Jalen Rose: Michigan basketball needs to repair its fractured past, and Dave Brandon is the man to do it
ANN ARBOR -- Jalen Rose has had an up and down relationship with the University of Michigan.
He starred as a player and helped ignite a cultural revolution with the Fab Five, but he's also been critical of the school for the way it handled the firing of his former coach (Steve Fisher) and the fallout of the Ed Martin investigation.
He's donated money, and he's been clear about wanting his Final Four banners back.
But at the end of the day, through everything, Rose says he still considers Ann Arbor a second home -- and that'll never change.
"The University of Michigan loves (the Fab Five) and vice versa, that's never going to go away," Rose said earlier this week. "So many people put sweat equity, time, energy into what became of the Fab Five -- it was so much bigger than those five players. It was the rest of the players on the roster, the coaching staff and the fans -- the fans made the Fab Five.
"Yes, we were playing and we were productive and we were freshmen, but a lot of teams do those things that don't have documentaries about themselves 20 years later."
Rose and former teammate Jimmy King were both hopeful earlier this week that ostracized ex-Fab Fiver Chris Webber would be able to mend his relationship with the school once his NCAA disassociation with the program ends in May.
On top of that, they're both hopeful that Michigan athletic director Dave Brandon will find a way to honor Michigan's 1991-92 and 1992-93 Final Four teams, despite the fact that they'll always be marred by an asterisk.
More than that, though, Rose said the program has to find a way to fix its fractured past -- and not just his generation either.
"All elite programs and prestigious universities that consistently win on a high level, look at their benches," Rose said. "Look at who is riding on the plane with them, who is influencing the team -- it's guys from the past.
"The interesting thing about football vs. basketball is, what ties these generations or decades together? It's somebody that's still consistently at the university. With football we've had that stability. It started with Bo (Schembechler), he laid it down. Now it permeates through coach (Brady) Hoke, who is a Bo disciple (through Lloyd Carr). All of the basketball coaches that were here, for the most part, left unceremoniously. There's no basketball tie to keep everybody together."
Rose was in town Monday to host the athletic department's annual 'Mock Rock' fundraiser, and during the evening, one thing was clear: Michigan still loves and respects him, and wants to do its best to re-embrace the former stars that helped build the program.
Rose received big hugs from both Brandon and Hoke after the show, and King received a raucous ovation from the crowd.
More than that, Michigan will bring back Cazzie Russell and Glen Rice later this month for a weekend that will culminate with a re-dedication of the newly renovated Crisler Center.
Last season, Michigan coach John Beilein helped bring back a host of former players -- including Russell, Phil Hubbard and Daniel Horton -- to help dedicate the new William Davidson Player Development Center.
Beilein said he wanted the new PDC and the newly-renovated arena to be a "home" for all current and former players, regardless of generation. But even on that day, some admitted there was still plenty of work left to do.
It's been a process, for sure. And it's one Rose says is important to continue working on.
"I'm a huge Dave Brandon fan, huge," Rose said. "I told him this the other day, the Michigan football team started the year in the top ten and MIchigan basketball's ranked No. 1 in the same year. … There's a good thing going and for basketball to be so fractured, and when I mean fractured I don't mean not getting along, just (separated). When you watch a Michigan State game, you notice, they'll have 50 of their guys out there from 1970 to 2000 or wherever, out on the floor celebrating them and appreciating them.
"I think we'll get there, and I think Dave will lead us there."
As far as the Fab Five goes, Rose says he's willing to be patient when it comes to finding a way to re-embrace the entire group.
Patient, to a degree, though.
"Life goes on, man," Rose said. "I don't want to celebrate because somebody's funeral just happened, because you know that's what happens. There's a saying 'people will bring flowers to your funeral, but won't bring you soup when you're sick.'
"I hope it doesn't turn into a situation like that. I want to be around to see it."
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