And it just keeps getting worse
After a victory in Seattle on Friday, the Lakers led the Nuggets for 6th place in the West by 1/2 a game. By Lakers tipoff against Phoenix on Sunday there was no more lead as the Nuggets beat the Clippers on Saturday to close the gap. Following the Lakers latest loss on Sunday they are now 1/2 game behind Denver for 6th. That brings tonight's pivotal game at Denver. With only 5 games left in the season a 1 1/2 game lead would be extremely difficult to overcome so tonight's game is about as must win as a regular season game can be. The defense is still not there and that is a major concern heading into the playoffs.
There are a number of concerns with Michigan as Spring Practice comes to a close and as new basketball coach John Beilein tries to keep the 07 recruiting class together. The rumors of a Carlos Brown transfer popped up a few weeks ago, then died down, but now they are back up again. We will have to wait and see but many believe that he is headed out. It would be a big loss not only because of the depth at CB/RB we would lose, but it could be a big loss for recruiting in the future, especially in the South. Many teams negatively recruit Michigan and the Big Ten because the teams are slow and don't know how to use speed, and losing Carlos Brown would only add fuel to the fire.
Onto Coach Beilein's attempt to keep together this 07 class, it doesn't look good. Both Alex Legion and Manny Harris met with Beilein this past week and I believe it would be miraculous if he was able to keep both players. I believe Kelvin Grady will stay and before reading this article I thought it would be Manny that would join him in Ann Arbor with Legion bolting elsewhere. But after reading the article, I have a feeling Grady may be the only guy left. Regardless what Legion says, I just don't have a good feeling about him and think he's gone. But with Manny saying that he is going to look at other schools it has me extremely concerned. It would be a disaster if only Grady stayed on because there wouldn't be much depth on the team for next season. There are rumors that Assistant Coach Mike Jackson, who left a couple weeks ago for Illinois State may come back and that could help. Coach Beilein knows he needs someone on the staff with local ties and we will have to wait to see who that is but I would definitely be glad to see Coach Jackson back. He has a lot of ties in Detroit and could turn the tide with Manny back in our favor.
Update: Great news. Coach Jackson is back. He has resigned at Illinois State and will return to Michigan.
I wasn't able to address this last week but Coach Eddie Robinson of Grambling passed away last week at the age of 88. He was a great coach, amassing 408 wins in his 57 year career, but more important than the wins and losses was the lessons off the field he taught his players during the civil rights era. He coached over 200 players who would later play in the NFL as well as 4 Hall of Famers but that is nothing compared to the struggles he had to endure during the segregation era. People think coaches nowadays have it tough with the pressure of wins and losses on the field. But no one has to deal with what Coach Robinson did off the field. From the ESPN.com article linked above:
Robinson began his storied career at Grambling with no paid assistants, no groundskeepers, no trainers and little in the way of equipment. He lined the field himself and fixed lunchmeat sandwiches for road trips because the players could not eat in the "white only" restaurants of the South.
Coach Robinson is a legend of College Football, may he Rest In Peace.