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April 9, 2013

Fans welcome Wolverines back from Atlanta

About 500 Michigan fans came to Crisler Arena Tuesday afternoon to welcome home the Wolverines from their trip to Atlanta for the Final Four.

The players and coaches looked a little tired, but smiled and shook hands with the fans as their took their seats on the court for a short ceremony.

"It was very emotional," junior Tim Hardaway, Jr. said. "We love our fans to death. It was great to see them support us like they did. Thankfully, they took time out of their day to come down here and support us."

Michigan coach John Beilein addressed the crowd before giving the microphone off to assistant coaches Jeff Meyer, Bacari Alexander and LaVall Jordan. Each thanked the fans for the support they have shown all season.

After that, each player briefly spoke to the crowd.

Freshman Spike Albrecht, who scored 17 points in a white-hot first half, gained the biggest cheer from the crowd.

When Albrecht stood to speak, the entire team gave him a standing ovation.

"Abrecht is getting so big that Kate Upton called him for a date, and he turned her down," Beilein joked.

"Spike deserves everything he's gotten," Burke said of the freshman who was surrounded by fans after the ceremony for pictures and autographs. "He played a great game last night."

After the ceremony, Beilein reflected on what the run to the title game means for the program.

"It mirrors what happened right here, all of this around us," he said, gesturing to the Wolverines' brand-new facilities. "Apparently at Crisler last night, it was an incredible event. I never thought, even through the good and bad of these six years, that we weren't making the right steps. We had a tough season my third year, but we were also putting the shovel in the ground for [The PDC].

"Then there are times that you need the bounce of the ball, the team comes together defensively and boom, there's a spike in the development in your program. And it's something Michigan has been waiting for for a while."

Here's a video of the ceremony:

Welcome Home Party from The Wolverine on Vimeo.




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