The Wolverine

November 2011

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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2011-12 basketball preview I By Andy Reid n basketball, a sizable, physical post player can provide a huge advantage on the court: Tennessee���s Candace Parker (200508), Michigan State���s Alyssa DeHaan (2006-10) and Baylor junior Brittney Griner have all been invaluable assets to their respective teams, and some of the biggest names in recent history. Last season, the Wolverines were at a severe size disadvantage in the post, starting 6-1 Rachel Sheffer, now a junior, at center, while 6-5 freshman Val Driscoll sat on the bench. Sheffer did an admirable job, hauling in 112 rebounds (3.7 per game) and shooting 46.4 percent from the field, but a center with Driscoll���s size could be the missing piece to Michigan���s NCAA Tournament puzzle. In his fifth season at Michigan, head coach Kevin Borseth is now comfortable sitting young players and allowing them to gain the first-year development that many need, which largely explains why Driscoll didn���t play much. ���Early in his career he really needed a lot of freshmen and sophomores to come into this program and play really quickly, but now we have experience and kids that have been here for three or four years,��� senior guard Courtney Boylan said. ���This is now Coach Borseth���s team, with the players he recruited, so we���ll definitely see as the season goes on if he sticks to his old formula of playing the veterans and bringing the freshmen along slowly. But if someone is good enough to help us win games, she will play.��� Driscoll ��� along with redshirt sophomore Kendra Seto and freshmen Brenae Harris, Nicole Elmblad, Cyesha Goree and Aquashia Anderson ��� can have a big impact this season. Poised For A Big Year A center at Archbishop Williams High School in Stoughton, Mass., Driscoll scored more than 1,000 points in her career, led the Catholic League in scoring twice and helped her team to back-to-back state titles in 2006-07 and 2007-08. At that level, Driscoll could dominate in the post physically without cultivating the necessary skills to transition to the offensive game at the collegiate level. 76��� the wolverine��� ������ November 2011 Driscoll, a sophomore who made 16 appearances last season and averaged 1.6 points in 3.8 minutes per game, could see greatly increased playing time this year. photo by per kjeldsen Opportunity Awaits Val Driscoll And Other Young Players Set To Make A Big Impact Before she could see the floor in Maize and Blue, Driscoll had to improve her technique. ���It���s like an agate [a type of quartz rock]. When you first find it, it���s not very pretty until you polish it up and it looks good,��� Borseth said. ���Val���s still in that stage, but she���s got some agate underneath her, and we���re still polishing her. If we can get her where we need to get her, where she can score around that basket and be more predominant, it���s going to be a huge advantage for us.��� When Borseth met with the team on an individual basis before this season, his conversation with Driscoll was direct and to the point. If the Wolverines want to improve on their third-place finish in the Big Ten in 2010-11, she will be the key. ���Val���s been around for a year now. We sat down and talked with her and said, ���We need something,������ he said.

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