“The Fab Five ruined the program.” – Jim Nantz of CBS said during Saturday’s Ohio State-Michigan game in the Big Ten semifinals, suggesting that Chris Webber, Jalen Rose, Jimmy King, Juwan Howard and Ray Jackson are the reason hasn’t been the same since they ended their career there. Led by the Fab Five, the Wolverines were the first team to reach the NCAA title game in 1992 with five freshmen starting.
Got to disagree with Mr. Nantz.
What Chris Webber, Jalen Rose, Juwan Howard, Jimmy King and Ray Jackson did at Michigan in the 1990s was give players the freedom to be themselves, inspired the great players of today and made it cool for the top prep players to go to the same school.
Duke, Florida, North Carolina, Ohio State and other programs have benefited big time from that last one.
They took the interest in college basketball to heights it hasn’t reached since and unfortunately for them, showed how corrupt big-time college basketball can be. So I can’t wait to check out the special on the whole thing at tonight at 9 on ESPN.
Webber got paid by Ed Martin, who was reclassified as a booster and in reaction, Michigan decided to erase their two-year records that consisted of them making the national title game in 1992 and 1993.
What if Webber had went to Michigan State or Duke? Would we have ever know Martin paid him $100,000s? Those two schools both wanted him badly.
Michigan got paid millions when the Fab Five was there, but then decided to get moral once it got caught. Can’t tell me no one within the program knew what was going on. If Martin was reclassified as a booster, then he was close enough to the program.
So a lot of people misstep, but only the Fab Five get charged with the crime.
What’s crazy about what Nantz said was like everyone else, he was wrapped up in it. He and Billy Packer loved the Fab Five. All those commentators back then did. Dick Vitale. All of them.
Now they won’t even say their name on television and when they do, it’s all negative. Again, Webber knew taking money was wrong, but he wasn’t the only one to falter. The difference is he was 18 years old. Others weren’t.
No matter how good this documentary may be, everyone will always have a say of what the Fab Five was or wasn’t.
As for what Nantz said? He’s not wrong for saying it.
He’s just not right.