*Tommy Amaker previews Wednesday's game.
Coach Amaker didn't offer anything new on the status of injured front-liners Chris Hunter or Brent Petway, but one of the young men in question did. Brent Petway was slated to re-enter the line-up last Wednesday versus Northwestern, but a sharp pain in his shoulder prior to the game prevented him from playing. "It was just a little something before pre-game warm-ups," Petway explained. "I just made a wrong move and kind of irritated it. I couldn't get any force on my passes and couldn't get it above my head anymore. I was shooting just fine before that, but then I irritated it too much for me to be able to go."
Don't fret Michigan fans…'Air Georgia' may resume flight very soon. After participating in practice without contact last Friday, he endured a little contact yesterday while wearing a shoulder brace. Petway indicated that the prospects for playing Wednesday in Bloomington get better with each passing moment. "They get higher and higher as the days go by because I feel a lot better," Petway said. "I rested it a little bit. Today I feel real good. Today I think I'm going to have a little contact. Tomorrow we'll see how it goes and hopefully I'll be ready."
Freshman's confidence continues to rise.
Ronald Coleman's four three-pointers in the latter part of the Penn State game was another in a recent line of strong performances by the 6-6 freshman. Since the UCLA game (seven games ago) he has averages 12.7 points, 3.6 rebounds, and 2.0 assists in 32.8 minutes per game. Just as impressive is his 54.4% shooting clip from the floor and his 51.4% clip from beyond the arc over that span.
"He is producing,"Amaker said. "A big key for him is he has had the opportunity and he has made the most of it. I think that's the beauty of it. You want to see good things happen for good people and Ronnie Coleman is one of the best. But he has worked hard. It has paid off for him. We have certainly needed his production with the way that he has shot the ball as of late. There is still a lot of room for improvement and growth. He is starting to establish himself and solidify himself as a solid player within our program and, so far, within this conference."
Much of what has helped Coleman be so successful is the support he gets from his coaches and teammates. That certainly played a large role in his late game recovery from a poor start down at Penn State. "Coach Amaker, Daniel, Dion…they all had a lot of confidence in me," Coleman said. "They told me to calm down and stop rushing my shot. Just go out, be poised, keep getting open, and take the shots. They said sooner or later I'd start to knock them down. It gave me confidence to know that they had the confidence in me to keep taking shots. After the first one fell I knew I going to start making them. After that I said, 'ok, it's all good. Every time after that if I was open I was going to take it."
As those who know Ronnie have come to expect, he isn't letting his recent success go to his head. He still critiques himself and reviews the things the things that he needs to work on…whether it is dribble penetration on the offensive end or moving his feet on defense. "I'm feeling much better on the defensive end," Coleman said. "I'm sliding my feet better…moving better laterally and guarding quicker players. Plus I'm confident that my teammates will be there to help if I get beat. I'm still working on it though.""
The return of toughness.
What Graham Brown's absence from the lineup meant for Michigan may have been underestimated by the fans, but it certainly was not by those on the team. Without their warrior on the floor, the Wolverines lacked a large part of the toughness and tenacity that it takes to win gains. No one knows that better than Coach Amaker.
"It's terrific," Amaker said of having Brown back. "I thought
his play at Penn State with a double-double was tremendous for our team. Graham
is going to give us hustle and toughness. He didn't finish well in the first
half at Penn State, but boy did he make up for things with how he played in
the second half. Just having a double-double is a huge plus for our team. I
think all of our players gather strength from knowing that Graham is a tough
physical player. We have that back a little bit more now that he is back with
our team. We're going to be able to have that physical presence on the inside,
especially when you're in this conference and even more so when you're on the