Kim Barnes Arico and the Michigan women's basketball program rounded out their terrific 2015 recruiting class with a verbal commitment today from Hallie Thome, a 6-5 center from Chagrin Falls, Ohio (a suburb of Cleveland). Two major ranking services have her in their top 100 for 2015: Blue Star has her at #63 and ASGR at #82 (the latter may be out of date as it's from an October 2013 posting, but it's the most recent public ranking that I know of).
I don't have a recent scouting report to post, mainly because Thome suffered a torn ACL last December and missed the rest of her junior season at Chagrin Falls. During the seven games she played before getting hurt, she averaged 19.8 points, 9.8 rebounds, and 2.7 blocks. She's now back with her AAU team, SMAC, playing with them during last week's evaluation period.
Here's a brief scouting report from Blue Star from back in 2012:
This 6-4 center from Chagrin Falls is becoming one of the best interior players in this class. She can post up and score with a variety of moves including the step thru. The ability is there to use her left and right hand equally well inside. She can rebound and is very mobile. Thome plays physically and can defend her position well.
Thome took her official visit to Michigan back in May. The last I heard she had narrowed it down to U-M, Michigan State, and Louisville, taking official visits to each. There were a bunch of other high-major programs who had pursued her, including Kentucky, Ohio State, Purdue, and Vanderbilt. (EDIT: The News-Herald article linked in a reply includes Kentucky among her finalists, so she likely took an official there as well.)
The Michigan staff has now essentially assembled a full squad in the 2015 class:
- PG: Lauren "Boogie" Brozoski (Hello post)
- SG: Nicole Munger (Hello post)
- W: Naomi Davenport (Hello post)
- F: Sam Trammel (Hello post)
- P: Hallie Thome
All five players are ranked in the top 100 by at least one of the major recruiting services. Blue Star has four of the five in their top 100—Davenport #27, Munger #52, Thome #63, and Brozoski #67—with Trammel at #163. Michigan's 2014 class was consensus top 25; the 2015 class will certainly be ranked even higher. The combination of the two should have Michigan competing for Big Ten titles and advancing further in the NCAA tourney than they ever have.
For the 5th straight time, the Women of Basketball defeat Illinois, 70-63.
Cyesha Goree had an incredible 30 points and 19 rebounds. She is only the second Wolverine ever to score 30 points in a game, per @umichwbball.
This is a key stretch for Michigan as the regular season winds down if they want to impress the NCAA Tournament selection committee.
Right now in current bracketology, Michigan isn't even listed as a next four out team.
They will most likely have to win out in the regular season and make some noise in the B1G Tournament. Or they could just win the whole B1G Tournament.
The problem with winning out in the regular season is what waits for them in the finale--#11 penn state.
- 2/19 at Indiana | 7pm/MGoBlueTV
- 2/22 vs Iowa | 1:30pm/BTN
- 3/1 at Penn State | 3:30pm/BTN
The Michigan women's basketball team has an important home game today vs. #25 Purdue, tipping off at noon and televised on the BTN. The Wolverines beat the Boilermakers in convincing fashion earlier this year in West Lafayette, 65-49. A win today would translate into Michigan's first season sweep of Purdue since the 1997-98 season. Purdue is now playing without their leading scorer, KK Houser, who suffered a torn ACL a week ago. Despite the loss of Houser, the Boilermakers beat OSU on Thursday, 74-58.
Michigan is currently tied for fourth in the Big Ten, and I think any run at the conference title is unlikely given the team's youth and inexperience and a very tough schedule down the stretch. That schedule, though, provides the team with four golden opportunities to pick up signature wins to enhance their NCAA tourney resume. In addition to today's game, the remaining schedule also include matchups against three other top Big Ten teams (and teams with top 50 RPIs)—Nebraska, Iowa, and Penn State.
If the Wolverines can win two of those four games and win the other two upcoming games (road tilts against Indiana and Illinois), that might be enough to get them in. That would put them at 19-10 overall, give them a couple more signature wins, and boost their RPI. They really need to improve their RPI to have a chance at a berth, as it currently stands at around 80. Winning four of the last six would give them a 10-6 Big Ten record and probably put them in fifth or sixth place. That would mean a first-round BTT game against one of the lesser teams, giving them a good shot at 20 wins.
Massey has today's game as a close one, with Purdue predicted to win 72-69. The win probability for Michigan is 43%.
Kim Barnes Arico and the Michigan women's basketball program just received a very nice Christmas present: a verbal commitment from Sam Trammel, a 6-1 power forward out of Eastview H.S. in Apple Valley, Minnesota, who also plays AAU ball for a top squad—North Tartan. Trammel, who was in Ann Arbor for an unofficial visit in early October, is ranked #40 in the 2015 class according to Prospects Nation. That recruiting service offered this scouting report on her in a June 2013 rundown:
Trammel embodies everything that most basketball fans would want out of a power forward. Her strength on the defensive glass and her offensive presence in the lane make her a centerpiece on nearly any squad. What was impressive for us to see in game play was Trammel’s ability to play in the “two-man” game system with a play-making guard. She creates mismatch opportunities because of her ability to set solid screens while also being a threat to score the ball. Look for the 6-1 forward to be an ELITE 100 prospect in the 2015 class.
Trammel is also included in espnW's top 100 watch list for 2015, currently rated a three-star and the #13 forward in the country in that class. Here's their brief take on her posted on her profile page:
Strong, physical insider competes on glass, finishes in key; interior footwork with average mobility in transition; defends in block.
Wake Forest, Iowa, Denver, and Valparaiso are among the other schools who have expressed interest in Trammel.
Michigan's 2015 class is shaping up to perhaps top the 2014 class, which has been ranked among the top 25 classes in the country. With the full rankings for 2015 not yet available, all four of Michigan's 2015 commits are ranked in the top 100 nationally by at least one recruiting service. Here's a quick rundown of the other 2015 commits:
With all the success the Michigan women's basketball program has had on the recruiting trail, one thing that's eluded them is a true post player. In fact, one recruiting service characterized the 2014 class as consisting of a 1, 2, 3, and 4. Well they've now added a 5 to that class: Terra Stapleton, a 6-4 center who attends Fairland H.S. in Proctorville, Ohio (located in the southeastern part of the state, near Huntington, West Virginia). She plays AAU ball for the West Virginia Thunder. She committed to Michigan today and will sign an NLI before the end of the early signing period on Wednesday.
Stapleton had committed to Minnesota in October 2012 but reopened her recruitment just within the last couple of weeks, reportedly because she wanted to attend a school closer to home.
Here's a Blue Star scouting report from a January 2013 event rundown:
Another member on Ohio’s ultra-deep 2014 class is this early University of Minnesota commit. 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.
As is often the case, the rankings on Stapleton vary widely: ASGR has her #332 in country, calling her a "strong, true low post player who can score and pass," while espnW has her as a three star and the #16 post nationally, which would place her just outside their top 100. espnW's brief eval is: "Low-block performer with size defends, alters shots; rebounds and initiates fast break; developing consistency on faceup game to the arc; average mobility in transition." Prospects Nation also has her as an unranked three star.
With Stapleton's commitment, Michigan is out of scholarships for 2014, barring any future attrition*. The staff is also left with just one open spot for 2015. With three commits so far for 2015, none of whom are post players, they may still look to secure a commitment from a center in that class. Among the players Michigan has targeted are 6-2 Batouly Camara (NJ), 6-6 Theresa Ekhelar (NJ), 6-4 Hallie Thome (OH), and 6-2 Jonell Williams (FL)—all highly rated prospects. Thome has been on campus multiple times; Williams took an unofficial visit in October and a Michigan coach recently trekked down to Palatka, Fla., to attend the first game of Williams's high school basketball season.
But there are a number of other top prospects they're also after who aren't centers, including two in-state players from 2015 who I've mentioned in previous threads: guards Kalabrya Gondrezick (Benton Harbor) and Cierra Rice (Grosse Pointe South). Michigan was also recently included in the final 11 of 5-9 guard Arike Ogunbowale, a 5-star, top-10 prospect out of Milwaukee. Her other finalists are Connecticut, Duke, DePaul, Louisville, Marquette, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Stanford, UCLA, and Wisconsin.
*Note that this is based on Val Driscoll coming back for a fifth season. She's listed as a senior on the Michigan roster but has another year of eligibility left after having sat out last season with a torn ACL. I'm not going to just assume she won't get a fith year on the basis of how she's listed on the roster, however.
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.