Kim Barnes Arico's first Michigan recruiting class is a pretty impressive one, especially considering she was hired only about half a year ago. At least according to one rankings list, two of the four signees for the class of 2013 are top 100 players nationally. The only downside is that all four are guards. Michigan was a finalist for two top-50 prospects—one a center, the other a wing—but both chose other schools.
Here's the first part of the mgoblue.com press release. See the full release for details on the signees. (Note also that the last paragraph below [see the bolded part] makes the first mention that I'm aware of that the team is planning a foreign trip next summer.)
Nov. 14, 2012
ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- University of Michigan women's basketball head coach Kim Barnes Arico announced Wednesday (Nov. 14) the signing of the following players to National Letters of Intent. They will join the Wolverines for the 2013-14 campaign.
Name Pos. Ht. Hometown (High School) Paige Rakers G 5-11 Carlyle, Ill. (Carlyle) Shannon Smith G 5-7 Gastonia, N.C./Forestview [Trinity Valley CC] Siera Thompson PG 5-7 Gardena, Calif./Serra Danielle Williams PG 5-9 Phoenix, Ariz. (St. Mary's)
"I am excited about the young ladies who will be joining our program," Barnes Arico said. "I think it was really important for us to make inroads and get this first recruiting under our new coaching staff on board. They are all tremendous young ladies who come from very successful high school programs. They have played in AAU programs that compete at the highest level. It was important for us in the process of building our culture to get players that come from winning programs. These young ladies are all from great families and are excellent students. They will represent Michigan in the best way. They are leaders and best in everything that they do.
"Considering this was our first year and I didn't get hired until late in the recruiting process, I think this is an exceptional class," Barnes Arico said of the quartet. "We are really excited to get them on campus and coach them. We have a foreign trip next summer, which will give us the opportunity to get in the gym with them prior to practices starting in the fall. The staff did a great job of getting involved with players at this high level, considering how late we got started in the process. We are thrilled and think they will do a great job here at Michigan, representing the University the way they should."
ESPN has released its first full top 100 for the 2013 women's basketball recruiting class, which shows that Kim Barnes Arico is making an impressive Michigan debut on the recruiting trail. She's secured two commits from guards so far, and they're both in the top 100: Siera Thompson at #68 and Danielle Williams at #97.
Michigan is also among the three finalists for ESPN's #46-ranked player, Alexandra Harris, a 6-3 center from Lorain, Ohio, who's also considering Louisville and Penn State. Harris will be visiting Michigan on September 8 (after visiting PSU on the 1st) and will make her college choice sometime after making her final visit to Louisville on September 15.
The team could also use a wing in this class, and there's an obvious candidate from Detroit, Antania Hayes, who's ranked #36 by ESPN. I've heard little about her recruiting, however, so I don't know where things stand with her. Barnes Arico has also offered Shayla Cooper, a 6-1 forward from Norcross, Georgia. ESPN has her at #35.
The bottom line is that having two top 100 players in one class is likely unprecedented in the history of the U-M women's hoops program. And Barnes Arico isn't through yet.
Addendum: I meant to note that the two 2013 prospects who had committed under Borseth both decommitted after the coaching change and have now picked new schools. Taylor Gleason is now pledged to Illinois, while Allie Havers accepted an offer from Nebraska.
Hello: Danielle Williams
A couple of days ago, Kim Barnes Arico got her second commit since becoming the Michigan women's basketball coach as Danielle Williams, a 5-9 guard out of St. Mary's High School in Phoenix, Arizona, chose the Wolverines. According to an ESPN item, Williams selected Michigan over Arizona State, Boston College, Colorado, George Washington, Marquette, and San Diego State.
Williams isn't as highly ranked as the new coach's first commit, Siera Thompson—at least according to ESPN, which has her as a 3-star in the 2013 class. Side note: Williams has a twin sister, Dominique, who commited to UCLA the same day Danielle picked U-M.
With her first two commits from California and Arizona, it's become evident pretty quickly that Barnes Arico will be recruiting nationally. I've seen reports of Michigan pursuing players from Georgia, Florida, Texas, and Ohio so far. It looks like the days of the Midwest-centric rosters of Kevin Borseth or the ones with almost all Michiganders of a decade ago are over.
Hello Eventually: Shannon Smith
About a month ago, Shannon Smith, a 5-7 point guard, announced on Twitter that she was transferring from North Carolina to Michigan. This news was reported in the Michigan Daily, but the basketball program never followed up with an official release. It appears the reason for the lack of an announcement is that Smith will spend a year at a junior college, Trinity Valley Community College, and then arrive at Michigan for the 2013-14 season and be eligible to play right away.
Smith took a medical redshirt her freshman season (2010-11), so this way she'll be able to play at TVCC in 2012-13 and then still have two years of eligibility at Michigan. I believe it's also possible she's doing this because Michigan does not have a scholarship to offer her in 2012-13. In any case, this whole thing seemed odd, but the NCAA Division 1 Manual does indeed have a section (14.5.6) on "4-2-4" transfers, spelling out the requirements for transferring from a four-year college to a two-year college and then to another four-year college.
Also of note about Smith: Although she went to high school in North Carolina, earning the state's Miss Basketball award in 2010, she was born in Detroit. Her father is Kevin Smith, who was an all-state basketball player at Birmingham Brother Rice in the late 1970s and then attended U-D before transferring to MSU.