Tuesday Quick Hits: Colton Christian Commits to Michigan

By · Tuesday, May 11, 2010 · 2:50 PM |  Share | 1 Comment 
  • Lloyd Carr spoke to Angelique Chengelis about the whole Morgan Trent/Rich Rodriguez draft book fiasco that developed over the weekend, clearing up exactly what his involvement in the situation was.

    “That paragraph is completely a distortion of my conversation with Morgan,” Carr said. “That is a complete distortion, and it is not accurate. I have never spoken with the author. I have never met him. I have never had a conversation with him to the best of my knowledge.”

    Trent also talked to Chengelis and backed off the assertion that Carr was the one who brought up what Rodriguez supposedly said and used specific quotes about it like the book implied.

    “Lloyd didn’t bring any of this to my attention,” Trent said. “When we spoke, I brought it up to him, and he said he had heard some of the same things.”

    This still isn’t a great situation, but at least we now know that Carr didn’t go running to Trent or the author of this book to share the specifics of how Rodriguez was trashing one of his former players to scouts.  That wasn’t necessarily what the book was trying to convey either, but the excerpt could easily be interpreted that way.

  • 2010 power forward Colton Christian has committed to Michigan.  Christian was originally set to go to Tulane, but he changed his mind after a coaching change.  Christian then made a few visits and picked up offers from Cal and Penn State before ultimately deciding on Michigan following a trip to Ann Arbor this past weekend.  He isn’t ranked on Rivals and only has two stars on Scout, but ESPN grades him as an 85, which isn’t bad.  This definitely seems like another sleeper type of recruit, but Christian did play at the Hargrave Military Academy this past year, prompting ESPN to give him this evaluation:

    Tulane may have landed a sleeper as Christian plays a very efficient, and college ready, brand of basketball. He isn’t going to dominate the game with his scoring but has some inside-out skills and impacts the game in a variety of ways. He’s a capable scorer on the block with a little jump hook and can also step out to 18 feet and shoot. He’s strong and very athletic off of two feet, bodies up well defending the post, and rebounds out of his area. Look for him to see immediate minutes next year at Tulane.

    The best part about getting Christian is that he adds more height to the team (Rivals lists him as being 6-7).  He isn’t a seven-footer or anything, but the added depth in the post will be very welcomed by John Beilein and company.  Plus, he becomes the fourth recruit to join the 2010 recruiting class, meaning he, Tim Hardaway Jr., Evan Smotrycz, and Jon Horford will be coming to Ann Arbor this summer as true freshmen ready to contribute to the 2010-11 Wolverines in some form.

  • UM Hoops has a recap of yesterday’s groundbreaking ceremony for the new basketball practice facility.  AnnArbor.com also has a recap of the event as well as some videos.
  • Patrick Beilein (John’s son), who has been a graduate manager at Michigan, is leaving to take an assistant coaching job at Dartmouth.
  • Some of the top matchups for the ACC-Big Ten Challenge have leaked out.  There’s no word on who Michigan will play yet, but its opponent will not be Duke, Virginia Tech, Florida State, North Carolina, N.C. State, or Miami (the ‘Canes aren’t participating in it this year).
  • Big Ten expansion rumors went crazy yet again yesterday when a radio station reported that Nebraska, Missouri, Notre Dame, and Rutgers had been invited to join the conference.  The rumor itself seemed like just another BS report, which was seemingly confirmed by the various denials issued throughout the day by the schools involved.  Even so, the rumor picked up steam and even caused ESPN to report on it, kicking discussion of expansion back into high gear.

    I will admit that I took the bait when the Pitt rumor came out a couple months ago, but since then each rumor has just really been annoying more than anything.  Until the Big Ten has deals in place to add teams to the conference, I doubt anything will be announced by them, and all of these other rumors just don’t seem too credible.  I’m sure there is some validity to the idea of where there’s smoke, there’s fire.  However, I will have a tough time believing any rumor until something official is announced by the Big Ten.

  • Personally, I think Black Heart Gold Pants’ take on Big Ten expansion was just about as credible as the rumor that popped up yesterday.

Thursday Quick Hits: Spring Game Gets a Sponsor

By · Thursday, April 8, 2010 · 1:45 PM |  Share | 2 Comments 
  • PNC Bank is the “presenting sponsor” of the spring game and will specifically sponsor the locker room tours (6:30-8 p.m. on Friday and 7-9:30 a.m. on Saturday) and “Kick for Cash” promotion.  Part of the sponsorship money from PNC will go towards the “Michigan football interactive play area at the new C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital.”
  • TomVH has a list of who is visiting for the spring game.
  • Tate Forcier and Denard Robinson are apparently pretty even right now at quarterback.
  • Kelvin Grady and Terrence Robinson are getting some time at running back.
  • Will Heininger has a torn ACL and could miss the entire 2010 season.
  • Vladimir Emilien and Jared Van Slyke might return from knee injuries next week.
  • Check out mgoblog for a full recap of Tuesday’s practice and press conferences.
  • The Michigan Daily profiled Zoltan Mesko.
  • The same restrictions implemented at the Ann Arbor Golf & Outing Club last year for football tailgates will not be changed for the 2010 season.  Lame.
  • Red Berenson did a Q&A with AnnArbor.com.
  • The semifinals of the Frozen Four are going to be played at Ford Field later today.  I will probably tune in for a bit just to see what the setup looks like, but I’m still way too bitter over Michigan not being there because of a BS call to watch for more than a minute or two.
  • After the new basketball practice facility is built and infrastructure work is done on Crisler Arena, Dave Brandon wants to completely renovate Crisler to make it a “modern arena.”  Sounds good to me.
  • The Sporting Blog remixed this year’s One Shining Moment video with Luther Vandross’ version of the song, and it just makes the whole thing a million times better.
  • Evan Turner and five Kentucky players have declared for the NBA Draft.

Thursday Quick Hits: Talking Crisler Renovations, Recruiting, and More

By · Thursday, January 7, 2010 · 6:32 PM |  Share | Leave a Comment 
  • The first phase of Crisler Arena renovations will be up for approval at the next Board of Regents meeting (on January 21).  Below is a look at what this part of the renovation would entail:

    If approved, the project will begin in 2011, cost almost $20 million and the first portion of the renovation would deal with plumbing, heating, the Crisler roof, the replacement of lower bowl seats and aisle realignment, according to the Free Press.

    John Beilein, as you might imagine, is excited for the renovation.  Not only is he getting a practice facility, but finally Crisler will be renovated (assuming the Regents sign off on it).

  • Jordan Dumars, son of Joe Dumars, has officially transferred to Michigan.  He will not be a scholarship player, but rather a preferred walk-on.
  • Darius Morris is dealing with elbow tendinitis.
  • Michigan takes on Penn State tonight at 7 p.m. in Happy Valley.  The game can be seen on ESPN2.
  • In case you missed it, Braylon Edwards made headlines for saying that he was from “Lloyd Carr’s University of Michigan” during the introductions for last Sunday night’s Jets-Bengals game.  The immediate reaction most had to the comment was that Braylon was taking a shot at Rich Rodriguez by trying to disassociate himself from the current coach.  Braylon released a statement on Monday to deny that, saying the comment was a “tribute” to Lloyd Carr.  I’m not sure what to think about the statement, but perception-wise it certainly didn’t do Rodriguez any favors.
  • Dhani Jones talked quite a bit about Rich Rodriguez and the current state of the Michigan football program on Jim Rome’s show earlier this week.
  • Devin Gardner, who threw a touchdown pass in the Under Armour All-America Game last Saturday, was hoping to enroll early at Michigan, but he was unable to graduate early from Inkster because the school is on trimesters.  Marvin Robinson had also hoped to enroll early, but he also wasn’t able to.  The six players who did enroll early are Stephen Hopkins, Austin White, Jerald Robinson, Ricardo Miller, Jeremy Jackson, and Christian Pace, all offensive players.
  • It doesn’t appear that running back commit Tony Drake will actually become a Wolverine, as there are rumors about him being a long ways away from qualifying.  Although Adrian Witty did qualify, I don’t believe he made it to Ann Arbor for the winter semester, which was the original plan.  The rumor about that situation is that there is a hang up in the admissions department, which apparently may not accept Witty to Michigan.
  • Michigan commits Cullen Christian and Will Hagerup will play in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl on Saturday.
  • Detroit Southeastern defensive tackle Jonathan Hankins committed to Ohio State over Michigan, ending what can only be described as a strange recruitment.
  • Brandon Graham and Zoltan Mesko are going to play in the Senior Bowl.
  • 24 former Michigan football players and coaches are on the rosters/coaching staffs of NFL playoff teams.
  • Michigan picked up a commitment from hockey player Cristoval “Boo” Nieves.
  • Former Michigan hockey players Jack Johnson and Mike Komisarek are going to play for the United States in the Winter Olympics.
  • Notre Dame’s new hockey arena is going to be based on Yost Arena, similar to how Notre Dame Stadium is based on Michigan Stadium. (HT: mgoblog)
  • Former Michigan women’s track coach Red Simmons turned 100 last week, and AnnArbor.com had a couple great articles about what an amazing life he has lived.  MVictors got the chance to interview him and shot some interesting videos of Simmons.
  • Supposedly the Big Ten might consider expanding to 14 or even 16 teams, but after reading these two in-depth posts about the topic of Big Ten expansion, that seems beyond unlikely unless the new teams are all high-profile, big-name colleges.
  • Bill Sheridan, father of Nick Sheridan, was fired by the Giants.
  • The following Big Ten players have declared for the NFL Draft in the last few days: Ohio State’s Thaddeus Gibson, Penn State’s Navarro Bowman, and Iowa’s Bryan BulagaPenn State’s Evan Royster and Ohio State’s Chimdi Chekwa and Cameron Heyward have decided to return for another year.

Regents Approve Basketball Practice Facility

By · Thursday, September 17, 2009 · 5:37 PM |  Share | Leave a Comment 

BasketballFacilityDesigns for Michigan’s new basketball practice facility, officially being called a “Basketball Player Development Center,” were approved today by the Board of Regents.  Here are the details from MGoBlue (you can view more artist renderings there):

The facility, to be built adjacent to Crisler Arena, will provide approximately 57,000 gross square feet, including two basketball practice courts, team locker rooms for players and coaches, athletic medicine and hydrotherapy.

The second floor will accommodate men’s and women’s coaching staff and administrative support functions, as well as film-viewing rooms and strength and conditioning space.

The proposed design calls for a new entrance to Crisler Arena for players and coaches at the playing floor level and a new, dramatic Hall of Fame in the entry lobby. The lobby would provide a distinct identity for the basketball programs while harmonizing with the existing basketball arena and Michigan Stadium.

The facility will be finished in 2011, just in time for the start of the 2011-12 season.  While construction is going on 150 parking spaces will be displaced, but 55 of them will return when the project is finished.

Thursday Quick Hits: Hemingway Likely Probable for Saturday

By · Thursday, September 17, 2009 · 3:56 AM |  Share | Leave a Comment 
  • We’ll get a look at Michigan’s injury report for the Eastern Michigan game later today, but in the mean time it looks like Junior Hemingway could return this week (he has been practicing in a green limited contact jersey).  I don’t expect David Moosman, who suffered a shoulder injury against Notre Dame, to play, but he shouldn’t be out for more than a game or two.
  • Like the AP Poll, Michigan is ranked 25th in this week’s BlogPoll.
  • Rich Rodriguez went on Dan Patrick’s radio show yesterday.
  • SI’s Andy Staples has the story of how Jordan Kovacs went from a regular Michigan student to playing safety during the second half of the Notre Dame game.
  • The Rivalry, Esq. interviewed Eastern Michigan quarterback Andy Schmitt.
  • Contrary to claims that Michigan was going to don all-white uniforms next month at Iowa, The Wolverine’s Chris Balas has apparently debunked the rumor.  The rumor itself sort of came out of left field, as it didn’t really make a ton of sense for Michigan to wear white pants for only one game.  I guess maybe it was considered because Iowa wears yellow pants as well, but that is really the only explanation that makes it seem much less random.
  • Geoff of The Hoover Street Rag shared his take on the piped in music, and his opinion is similar to mine.  As long as Michigan Stadium doesn’t start to sound like a pro sports or minor league baseball game with music being played during every single stoppage then I’m okay with it.  The music definitely livened up the crowd coming out of some commercial breaks and definitely pumped up the players.  If the selected music strays away from something that pumps up the crowd or becomes too cheesy then I will be the first to call for it to stop.  Based on the Notre Dame game, though, I don’t exactly see that happening.  It seems as though there are guidelines and an approval process for what music is played, so I don’t see this as being anything more than a different way to get the stadium rocking every once in a while.  It isn’t going to replace the band, but it will continue to be something that pumps up the crowd in a way that the band simply can’t.
  • The first rendering of Michigan’s new soccer stadium has been released.
  • It is expected that Michigan’s Board of Regents will approve the schematic design of the new basketball practice facility at today’s meeting.
  • Eso Akunne has officially been awarded a scholarship for the 2009-10 season.
  • NCAA president Myles Brand passed away on Wednesday after battling pancreatic cancer for the last nine or so months.

Saturday Quick Hits: Go Blue, Wear Maize

By · Saturday, September 12, 2009 · 11:25 AM |  Share | 1 Comment 
  • Today’s game is designated as a “Maize Out,” and it will also feature a blue block “M” in the student section similar to the one we saw during the Wisconsin game last year.
  • Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts received great seats to the game today in exchange for speaking at the Law School’s 150th anniversary celebration.
  • Jarrett Irons’ favorite memory from the Michigan-Notre Dame rivalry was when Lou Holtz complimented him after he made a tackle.
  • Open tryouts for the football team will be held on Monday at 4 p.m.
  • The Michigan Daily did an in-depth piece on the players that came to Michigan from Pahokee, Florida.
  • 200 student seats have been added to section 16 in the lower bowl of Crisler Arena.  Since demand is so high, this will allow more students to sit in the lower bowl rather than be stuck up in the gold level.
  • Michigan plans on presenting the schematic design for the basketball practice facility at next Thursday’s Board of Regents meeting.  If the plans are approved, construction will be set to begin in April 2010 and be completed in October/November 2011, just in time for the 2011-12 season.  The cost of the project is around $23.2 million.
  • Hockey news: Captain Chris Summers’ younger brother will be Michigan’s third goalie this coming season.

Michigan Stadium Capacity to Max Out at 110,000+, Later Drop to 108,000+

By · Thursday, August 27, 2009 · 5:30 AM |  Share | 1 Comment 
Renovated Michigan Stadium

From Michigan Football's Facebook Page

The media got to tour Michigan Stadium yesterday, allowing them to check out the renovated areas of the Big House as well as what will be done in the next year or so to complete the project.  Aside from all of the photos that were taken during the tour (see the end of this post for links), some specific details about the renovation came out.

As first reported by Tim of mgoblog, Michigan Stadium’s capacity is going to climb to over 110,000 next season after the renovation is complete.  Up until last year, Michigan Stadium’s capacity was 107,501 since the 90s.  The capacity dropped to 106,201 last year because more disabled seating was added.  That gave Penn State the top capacity in all of college football, though Michigan still had a higher average attendance for the 2008 season.

Michigan will shatter attendance records when the official capacity goes over 110,000.  The record is currently at 112,118, which is the number of people who watched Michigan beat Ohio State in 2003.  It was the 100th meeting between Michigan and Ohio State, and tons of former players were in attendance to line up on the field for when the team came out and touched the banner.  The former players are likely mainly responsible for the record, as it is almost 400 people greater than the second-highest attended game in Michigan Stadium history — Michigan’s 38-0 win over Notre Dame in 2003.

Attendance could surpass 115,000 at some point after the renovation is complete, but Michigan will probably only have one year to pull that off.  Why?  Well, the Big House’s capacity is going to drop down to somewhere over 108,000 by 2013, as that is when all of the aisles in the stadium will be widened.  It sounds like aisles will be widened over the course of a few offseasons, and by the start of the 2013 season, that project will be complete. (It will likely be similar to the installation of new concrete/seats in the lower bowl that happened for a few years before the major renovation began.)

Originally plans called for the aisles to be widened and each seat to be expanded by 1″.  That is why the capacity wasn’t expected to increase by more than 1,000 or so seats despite all of the additions.  Adding so much disabled seating wasn’t originally in the plans, however, and that caused Michigan to lose over 1,000 seats already.  There was only one mention of the seats being widened in articles about yesterday’s tour; only the aisles were specifically pointed out in other recaps of the tour.  I don’t know if widening the seats is still part of the plan or not, but I’m hoping it’s not, as I have been against that from day one.

I know the current seating setup crams as many people into the stadium as possible, but an extra inch really isn’t going to make that big of a difference, at least not enough to the point where it is worth losing more seats.  I’m almost inclined to say leave the aisles as they are as well, but those probably need to be widened a little bit for safety reasons more than anything.  If you’ve ever been to a game at Michigan Stadium, you probably noticed or experienced the long lines of people leaving the exits after the final whistle; it is like a traffic jam.  Widening the aisles by a little bit may increase the flow of those lines, and in case of emergency, allow medical personnel to enter the stadium/people to leave the stadium quicker.

The reason Michigan can lose seats in the lower bowl and still increase the overall capacity is because of the new press box, suites, and club seats.  The new press box will hold 224 members of the media and in general it is going to be much bigger and nicer.  There are a total of 82 suites, each of which has seats for 16.  The cost of a suite ranges from $55,000 to $85,000, so you can see how this renovation will pay for itself over time.  As for the club seats, I’m not sure how many there will be.  The club seats will be on the west side of the stadium above the lower bowl, and there will also be chairbacks in the place of the current press box on the east side.  Just like the suites, about 70% of the club seats have already been reserved.

Going back to the idea of creating a more efficient flow of people, new concourses, bathrooms, and concessions will allow for more room to roam around the stadium.  The concourses on the main level already seem bigger, and the ones on the second level will provide even more space around the stadium.  It certainly looks like Michigan will achieve its goal of giving people more room to operate outside the stadium, and once the aisles are widened, the same can be said for the lower bowl as well.

Photos from the tour:

Videos from the tour:

Friday Quick Hits: Cissoko Arrested Last Month for Disorderly Conduct

By · Friday, July 24, 2009 · 12:57 PM |  Share | 1 Comment 
  • Boubacar Cissoko was arrested for misdemeanor disorderly conduct in June, according to Dave Birkett of AnnArbor.com.  The arrest happened after the car he was riding in was pulled over on Belle Isle for speeding.  The driver, for whatever reason, didn’t pull over immediately, leading to him being put in handcuffs once the “pursuit” ended.  Cissoko, at that time, yelled “Leave my boy the (expletive) alone,” allegedly over and over.  This led to him being arrested as well.

    The charge itself isn’t really all that serious, but it’s probably not too wise to yell at a cop like that after the person you were riding in the car with decided not to pull over immediately.  Either way, Cissoko was only charged with disorderly conduct, and according to Rich Rodriguez, he has already been disciplined.

  • This year’s Fan Day is going to be held on August 23 at the practice fields and the two indoor facilities.
  • The new indoor facility, Al Glick Field House, is nearing completion.  In fact, based on new pictures uploaded to Rich Rodriguez’s Facebook page, it appears that the locker room is close to being finished and the FieldTurf installation is almost done as well.
  • The Varsity Blue guys are closing up shop and moving to MGoBlog.
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