Junior Isaiah Livers was surely one of the leaders on the court this season for the Michigan Wolverines. If he had not gone down with an injury causing him to miss several games, he could have been awarded Big Ten honors for his play this year. But unfortunately for the star basketball player, his season would be cut even shorter with the cancellation of the Big Ten Tournament and the NCAA Tournament due to the coronavirus outbreak.
For the first time, we have details from a player inside the locker room on the day the sports world came crashing down as the Wolverines were just moment to tipoff in Indianapolis. The following comes from interview with multiple players and staff by Steve Kornacki and Brad Rudner of Mgoblue.com:
“Livers: The night before the game, I was thinking, “How are we going to play in a game when the NBA isn’t even playing?” That’s when Coach (Juwan) Howard’s eyes got big. That morning, I thought we’d wake up and see all these cancellations, but there was nothing to that point. We thought we’d play.
Manuel: On Thursday morning, I was texting with athletic directors about the possibility of having to cancel the tournament. Then the commissioner called, saying he’s had feedback from some of us as ADs, letting us know that he’d had a call with the (Big Ten) presidents recommending that we don’t play the tournament. It was quickly becoming an issue of “Do we need to put our kids out on the court to play games?” when this is getting to a level where we are not allowing fans in the stands and they don’t want people gathering. The number (limit on the size of gatherings) had gone down from 250 to 10.
Livers: There was no music, no fans, no heckling. We came out almost like we were hyping up our invisible fans, acting like it was a normal game. You could hear the media, all the press people just laughing. I won’t forget that.
I went through the line, did one dunk and came back around. Thirteen minutes before tipoff or whatever it was, I saw this dude go up to Chris Hunter (director of operations), who told us to go back in the locker room. Shutting the game down, I saw it coming from a mile away.
Manuel: I came into the locker room at 11:45 (a.m.) and talked to Coach Howard quickly, then he and I addressed the team. I told them that in my life this is the hardest thing the world has had to deal with. “No sport or game is bigger than our health and our lives and safety in participating.” I said I was sorry for what the seniors (co-captains Zavier Simpson and Jon Teske) had to go through, and that it was for all of us to do our part. “And our part right now is to not play and not attract crowds to put them in harm’s way in a contest played in close proximity to each other. This choice is the right choice for this time, and we will play games again. But now is not the time to do it.” Juwan then reiterated the same things.
Livers: Spirits were low. I remember looking at David DeJulius in tears. X (Simpson) was in the corner by himself, Jon is staring up into space. My head was down the whole time in disbelief... We were all excited to play in the Big Ten Tournament, proceed on to March Madness and make a run. It was all snatched away from us by some virus. It just sucked, but it was something we couldn’t control.
Livers: When we were saying our goodbyes, we didn’t touch each other (due to distancing guidelines to limit the spread of the virus). A lot of air hugs, air fives. Then people got in their cars and went home. It was weird.”
NFL Draft still in play for late-April
Good news for the 11 Michigan Wolverines hoping to hear their names called in the NFL Draft in April; Commissioner Roger Goodell sent the following memo to the 32 NFL Owners:
Commissioner Goodell sent out a memo to NFL teams tonight that the draft will go on April 23-25. pic.twitter.com/tYlHo3fKqC— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 26, 2020
While it may not be the spectacle it was supposed to be in Las Vegas in the massive Bellagio fountain, it will certainly be a great reprieve for all sports fans and keep the hopes alive for several Wolverines hoping to fulfill their dream of making it to the NFL.
Former LB Devin Bush get Michigan/Steelers makeover in basement
Now this is pretty cool:
Bush was drafted in the first round of the 2019 Draft after the Pittsburgh Steelers traded up to the No. 10 pick to select the Michigan linebacker. Bush had 109 tackles, 2 INT’s and a sack in his rookie campaign.
- Fanatics, who makes the official jersey of the MLB, has changed their factory to make masks and gowns for the medical field:
(Thread):— Michael Rubin (@MichaelGRubin) March 26, 2020
Woke up in the middle of the night last week with idea of converting our @Fanatics factory in PA that makes official @MLB jerseys into a facility that makes much needed masks and gowns and then donating them to help fight this horrendous virus. pic.twitter.com/r6FAxUdlgH
- On what would have been Opening Day for baseball, the Marlins’ Miguel Rojas faced off against the Phillies’ Rhys Hoskins on a live stream of MLB The Show:
The Marlins and Phillies are supposed to be playing right now on opening day.— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) March 26, 2020
Instead, Miguel Rojas and Rhys Hoskins playing one another in MLB The Show.https://t.co/DADSBtdxqE
I am going to label this NSFW because they are quite mediocre. Sorry guys. But still a great idea!
- The MLB and MLBPA announced a deal to resolve various issues caused by the COVID-19 outbreak. The amateur draft will be only five rounds (the MLB can change it to up to 10) somewhere in June. Players will receive a 170 million dollar advance over the next two months, if the season is cancelled they will keep that money. A transaction freeze will be put into place; no trades, cuts, or free agency additions until both sides agree for it to change.