Kim Barnes Arico and her staff officially inked a very good, four-athlete recruiting class today for 2014. Here's the first part of the press release announcing the signings:
ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- University of Michigan women's basketball head coach Kim Barnes Arico announced the signing of four student-athletes to National Letters of Intent on the first day of the early signing period on Wednesday (Nov. 13). All four athletes are ranked in the top 120 of the All-Star Girls Report (ASGR) and each has received at least three stars by HoopGurlz, including one four-star recruit.
Name Pos. Ht. Hometown (High School) Maria Backman G/F 6-1 Bronx, N.Y. (Cardinal Spellman) Jillian Dunston F 5-11 Germantown, Md. (Academy of the Holy Cross) Katelynn Flaherty PG 5-7 Point Pleasant, N.J.(Point Pleasant Beach) Emoni Jackson F 6-1 Pasadena, Calif. (Long Beach Polytechnic)
"This class has the potential be a special class, a group that makes a great impact on our program. The other great part about it is that they are all different but valuable in their own way. They are all 'Michigan' kids. They are great students, they are great people and they come from great families."
"I think being able to recruit to the University of Michigan and its academic reputation, as well as our tradition and pride, is what really piqued the interest of these young women. They all had great offers and could have gone to many different universities, but they picked Michigan because they believe in our vision and know they can come here to be part of something special. They want to be part of the Michigan tradition. That speaks volumes about University and what we are about. That is why we have the ability to go to anywhere in the country and get the caliber of player we have been able to get."
So, how good is the class? The release mentions ASGR having all four in their top 120, which amounts to the #22 class in the country, according to their updated class rankings. I think that position is a bit low given the rankings of the individual players; Michigan's class should at least be ranked above Michigan State's (which is #21). Note also that ASGR has Michigan's class ranked fourth-best in the Big Ten (behind OSU, Maryland, and MSU).
Another recruiting service, Blue Star, has Michigan's class at #25 and sixth-best in the conference. But it's worth noting that they use a numercial formula for determining the rankings that tends to be biased toward larger classes. So, for example, Minnesota's five-player class, which has none ranked higher than #89, is ranked at #23, which seems much too high. (Note that ASGR has the Gophers' class at #42.)
Overall, the consensus would be that this is a top-25 class and one of the top classes in the conference. As I said, it's a very good, and very athletic, class, and one that includes a consenses top-25 player—Katelynn Flaherty—who has a chance to be the first Wolverine woman to be a McDonald's All-American (a chart with full player rankings will be posted as a reply). Here's the concluding quote from Barnes Arico in the press release:
"I feel like moving forward there are a lot of areas that we have graduated or we found we had a need for, whether that is the need for people who can score like Katelynn, rebound like Emoni, shoot like Maria or have someone who can do a combination of all those things like Jillian. The four kids we are bringing in are really highly skilled and chose the University of Michigan over some other programs, top ten programs, to come here to be among the first to hang a banner."
For more info on the signees, including scouting reports, see the recruiting board.
The Michigan women's basketball program secured verbal commitment #4 for its 2014 class tonight, as Emoni Jackson announced on Twitter: "It's official I'm a Michigan Wolverine #goblue." Jackson is a 6-1 wing/forward who's attending Long Beach Poly H.S. in California. She played AAU ball for Cal Sparks Gold, at one time teaming with Michigan freshman Siera Thompson. In fact, Michigan offered both Jackson and Thompson at the same time, in June 2012.
Jackson's a bit under-the-radar now because she suffered a torn ACL last summer, forcing her to sit out her junior season as well as AAU ball this summer. But before her injury, she had drawn interest from the likes of UCLA, USC, and Penn State. As I noted recently on the women's basketball recruiting board, her then high school coach in early 2012 called her a future All-American. That statement comes from a February 2012 local newspaper profile titled "Taking Charge" that also includes this:
This season, Emoni Jackson is averaging a double-double for the second consecutive year. She leads the team in scoring at 16.8 points per game and rebounds at 12.4. She leads the team in blocked shots (26), is second with 1.5 assists per game and has a team-high 2.4 steals per game.
All the while facing double and triple teams.
"I'm not surprised because I know I can do it," she said of her double-double average. "I'm proud that I've been able to score as much as I have. I just have to work harder and keep trying to get better."
She is also known to be a very good student.
Assuming she fully recovers from her injury, it seems like Jackson could be a real "steal."
posted by Jackson on Instagram
Overview (updated 11/26/2013)
With four players making their commitments official on the first day of the early signing period—and then Terra Stapleton joining them a few days later—here's the updated roster and scholarship situation for the 2014–15 season:
The ASGR national rankings for Michigan’s 2014 signees—Maria Backman (#117), Jillian Dunston (#98), Katelynn Flaherty (#19), Emoni Jackson (#85), and Terra Stapleton (#332)—are particularly impressive. ASGR ranks the class #22 in the country and fourth-best in the Big Ten. Blue Star ranks the class #25 nationally, while Prospects Nation has the class at #20.
- 6-2 wing/forward, Cardinal Spellman H.S. (Bronx, NY); AAU: New Heights
- Committed to Michigan on June 16, 2013 (Hello post)
- Ranking(s): ASGR: #117; Blue Star: #229; espnW: 3 star; PN: #135
- Schools: NYG Hoops Report post on her commitment says he had more than 50 scholarship offers. She had trimmed her list to the following 15 schools in May 2013: Michigan, Georgetown, Yale, Virginia Tech, St. John's, NC State, Boston College, Auburn, Rutgers, Fordham, UCF, ECU, Providence, Hofstra, and Delaware.
- Notes: Attended Michigan's Elite Camp in June 2013.
- Scouting report from Full Court (July 2012):
Backman, with a medium-solid build, is probably best suited to play the small forward slot but can fit at the four in some systems. She handles and passes well for her size, can drive to the hole and has a nice step-back jumper. New Heights coach Curtiz Simpson on Backman: “She is a really athletic girl. She has a good handle and excellent midrange game. She needs to get a bit more physical.”
- 6-0 guard/wing, Academy of the Holy Cross (Kensington, MD); AAU: Maryland Lady Terps
- Committed to Michigan on May 12, 2013 (Hello post)
- Ranking(s): ASGR: #98; Blue Star: #184; espnW: 3 star; PN: 3 star
- Schools: Washington Post article on her commitment says that the other schools she considered included North Carolina State, Northwestern, Villanova, and Indiana.
- Notes: Made unofficial visits to Michigan in October 2012 and May 2013 and also attended Michigan's Elite Camp in June 2013.
- Scouting report from Next Sports Phenom (April 2013):
Jillian played some of the best basketball I've seen her play since I've known her, I have seen her shoot the 3, seen her get rebounds, seen her drive, seen her post smaller defenders up, but never all at the same time. Jillian put it all together this weekend then add to that she played the passing lanes well getting multiple steals leading to fast break layups. She appears to have gotten quicker and added a few offensive tricks that I like.
- 5-7 point guard, Point Pleasant Beach H.S. (NJ); AAU: New Jersey Demons
- Committed to Michigan on August 29, 2013 (Hello post)
- Ranking(s): ASGR: #19; Blue Star: #25; espnW: #67; Full Court: #33; PN: #23
- Schools: December 2012 Full Court article says that the following schools are recruiting her: Maryland, Virginia Tech, Kentucky, Louisville, Virginia, Michigan, Georgia, Miami, and Vanderbilt. In March 2013 Flaherty named this longer list of schools she’s considering: Maryland, Virginia Tech, Kentucky, Louisville, Virginia, Michigan, Georgia, Miami, Vanderbilt, Florida, Indiana, and Colorado. July 2013: Flaherty sets plans to make unofficial visits to the following schools in August: Michigan, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisville, Ole Miss, and Vanderbilt. August 2013: Unofficially visited Georgia, Virginia Tech, Michigan, Louisville, and Kentucky.
- Scouting report from MSGVarsity (August 2013):
Few are as effective attacking the rim than the Garnet Gulls’ elusive 5-7 point guard. The ease in which she shifts gears on the fly and renders defenders helpless to her sudden bursts is the kind of attribute that drives her fearlessly through the lane for either a layup, a trip to the foul line (where she shot 93 percent as a junior) or slick dish to the opposite block. However, when opponents choose to congest the paint to impede that path, Flaherty displays an adaptability that hints at her inquisitive basketball IQ.
The smooth release on her jumper overshadows the nimble footwork which creates the necessary space to let it fly. With her excellent combination of adhesive handle and jab steps, Flaherty builds room for herself to stick a long-range 3-pointer, showing she can bury a trey as effortlessly off the dribble as she does catching and shooting on the kickout.
- 6-1 wing/forward, Long Beach Polytechnic H.S. (CA); AAU: Cal Sparks
- Committed to Michigan on September 13, 2013 (Hello post)
- Ranking(s): ASGR: #85; Blue Star: #146; espnW: 3 star; PN: 3 star
- Schools: June 2012: Report that Michigan has offered her a scholarship. UCLA, USC, and Penn State reportedly among the others to have expressed interest.
- Notes: H.S. teammate of Briana Johnson (class of 2016); played AAU for Cal Sparks, same program as Johnson and Michigan freshman Siera Thompson.
- 6-4 center, Fairland H.S. (Proctorville, OH); AAU: West Virginia Thunder
- Committed to Michigan on November 18, 2013 (Hello post)
- Ranking(s): ASGR: #332; Blue Star: #233; espnW: 3 star; PN: 3 star
- Schools: Originally committed to Minnesota in October 2012 before reopening her recruitment shortly before the early signing period. Ironton Tribune article on her Michigan commitment says that she also considered Ohio, Akron, East Carolina, Ohio State, Maine, and Wright State.
- Scouting report from Blue Star (January 2013):
The 6-4 post came in averaging a double-double and stepped up with another in the form of 13 points and 11 rebounds in Fairland’s 13 point win over Clinton Massie. Stapleton is deceivingly mobile for her size and frame plus shows a willingness to work for the ball aggressively block to block. Her size and strength are something she could exploit more around the rim and will no doubt be an asset for her at the next level. There’s already plenty of production but lots more potential for her to tap into.
Lauren "Boogie" Brozoski
- 5-5 point guard, Long Island Lutheran H.S. (NY); AAU: Long Island Lightning
- Committed to Michigan on October 17, 2013 (Hello post)
- Ranking(s): ASGR: #84; Blue Star: #85; espnW: 3 star; PN: 4 star
- Schools: June 2013: Michigan remains the front-runner. Main schools recruiting her are Michigan, St. John's, Seton Hall, Boston College, and Hofstra, and she has offers from each. Earlier reports had Louisville, Maryland, and Virginia Tech expressing interest in her. August 2013: Local news feature (no longer accessible) quotes her as saying “I love the University of Michigan” and says she plans to make her decision before the start of her junior season. October 2013: Newsday article on her commitment says she also drew interest from George Washington, Rutgers, Wisconsin, Villanova, Seton Hall, Hofstra, Harvard, and Boston College.
- Notes: Unofficial visit to Michigan, October 2012.
- Scouting Report(s): See Full Court (December 2012); NYG Hoops Report (April 2013); Blue Star (June 2013; below)
Entering her junior year this fall, Lauren Brozoski has been an established, national level point guard for some time. Better known simply as “Boogie” the 5-5 Cambria Heights, New York native is a dynamic presence on the floor when the ball is in her hands. She’s going to push the ball at opportunity ably providing both scoring and passing in both numbers situations or moving into halfcourt scenarios. The ability to change directions is something NFL running backs would be envious of and she adds the caveat of varying her speed as well to keep defenders guessing. Occasionally her limited size makes finishing deep in the paint a challenge but the pull up is hard to read and comes with a quick release. Further out on the perimeter Brozoski is calling on a step back that is equally hard to anticipate and providing plenty of room to get her good looks at the rim. On the ball defensively she’s quick and active with her hands. On the weakside she can be a bit ball oriented and take some chances but every once in a while they will pay off for her.
- 5-11 wing, Mount Notre Dame H.S. (Cincinnati, OH); AAU: Cincinnati Angels
- Committed to Michigan on October 19, 2013 (Hello post)
- Ranking(s): Blue Star: #25
- Schools: Cincinnati Enquirer article on her commitment says that her finalists also included Cincinnati, Xavier, and Dayton.
- Notes: Attended Michigan's Elite Camp in June 2013.
- Scouting Report: From Blue Star (October 2012):
This 5-10 wing from Mt. Notre Dame plays with great passion. She is a gifted athlete that can get to the rim on almost any defender. The tools are there to handle the ball and shoot the pull up off the dribble if needed. Davenport can guard her position and just make plays. MND is in good hands with this evolving prospect.
- 5-8 combo guard, Central Bucks West H.S. (Doylestown, PA); AAU: Philly Belles
- Committed to Michigan on October 16, 2013 (Hello post)
- Ranking(s): Blue Star: #67; PN: 4 star
- Schools: GametimePA.com article on her commitment says she also drew interest from Drexel, Saint Joseph's, Boston College, and LSU. PhillyBurbs.com also covered her commitment.
- Notes: Unofficial visit to Michigan, October 2013.
- Scouting Report(s): From Full Court (July 2012):
Munger would have been another member of the all-motor team in North Augusta. From start to finish, game after game, there did not appear to be any drop in her energy level as she consistently played hard at both ends of the court. With a medium-thin build, she is not afraid to drive the key, often going left even though right-handed. She can spot up for threes but that does not appear to be her greatest strength. At the next level, she is probably more of a point guard but at this event played more off the ball due to Taylor Murray's presence.
- 6-0 guard/wing, Toledo Rogers H.S. (OH); AAU: Toledo Vipers
- Committed to Michigan on June 19, 2013 (Hello post)
- Ranking(s): ASGR: #34; Blue Star: #52
- Notes: HS and AAU teammate of 2017 Michigan commit Brelynn Hampton-Bey
- Scouting report from Blue Star (October 2012):
This 5-11 wing player from Toledo Rogers was the most impressive 2016 player at the OGBR Top 64 this year. She is a physical force that can play any position on the perimeter. Johnson is a great ball handler and passer that is willing to share the ball with teammates. She can score on anyone at anytime with a variety of moves. The potential is there to get to the rim, pull up for a short jumper or she can bury the three. Keep an eye on this one.
Brelynn "Bre" Hampton-Bey
- 5-8 guard, Toledo Rogers H.S. (OH); AAU: Toledo Vipers
- Committed to Michigan on June 26, 2013 (Hello post)
- Ranking(s): Blue Star: #19
- Notes: HS and AAU teammate of 2016 Michigan commit Akienreh Johnson.