View Count: 140 |  Publish Date: April 07, 2014
Wildcats prompt memories of Fab 5

The Fab Five came onto the national basketball landscape like a thunder dunk. You had to notice the five baggy-shorts-wearing freshmen starters from Michigan who made their way to the national championship game.
It was 1992 and people couldnt believe a team with five players just out of high school could find a way to play for the title. They did, the first such group to do it. Many said it would never happen again.
It took 22 years but another group of teenagers have played their way to a chance to win it all.
Kentucky, which plays Connecticut in the title game Monday night, starts five freshmen. They dont have a nickname like Michigan did. They just got on a roll in the NCAA Tournament as the Fab Five did a generation ago.
The Fab Five - Chris Webber, Juwan Howard, Jalen Rose, Jimmy King and Ray Jackson - didnt overwhelm the competition during their freshman season, entering the tournament with a 20-9 record, 11-7 in the Big Ten. The Wolverines were a No. 6 seed, two higher than the Wildcats.
Everybody said we wouldnt beat Temple in the first game because we were too young to handle their zone and experience, San Diego State coach Steve Fisher, who recruited and coached the Fab Five at Michigan, said Sunday. A few games later we beat Ohio State, who everybody thought would win the whole thing, to get to the Final Four. They were playing well and they werent afraid of any team.
They lost to Duke by 20 points in the championship game but nobody watching then will forget the Fab Five for a lot of reasons.
We were so much either loved or hated and judged by the way we looked, Rose said for a 15th anniversary story. Back then, it was Oh, look at these hoodlums, these thugs, these gangsters, because we had big shorts, because we had black shoes and black socks. But then once Michael Jordan and the Bulls started wearing them, once mainstream America started to wear them and corporate America embraced it, then I guess it became cool.
The Wildcats, who come in with a 29-10 record, including 12-6 in the Southeastern Conference, know all about the Fab Five. Only three players on the Kentucky roster were born when the Fab Five played its first game, but the documentary has become a TV staple.
Aaron Harrison, who has hit big three-pointers for Kentucky in the three games leading to Monday night, is an unabashed fan of the Fab Five.
That is my favorite documentary. Ive watched it 10 times, Harrison said. Its amazing what they did for the college game. It was great that they showed it doesnt matter how old you are but how youre playing together. Thats the most important thing.
Julius Randle, Aaron Harrison, Andrew Harrison, James Young and Dakari Johnson have a chance to go one better than the Fab Five.
The Kentucky players are in the age of one and done, so its doubtful they will all be back for a sophomore season.
All of the Fab Five came back and they reached the title game again, losing to North Carolina in a game known mostly for the timeout called by Webber that Michigan didnt have. Webber left after his sophomore season, Howard and Rose the next season. King and Jackson played for four seasons.
They will now be linked forever as the freshman-laden teams to reach the title game.
The correlation, Kentucky John Calipari said, they were young. We are young.


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 Fab   Harrison   Kentucky   Michigan   season   The Fab Five   Fab Five came 
Time: 3:48  |  News Code: 396608  |  Site: San Francisco Chronicle
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