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Ellerbe's Job Assessment Missing One Key Point

March 15, 1998|TIM KAWAKAMI

Brian Ellerbe, who was installed as Michigan's interim coach last fall after the firing of Steve Fisher, said Saturday that he can't help but recognize the similarities between himself and UCLA Coach Steve Lavin.

There's one major difference though. Lavin got the permanent job in February 1997 after serving as interim coach after the November 1996 firing of Jim Harrick.

Ellerbe, after directing Michigan to the Big Ten tournament title, is still only a candidate for the permanent Wolverine job.

"I think we've both been very lucky, we've been blessed to be put in the situations we've fallen into," Ellerbe, 33, said of Lavin and himself. "These situations don't come around very often."

*

Bruin senior guard Toby Bailey said Saturday he was deeply shaken by Miami's late run Friday.

"That was the first time all season I've been nervous about a game," said Bailey, who made a drive and blind pass to J.R. Henderson for a basket with 1:24 left that cut Miami's lead to one point.

"After I did it, I got kind of a scared feeling, like, man, I could've just thrown the game away."

Said Ellerbe of Bailey: "He doesn't have a position, he's just a winner. That's who their heart and soul is."

Bailey's 21 points lifted him past Ed O'Bannon into fifth place on UCLA's all-time scoring list. Henderson, who said he was feeling much better Saturday after feeling ill Friday, scored 26 against Miami, putting him ninth on the career list.

"I think we boosted our confidence," Bailey said. "Maybe it's kind of a sign, kind of like a Missouri thing [when UCLA barely beat Missouri in the second round of the 1995 national-title run].

"We got past this game so maybe we're destined for better things."

*

Michigan shooting guard Louis Bullock, who injured his shin in Friday's victory over Davidson, practiced Saturday and Ellerbe said Bullock should have no problems in today's game.

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