Ex-Michigan star Campy Russell says he wants the entire Fab Five welcomed back to the program
Michigan brought back roughly 120 players this weekend for a Crisler Center re-dedication ceremony, featuring alums from every decade since the 1960s.
Glen Rice was honored, so was Phil Hubbard. Cazzie Russell spent time on the Big Ten Network telecast.
But, as is usually the case, there wasn't much mention of the Fab Five.
Michigan's disassociation with Chris Webber will end in May, meaning if both parties are willing, the entire group could conceivably be welcomed back to the university in some manner.
The group's always a hot-button issue around Michigan basketball, but fixing that gap in the program's timeline is something at least one former star says is important.
"They're still Michigan men no matter what the situation is," former star Campy Russell said Sunday afternoon. "I think, without a doubt, it'd be a great thing for them to be reconnected to this institution.
"I don't think they've ever been disconnected from us as players, that's not how we do it as players."
Campy Russell says in some private player circles, Webber, Jalen Rose, Juwan Howard, Ray Jackson and Jimmy King, are completely embraced.
Even when Michigan was going through sanctions stemming from the Ed Martin recruiting scandal, Russell says he and several of his former teammates made it a point to avoid labeling the group as "outcasts."
"I never looked at those guys as outcasts or anything like that," he said. "At the end of the day, they were good young men, they're still Michigan guys whether they're acknowledged or not -- they're still Michigan guys, as far as I'm concerned.
"(I talk with) all of them (if I see them), there's no reason not to. I respect them as men, as guys, as Michigan guys. We'll come through this no matter how much turmoil was there. You've still got to respect them for who they are, what they meant and what they've done."
Earlier this month, King told reporters in Ann Arbor he's confident Webber wants to fix his relationship with Michigan.
And one way or another, he still believes it'll happen -- sooner rather than later.
"Everybody wants it, I know Chris even wants it," he said. "We haven't fully discussed it, but I think that it's (2013 and the disassociation is over this month), I think we, internally, amongst ourselves will start trying to reach out ourselves.
"I wouldn't be surprised that in the next couple of weeks or months to come (to see) Chris open up and start to publicly acknowledge (Michigan and) the ban being over."
Michigan coach John Beilein and athletic director Dave Brandon continue to work on rebuilding a bridge to the school's basketball past, a task that certainly isn't easy with so many tarnished seasons in the 1990s.
But both say weekends like this one have made things much easier. And now, it's to a point where players say it's up to them.
Michigan's done plenty, and now it's time for the former stars to do their part.
"The door's open, Beilein and the athletic department have rolled out the welcome mat," Rice said. "Now it's up to the former guys to get back here and do what they're supposed to do."
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