I was a basketball-loving fifteen-year-old when the Dream Team went to Barcelona for the 1992 Olympics. I collected newspaper stories about the team,I was a basketball-loving fifteen-year-old when the Dream Team went to Barcelona for the 1992 Olympics. I collected newspaper stories about the team, and still have the old Sports Illustrated articles. As such, the most revelatory portion of this book was the chapter on the impact of the Dream Team on future international players. It describes a 14-year-old Dirk Nowitzki, who played handball in Germany, wanting to play basketball - not like his mom and sister or his countryman and idol Detlef Schrempf - but rather like do-it-all Dream Teamer Scottie Pippen. Manu Ginobili, then a 15-year-old watching, is now an Olympian in his own right, representing Argentina. His recently retired teammate on the San Antonio Spurs, Tim Duncan, was a sixteen-year-old swimmer in the Bahamas who watched. In the 2004 Olympics in Athens, Ginobili was on the Argentinian team that defeated Duncan and the dysfunctional American team en route to winning the gold medal. In that sense, my international contemporaries are more the rightful heirs of the Dream Team legacy than any iteration of the American national team since.
As for me, 1992 was a banner year on the basketball front. The Fab Five of Michigan met Duke in the NCAA Championship game in April. I successfully dunked for the first time in May. Chris Webber and the college team got the better of Christian Laettner and the Dream Team the first time they played in June. I worked hard on my game and made the sophomore team that fall. When my high school coach visited basketball camps he would take me along to show the campers they too could "be like Mike." Getting cut as a freshman was the only thing I ever had in common with Michael Jordan!...more
Knowing Rich Rodriguez is a good guy who never lost his team - no matter how many games they lost - makes it more difficult to hold him in disdain. PlKnowing Rich Rodriguez is a good guy who never lost his team - no matter how many games they lost - makes it more difficult to hold him in disdain. Plenty of the problems that dogged him at Michigan were outside of his control, and some he could have addressed were outside his perception. I admit I was one of those longtime fans who was glad to see him go, and pleased when he was replaced by a "real Michigan Man," Brady Hoke. When Hoke was replaced by Jim Harbaugh - who is among the detractors named in this book - I was ecstatic to be present in the stadium for his debut, a loss to Utah, just like Rich Rod's.
Rodriguez is now coaching Arizona, so Utah has the opportunity to beat him annually (Arizona put Utah away in double overtime last year). He's the guy on the opposite sideline, so it would be easy not to like him. But his players did, and I do like them. Mike Martin and Taylor Lewan were teammates on the Tennessee Titans for a couple of years; Martin is now lining up with Brandon Graham in Philadelphia. Denard Robinson and Patrick Omameh are playing together in Jacksonville along with Chad Henne, the quarterback that Rodriguez struggled to find a replacement for until Robinson emerged from backup to repeat Offensive Player of the Week and Heisman hopeful. Unlike some of the QBs before him (Ryan Mallett, Steve Threet), Robinson did not transfer from Michigan when Michigan changed coaches, although he did try to meet with athletic director Dave Brandon to voice his support of Rodriguez (he wasn't given the chance).
Those players who remained loyal to Michigan produced for Hoke in 2011, beating Notre Dame and Ohio State to go 11-2 (they lost to Michigan State and Iowa), and beating Virginia Tech in the Sugar Bowl. Greg Mattison returned as defensive coordinator under Hoke, and the defense improved from 107th to 6th in scoring defense. Same players giving their all, different scheme, better results. Hoke was Big Ten Coach of the Year, and Michigan was back. As the roster changed the results regressed each year of Hoke's four year tenure, sliding back to a 5-7 season without a bowl game. Hoke was replaced, and now coaches in the PAC-12 as Oregon's defensive coordinator.
Harbaugh was also a PAC-12 coach at Stanford before taking over the San Francisco 49ers. He returned to the college ranks and his alma mater after the 2014 season. Harbaugh retained Mattison as defensive line coach, but brought in D.J. Durkin as defensive coordinator. Tyrone Wheatley, a former star running back, joined the staff as running backs coach. Tyrone Wheatley, Jr. came along as a tight end recruit, and was coached by Harbaugh's son Jay.
Michigan lost the opener at Utah, shut out BYU at home, suffered a fluke loss to Michigan State, and got thumped by Ohio State to finish the year 10-3. The only loss I accepted was the first one, but routing Florida in the Citrus Bowl helped the progression from 2015 to 2016. Harbaugh's first quarterback, Jake Rudock, is now a Detroit Lion, along with his center, Graham Glasgow. Harbaugh has not yet named his starter for 2016, but it won't be long now!...more
Panic! At The Disco playlist for the main players:
Victorious - Hoartrap Don't Threaten Me With a Good Time - Pasha & Purna Hallelujah - Black Pope EmPanic! At The Disco playlist for the main players:
Victorious - Hoartrap Don't Threaten Me With a Good Time - Pasha & Purna Hallelujah - Black Pope Emperor's New Clothes - Zosia Death of a Bachelor - Ji-hyeon Crazy = Genius - Maroto LA Devotee - Indsorith Golden Days - Kang-ho The Good, the Bad, and the Dirty - Singh House of Memories - Keun-ju Impossible Year - Sullen...more