BY MARK GIANNOTTO
Published November 7, 2006
For any athlete and coach, developing a strong relationship on and off the court is imperative.
More like this
And after this weekend, freshman forward DeShawn Sims needs his coaches more than ever.
This past Friday night, Sims' younger brother, high school junior Marcus Pruitt, was shot and killed while in his neighborhood in Detroit.
"Details are kind of sketchy," Pershing head coach A.W. Canada told the Associated Press. "All we know is that he was walking through the neighborhood. . This was senseless."
Despite the tragic news about his brother, Sims still suited up and played in the Wolverines' 85-50 win over Michigan Tech on Sunday afternoon. He scored four points and grabbed two rebounds.
"It was a tough decision (to play)," said Sims following Sunday's game. "The coaches asked me right before tip-off, and I told them I was going to try and give it a go. I tried to play hard and give the team all my effort."
Luckily for Sims, his team provided great support. Sims spent much of Saturday with Michigan coach Tommy Amaker and Amaker's wife, who tried to comfort the freshman in his time of need.
Since Michigan doesn't open its regular season until Friday night, Sims plans to go home to Detroit and be with his grieving family.
Ultimately, basketball might be the best remedy for Sims in this unfortunate situation.
"Once I get off the court, that's when everything starts to hit me," Sims said. "But when I'm playing it doesn't really bother me. I try to take my emotions away."
Same Old Courtney?: For two years now, the biggest knock on senior Courtney Sims has been his inconsistency. But throughout the preseason, Sims said that this year, fans would see a more assertive, and, therefore, steady basketball player.
Well, it's been just two exhibition games, but so far it looks like nothing has changed.
The 6-foot-11 Sims opened up the exhibition season against Wayne State on Thursday night with just five points and two rebounds against a Warrior squad whose tallest player is 6 foot 5.
But against Michigan Tech on Sunday afternoon, a completely different Sims showed up, converting numerous easy layups and dunks en route to a 21-point, six-rebound performance.
Against Wayne State, Sims was forced to play against guard-sized players. Sunday presented a more traditional matchup for the Boston native.
"We make it a point of effort to get him the ball," Amaker said. "There were some big bodies on their team, whereas Wayne State didn't have a lot of big players, so Courtney was out chasing a 6-4 or 6-5 kid. Now he's playing in the post like he normally would. So I knew it would be a little better for him (against Michigan Tech), and it was nice to see him produce."
No More Ed Martin: Yesterday marked the end of Michigan basketball's four-year probation period that was imposed following the Ed Martin booster scandal.
Two years of the probation were self-imposed by the Michigan athletic department, and two years were added by the NCAA's infractions committee in 2003. Other penalties from the scandal included the removal of the 1992 and 1993 Final Four banner and the 1997 NIT banner, loss of scholarships and a postseason ban for the 2002-03 season.
"The end of (the NCAA-imposed probation) completely removes those stigmas that we've been dealing with," Amaker said. "We're clean, we have been clean and we're going to continue to be (clean)."