The point guard made two more riveting points in his young career.
“No one gave any indication of leaving,” guard Daniel Horton said. “I am not leaving.”
Horton, who will be a sophomore, gave the Maize and Blue faithful reason to feel positive about the NCAA sanctions handed down last week when he reassured the public that the Michigan men’s basketball team will be a familiar one next season. He then calmed the hearts of fans by including himself among those players who have said that they will be back next season despite the postseason ban given to the Wolverines by the NCAA Committee on Infractions.
Horton was named Big Ten Freshman of the Year last season, largely because of his ability to perform well in clutch situations. He was instrumental in Michigan’s victories against Wisconsin and Michigan State, where he drained important last minute shots.
Although no one has expressed an intention of leaving at this time, that’s not to say that the players like the NCAA’s decision.
“I believe it is not fair to us because we work so hard on and off the court to bring prestige back to this university,” Horton said. “I believe that’s not fair, but at the same time that’s life.”
Center Graham Brown, who will be a sophomore next year, had a similar reaction when asked about how he viewed the ruling.
“It was a shock when we first heard the news, but after a couple minutes, we knew we had to get over it and get ready for next season,” Brown said.
The players who will be affected the most by the ruling are the two seniors on this year’s team, Bernard Robinson Jr. and Colin Dill. If the NCAA does not overturn its decision on the postseason ban, the seniors will graduate having not participated in the NCAA Tournament. The Wolverines were held out of last year’s NCAA Tournament because of a self-inflicted one-year postseason ban, and failed to reach it the two years before that. Despite these facts, Dill remained upbeat about next season.
“What would disappoint me would be not having a chance to win the Big Ten,” Dill said. “The fact that there was a postseason ban handed down to us isn’t going to get us down because we still have a chance to win our conference.”
Robinson declined to comment on the ruling, but Horton noted that Robinson is adamant about donning the maize and blue next season.
“(Robinson) was the first one to speak out,” Horton said. “He said he was not going anywhere and that there was no sense in whining and crying about it because we have been here before.”
Brown agreed, noting that “last year’s season should help us out a little bit. We will be going through much of the same things we dealt with last year. Even though we didn’t start well we had a very prosperous year and hopefully this year we can build on that and do even better.”
Brown also noted that while he is one of the unfortunate players that has to pay for the actions of those involved in the scandal, he hasn’t necessarily lost his respect for them.
“You can look back on that period time with a little bitterness, but those guys had a big part of what Michigan is today,” Brown said.
“Those guys have moved on with their lives, and we should do the same,” Horton said.
Horton also noted that amidst the negative publicity that the Wolverines have received from the scandal, and the penalties imposed by the NCAA, playing for Michigan is still an honor.
“They can take away the postseason and they can take away a lot of things, but they cannot take away the pride of playing for this university,” Horton said.