...says Denzel Valentine of Big Ten Tourney favorite MSU, which is 5-7 in its last 12 games. Cumong, man.
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.
Some big news on the Michigan basketball front—but on the women's side: Kim Barnes Arico has secured her first verbal commitment as head coach at Michigan, and it's an impressive one. Siera Thompson, a 5-7 point guard out of Junipero Serra HS in Gardena, California, has committed to Michigan for the 2013 class, according to Bret McCormick:
Siera Thompson 5-7 PG 2013 from Serra HS CA has verbally committed to Michigan. Cal Sparks club coach Elbert Kinnebrew confirmed this.— Bret McCormick (@ASGR1995) June 15, 2012
ESPN has Thompson pegged as a 4 star, ranked #53 in the 2013 class. Here's part of an evaluation on her ESPN profile:
The superlatives can pile up where Thompson is concerned. She is a strongly built 5-7, who uses short and quick dribble moves to penetrate the lane, can take a hit and has the powers of concentration to still finish shots. . . . Her shot is light and true to 3-point range and Thompson obviously relishes pressure situations. In the lead-guard role, she always seems to have the ball when she should have it, and is not shy about getting her team in the right spots. . . . Some players can be characterized by position or style; some, like Thompson, simply are ballers.
In recent years, the Michigan women's team has only rarely landed players ranked in the top 100 by ESPN or one of the other recruiting services, so this is huge win for the new coach on the recruiting trail.
Addendum: An ESPN item on Thompson's commitment says she picked Michigan over Kansas, Santa Barbara, and Virginia Tech. There's also this quote from the coach of her club team, Elbert Kinnebrew:
"Siera is a point guard with a consistent 3-point shot who keeps turnovers low in big games," Kinnebrew said. "She is an excellent director in half-court sets with good sense of creating passing angles within the structure of designed plays, a rare trait for a transition guard like Siera. A student-achiever in the classroom, she's prepared for the demanding academics at Michigan."