Fifteen minutes until tipoff. No tickets. Ahhhh, but this is Michigan Basketball. Tickets can be had at the box office my friends. Even on Jalen Rose Day, you too can garner blue level seats.
It was an odd celebration. It was more about Jalen's charity, the Jalen Rose foundation, than it was about the man himself. But when halftime hit, the PA announcer rattled through Jalen's resume, full of statistical top 10's in nearly every basketball category. Then Jalen spoke. He took the crowd back to a time when things were good in Crisler arena. He gave thanks to the coaches that had a profound effect on his career: Perry Watson, Steve Fisher, Bo Schembechler. Watson and Fisher evoke mixed feelings for most Michigan fans. Perry Watson, whose involvement in the recruiting of the Fab 5 is well documented, also had links to Ed Martin. Steve Fisher, the lovable old man, the Barney Fife that took us on the magical run in 1989, and had an even more magical run of recruits through the early 90's. It's unfortunate it was all tarnished by money.
Jalen then individually called out the names of the other members of the Fab 5. Chris Webber, Juwan Howard, Jimmy King (who was in attendance), Ray Jackson. It's been a long time since those names have been uttered in public. Chris Webber is not allowed to be associated with the University in any way until 2013. Even more amazing, Jalen revealed that he had not been inside Crisler since he last donned the jersey. Now, with his NBA career coming to a close, Jalen promised to be back often. Roars of applause followed Jalen's final statement, which was that he would be back to see "those banners" go back up, referring to the missing final four banners from 1991 and 1992.
Maybe this is the beginning of the rebuilding of the past in Michigan Basketball. It was certainly an emotional time for those in attendance that had memories of the way Michigan Basketball used to be. Whether that will be enough to have us look past the black mark that accompanied the black socks remains to be seen.
As for the game...pretty much the worst shooting I have ever seen. The final was 49-43, and the score wasn't even indicative of how poor the execution was on the floor. But winning is what it's all about, right? OK, game over...on to the Joe.
With no respect for the law, or for human life, we made our way to the home of the Red Wings to exact revenge on Sparty for the ass-handing they gave us the night before. The goal was to see the end of the basketball game, and the drop of the puck at the hockey game. We came very close. Missed the drop by 30 seconds. But we arrived in time to see the #1 Wolverines take an early 2-0 lead on their way to reversing the previous evening's score. Michigan wins 5-2.
2 for 2 on the day, not bad. Here's the pics.