After pulling together a stellar 2014 class that's likely complete, Kim Barnes Arico and her staff are off to a great start on 2015 with the commitment tonight of Nicole Munger (who took an unofficial visit to Michigan earlier this month). Munger is a 5-8 combo guard out of Central Bucks West H.S. in Doylestown, Pennsylvania, in suburban Philadelphia. Blue Star has her ranked #67 in the country in the 2015 class. She plays AAU for the Philly Belles, so clearly newly hired assistant to the head coach Matt Bamford played a role here, as he coached the Philly Belles team Munger played on. But it's worth noting that Michigan was already recruiting Munger before Bamford's hiring.
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.
With Barnes Arico implementing her preferred up-tempo style of play this season, it's clear from this evaluation why she'd be interested in Munger (and vice versa).
UPDATE: A local news article has been published on Munger's commitment: CB West's Nicole Munger verbally commits to Michigan. It says that Drexel, Saint Joseph's, Boston College, and LSU had also shown interest in her. Here's an excerpt:
"It was a big decision, but it was a really great one,' Munger said. "The school is beautiful and the education (Munger is considering business as a major) is amazing. Coach Bamford is a tremendous coach, but I have been looking at Michigan since the spring. Everything seems right there.'
Bamford was also a coach on Munger's AAU team, the Philly Belles. It was on the summer circuit where Munger managed to open eyes to her newfound shooting range and her undeniable intensity on the court. Many girls have natural ability, but not many have the hard work and passion of a Munger.
"Nicole is just an incredible kid who had an incredible summer with AAU basketball,' [Central Bucks West coach Terry] Rakowsky said. "Her team won the Nike National Championships. It is the way she plays the game that makes the difference. She is a great example for the other kids in the Bucks program.'
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
Just back from the Michigan women's basketball team's first-ever foreign trip (see this page for details), Kim Barnes Arico and her staff got a tremendous piece of news: the verbal commitment of Katelynn Flaherty, a 5-7 point guard from New Jersey who's ranked #19, #23, #25, and #34 nationally in the 2014 class by four major recruiting services.
In a "player to watch" profile" MSGVarsity said this about Flaherty:
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.
Flaherty, who made an unofficial visit to Michigan a couple weeks ago, was considering offers from a number of major programs in women's hoops, including Georgia, Kentucky, Louisville, Ole Miss, Vanderbilt, and Virginia Tech.
Have to give an assist to John Beilein here (see the tweet/photo in the first reply), and Jabrill Peppers may have helped out as well as Peppers and Flaherty recently began following each other on Twitter.
This is a huge commitment, with the 2014 class shaping up to be one of the best—if not the best—in program history. Flaherty, Maria Backman, and Jillian Dunston make up the class so far (see the women's hoops recruiting board for full details), and the coaches are in the running for some other major prospects. Michigan is a finalist for 5-8 combo guard Arica Carter out of California and 6-1 forward Cayla McMorris out of Minnesota, and they appear to have legitimate shots at a handful of others.
5-9 guard Halle Wangler, daughter of John Wangler and older sister of Michigan football preferred walk-on Jack Wangler, left Oakland University in June and announced today that she's transferring to Michigan and will join the women's basketball team. At Oakland, she redshirted in 2011-12 and then played sparingly in 2012-13 (although Oakland was a rather dysfunctional program under the recently fired Beckie Francis). So she'll have two years of eligibility remaining after sitting out the upcoming season.
Wangler, who prepped at Royal Oak Shrine, earning all-state honors as a senior on the wing, has left Oakland University. She is a human ball of energy on the hardwood, an elite defender that has significantly upped her game on the offensive side of the court the last few years.
Update (8/10): As this article on Jared Wangler mentions, Halle Wangler will be a walk-on on the team, not a scholarship player.
News about this has been coming out in bits and pieces for some time, but today the trip was officially announced: Wolverines to Take Trip to France and Italy in August
The University of Michigan women's basketball team will take a foreign trip to France and Italy in August (19-29), head coach Kim Barnes Arico announced on Wednesday (July 17).
"We are very excited to have the opportunity to take a foreign trip," Barnes Arico said. "It is a great chance for our team to get a head start on the upcoming season while seeing a completely different part of the world. The extra practice time, especially with four newcomers and four players coming off of knee injuries, will be invaluable for our young team. "
"We are grateful for the generosity of Nancy Lohr, who donated the money for us to take this trip. As we continue to build our program, supporters like Nancy are integral to our success."
The Wolverines will depart Ann Arbor on Aug. 19, flying overnight to Paris. U-M will participate in three games across the pond, playing in Paris (Aug. 23), Lake Como (Aug. 24) and Rome (Aug. 27). Michigan's tour of Western Europe will include stops in Paris, the south of France, Lake Como, Florence and Rome before traveling back to Ann Arbor on Aug. 29.
With five seniors having graduated and three players transferring out either midseason or at season's end, the team has only two players coming back who played meaningful minutes in 2012-13. So the extra practice time should be significant, as will the opportunity for team bonding. The men's program took a similar trip with a young team in August 2010, and that trip helped propel that team to a successful season.
Congrats to four Michigan women's basketball players for earning All-Big Ten honors:
- Kate Thompson: 2nd team, coaches and media
- Jenny Ryan: 3rd team, coaches and media
- Rachel Sheffer: honorable mention, coaches and media
- Nya Jordan: honorable mention, media
From the press release:
It is the first time since the 2001-02 season that U-M has had two players on a second or third team. Ryan was also Michigan's Big Ten Sportsmanship Award honoree.
Big Ten Tournament
The team is seeded 5th in the Big Ten tournament and will play Indiana, the 12 seed, on Thursday at about 9:30 ET (Big Ten Network). If Michigan wins, they'll play MSU on Friday at about the same time. A tourney bracket can be accessed here.
Updated bracket projections from both ESPN's Charlie Creme and the S Factor blog have Michigan as an 8 seed for the NCAA tourney. The Wolverines are a lock to earn their second-straight NCAA berth at this point—how they do in the BTT will affect only their seeding.