Hoops Notebook: Ypsilanti's Steve Brooks on both sides of coach-referee relationship
Sure Brooks has raised his voice to object to a call. And his sideline scowl is one of the area’s fiercest. But in the veteran’s coach’s career, he’s never crossed that unwritten line with an official and received a technical foul.
Part of the reason why is because Brooks understands the pressure of wearing the striped shirt. He’s a referee himself.
“I just love the game so much,” Brooks says of his moonlighting. “Plus, I think it makes you a better coach. And being a coach makes you a somewhat better official.”
Brooks was busier with the whistle when he could steadily work girls games in the fall before the MHSAA season switch put them on the court at the same time as his boys’ teams.
But you can still catch him working in middle schools across Southeastern Michigan, and a few freshman and junior varsity high school games when his schedule allows, as well.
HURON LEAGUE BATTLE The Milan basketball programs have an interesting rivalry with New Boston Huron this season. The Big Reds have split a pair of first-place games against their Huron League foes, with two potential showdowns coming up later in the season.
On Tuesday, the Milan boys lost 55-52 at Huron in a battle of teams that were 6-0 in league play. Just eight days earlier, the Milan girls were in an identical scenario and won 40-39 on their home court.
The Milan girls have won twice since, improving to 11-2 overall and 9-0 in league play, to protect their lead as they await a Feb. 18 rematch in New Boston.
And Huron boys coach Jim Kalbfleisch expects his team to have its hands full when they visit Milan on Feb. 26.
"It should be for the championship," Kalbfleisch said. "I don't see any team in this league beating them. ... if they play like that."
NO CHANCE OF INFRACTION The NCAA is extremely strict about what college coaches are allowed to do when it comes to recruiting high school athletes. The powers that be not only keep a close eye on what coaches say to athletes, there are restrictions on what coaches can even say about recruits.
So when University of Michigan offensive coordinator Calvin Magee recently took in a Saline versus Huron basketball game, he was understandably tight-lipped. He even reserved judgment on the River Rats’ red-hot leading scorer, who made 6 of 7 shots from the floor in a two-point Huron win.
That player was Calvin’s daughter, senior center Jasmine Magee.
HOOPS FOR HAITI The boys basketball programs at Ann Arbor’s three public high schools have come together in a joint fundraising effort for the Haitian earthquake victims. Pioneer freshman coach Fred Webster has organized a fundraiser called “Hoops for Haiti.”
For the remainder of the season players from Skyline, Pioneer and Huron will pass out fliers in an effort to collect per-point pledges. Participants will pledge a certain amount for every point for whichever team they want to support.
For example, if someone pledges to donate $1 per point in support of a Pioneer junior varsity player and his team scores 100 points the rest of the season, that person would donate $100 to the fundraiser.
Those wishing to participate can also make fixed donations. Fliers promoting the cause will be passed out at the remainder of the schools’ games.
FOOTBALL BENEFIT ON HARDWOOD The Dexter football team will benefit from a basketball game scheduled for 7 p.m. on Saturday, March 6.
A group of former University of Michigan athletes will take on a team of Dexter High School teachers and coaches. Admission is $5 and all proceeds benefit the school’s football program.
Among those Wolverines expected to attend are Antoine Joubert, Derrick Walker, Marcus Ray, John Wangler, Mark Messner, Clint Copenhaver, Dugan Fife, Doug Skene, C.J. Lee and David Merritt.