During a halftime ceremony on Sunday, Jan. 11, the University of Michigan retired the jersey of former men's basketball All-American Phil Hubbard. In his three seasons on the court for the Wolverines (1975-79), Hubbard averaged 16.5 points and 11.1 rebounds per game. He totaled 1,455 points and 979 rebounds, which currently rank 14th and fourth, respectively, in school history. Hubbard spent 12 seasons in the NBA playing with Detroit and Cleveland before retiring in 1989 with career averages of 10.9 points and 5.3 rebounds per game. He is now in the NBA coaching ranks serving as an assistant with the Washington Wizards. Hubbard met with the media in Crisler Arena prior to Sunday's game against Indiana.
Hubbard was an All-America selection in 1976-77, when he averaged 19.6 points and 12.9 rebounds per game.
... "Good afternoon, sorry about the wait. The one reason I wanted to wait for my teammates is that a lot of things I accomplished, I could not have accomplished by myself. I was asked to come here today to retire my jersey. I wanted to include them in this press conference because they helped me get to here. I would also like to mention a man who supported us when we were players, and that is our trainer, Mitch Kaufman. He was really part of the family atmosphere that Michigan is all about."
On what this means to him ... "It means a whole lot. I was thinking about it coming here, when I was here at Michigan we always talked about getting our jerseys retired, but back then they did not do that. With Tommy (Amaker), his new staff and (athletics director) Bill Martin pushing for it, this has come to life and it means a lot to me."
On the tradition of Michigan basketball ... "It is very important. Everything changes, people change, times change. So you look back and try to meet the players and come back and talk to the players and try to get everybody involved, I think that is important. I would not normally say this, but the big sport here is football. They dominated, but basketball has always done well here. Coach Amaker has brought us back a few times to let them know that there was a strong tradition here. I am really excited about this. I have played in the Olympics and that was great, but this is the greatest accomplishment of my career to see my jersey up there in the ceiling."
On what he was able to accomplish as a player ... "I think just being able to rebound and score a few points. I came from a small town, there were five us that came here together. We were the original 'Fab Five.' We didn't get all the publicity, but we played well and played hard. It is nice to get a little exposure like we are today."
On how he felt with the resurgence of the team last year ... "I am really proud of what this coaching staff and players have been doing. They have really worked to bring this program back up again. It is hard when you go down and you have to come back up the hill, but these guys are going back up the hill quickly."
On how he supported the program over the past decade ... "I am going to support this program no matter what they do. People always want to support a winner and that is what Coach Amaker is developing here. I will always support Michigan, I played here and grew as a person here."
On his best memories while he was a player ... "One of them is going to the Final Four (in 1976). Out of high school to go to the Final Four is a dream come true. I thought it was going to happen repeatedly, but we found out that was a lot harder. You soon get a target on your back, but coming here as a freshman and going to the Final Four was probably my best memory."
On having Indiana as the opponent for this retirement ceremony ... "They picked a good game. We always had great battles against Indiana. It is a good game to come to and hopefully we can get a win."
P H O T O S(Click on thumbnail for larger image; All photos by Martin Vloet, UMPS)
U-M to Retire Hubbard's No. 35 Jersey at Jan. 11 Game (11/26/03)