounded Abram in the locker room
afterward, but he and the team believes that his performance over
the past two games was nothing far from ordinary.
“People expect things out of them, and every time I do
things, I surprise people,” Abram said. “People expect
me to get some rebounds, score like 10 points and be a role player.
But I know what I’m capable of.”
But Abram likes his role as an unsung hero.
“I don’t really care, though, because you worry
about somebody else,” Abram said. “You worry about
Daniel, you worry about Bernard but you forgot about me, and
I’m the one who kills you.”
But no matter what happens this season, don’t expect his
team to forget about him.
“How many people in this world can you just mark it up and
count on, basketball and otherwise,” Amaker said.