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Tuesday, April 10, 2012
Basketball banquet roundup

By Chantel Jennings

ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- After a season in which the Michigan basketball team won a share of the Big Ten title, the Wolverines' end-of-season banquet entitled a "celebration" seemed just that. It was jovial and lighthearted, jokes were made and shots were taken at teammates.

Even Michigan basketball coach John Beilein got in on the action.

While introducing each class he picked on juniors Matt Vogrich and Blake McLimans, telling the crowd both needed to get a hair cut. Later, he looked over at Vogrich and asked, "Have I really never started you? I must not know what I'm doing."

The headliners of the evening were the seniors. Their jerseys lined the stand behind the podium. All four seniors -- Zack Novak, Stu Douglass, Corey Person and Ben Cronin -- were asked to give speeches and keep them short.

However, the highlight of the speeches was Douglass', whose ran nearly 20 minutes in length.

Douglass started out with talking about how on his first day of preseason practice as a freshman, he entered the doghouse with Beilein, joking that it was a place he remained for much of his four years.

"I stepped through the doors here at Michigan and right into the doghouse with Coach Beilein," Douglass said.

Douglass told the story of how following the first drill he completed, a drill that measured toughness, Beilein remarked, "You're as soft as a Sunday ham."

Beilein later clarified, telling Douglass (in front of the entire crowd), that he had misheard the coach and that perhaps he was starting to understand why the two had so many communication issues over the years.

"It's soft as a Sunday hymn, not ham," Beilein said. "No wonder why when I was yelling, 'Blue 42 to the right,' he looked at me like, 'Huh?' "

And Novak piled the jokes on Douglass by starting his senior speech with a jab at his roommate of three years.

"How about my man Stu? Man had a heck of a list up here," Novak began. "So I'd like to start off by thanking my childhood dog."

Jokes aside, most of the seniors spent the majority of their time in front of the podium thanking parents, teammates, coaches and staff members. After senior speeches, team awards were given out and a highlight video was shown.

For the four seniors it marked the end of their Michigan basketball careers, though Douglass and Novak have plans of playing overseas.

"It's a weird night," Novak said after the banquet. "It's been a great four years and I thought it was a good end."

AWARD ROUNDUP:

Most Valuable Player: Burke

Runners up: Tim Hardaway Jr., Novak

Most Improved Player: Douglass

Runners up: Max Bielfeldt, Jon Horford, Jordan Morgan, Colton Christian, Novak

Outstanding Defensive Player: Douglass

Runners up: Morgan, Person, Novak, Burke

Hustle Award: Novak

Runners up: Vogrich, Douglass

Leadership Award: Novak and Douglass

Runners up: Person, Burke

Sportsmanship Award: Douglass

Runners up: Vogrich, Burke, Josh Bartelstein, Novak

Academic Achievement: Novak

Runners up: Sai Tummala, Vogrich

Sixth Man: Vogrich

Runners up: Douglass, Christian, Person

Iron Man: Novak

The team also gave out some funnier awards. Here are those winners.

Cheapest: McLimans

Runners up: Morgan, Novak, Bielfeldt

Most Generous: Bartelstein

Runners up: Novak, Vogrich, Christian, Eso Akunne

Best Dressed: Bartelstein

Runners up: Christian, Douglass

Most Likely to Succeed: Novak

Runners up: Bartelstein, Vogrich, Burke

First to Marry: Douglass

Runners up: Carlton Brundidge, Vogrich