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Posted on Tue, Mar 15, 2011 : 8:42 p.m.

Michigan basketball motivated by Fab Five documentary, an update on Jon Horford and more notes

By Michael Rothstein

Soon after they received the news they’d be back in the NCAA tournament, Michigan’s basketball players sat around the television anxiously awaiting another big moment — this one more of a history lesson.

Any conversation of Michigan basketball and the postseason brings up the Fab Five. A documentary about the historic Wolverines team aired Sunday on ESPN.

“I loved it,” sophomore guard Darius Morris said. “It was a great, great story and for them to document it and to really get to see what those guys went through here while attending college here was just really special.

“It really motivated me.”

The Jalen Rose-produced documentary “The Fab 5” earned a 2.1 rating — the highest ever for a documentary on ESPN.

Perhaps the most influenced was freshman guard Tim Hardaway Jr., who tweeted during and after the documentary.

He saw how Crisler Arena used to be packed and the fervor of the fans whenever the Fab Five played.

“Just how the fans were loving this team, certain things that they did and how they presented themselves. That was how they grew up,” Hardaway Jr. said. “It was a great documentary.

“It was very motivating, just to see how they never backed down from anybody. It showed they cared about the game and stayed dedicated to their coach and just tried to make winning plays.”

This week’s schedule

In an effort to keep things as normal as possible for his team entering the NCAA tournament, Michigan coach John Beilein is sticking with a somewhat normal schedule.

On Monday, Beilein just got his team together and ready to go to the NCAA tournament, including drug testing and a gambling seminar. On Tuesday and Wednesday, Beilein said they will practice preparing themselves for Tennessee.

Beilein said his team will go 105 minutes Tuesday and then a little shorter Wednesday, but both will be “intense.”

On Thursday in Charlotte, Michigan will participate in its open practice and also have a short, closed practice.

“We’ll do something on that day besides the open shootaround but it will brief,” Beilein said. “Our two big days will be (Tuesday) and (Wednesday) here and then we’ll leave.”

Horford available

Freshman forward Jon Horford, who has hampered with a knee injury for the last few weeks, is finally healthy and cleared to play.

It is still unknown how he’d fit into Michigan’s rotation at this point — his role fluctuated for the Wolverines throughout the year.

“He’s healthy. Yes, he is healthy so maybe we’ll use him in the games as needed,” Beilein said. “We’ve tried to step back with him and get him back to the foundations of what really is important to college basketball.

“He really works hard.”

Beilein spent 30 minutes with him Monday to help develop him further for next year. The Grand Ledge native, Beilein said, is already much stronger than when he started and is up to 242 pounds — the same weight as starting forward Jordan Morgan.

“There’s not any extra fat in there,” Beilein said. “Really, his body is developing.”

Michael Rothstein covers University of Michigan basketball for He can be reached at (734) 623-2558, by e-mail at or follow along on Twitter @mikerothstein



Thu, Mar 17, 2011 : 1:47 p.m.

I thought they were the reason for the long, baggy pants and dark socks! lol!! Yuk!!


Wed, Mar 16, 2011 : 6:10 p.m.

All the Whitlock haters are missing the point he made .. Jalen et all claimed Duke would not recruit them "cause they were inner city thugs" etc ... Duke wanted different players - players that would stay until graduation and play team ball ... its not a coincidence Duke owned U-M Fab 5 is it? Or that North Carolina beat them ... or Indiana .. or Purdue for the conference title - is it? Discipline beat them! And 20 years later they are still complaining and making statements that Christian Laettner was "soft"... what is their point? That an over-rated soft player beat them? This was not a documentary - but an attempt at revisionist history --- in other words, it was a sham! Whitlock said it better than I could ever - and people who want to hate on him wont discuss the message he gave, just sour grapes! Who cares if Whitlock writes for Fox Sports - like Glen Beck has some control over the sports department -- get real! Kill the messenger if you want - or head the message! I enjoyed the team when they played and think they are pretty good guys - but this self-controlled "documentary" wreaks of self-promotion and excuses ...


Wed, Mar 16, 2011 : 6:47 p.m.

This was the beginning of the situation that set UM basketball back 15 years and they may never totally recover. A good documentary but seemed to spew a lot of hate.


Wed, Mar 16, 2011 : 4:08 p.m.

The Fab Five were great, BUT JUST NOT GREAT ENOUGH TO WIN THE WHOLE THING!. Their attitude propelled them, but it might have also been their undoing. Good Documentary though.


Wed, Mar 16, 2011 : 3:16 p.m.

Thanks Mike..i guess that Memphis is slightly younger than Michigan as a team in the tourney.. coincidental little fun fact Memphis was beat by Tenn earlier this yr 104-84.. good day..


Wed, Mar 16, 2011 : 2:24 p.m.

I read Whitlocks story also,and yes the reason he writes for fox,is because he was fired by espn..and sounds like he has sour grapes that espn produced the Fab Five doc.. Yes the Fab Five were beat by structured teams like Duke,and Indiana.. coach K,and coach Knight prospectively.. both of those teams had experienced upper classmen ! The whole story about the FAB FIVE is that they were true seems to recognize this.. They were brash Freshmen! coach K,and Knight had time to teach and groom their players for a few yrs,and Fish had these freshmen coming in,that wanted baggy shorts,and black socks,they shaved their heads etc.. like Jalen said,its not about the score... the most watched documentary on ESPN ever ! they made history without winning championships,but they got to the final four as FRESHMEN !! people just don't get it... BTW if these young Wolverines get by the Vols,and face Duke, it will be the first time that Michigan has faced Duke in the NCAA tourney since the FAB FIVE did it in the early 90's.. Great job Coach Beilein .. P.S. Mike maybe you can answer this one ? Is Michigan the youngest team in the 68 team field of the NCAA tourney this year ? GO BLUE..

Michael Rothstein

Wed, Mar 16, 2011 : 2:44 p.m.

Memphis is close. Don't know exactly how it breaks down, but those are by far the two youngest.

larry kramer

Wed, Mar 16, 2011 : 1:51 p.m.

There's a reason Jason Whitlock writes for Fox News--along with Glen Beck, etc.... He says: "Two teams consistently beat the Fab Five — Duke (4-0) and Indiana (4-2). Let me translate that for you: Structured, disciplined, well-coached teams beat Michigan." Those teams beat michigan before the Fab Five--they were structured, disciplined, and their coaches constantly worked and intimidated the officials! They got the calls then and they still do today!


Wed, Mar 16, 2011 : 1:15 p.m.

I just read a great expose' on the Fab Five documentary ... in 5 minutes I learned more than I did while attempting to watch the entire show <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a>


Wed, Mar 16, 2011 : 1:59 p.m.

I've not seem the documentary but I lived through the Fab Five era and I can tell they were an exciting team. I remember when Jason Whitlock wrote for the Ann Arbor News. I thought he was awful then, and I think he is awful now. No matter what he says, the Fab Five revitalized Michigan basketball, became trend setters in college basketball and the University made a lots of money off them. Since Michigan erased their records, forfeited their games, and has dissociated itself from Webber, why don't they return all of the money they made off these young men and still make.


Wed, Mar 16, 2011 : 2:24 a.m.

Horford is a kid that will start to be there. We all have seen how difficult it is to play in the Big Ten just look at Adrian Payne and Deric Nix and even Jordan Morgan. These kids have to be patient and just keep getting stronger and just develop their game. Like a consistant 8 foot shot or one low post move. These big men don't realize yet that the flow of their guards and the movement of these big men will start to create opportunity. They have to be ready when the ball ends up in their hands and there is nothing between them and the rim but air. (A thunderous dunk!)