For one night at least, the crowd taking in Michigan’s
basketball game at Crisler Arena rivaled what the Los Angeles
Lakers draw to the Staples Center.
That’s because on the eve of the Michigan-Ohio State
football game, Derek Jeter — starting shortstop for the New
York Yankees and a self-proclaimed Michigan fan — brought
several of his closest friends to take in the Wolverines contest
Jeter, who attended Michigan for a semester prior to signing
with the Yankees, was joined by teammates Jorge Posada, Jason
Giambi, Jeff Weaver, as well as current Florida Marlin Gerald
“I came back two years ago for the Ohio State-Michigan
game as well,” Jeter said.
While several Yankees joined Jeter, absent from the trip was New
York owner George Steinbrenner, who has been well-publicized as an
Ohio State devotee.
“No, (Steinbrenner didn’t come),” Jeter said.
“He’ll go with us to Columbus, but not here.”
The Yankees that did make the trip to Ann Arbor for the weekend
left the Wolverines on the court in awe.
“That’s amazing, man,” Michigan senior Bernard
Robinson said. “The New York Yankees — it isn’t
the Mariners, it isn’t the Astros, it’s the Yankees.
When you come to the University of Michigan, you get respect from
people like that.
“I was a little shocked going up to Jeter — I know
his autograph is worth, like, a million dollars. I didn’t
want to say, ‘Jeter, can I get your autograph?’ and for
him to be like, ‘Nah.’ (Freshman Dion Harris) was brave
enough. I couldn’t go up there and get it.”
Not to be outdone: The Bronx Bombers weren’t the
only famous faces in the crowd on Friday night.
Former Wolverine and Houston Rockets’ coach Rudy
Tomjanovich was spotted in the crowd and received a large ovation
when his image was put up on the scoreboard.
Tomjanovich, who played for the Wolverines from 1968 to 1970,
had his No. 45 Michigan jersey retired last season in a Michigan
win over Iowa on Feb. 8.
The legendary Wolverine was impressed with Michigan’s
effort in its 26-point win Friday.
“The defense is just outstanding pressuring the ball, and
so is the energy from the players,” Tomjanovich said.
“I got to know coach Amaker last year. I love the way he
handles himself, the way he handles his team.
“It’s exciting to be back here for me. I always try
to work my schedule where I can come up here — I’ll be
back next month for the UCLA game. It’s just a treat for
Oh (no), Danny boy: While the Wolverines were enjoying an
opening game romp, point guard Daniel Horton was trying to figure
out why he couldn’t contribute more.
The sophomore from Texas had one of his worst games as a
Wolverine, shooting just 1-of-7 from the floor, finishing with four
points and three turnovers in 17 minutes.
“I just didn’t play well — they did a good job
denying the ball at times, and I just didn’t have it
tonight,” Horton said.
Despite the shaky performance, Horton remained pleased with the
effort of his teammates, specifically Harris, who spent a good
portion of his 29 minutes replacing Horton at point guard.
“It makes me feel good that he can come in and play the
point and play well,” said Horton of Harris. “It just
shows that later on, if the same thing happens, we have someone
that can step in.”
Adding to Horton’s problems was the fact that he found
himself in foul trouble, picking up two in the first 11 minutes of
“On one, I was trying to take a charge — like coach
always says, you pick up one and then you try to take a charge and
you’ve got two. I didn’t have it tonight, that’s
Brown back … Sort of: Center Graham Brown continued to
try and come back from the ankle injury he sustained in practice
two weeks ago.
Brown sat out the Wolverines’ two exhibition games,
against Michigan Tech and the Fayetteville Patriots, but briefly
returned on Friday night. The sophomore played two minutes,
grabbing two boards (one offensive), but missed two free
Brown said that he is making progress and hopes that he can
fully return to the lineup for Michigan’s game Wednesday
against High Point or Sunday against Butler in Indianapolis.