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UM Still on Legion's Mother's Mind

At a certain point you have to stop paying attention. Really. You have to. But every time you look away something else happens which draws you back into the drama. You want to look away. You want to go about your daily life, yet the story somehow remains interesting.


"He is a loathsome offensive brute, yet I can't look away".

The Alex Legion saga took yet another strange turn today when his mother told the following to the Free Press:

"I want to make it clear, Tim Green is not part of this process," Williams said Tuesday. "I'm tired of him trying to persuade my son against the University of Michigan and his family."

Green, principal of Allen Academy in Detroit, refused comment Tuesday.

"I've been quiet for four years, but Tim Green does not speak for my son, and I'm tired of him trying to make decisions for my son," Williams said. "Mr. Green wants my son to go to Connecticut or UCLA, but my son will go to neither institution."

Legion's mother went on to say:

"I really like what I'm hearing about Beilein," she said. "I really want to thank coach Keener, who has talked very positively about my son to coach Beilein. We just needed to get rid of Tim Green."

What did I tell you. No matter how disgusted you get with the situation, it stays interesting.

Today's Free Press is just another example of the massive dysfunction that is the recruitment of Alex Legion. Hailed as the golden child when he committed to Michigan as a Junior in high school, Legion's path to college has been one wrong turn after the next. Scores of people have attempted to influence his college decision, and his recruitment resume it choppier than a 50 year-old bagger at Meijer. It got so bad Legion transferred from Detroit to Virginia to get away from it all. Sadly, no matter how he's been able to buoy himself, he still finds himself drowning in a sea of mostly bad advice.

At the center of the controversy appears to be Tim Green, one of Legion's mentors and the principal of Allen Academy in Detroit. You may recall that when Legion originally decommitted there were a considerable number of Green quotes, who when answering questions on Legion's behalf would continually use the words "we" and "our" in discussing Alex's future. It was bad enough that I wrote the following:

Mark Snyder's Free Press article [Ed note - from April of 2006, thus no link]has this quote:
"I'll be away from Mr. Green and my mom and get a chance to think things over," Legion was reported as saying, "I'll think about my own self and my own choices."

The Mr. Green is Legion's guardian Tim Green, the creepy guy who has been calling Alex's moves the last year and a half or so. Make no mistake, this Green guy was trouble. I don't know him personally, I make no judgments on his character, but when he refers to Alex's decision on colleges and DCD's decisions on playing time by saying "we" and "our" it freaks me out. High School and College basketball are replete with stories of older men befriending young talented ball players and using them as their meal tickets.

Unfortunately, a year later, it doesn't seem like much has changed. Green's specter still hangs over Legion like a vulture, and today Alex is right back where he was last April. Confused, school-less, and drawing the ire of people who have never met him.

The one constant in this made for TV movie is Legion's mother. She has steadfastly stated she wants her son in Ann Arbor.  She's said it since Legion first decommitted last April and continued saying through the day of his most recent decommit.

I have to admit, if things are as they appear on the surface, I really feel for Alex and his mother. Both are trying to do the right thing for Alex. They both have to deal with a person of no blood relation who has interjected himself into their lives. The situation has pitted a mother who obviously loves her son against a man her son seems to have adopted as a father figure. Unfortunately, this father figure does not appear to have either the clearest judgment or purest intentions. As Alex's Detroit Country Day coach stated, Alex has "had some poor counsel and misguidance from AAU people in his past." You don't need to read between the lines on that one.

The result of this is two adults fighting over a teenager who I'm sure would like nothing more than to be a teenager rather than a reason for discord. The outcome is less clear.

Whether Alex Legion ever suits up for Michigan is truly immaterial to how he'll turn out as a man. He's bright, say what you want but he got in to Michigan. He's personable. But he's carrying a whole lot of extra baggage that no 17 year-old should be shouldered with. My only hope is he makes the decision that is best for him. I hope he finds a place where he can feel free to be himself. If he's a primadona, let him be one. If he's a nice kid getting bad advice, let him simply be a nice kid. It's only when Alex finds that place that he'll be able to reach his potential not only as a basketball player, but as a person.

If it that place happens to be Michigan, so be it.