Amaker's Mulligan

After suffering an embarassing 10th straight loss and the announcement of a season long suspension to star point guard Daniel Horton, Michigan's program is in shambles. While MSU fans may chuckle, a good rivalry with UM is good for MSU. Still, Michigan head coach <b>Tommy Amaker</b> is in the middle of the basketball version of Nightmare on Elm Street right now which is exactly why he and the Michigan basketball program have to be given a pass on the 2004-05 season.

OK – let's have a show of hands. How many of you would like to be in Tommy Amaker's shoes right now?

Yeah, sure, the money's good, but would you really want to endure the stuff that this guy has had to endure over the past four months?

Those of you who still say yes are kidding yourselves – Amaker is in the middle of the basketball version of Nightmare on Elm Street right now; which is exactly why he and the Michigan basketball program have to be given a pass on the 2004-05 season.

Are they playing bad right now? Yes.

At times does it look like the players are giving little to no effort? Yes.

Do you think you could have won more games over the last month with this team than Amaker?

Please, stop the insanity. I don't care if your John Wooden, Al McGuire, or Dean Smith, no coach could win with the roster that Amaker has right now at his disposal.

When you are down two scholarships to begin with due to the hyjinks of the late Ed Martin, Steve Fisher and the now not-so-Fab Five; add on two more open roster spots due to the eleventh hour recruiting defections of Joe Crawford (Kentucky) and Al Horford (Florida); then tack on the season-ending injury to Lester Abram earlier this year, and Daniel Horton deciding to impersonate Ike Turner back on December 10, 2004; and you have a basketball disaster that only a Spartan or Buckeye fan could love.

When the Michigan Wolverines are giving major minutes to walk-ons Ashtyn Bell (9.4 mpg), and Dani Wohl (10.2 mpg), Sherrod Harrell (14.2 mpg), and John Andrews (18.2 mpg), you know that you are going to be undermanned every game.

I have nothing against any of these kids personally but they are just not Big Ten caliber basketball players. In their combined average of 52 minutes-per-game this season, these four players are averaging a combined 6.1 points and 4.7 rebounds-per-game.

If any of you James Naismith wannabes think you could do better with this group of Bad News Bears, I'd like to hear from you.

If there is anything you could question Amaker on this season, it has been his, and the administration's handling of the Daniel Horton situation. For roughly ten weeks, from the time of the incident on December 10, 2004 to his official season-ending suspension this past weekend; this has been a very muddy and confusing situation for all who have watched it.

Horton's suspension began on January 25, 2005 which was a day after his arraignment on one misdemeanor count of domestic violence, and a full 46 days after the incident took place. He plead guilty to that charge on February 14, and was allowed to begin practicing with the team shortly afterward. Before his guilty plea, he had not been allowed to practice or play.

This is slightly different than the handling of the situation involving former Michigan player Bernard Robinson Jr.; who was allowed to practice with the team and play in games after being charged with, and pleading guilty to, two counts misdemeanor assault and battery stemming from an on-campus incident with a female Michigan student back in 2002.

The differences in way that the university handled these two very similar situations with Horton and Robinson could be called into question, no matter which side of the fence you are on. While it has not been made clear as to whether Horton will return to the team next season, it is clear that this whole mess is not over and has only added to the on-the-court troubles the Wolverines have faced this season.

In the game of golf, there is a thing called a Mulligan, which essentially is a do-over. For instance, if you hit a bad tee shot that flies into the pro shop and knocks out a poor old lady sipping her Highball, you get to take a Mulligan and line up another shot and try and hit it a little straighter the second time.

Tommy Amaker and his basketball team must be given a Mulligan for their performance this season.

Yeah I know – that poor old lady's gotten the snot knocked out of her down at Crisler Arena.

Nevertheless, she and the rest of the Michigan basketball supporters should wait until next year before they begin to pass judgment on the state of Tommy Amaker's massive rebuilding project.


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