As one of the first steps in new coach Tommy Amaker”s plan to create a “family” atmosphere for the basketball program, every former player and manager has been invited back for a “Michigan Basketball Reunion” of sorts on Sept. 15.
“I want our current guys to interact with our former guys,” Amaker said. “It”s important that they get a sense of what it”s like to be a “Michigan Man” someone who has gone out and graduated, and moved on to different things.”
Amaker said all the Wolverines will be interacting in the form of a barbeque and tailgating before the football team takes on Western Michigan. The alumni also have an option of playing golf over the weekend with the current players, and running the floor in a few pickup games in the morning at Crisler.
“Maybe some of the gang can make it over to my house if it”s finished,” Amaker added with a smile.
“It”s going to be a low-key weekend but I hope it will be a lot of fun as well.”
While Amaker and his wife are both finishing the move-in process into their new home, Amaker said he hopes this event can be a springboard to making some “family” of the program feel more at home themselves.
Amaker noticed the hundreds of alumni that returned to participate in the Michigan hockey team”s golf outing and reunion in early August, and hopes that he can start a similar tradition with basketball.
“We want to get up to par with that,” Amaker said of the hockey team”s family atmosphere. “We”re trying to bring them back and see if we can develop that type of tradition of coming back and being a part of this program.”
Amaker said that he”s already heard from former Fab-Five members Jimmy King and Juwan Howard, who have made trips to Ann Arbor since the new coach took over this past spring. Jalen Rose, another Fab-Fiver, and Maurice Taylor have also made phone calls to Amaker, letting him know they plan on attending the event.
“We”re getting a great deal of response from some guys that have been kind of waiting for someone to welcome them back and rally the troops so to speak,” Amaker said.
“And by God, we”re going to do it.”
Robinson under weather:
Michigan sophomore guard Bernard Robinson had an unpleasant ending to an impressive freshman campaign on the floor when he contracted Mononucleosis earlier this summer. Mono, as it is more commonly known, is the type of virus that Amaker said could “wipe you out for a while,” but Amaker mentioned that Bernard is recovering fine slowly but surely.
“He”s getting his health back,” Amaker said. “He”s still not able to do anything physical yet and there”s not many things you can do other than rest. So he has to be patient and just rest for a while.”
Amaker said that Robinson visited with him a few weeks ago and was looking a lot better gaining his appetite and some weight back.
“It is encouraging to see him back to being the Bernard that we know,” Amaker said.
“He”s gained the weight back now and he looks good. He”s been off for a couple months in terms of playing so he”s going to be a little rusty but we”ve got a while yet.”
Michigan”s season doesn”t start until early November, so Robinson has time to heal and recover.
“If there”s anytime to get it it was over the summer,” Amaker said.
Robinson was second on the Wolverines in scoring and third in rebounding last year as a freshman putting in 14.4 points and grabbing 4.9 rebounds per game.
Blanchard to see time at “4”:
Amaker said that not only Robinson, but junior Lavell Blanchard will have to play a number of positions this year even the power forward spot due to lack of depth in the post.
“I think Lavell is used to playing different positions,” Amaker said. “He”s going to be a forward for us whether that”s a small forward or power forward we”ll see.”
Blanchard was Michigan”s leading scorer and rebounder last season, and Amaker said he”ll need more of the same energy from Blanchard this season.
Earlier this summer, Blanchard was chosen as one of the Top-50 Preseason Candidates for the 2001-02 Wooden Award All-American Team. He was also named to the 2001-02 Playboy Preseason All-America Team, which will be announced in the December issue of Playboy magazine.