For the first time in years, the Michigan basketball team is better today than it was yesterday.

Paul Wong
Raphael Goodstein: On Point

Tommy Amaker, our 15th basketball coach you are exactly what this program needs.

“I stressed five things to the team when I met with them,” Amaker said. “Passion.We”ll always be well prepared. Be honest with one another. We”re going to have fun.

“And we”re going to be Michigan.”

Be Michigan.

Now, some Michigan faithful might ask, what does Tommy Amaker someone who many think will only be at Michigan as long as there”s a coach at Duke know about being Michigan?

Coach, you know more than they might think.

“I know that Michigan is not a stepping stone,” Amaker said after the press conference. “I will be at Michigan as long as (Athletic Director) Bill Martin will have me here.”

Don”t worry, Tommy. Martin plans on having you around for a while.

Your handshake agreement might only be for five years, but Martin made it clear that he plans on you being around much longer than that which was not the case with Rick Pitino.

The last guy who coached here what was his name? never got the support from Martin, the media, or the Michigan family, so you”re off to a better start already.

The media loves you: You”re intelligent, with two degrees from Duke (Economics and an MBA). You”re from a good background (owning the best four-year record of any Duke player and having coached Seton Hall to the Sweet Sixteen last year).

And maybe more importantly, you seem to possess common sense.

When told that Jalen Rose would like to help Michigan rebuild, you responded “Then Jalen will get a phone call from me.”

That”s a far cry from your predecessor”s response former players helping out is a “two-way street.”

The Michigan family really likes you another difference between you and your predecessor.

“He”s the right coach for the job,” former Michigan star and member of the advisory committee Tim McCormick said. “He carries himself with great class and he”s all about academics and class.”

“This is a great decision,” sophomore Gavin Groninger said. “I”m excited to start playing for him.”

“I”ll only have him for one year,” junior Chris Young said. “It”s kind of unfortunate. I kind of wish I had a couple more years here.”

You”ve got a good thing here, Coach. Probably better than you know.

The state of Michigan is full of budding basketball stars. And they”ll start coming here again. Because it”s Michigan. Because we wore baggy shorts and black socks. Because we could talk and play. Because we were cool.

And because of you, we”ll be cool again.

The entire team beamed with excitement yesterday. Each saying how proud they are to play for Michigan and how happy they were with your arrival.

This campus is desperate for a successful basketball program. That”s why your predecessor was never accepted. He couldn”t provide excellence.

You can.

“This is Michigan,” as you said.

We expect to be the best in everything we do including basketball.

This isn”t Michigan State. Michigan has always defined excellence, and demands it all the time. Michigan doesn”t just come and go.

And while the Spartans are two wins away from another national title, they”ll revert to their old selves soon.

They”ve been booked for Scream 3, but soon enough they”ll be doing 1-800-CALL-ATT ads.

They”ve peaked.

They”re about to lose their four best players.

They”re on minute 14.

After this weekend, they”ll be gone.

And Michigan with your guidance will return to being Michigan.

Raphael Goodstein can be reached

at raphaelg@umich.edu.

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