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2008, March 12: The Michigan Daily.com – Rose Would Help Program Blossom

June 24, 2008

March 12, 2008 — He never addressed a possible coaching future while
speaking with reporters during a reception on Jalen Rose Day.

But at Michigan’s 49-43 win over Illinois Feb. 23, former NBA and Fab
Five star Jalen Rose sure seemed like a future college coach.

Before tipoff, every Wolverine starter went over to Rose’s courtside seat to pound fists as if he were another assistant coach.

Players didn’t leave until each got a nod of approval from Rose, some
even waiting for a last word of encouragement. Heck, Rose even coached
one current Michigan player – sophomore DeShawn Sims – in a Detroit
summer league a few years ago.

And when asked before the game what he wanted to get out of the day,
one meant to honor his contributions to the community, Rose wasn’t
concerned with his achievements.

Like a coach, his focus was on the game at hand.

"The team has been struggling this year, so I want them to play the best game of the season," Rose said.

So if the players already treat him like a coach, and he’s already
talking like a coach, why isn’t Rose a part of the Michigan basketball
program?

Yes, I realize there’s a stigma attached to the Fab Five, seeing as
Chris Webber, Rose’s childhood friend, can’t have anything to do with
the program until 2013.

But do you realize it’s been 15 years since Webber last took the court
in a Michigan jersey? Snoop Dogg was accused that same year of being an
accomplice to a murder. Now, he has a reality show on E! about his
parenting skills. Much has changed.

Frankly, it’s about time this program lets bygones be bygones and gets
back to winning basketball games legitimately. And part of letting go
of the past is letting Rose get back in the fold.

"There’s no shame," Rose said of the Ed Martin scandal. "What was said
was said. What was alleged was alleged. But ultimately, time heals all
wounds, in my opinion. It’s going to be time to move on eventually. I
just hope I’m not in a wheelchair or walking in a cane or in a
gravesite when it happens. I want to be here to see it."

I’m not condoning Webber – and likely some of his teammates – receiving
NBA salaries while at Michigan. In 2002, Rose said he accepted pocket
money from Martin, but he wasn’t part of the NCAA investigation.

But at the same time, I’m done condoning the Wolverines’ recent
performance on the court. For the team, the problem is easy to
identify. It’s just much harder to fix than Michigan coach John Beilein
may have thought. As open shot after open shot clanked off the rim this
season, it became clear that the Wolverines lack talent.

To his credit, Beilein is trying to fix this. He has already brought in
Arizona transfer Laval Lucas-Perry, along with three Beilein-esque
players (read: great shooters lacking in athleticism but ripe for
development) in the 2008 recruiting class.

When explaining why he wanted to Michigan at his introductory press
conference last April, Beilein spoke of a desire to go after the
nation’s elite recruits. He thought the Michigan brand gave him that
ability. So far, it has gotten him in the door with the top AAU stars,
but no 4- or 5-star recruits have signed on yet.

That would change if Rose were walking into the homes of recruits on
behalf of the program. With his accomplished 13-year NBA career, which
ended last season, recruits would see a recognizable face they could
associate with past Wolverine basketball glory.

Put him alongside fellow Detroit natives Sims and freshman Manny
Harris, and the Wolverines will have a stranglehold on the fertile
recruiting territory that is the Detroit Public School League. Rose may
have been nomadic during his pro career, playing for six teams, but he
remains a local legend from his days at Detroit Southwestern High
School.

And judging from Rose’s halftime speech two weeks ago, when he cut off
the band, which began playing "The Victors" before he finished his
speech and thanked his Fab Five teammates, none of his signature
charisma has disappeared since he left Ann Arbor in 1994.

Rose as a coach just makes too much sense. But then again, that’s what we said about Les Miles, too.

Rose said two weeks ago he planned to sit down with Beilein after this season to talk about anything basketball-related.

For the program’s sake, let’s hope the conversation revolves around
making every day Jalen Rose Day for the Michigan basketball program.

By: Mark Giannotto – Giannotto can be reached at mgiann@umich.edu.