Two days prior to coach Beilein’s visit, his Wolverines’ one-point loss to Indiana eliminated a chance to share the Big Ten Conference Championship Title. The painful defeat exposed the greatest weakness among top colleges today: Free Throws.
The Wolverines blew a five-point lead with 23 seconds left in the game by missing four free throws. Indiana grabbed the rebounds and scored the last six points of the game to win their first Conference Championship since 1993.
Speculation that coach Beilein was secretly following the career of Gabe Nazelli’s expertise at the Free Throw line was exposed as the two were seen chatting it up during the Country Day thrashing of the state’s number 2 team in Class B, Chandler Park Academy.
Coach Beilein was also keeping an eye on the Chandler Park’s point guard, Derrick Walton, Jr., who recently signed his National Letter of Intent to attend Michigan in the fall and play for the Wolverines. Walton was a finalist for Michigan’s Mr. Basketball.
Country Day also had another interest for U of M. According to some Michigan basketball supporters, Edmond Sumner, a junior shooting guard for the DCD Yellow Jackets, is on the Ann Arbor recruiting radar for 2014.
Most of the attention during the post-game celebration, was on the close relationship between the bubbly free-throw champion and the maize-and-blue clad Michigan coach.
Afterwards, Gabe revealed their conversation centered on his recent contest experience last month in Grand Rapids. The two-day, National Elks Free Throw State competition took place among the regional winners from all over upper and lower Michigan. “Coach wanted to know if I was nervous,” Gabe reported. “I lied and said, ‘No.’”
Gabe plays for the Country Day Suns which is undefeated in their league. The Suns have already qualified for the Championship game to be played at the Detroit Country Day field house on Sunday, March 24, 2013.
Players on the Suns basketball team include Bryce Wallace, Narendra Edara, Dan MacLean, Max Morgan, Sophie Henderson, Scott Hanna, Samuel Erjavac and Jonathon Owen. The Suns are coached by James Morgan, Chris Nazelli and Dennis Nazelli.