The Wolverine

February 2018

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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70 THE WOLVERINE FEBRUARY 2018   WHERE ARE THEY NOW? Douglass appreciates it all more now, just like he has a deeper under- standing of making the NCAA Tour- nament as a freshman in 2009. The former prep standout from Carmel, Ind., hadn't spent a decade waiting for it to arrive, so he didn't grasp the full fan experience. "The first year, it was just going to the tournament and not really real- izing how big of a deal that was for Michigan and Michigan fans," he said. "That was cool, looking back on it." The Wolverines knocked off Clem- son in the NCAA Tournament opener that year in Kansas City, Douglass absorbing a blow that boosted his pride. "I'll never forget that game, getting elbowed by the kid from Clemson and him getting ejected. I realized I was actually playing decent enough defense to annoy someone," Doug- lass quipped. "So that was a high- light for me." Along the way, he grew up, Doug- lass noted. He went from starting 23 games as a freshman to a team cap- tain, Big Ten champion and multiple award winner as a senior, including citations for leadership, defense, im- provement and sportsmanship. Most of all, Douglass noted, he toughened up. "The only way we were going to get better was by taking responsi- bility and staying mentally tough," he said. "In high school, you're not really challenged by your coaches. You're good enough, and you're re- lied on too much. "You're not going to be challenged like that, and you're not going to be competing for playing time. That was a big thing my first two years, bat- tling with Beilein, battling his per- ception of me and just trying to stay mentally tough. "The last two years, it was not hav- ing to rely on others' opinions or oth- ers' approval, and just being secure with my role, what I'm capable of and what I bring to the team. "Those first two years, I really looked for that way too much. I learned to adapt to what I needed to do on a certain team. "That was big for me and big for my career afterwards." It was big when he landed in Spain for a year, knowing precisely no one, with a roommate who didn't speak English. "It was a big shock," Douglass recalled. "I'm sitting there the first day, far away from all friends and family. "I have a Portuguese roommate, and no idea who he is. I'm not talk- ing to him, and I'm wondering what the hell I'm doing." His mother 's Jewish history al- lowed him to invoke the Law of Re- turn and gain Israeli citizenship a year later. He's been there ever since, playing for a number of teams, like most Americans do. The Indiana native who emulated Reggie Miller and learned to play without the ball certainly faced bas- ketball adjustments in Israel. "I've literally had a coach in Israel tell me, yeah, I know in Spain you used a lot of screens and that's really good for you, but we don't do that as much here,'" Douglass recalled. "I was like, what the hell are you talk- ing about? If you have me, you can still use screens. It's not illegal for you to do that. "It's interesting the different styles. It's a lot of ball-screen offense here, and that's taken over the world of basketball." Through it all, Douglass adjusted with tough-mindedness (and a wife) gleaned from his Michigan days. He's right at home in Nahariya, two hours north of Tel Aviv. "You can make a very good liv- ing here," he said. "You have your apartment paid for, your car paid for. My expenses are essentially food and gas. "The summers, you can relax, train, visit, take vacations, not really having to supplement." He comes back to Michigan every summer, and they remember — a class, and a shot, that helped get Beilein ball rolling in Ann Arbor. ❏ The Stu Douglass File Michigan Accomplishments: Part of an NCAA Tournament team as a freshman in 2009, Michigan's first such since 1998 … Averaged 6.1 points per game in 23 starts as a freshman … Averaged 6.8 points and 2.5 rebounds as a sophomore … Averaged 7.1 points and 3.0 rebounds per game in helping the Wolverines to the NCAA Tournament as a junior … Averaged 7.5 and 2.6 rebounds per game in assisting Michigan to share of the Big Ten championship and another NCAA Tournament appearance as a senior. Michigan Memory: "We were coming back from our Penn State trip my senior year. We were watching Ohio State versus Michigan State, and we are needing Ohio State to win so we can have a three-way tie for the Big Ten championship. "I remember watching that and thinking, 'Damn, we've poured our hearts out the entire season, and it comes down to something we can't control. [William] Buford was having a good game, and they came down to the final possessions, and we basically called it out — Buford was going to get the last shot, and he was going to hit it. "That's exactly what happened, and everyone started freaking out. Novak took his shirt off. [Matt] Vogrich was screaming. It's a funny look into sports itself, how many breaks you need to get and how much you can and can't control in terms of what people judge you on, success-wise." Professional Accomplishments: In his fifth year of playing basketball overseas, the last four in Israel … Has averaged between 5.1 and 7.6 points per game, and shot 58 percent on two-pointers in his first dozen games for Nahariya this year. Education: Earned a bachelor's degree in economics in the spring of 2012. Family: Married to former Michigan basketball player Courtney Boylan. Douglass — seen here with his wife Courtney Boylan — has spent the past five years play- ing professional basketball overseas. PHOTO COURTESY STU DOUGLASS

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