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During a halftime ceremony on Sunday, Feb. 20, the University of Michigan retired the jersey of former men's basketball All-American Glen Rice. He becomes the fourth player in Michigan history to have his jersey retired, joining Cazzie Russell (1964-66), Rudy Tomjanovich (1967-70) and Phil Hubbard (1975-79).
The most prolific scorer in Michigan history, Rice led the Wolverines to the 1989 NCAA championship. He set an NCAA Tournament record with 184 points in six games while leading the Wolverines to the title. He was named the tournament's Most Outstanding Player and an All-American. He won Big Ten Conference scoring titles and all-conference accolades in 1988 and 1989. Rice ranks second all-time in the Big Ten for field goals made in a season (363, 1988-89). He is also third all-time in the conference for career points (2,442), career field goals made (1,002), and career three-point field goal percentage (.480, 135-281).
After his playing days with the Wolverines, Rice was the No. 4-overall pick by the Miami Heat in the 1989 NBA Draft and was named to the All-NBA Rookie Team. During his 15-year career he played in Miami, Charlotte, Los Angeles, Houston and New York. He earned three NBA All-Star team selections (1996-98) and the All-Star Game MVP award in 1997. Rice met with the media in Crisler Arena prior to Sunday's game against Indiana.
Rice was named Most Outstanding Player of the 1989 NCAA Tournament.
... "It's a huge day for not only myself, but for the University of Michigan, and the people of Michigan. One of the things I've always tried to do is represent myself with the utmost respect and represent Michigan with that as well. So far, I think, I've been doing a pretty good job.
"I want to start off first by thanking God. I think he makes all things possible and I definitely have to give credit to where credit is due. Also, Tommy Amaker, his staff, and Bill Martin; without those guys, I really feel that this would have taken a little longer. Also, without Bill Frieder I would not be here. He was an outstanding recruiter, to get me to come to Michigan. He was a mentor, father figure, and he definitely made sure that I was walking the straight and narrow when I was here at Michigan. He made sure I didn't have any stumbles along the way and has developed me into one of the great players that have come through the University of Michigan. I am very proud of that. Steve Fisher, that stepped in 1989 and did a tremendous job in taking the team that Freider had built and doing an outstanding job himself, coaching us through six unbelievably great games to win a national championship. Also my friend back there, Demetrius Calip; without those guys a lot of things would not have been possible.
"It takes more than one man to accomplish the feats that we did at the University of Michigan. I know when they raise that jersey today, all those guys' names should be alongside Rice's name; the numbers, the coaches. I'm no fool, I know it couldn't be done without those guys. I was blessed to have a great group of guys around me, including great coaches. I am very thankful for that.
"We'll get the Michigan pride and the Michigan Wolverines rolling once again. I think right now when you look at this young group they have under Tommy Amaker, I think it is going to be very important for each individual that is a supporter of Michigan to stay strong with them, continue giving them the belief and the confidence of that light at the end of the tunnel. And you don't want the light to come to you, you want to go get it. That's what we have to keep telling these young guys to do. Keep fighting, fight together, and anything is possible. Thank you."
On the tradition of Flint, Mich., basketball ... "When I was growing up, Flint was, in my mind, a basketball capital. In Flint, on any given hour of the day, any day, there is basketball being played -- and on a very competitive level. When you look at the history of the players that have come out of Michigan and the great Flint corps that has gone to Michigan State, it just goes to show you that basketball is alive in Flint and in all of Michigan.
"I would like to give a lot of credit to my head coach at the time, Grover Kirkland, for being in there pushing me. There were times that I didn't really want to play basketball, and I tried to stay away from it, because I was a skinny kid growing up and I didn't want to be involved with too much physical contact. It was forced on me and I'm glad that it was."
On his fondest Wolverine memory ... "One of the fondest memories would have to be coming back after that 1989 championship and being out there on the floor and seeing the arena just explode in excitement and joy."
On what he is doing currently ... "Well, I'm living in Miami right now. It was a shocker to my kids when they saw all the snow up here. Miami is good to me as well; it's where I started my NBA career out. The heat down there was been nice as well. Hopefully, after basketball there might be a little coaching in either Miami or Michigan. One of the M's will have Glen Rice appearing again."
On the 1989 national championship ... "It didn't really surprise me a lot. Why I say that is because as a group we had meetings and you could see it in the guys eyes that they really wanted to go out and prove to the world that even though we had just lost our head coach that we could do something special. Each and every one of the guys believed in each other, and it was a strong corps. We just wanted to make it happen. We knew it was unbelievable odds that that team could win a national championship. We wanted to go out there and shock the world, like we did."
On how Tommy Amaker has embraced the Wolverine tradition ... "When you look at the circumstances created since Tommy has been here, it has been a very positive spin. When you look at basketball, they have struggled a little bit, because of injuries and different violations. I think Tommy is very well respected and since day one has been really trying to bring back the core of guys that started it. He continues to keep bringing them back, to have influence on the guys that are here now. Before, you could have seen a little bit of this, but not as much as since Tommy has been here. He has really been pushing that he needs the guys support and help; that is why we keep coming back."
On how he has handled the ceremonies ... "I've been pretty much shaking all morning. I do my best to cry like a baby, but at that time, you never know what is going to happen. You just try to go out there and just go from the heart."
On watching the 1989 championship game ... "Last night was the first time I was able to view the whole game. I was sitting alongside Loy Vaught and it got emotional when we looked at that great run we had. It wasn't about looking at myself as an individual, but rather looking at the whole team. Watching Loy Vaught rebound and watching him block shots, seeing the glare in his eye. I wasn't really too worried about watching me, but just to see a teammate enjoying that experience and be here and be able to go through the experience I'm going through is unbelievable. I didn't realize how great that run was until I watched it. It was one of a kind."
Rice's No. 41 Jersey To Be Retired at February Game (9/15/04)
Contact: Tom Wywrot (734) 763-4423