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2007, DT FREE PRESS: University of Michigan Wolverines

June 24, 2008

billboard_freepress.jpgCATCHING UP WITH: Jalen Rose is still Fab and Blue; his Detroit billboard honors Wolverines quintet…

October 14, 2007 — Jalen Rose does a lot of interviews on both sides of the microphone.

As a basketball analyst for a number of networks and as an NBA player,
Rose hears one subject arise as often as anything else: the Fab Five.

So, with last season being the 15th anniversary of the U-M freshmen’s
storming of the college basketball world — the first time five
freshmen started for an ultra-successful college team — Rose decided
to do something about it.
Thinking about U-M teammates Chris Webber, Ray Jackson, Juwan Howard
and Jimmy King, he bought and paid for a billboard at 7 Mile and the
southbound Lodge Freeway that features five maize jerseys, with the
five players’ last names and numbers. Below the jerseys is a simple
slogan, "Timeless" and Rose’s "JR 5" logo in the lower right corner.

"The motivation for that speaks for itself," said Rose, who didn’t tell
the other guys until after it was up, wanting it to be a surprise.
"Being this (2006-07) is the year of the Fab Five 15th-year
anniversary, people nationally are talking about it — about how we
changed college basketball and the landscape of the sport. We have no
banners and representation at U-M, almost like we didn’t go there."

That’s where Rose pauses, emphasizing the location.

He wants the billboard to be a celebration, not a distraction. That’s
why he placed it on Detroit’s west side, near where he and Webber grew
up.

"It’s from the heart," he said of the billboard, posted when the Lodge
was closed for construction this summer. "I’m from the west side.
Anybody who sees that is driving on the freeway near where I grew up.
It wasn’t really about visibility. I could have put it by the airport,
where it would be more visible, or even Ann Arbor. But I didn’t want to
put it in Ann Arbor because I didn’t want people to think it’s me
making a negative statement. Maybe it should be there, but it’s not."

It’s not, because Webber is considered persona non grata in the
Michigan athletic department after being accused of accepting more than
$100,000 from former U-M booster Ed Martin.

The accusation and Martin’s federal plea deal were enough to get Webber
banned from the program for 10 years by the NCAA, and Michigan
voluntarily removed all references to the tainted era.

"Unfortunately, what a couple players were accused — never proven —
of doing, our banners got taken down so our memories aren’t as fond as
they should be," Rose said. "There’s no hard feelings and I think some
good eventually will come out of it. But, especially when, being in
broadcasting, I see what (former Ohio State running back) Maurice
Clarett was going through, and they didn’t take their (championship)
banner down. I see (former USC running back) Reggie Bush and what he’s
going through. And I see what (former UCLA basketball coach) Jim
Harrick goes through, and I notice it’s original and unique how our
situation is handled."

U-M athletic director Bill Martin may not agree with everything Rose says, but he has nothing but praise for him.

"I do talk to him, but probably not as much as I want to," Martin said.
"He represents everything you want to see in a Michigan man,
particularly since I’m from the same area of Detroit."

The Fab Five have stayed close, even with their hectic
basketball-playing schedules over the years. They’ve had multiple
reunions and "still talk like brothers," Rose said, getting together
often, made a bit easier because Rose, Webber and King live in the
metro Detroit area — Webber and Rose when they’re not playing for NBA
teams, and King, who works a local financial planner.

But Rose is bothered that they can’t be reunions held at U-M basketball games.

The players have tried to avoid holding grudges. Howard has returned in
the summers to appear at former U-M basketball coach Tommy Amaker’s
basketball camp. King spends significant time around the program,
working radio broadcasts as an analyst.

And Rose said he supported Amaker and will support John Beilein’s program in whatever ways he can.

He’s already helping on the academic front with a yearly $10,000
scholarship for a state of Michigan student from an inner-city
environment or who is part of an underrepresented group. According to
Martin, though Rose left U-M after his junior season in 1994, he
completed his degree recently with online courses.

"I’m a big-time supporter of the programs," said Rose, who sat with
Martin at the NIT final a few years ago when he was playing for the New
York Knicks. "I was in hiding when we lost to Appalachian State. Yeah,
I hear jokes from people don’t care about college basketball from John
Doe from X University, asking about us. None of us has retired numbers,
but it may happen."

Martin said there are no immediate plans for any jersey retirements.
So, for now, one trip down the Lodge freeway will offer a quick
reminder.

BY MARK SNYDER – FREE PRESS SPORTS WRITER
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*CLICK HERE FOR UM PHOTO GALLERY: freep.com*
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DETROIT FREE PRESS – THE FAB FIVE ERA: Highlights and lowlights from U-M hoops glory days…

October 14, 2007 — A look at the highlights of the "Fab Five" class of
Chris Webber, Juwan Howard, Jalen Rose, Ray Jackson and Jimmy King.

The beginning: The Five started for the first time Feb. 9, 1992, and
the freshmen accounted for all Michigan’s points in a 74-65 victory at
Notre Dame.

The anointing: The five freshman starters were the first to reach an
NCAA final, only to lose, to Duke, 71-51, in 1992. "Five freshmen
starting in the national championship game, I venture to say, will
never happen again," coach Steve Fisher said.

Second try: They came back, reached the final as five sophomore
starters, only to lose it again, 77-71, to North Carolina, in 1993,
after Webber called a time-out late in the game when Michigan didn’t
have any left.

New attitude: They played with baggy shorts and shaved heads and all
the confidence in the world. They drew record TV audiences. "You can’t
think of Michigan without thinking of us," Webber said.

Breaking up: Webber turned pro after his sophomore year, Howard after
his junior year, and none of the Fab Five made it back to a third Final
Four.

End of an era: The era ended in 1995 when King and Jackson led the
Wolverines to a 17-14 record, losing to Western Kentucky, 82-76, in
overtime in the first round of the NCAA tournament. The Fab Five never
won a Big Ten title.

The sequels More big classes came, featuring Maurice Taylor, Maceo
Baston, Robert Traylor and Louis Bullock. But they never lived up to
expectations, and NCAA violations surrounding booster Ed Martin doomed
Fisher. Brian Ellerbe took over.