<
>

A tiny oral history: Michigan bench loses it after walk-on's 3-pointer

play
Vitale: Seminoles' depth key to beating Wolverines (1:03)

Dick Vitale expects Florida State to give Michigan a great challenge Saturday, as they fight for a spot in the Final Four. (1:03)

Back in November, Michigan coach John Beilein made an announcement that didn't exactly light up the newswires: The Wolverines' final roster spot would go to unheralded C.J. Baird. The freshman guard was elevated from team manager to walk-on 16th man. Through 37 games, he scored two points all season and missed his one 3-point attempt.

But fast forward to Thursday's Sweet 16 game against Texas A&M, and the Wolverines' beloved backup got the signal late in their blowout 99-72 win.

And the rest is ... well, first he had to figure out how to get his pants off.

BAIRD: Coach called my name and I had trouble getting my warm-ups off. I could feel the tension. Everyone was watching me.

ISAIAH LIVERS, FRESHMAN FORWARD: When his name got called, I was sitting right next to him. He said he was a little nervous. I was like, "Don't be nervous. Go out there and do what you do."

MUHAMMAD-ALI ABDUR-RAHKMAN, SENIOR GUARD: I asked him before the game, "If you get in, are you gonna shoot it?" He said, "Yeah, I'm gonna shoot it." And I asked, "Are you sure? Because a lot of people say that, then they go into the game with a couple seconds left and they're reluctant to shoot the ball."

BAIRD: I told my teammates the last couple weeks that if I go in one of these games, I'm going to shoot it. They wanted to see if I would back that up.

AUSTIN DAVIS, SOPHOMORE FORWARD: I set a screen for C.J. and he came off of it. Then he made his move.

LIVERS: He knew what to do: Shoot it.

BAIRD: I didn't expect to get the ball like that. I ran up there and fumbled with it. My hands were sweaty. The second I was anywhere in range, the whole crowd's yelling shoot it, and I had to follow through with their wishes and I let it fly. It looked good from my hand, and watching it go through was just an absolute adrenaline rush. I turned around celebrating and the whole crowd was going crazy.

ABDUR-RAHKMAN: I was on the baseline and everybody was jumping around. It's great to see a guy like him come to work every day at practice. He doesn't get recognition, but he means so much to the team.

BEILEIN: Here's a kid who started out as a manager -- we didn't have room on the roster. Those are great moments. Those are the ones I may remember more than others.

LIVERS: C.J. puts so much time in -- I would love to have his mentality. Next year I'm going to try to take his mentality and make it part of my own.

BAIRD: I knew Johnny Manziel was there, so I shouted him out and told him to support us the rest of this tournament. I put a picture up on Twitter and he responded, "Cash money."

DEANDRE HAYNES, ASSISTANT COACH: He can't get off his phone now. He's got like a million followers now on Instagram. His Twitter is getting blown up, but it just good to see that feeling. [Looks at Baird across the locker room] Look at him, he can't stop cheesin'.

BAIRD: I've watched it over 200 times. This morning I woke up again and I was like, "That actually happened. It wasn't a dream." Just to feel that warmth and support after that shot was easily the best moment of my life.