The Wolverine

May 2014 Issue

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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Page 61 of 153

BY JOHN BORTON T he tears said it all, really. They gathered quietly in the eyes of fifth-year senior Jordan Morgan, following Michigan's near miss in the NCAA Tournament Midwest Region cham- pionship contest in Indianapolis. They began to fall, not so much over the 75-72 loss to Kentucky, but more from a deep gratitude for all Morgan has known these past few years. He wasn't ready to stop, wasn't ready to pull off the jersey for the final time. "It's family, man," he said. "It's everything you could ask for in a place — coaching staff, teammates, support staff. They'd do everything they can to make you successful. It's just been a great place to be the last five years." Success has arrived in waves for Michigan basketball, an Elite Eight season and runaway Big Ten cham- pionship following up a Final Four campaign. This team, perhaps even more than the one a year ago, put a stamp on John Beilein's program in Ann Arbor as a consistent winner going forward. After all, it came into the year with national acclaim, but attend- ing doubt. In some eyes, Michigan could be easily summed up and dis- missed as "no Trey Burke, nothing special." When the Wolverines' other early NBA entry, Tim Hardaway Jr., factored into the void, many were convinced the reconstruction project might simply be too big. Certainly, it all hinged on soph- omore Mitch McGary, perhaps the brightest light of all in Michigan's 2013 run to the NCAA title game. Now there was someone Beilein could build around, even if this crew lacked some key parts. Just like that, McGary was gone. His back injury, which eventually re- quired surgery and cost him all of the Big Ten season, left the Wolverines 6-4, reeling, roughed up and, in some venues, written off. Sophomore Nik Stauskas recalled clearly the challenge, even from FIGHT TO THE FINISH Strong Season Concludes A Bounce Shy Of Final Four

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