The sports world was shocked Sunday at the news that former Los Angeles Lakers and NBA great Kobe Bryant died in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California. He was 41.
Bryant was one of nine people in the helicopter at the time of the crash, according to multiple reports. There were no survivors. Also included was Bryant’s 13-year-old daughter, Gianna.
The news of Bryant’s death was not lost on Michigan Wolverines coaches and players alike. Several took to social media to pay their respects to the fallen basketball star.
The opportunity to meet the Mamba was a blessing but the true blessing was the words he spoke! One to inspire greatness in everyone and instill belief in yourself through determination and hard work! 24 You will forever live on your legacy will never die! Bryant Family pic.twitter.com/PQI2X94UNP— Josh Gattis (@Coach_Gattis) January 26, 2020
Kobe ♂️— Ambry Thomas (@Tavonn_) January 26, 2020
I don’t have the words.— Juwan Howard (@JuwanHoward) January 26, 2020
LongLive24— || Nick Eubanks || (@banksera82) January 26, 2020
January 26, 2020
Long-time junior college baseball coach John Altobelli also was killed in the crash. The 56-year-old coach had more than 700 wins during his 27-year coaching tenure with Orange Coast College.
Michigan basketball and Livers’ injury
Playing on the court for the first time since missing time due to a groin injury, Michigan’s Isaiah Livers now finds himself back on the mend.
Livers appeared to re-injure himself Saturday in Michigan’s devastating 64-62 defeat at the hands of Illinois. A spokesperson told media following the game the injury was not related to Livers’ existing groin injury. Coach Juwan Howard said Livers is day-to-day.
“Unfortunately for Isaiah, he went out with an injury, and the injury obviously is day-to-day,” Howard told the Detroit Free Press following the game. “As he gets treatment with our training staff, medical team, pray that he comes back healthy 110%. His effort out there was great. The energy from the crowd when his name was called just shows how much he’s a huge part of this team’s success.”
The timing of the injury is unfortunate for the Wolverines. The team has been at a crossroads in recent weeks, struggling with its shooting and trying to walk a tight rope record-wise as it awaited the return of Livers’, one of its best players.
Now, Wolverines fans will need to see how severe the injury is and hope Michigan can figure things out on the court.
Wolverines in the senior bowl
The 2020 Senior Bowl was Saturday, and six former Wolverines participated. Of note, quarterback Shea Patterson played well considering an atrocious week of practice. Patterson threw for 131 yards and a score on six completions. He also threw an interception.
Josh Uche also saw his stock rise as a result of a strong performance — both during the game and during the practice week.
However, Josh Metellus surrendered a touchdown during the game and had a rough week leading up to the game.
Betting on Michigan for 2020 playoff bid?
Michigan had some playoff aspirations in 2019, but, as we’re all well aware, the Wolverines fell well short of that.
The 2020 season, however, could be different. Sportingnews.com suggests that Michigan is among the seven best bets to make the college football playoff for the first time.
Here is the website’s rationale:
Michigan’s stock is low after double-barrel losses to Ohio State and Alabama to end the 2019 season. Jim Harbaugh enters year six still looking to break through to the Big Ten championship, and that might hinge on which quarterback wins the starting job between Dylan McCaffrey and Joe Milton. The roster is still talented enough to make a run in the Big Ten East, and you’ll get a feel for whether that’s possible in the opener at Washington. A three-game stretch against Wisconsin, Penn State and Michigan State is brutal, but everything revolves around the trip to Ohio State on Nov. 28. The Wolverines have not won at Ohio Stadium since 2000 — when Drew Henson was the quarterback. The psychological toll of that eight-game losing streak to the Buckeyes must be broken before we can talk Playoff.
It’s certainly a long-shot, but Michigan fans are hopeful the site is on to something.
- Any hope that Penn State wide receiver Justin Shorter would choose Michigan as his destination after opting to transfer from the Nittany Lions program was crushed Sunday. The receiver chose Florida, a move he announced via Twitter.