The Wolverine

February 2018

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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FEBRUARY 2018 THE WOLVERINE 69 BY JOHN BORTON P eople ask Stu Douglass, Do you think you might do this for another year? His response: Well, it might be more like 10. So we'll see. Nearly a decade after help- ing lead Michigan to college basketball's Promised Land, Douglass enjoys a good life in Israel. He's married to his college sweetheart — former Wolverine basketball stand- out Courtney Boylan — and earns a good living playing the game he loves. A second-year performer for Ironi Nahariya, he's enjoy- ing his fifth season in Israel af- ter a year in Spain. He's older, wiser, and can sit back and smile over a Michigan road win at Michigan State. He's been there and done that. In fact, he hit the shot that buried the Spartans in 2011, changing the course of that season and maybe more. The Wolverines entered the Breslin Center 1-6 in the Big Ten on Jan. 27, 2011. They'd experienced a disappointing 15-17 campaign in Douglass' sophomore season a year before, and this one appeared to be spiraling into misery. Although Michigan two years earlier had snapped a decade-long dry spell of not making the NCAA Tournament, plenty of "what have you done for me lately" sentiment bubbled up regarding John Beilein's fourth season in Ann Arbor. "I was oblivious to all of that stuff," Douglass mused. "After the fact, in the last few years, I learned that Beilein was on the hot seat for some people during that time. "It confused the hell out of me. Why would he be on the hot seat? We're young. He's doing about as much as he can. He's putting forth the effort." At 1-6, it looked like effort without results. Then the Wolverines stormed the Breslin Center and wouldn't take "L" for an answer. Junior forward Zack Novak drilled six threes that night. Sophomore point guard Darius Morris wouldn't back down, and Douglass ignored the ever-clever Izzone and one of the toughest defenders around to apply the clincher in a 61-57 thriller. Douglass knew from the start the Wolverines were in for a fight. MSU's infamous student section threw the first jab, having done its research. "They pulled out a picture of Courtney, my girlfriend at the time and now wife," Douglass recalled. "They were taunting me with some picture of her, so I was having fun with the fans." Soon enough, he and Novak were having fun with their team. "Zack was lights out," Douglass stressed. "People don't talk about that enough. Zack was killer. He was tough for their four men to guard. As good as they were, they couldn't guard Zack coming off that pin- down screen. "That carried us for a long time. I remember Darius was very hyped up in that game, very ready to go at [MSU's] Kalin Lucas and prove himself. We all seemed very dialed in. I don't remember too many mistakes from that game." When the biggest moment of all arrived, Douglass didn't make one. Michigan led 57-55 with less than 30 seconds re- maining. Douglass inbounded the ball, circled toward the baseline on the right side of the court, then looped back up to catch a feed and let the ball fly over MSU's Draymond Green, a 6-7 leaper with a 7-0 wingspan. The net danced tauntingly in front of the home crowd. Michigan led 60-55 with 21 seconds remaining in a game it would not lose. "It felt good," Douglass said of the release. "Draymond's big frame got right in my face. I couldn't see the flight of the ball. Usually I'm a ball watcher, and I'll see it start to finish. "He flew in with a contest. Now, in hindsight, I realize he's that good of a defender. I didn't realize he was going to get that close to contest- ing it. I peeked to the side and fell back, kind of saw it go in." Michigan wasn't the same there- after. There had been a little finger pointing and immaturity on the squad leading up to that fateful night, Douglass acknowledged, but it became a team pointing toward a shocking turnaround. The Wolverines won four of their next five games, clawed their way to 9-9 in the conference, made the NCAA Tournament for the second time in three seasons, and obliterated Tennessee 75-45 in their opener. They came within Morris' miss on a driv- ing layup at the end of taking No. 1 seed Duke to overtime. "We changed how our defense was, our mentality," Douglass stressed. "It's a credit to the entire coaching staff, from Beilein to B.A. [Bacari Alexander] to LaVall [Jordan] and [Jeff] Meyer. "They were all a part of that. That was a huge thing for us."   WHERE ARE THEY NOW? Stu Douglass Remains A Straight Shooter Douglass saw action in 136 games with 75 starts at Michigan from 2008‑12, and averaged 6.9 points, 2.3 rebounds and 2.1 assists per contest, while helping the Wolverines to three NCAA Tournament appearances in four seasons. PHOTO COURTESY MICHIGAN ATHLETIC MEDIA RELATIONS

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