Fab 5 Tarnished

Fisher holds blame, Webber and others that took cash shame, Michigan Fab 5 freshman dishonored
ANN ARBOR, MICH MARCH 25, 2002 When former University of Michigan head basketball coach Steve Fisher was fired, many in the Michigan athletic community felt he got a raw deal from the university because that he was on the outside of all of this. That sentiment has gradually changed. Steve Fisher is seen as a villain.

While Ed Martin, the man who paid the Michigan players, was the problem, Fisher is the one that associated the problem with the university. He made Martin a part of the basketball program and there are records to prove that. He made dozens of phone calls to Martin, he dropped tickets for him, and he was present during recruiting visits. If it was shown that Martin was truly acting on his own behalf and directly with the players, then maybe the case could be made to go easy on the school. But Fisher’s acceptance of Ed Martin linked him to the school, and now we will pay.

Recruiting must be the toughest part of the job. In order to create relationships in the city you probably have to seek the aid of local coaches, leaders and alumni. But that doesn’t mean you don’t check them out. Fisher blew it by keeping this guy around and even worse – accepting him as part of the process.

While Ed Martin, the man who paid the Michigan players, was the problem, Fisher is the one that associated the problem with the university. He made Martin a part of the basketball program and there are records to prove that. He made dozens of phone calls to Martin, he dropped tickets for him, and he was present during recruiting visits. If it was shown that Martin was truly acting on his own behalf and directly with the players, then maybe the case could be made to go easy on the school. But Fisher’s acceptance of Ed Martin linked him to the school, and now we will pay.

The 5 members of the Michigan Fab 5 are Chris Webber, Jimmy King, Jalen Rose, Juwan Howard and Ray Jackson. The entire group played together for only 2 years because Webber went to the NBA after the season. The 5 lost in the Final Four, and really the Final 2, of the NCAA tournament basketball championship losing to the Duke Blue Devils in Minneapolis as freshman, then to the North Carolina Tar Heels as sophomores. The Fab “4” continued on for one year after Webber left, barely missing out on a third consecutive final 4 when they lost to eventual champion Arkansas in the Elite Eight. Juwan Howard and Jalen Rose left Michigan after their junior season. Jimmy King and Ray Jackson did not make a significant NCAA tournament run in their senior seasons and never caught on with an NBA team. Martin allegedly made payments of $616,000 to Chris Webber, Robert Tractor Traylor, Maurice Taylor and Louis (Lou) Bullock. Mitch Albom’s book, the Fab Five, recounts the tale of their first two special years at the University of Michigan.

Today, coach Tommy Amaker (former Duke player and assistant under coach K), is trying to pull together the pieces of this storied program. In 2003, the NCAA reversed their probation of Michigan’s participation in the NCAA tournament. Will they make it to March Madness? We’ll see.

Here’s some video highlights of the Fab Five from YouTube (give it about 30 seconds to get through the intro, it is worth it):

5 Comments

  1. Pingback: MVictors.com » Bless Her Heart

  2. I was just wodering if their has been any recent books written about the fab five scandle? I was a young teenager when all this went down, and I now fid the whole situation very interesting.

  3. Jake- I don’t think any books have been written about the scandal, but volumes of sports writers have written on it, including Fab Five author Mitch Albom. You’d probably have to dig through the archives of Det News and Detroit Free Press. One interesting take on the scandal is the fate of Coach Steve Fisher, who just signed a big contract extension and won this 300th game.

  4. mitch albom wrote a book called FAB FIVE

  5. What is Chris webber doing now?

    • He’s an analyst for NBA TV, that is, when he’s not at home resting atop the nearly $180 million he made in salary in the NBA. Through last season only Shaq and Garnett earned more in the history of the league.