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Posted on Sat, Jan 21, 2012 : 5:39 p.m.

Michigan basketball captain Zack Novak meant no harm in hard foul on Arkansas' B.J. Young

By Nick Baumgardner


Booed every time he touched the ball after a hard foul on Arkansas' B.J. Young, Michigan senior guard Zack Novak, left, finished with a team-high 17 points on 6-of-9 shooting in a 66-64 loss Saturday.

AP Photo

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. -- Michigan basketball senior captain Zack Novak said he had no intent of hurting B.J. Young on Saturday after a hard foul sent the Arkansas freshman guard crashing to the floor and sparked raucous boos from the crowd of 19,050 at Bud Walton Arena.

With Young sprinting toward the basket for a breakout dunk early in the second half of Arkansas' 66-64 win over Michigan, Novak went high in an attempt to block his layup attempt.

He missed, though, hitting Young's head instead of the ball, and sending him down hard to the floor.

"They were booing me because they thought I made a dirty play, I didn't mean to hurt the kid at all," said Novak, who was whistled for a flagrant foul. "There was no (malicious intent)."

Novak said he was unable to initially check on Young, who was remained on the floor for several minutes before being helped to the bench by Arkansas trainers, but said he did ask Arkansas coach Mike Anderson about him after the game.

Arkansas guard Rashad Madden took the free throws in Young's absence, missing them both. At the next dead ball, Young returned to the lineup. He finished the game with a team-high 15 points.

Novak said his intention was to go up and block a shot. Unfortunately, he didn't get high enough in the air.

"I'm just not very athletic," Novak said. "He was going up to dunk, and it's tough basketball, you're not going to give wide open layups.

"I tried to make a play on the ball, he was just a lot higher than me."

Michigan coach John Beilein said he didn't get a good look at the play during the game from the opposite end of the floor. He also said he didn't see the replays of the foul, so didn't want to comment on the situation.

He did, though, defend any accusation of his captain being a dirty basketball player.

"All I know is Zack Novak plays hard as can be, and plays clean as can be," Beilein said. "I'm sure there was no ill intent."

Anderson had a similar reaction, saying it was just a hard foul during an intense moment.

"It was in the heat of the battle," Anderson said. "He gave him a good foul, no question about it. But that's part of basketball."

Novak was booed heavily each time he touched the ball throughout the remainder of the contest, but it didn't seem to deter him.

The senior guard finished with a team-high 17 points on 6-of-9 shooting, knocking down five 3-pointers and grabbing eight rebounds.

"Novak couldn't miss anything," Anderson said. "He was knocking shots down and he was a guy we really wanted to identify in the second half."

Nick Baumgardner covers Michigan basketball for He can be reached at 734-623-2514, by email at and followed on Twitter @nickbaumgardner.

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Ken Slank

Mon, Jan 23, 2012 : 1:26 p.m.

In response to the King: Watch the replay at about the 12 minute mark of the first half. Zac's fast break lay-up was properly contested by Akansas' Mickelson(#21). You don't chop a man down when he's air-born. According to the way you saw it, I guess the officials got it wrong. As for quoting Coach Mike Anderson, this is what he actually said when asked about the foul. "I didn't get a chance to look at it." "He gave him a good foul." "That's part of basketball." At no time did he say "It's ok. I know fouls like that happen all the time". When he sees the replay, I'm sure he will feel differently. Your version sounds better though by not letting the facts get in the way of a good story. Perhaps Zac was frustrated because he led the team with 4 turn-overs. What ever the case, in time Zac will admit to himself that it was a bad decision, and hopefully he will learn from it. I admire his hustle. He makes the most of what talent he has.


Sun, Jan 22, 2012 : 11:46 p.m.

Novak's eyes were clearly foucused on the Arkansas players head and nowhere near the ball which was extended high over his head. I would not call Novak a dirty player but it was a dirty play. It happens.


Sun, Jan 22, 2012 : 10:06 p.m.

In watching the replay and reading the article it appears Novak got hung up in the moment and did something he shouldn't have done. Beileins comment, I didn't see it, Novaks, there are no easy lay ups. Replay, no way Novak ever comes close to blocking the shot and hits the kids head instead of the BB? The momenteum swung to ARK after that foul and Novak's lack of effort on defense created openings for ARK. I for one think he embarrased himself and the U of M yesterday and will be glad when he is gone.


Mon, Jan 23, 2012 : 5:52 p.m.

now you'e just being silly. if you did watch the replay then you noticed the stiff arm that zack took just before the foul------and even that is ok. NOBODY should be admired and thanked more than zack and stu for their efforts at bringing this program back. if you don't understand that----you really don't understand basketball or competition. 'lack of effort' ??? clearly you haven't been watching this team for the past 3+ years.

The King

Sun, Jan 22, 2012 : 10:59 p.m.

Seriously? Freshman G B.J. Young on being on the receiving end of Michigan G Zach Novak's flagrant foul when Young went up for a fast-break dunk: "Good, hard foul," Young said. "It's OK. I know fouls like that happen all the time." Novak's "lack of effort" on defense? That's an oxymoron. The kid plays as hard as anyone on the floor. How did he embarrass "himself and the U of M yesterday"? By playing tough and trying to deny an easy basket? You will be glad when an outstanding young man and representative of the University of Michigan is gone? Let me guess, your EX girlfriend thinks he's cute. Am I right?

Ken Slank

Sun, Jan 22, 2012 : 6:51 p.m.

The UM-Arkansas basketball game was exciting to watch! Time well spent in front of the tube if your a college basketball fan. The flagrant foul however, was in-excusable! It went beyond poor sportsmanship. Saying that your not as athletic or that it was in the heat of battle doesn't cut it! Would these excuses be acceptable had the Arkansas player been permanently disabled or worse? Let's not confuse "hustle" for "out of control". Everyone wants to win but we must not forget that it's still a game.


Mon, Jan 23, 2012 : 12:04 a.m.

Sparty tears still taste like sugar!!


Sun, Jan 22, 2012 : 11:43 p.m.

The football team could use Novak.

The King

Sun, Jan 22, 2012 : 11:02 p.m.

Next time Zack will wear make up and bring a purse to the game. Would that make you happy? It's a physical game. Zack did exactly what any player who wants to win should have done. As young said..... "Good, hard foul," Young said. "It's OK. I know fouls like that happen all the time."


Sun, Jan 22, 2012 : 12:01 a.m.

There certainly was no ill intent on Zack's part. He doesn't play like that. He is one of the hardest workers on the team. Of all the players, I admire Zack the most. He's one of the nicest people I've ever met-- very intelligent, kind-hearted and holds all the respect of his teammates. He never lets up and gives 100% effort each and every game.


Sun, Jan 22, 2012 : 1:54 p.m.

Nick. You make good points, and it seems that is due to solid coaching from the start. And the character of both teams.

Nick Baumgardner

Sun, Jan 22, 2012 : 3:35 a.m.

The entire situation was handled quite well, honestly. Neither team got over-heated, Novak spoke with Mike Anderson after the game, Anderson understood the play. Crowd got upset, but Novak seemed to handle himself well -- as did the Arkansas players for not reacting to an intense situation. Impressive composure from both sides there, which is always good to see in college athletics. Nick

Kal Kelley

Sat, Jan 21, 2012 : 11:08 p.m.

Carlton Brundidge should play some.