From the bright lights of Manhattan, N.Y., to the bright lights and Broadway stage of college basketball and the Big Ten Conference, fifth-year senior C.J. Lee
's college basketball journey has taken him from his native Saginaw, Mich., to the Big Apple and back.
Lee played his first two seasons at Manhattan College (2004-06), appearing in 36 games as a reserve guard. Following his sophomore season with the Jaspers, he decided to transfer to Michigan for academic reasons.
After making the transfer complete, when it looked as though Lee's college basketball career had come to a close, he was contacted by the U-M staff about looking into the possibility of joining the Wolverine program as a walk-on. Following a tryout and probationary period, he became a full member of the Michigan squad during the summer of 2006.
While sitting out the 2006-07 season due to NCAA transfer rules, Lee commanded the Maize and Blue scout team. The following year, Lee realized a childhood dream as he made his return to the college hardwood with the Wolverines, playing in all 32 games. Lee earned seven starts and became a solid guard for new head coach John Beilein. Lee, who was an Academic All-Big Ten selection, completed his degree in political science in 2008 and decided to come back for his final season. He is now working on a master's in public policy.
Throughout the year, Lee will share his thoughts about the Wolverine program with his insights, observations and other tidbits.
MGoBlue.com presents "Court Vision with C.J. Lee" ...
>> Sunday, Sept. 7 -- Today, I had an individual with David Merritt, Zack Gibson and Eric Puls. Today is Zack Gibson's birthday so for his birthday he got to go through an hour individual workout and an hour lifting session. That is the joy of having a birthday during the preseason. I don't have it much better, my birthday is October 17, and that is slated as the first day of official practice this year. Trust me, you don't get a pass on practicing because its your birthday either.
After the individual workout and weights session, I finally got in the cold tub. I wanted to get in one Saturday but it didn't work out that way. Some guys on our team use the cold tub religiously. Eric Puls is probably the guy that uses it the most from what I remember. What's funny is watching guys get into the cold tub that don't like it but know they need it. After I got out today it took Dave about 10 minutes to finally get his body into the tub. If you can get through those first couple minutes then your good and it does help you recover.
>> Saturday, Sept. 6 -- Saturday was an off day in terms of working out but we did have an event to go to. The Saturday morning tailgate with the recruits went well. The entire team was there interacting with the recruits and their families so it ran pretty smoothly. After hanging out there for a while I went to the football game with Anthony Wright and Manny Harris. I was very happy the team was able to get that first win under its belt. Watching the football team play these last two weekends makes me think back to the start of last season for us with basketball. A lot of guys are getting on the job training because of the new system that is in place. As an athlete, you want to be comfortable in what you are doing so the game becomes simple. I think each and every week the football team is becoming more and more comfortable with what Coach Rodriquez expects from them. Football is tough because unlike basketball there are no exhibition games to get a feel and ease into the season. It is real from the start!
>> Friday, Sept. 5 -- The last two days have picked up in terms of intensity. Assignments in school are being rolled out and the get back in the swing of things period is over for basketball. I think that my teammates and I are going to need this weekend to get situated with school and get our bodies right for next week. My goal is to hit the cold tub at least once this weekend and to eat right. With all the lifting, running and playing we do during the year, our weights can fluctuate as much as five pounds in a day. For the guards on our team, we really can see a difference in our weights prior to a workout and after we finish.
Tomorrow we have a tailgate before the football game and we have some recruits coming in. The fall is full with on-campus visits because the recruits can see students on campus, see us workout, and have their family interact with the entire team and coaching staff.
>> Tuesday, Sept. 3 -- Last night, we had an event with all the student athletes at the university. The guest speaker was Jalen Rose who needs no introduction. I like guards so Jalen was without question one of my favorite members of the Fab Five. He also was one of the main reasons growing up I wanted to attend Michigan. It is always good to hear people talk that have been through what you have been through. I think Jalen's message could reach any athlete regardless of their sport and background.
It was also good to see familiar faces at the event last night. It makes you feel like you are a part of the Michigan family. Being a transfer, you kind of come into the whole social scene late because everyone has their friends pretty much set after their freshman and sophomore years. Luckily, I have been able to meet and come to know a number of people from the different sports teams. In the three years I have been here, I've have tried to support as many teams as possible and make as many connections. We all are really driven to succeed in our sports but it is cool to know your peers as people.
Last night, we also took a picture with the first-time varsity letterwinners. Before taking the picture, I was joking with Zack Gibson, Dave Merritt and Anthony Wright about how we had all been here since the fall of 2006 and just got our varsity jackets this past spring. If you have ever had to sit out a year of competition because of a redshirt or because of transferring, then you can relate.
>> Monday, Sept. 2 -- I look forward to sharing my thoughts about this school year and season with you as they go down. I foresee the tone, style, and makeup of each blog to be different so definitely stay updated on what's happening. Some will deal with the team as a whole, some will be stories about experiencing certain events, some will be about the day in day out schedule of an athlete, and some will be about individual teammates and my interaction with them. However, my plan is to not place a limit on the subject matter.
The last few days have been filled with meetings ranging from welcoming us back, academics, preseason workouts, and expectations of us on and off the court. At this point, all of us are ready to get started with the preseason program. We have an idea of what to expect but we all are just anxious to get the training started because it is what we all have been working on for the whole summer. We had our first workouts earlier today and they went pretty well. I worked out with Kelvin (Grady), Manny (Harris), and David (Merritt).
Right now, there is a lot of stuff to get used to. We have a new staff member helping us out academically, we have a new strength and conditioning coach, we have a new administrative person in the basketball office, and all of us in the entire athletic department have the new adidas sponsorship. So far, all has been fine but I think the adidas gear will take some getting used to from our players.
With school starting, our schedules are filled from the time we wake up to the time we go to bed. It's going to be like this until we settle into our schedule and everything concerning classes and workouts is finalized. If you look at the season in four parts (preseason, preseason practice, the season, postseason) we are just entering into part one. This part sets the stage for the rest of them so we are taking this part serious. Like I said earlier, the returning players have an idea of what to expect so we can help out the freshman who are just coming in. The best advice we all can take at this point is to take life one day at a time.