Monday, September 8, 2008

"The Rose that Grew from Concrete": Back in the program?

Earlier in the week, the University of Michigan held a dinner/meet-and-greet for all Student Athletes.  This welcome-back dinner allowed the athletes to get to know one another and meet coaches and players from other sports.  

The honored guest of the night?  It was none other than former Michigan guard and Fab Five member Jalen Rose.  Rose, who was regarded as the promoter of the group, helped start a basketball revolution that was felt not just in Ann Arbor, but across America.  Kids today still proudly wear black socks and baggy shorts when playing basketball;  both trends were made popular by the Fab Five.  This team would regularly push Crisler's seating capacity to its limits, and bulldoze the Spartans without breaking a sweat. 

Getting the picture?

When the Ed Martin scandal hit following these great years, Rose and his teammates were banished from the Michigan family.  The University disavowed all their accomplishments and took every banner, picture, statistic, and crumb of information out of the program.

This is the second time Rose has been used by the University as a guest speaker/main attraction of an event in the past year.  Last year, the University threw a "Jalen Rose Day" promotion at a men's basketball game, during which Rose spoke at halftime.  He has openly stated that he wants to donate the money for a Jalen Rose Practice Facility, but has balked due to the University's stance on the Fab Five and not having their accomplishments displayed anywhere. Could these appearances be Bill Martin's way of easing Rose back into the Michigan family?  

The Fab Five have been the "Pink Elephant in the corner" for the U of M basketball team for the past decade.  The program has been unable to utilize what is arguably its greatest legacy and strongest recruiting tool. They aren't even shown in the Intro-Video played before the starting line-ups.  The video shows the greatest players and decades in U of M's history and the 90's are noticeably missing from the tape. 

Rose wants to desperately give back to Michigan and Michigan should let him.  The team is in dire need of updated facilities and Rose is the most successful player still on good terms with the University. A beloved figure in the Detroit community, Rose would not only provide financial support, but also would be a mentor to young players.

The same young players that grew up wearing baggy shorts and black socks, and wanting to "dunk like C-Webb" and "pass like JR."

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