Chris Webber. Jalen Rose. Juwan Howard. Jimmy King.
All four were McDonald's All-Americans, and along with King's fellow Texan Ray Jackson, they comprised a recruiting class the likes of which had never been seen before.
Michigan coach Steve Fisher's run to a national title in the first six games of his head coaching career was looking like a fluke after a desultory 14-15 season in 1990-91. Recruiting was beginning to look like Chinese arithmetic to fans who watched Fisher lose Michigan legacy Eric Montross to North Carolina. The coach needed something truly major to keep Wolverine basketball a national brand.
Landing a record four All-Americans qualified.
The "Fab Five," as the incoming crew was dubbed, brought a different kind of swagger to a college basketball landscape that had just bid farewell to the menace of UNLV. Each player had his favorites on the burgeoning hip-hop scene, and they regularly broke huddles with a profane Scarface lyric.
The Fabs stampeded through overmatched opponents before a home showdown with defending national champion and top-ranked Duke. The Blue Devils took a 17-point first-half lead, but Michigan roared back with a 14-0 run to take the lead early in the second. Duke survived by three in overtime, but Michigan had put the nation on notice.
From there, Michigan got everyone's best game. Sometimes the freshmen prevailed, sometimes not. The Wolverines took a 20-8 record into the NCAA tournament as one of the most scrutinized No. 6 seeds in history. They won five straight games by a total of 30 points, including toppling Michigan's hated archrival Ohio State to reach the Final Four.
The kids even led Duke by a point at halftime of the national championship game, but were devoured in the second half of a 20-point defeat that cemented back-to-back titles for the Blue Devils.
Association with a rogue booster would later expunge a lot of the Fab Five's accomplishments from the record books, doing substantial damage to the program. In fact, UM would not make the Final Four again until 2013. But, anyone who was there in 1991 knew that something big was going down.
Say it with me one more time: Just so BBN and its six McDonald's All-Americans know what they're up against this season.
For more from Scott on college basketball, check out The Back Iron. Now playing: the Conference Calling 2013-14 preview series.