The Fab Five

The Fab FiveThe Raptors have won two in a row since the big trade. The Raptors showed an exciting offensively flare in both victories, something that's been sorely missing in these parts the past couple of seasons. From what I've read this is due in no small part to the presence of Jalen Rose who attracts attention freeing up others to put up the big numbers.

Jalen Rose was a member of the Fab Five. The Fab Five were a group of freshmen who all started for the Michigan Wolverines NCAA basketball team back in the '91-'92 season. They were Chris Webber, Jalen Rose, Juwon Howard, Jimmy King and Ray Jackson. They would play together for one more year during the '92-'93 season before Webber turned pro.

This collection of freshmen started played above the rim and played an exhilarating brand of ball. My brothers and I would watch them every Saturday and adopted them as our team. Prior to the '91-'92 season, I wouldn't have considered myself a particularly huge NCAA basketball fan. That all changed when I happened to catch a Wolverines game on the tube early in the season. Selling my brothers on these five was easy once they saw their up tempo run and gun style of play. C-Webb was our favourite, but Rose and Howard weren't far behind.

The Fab Five never won an NCAA Championship, but both years they played together they reached the finals. With Rose's arrival in Toronto, he joins King as one of two members to have suited up for the Raptors. Webber has experienced the most success in the NBA, but both Howard and Rose are substantial contributors for their respective teams.

I've never been able to recapture that feeling watching NCAA basketball that I felt watching the Michigan Wolverines in the early '90s. Come March Madness I try to conjure up similar feelings for certain teams, but nothing comes close. The irony is that Michigan has forfeited all victories during this era after a federal investigation revealed that former booster Ed Martin had given a total of $616,000 to Chris Webber and three other ex-Michigan players. Michigan programs and media guides won't even mention the Fab Five by name. The banners celebrating the Final Fours have been taken down at Crisler Arena as if this never happened. It's as if a part of my history has been erased.


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