The Wolverine

August 2022*

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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32 THE WOLVERINE AUGUST 2022 BY ANTHONY BROOME W omen's basketball forward Naz Hillmon walks out of the 2021-22 season as The Wolverine's pick for Fe- male Athlete of the Year at Michigan. The storied career of "00" saw her not only fill a stat sheet on her own but also help lift the program to new heights un- der her watch. Hillmon averaged 21 points, 9.6 re- bounds and 2.1 assists per game this season and tallied 18 double-doubles. She had a pair of 30-point efforts dur- ing her final campaign and scored 50 in a win at Ohio State in 2020-21. U-M will miss Hillmon's leadership dearly, and her accolades put her in the conversation with the all-time Ann Ar- bor basketball greats, men or women. She is the first Wolverine to earn All- America honors in Michigan women's basketball history, a feat she pulled off in 2021 and 2022. Hillmon is also the first basketball player for either U-M program to notch 2,000 points and 1,000 rebounds. The last two seasons were crown- ing achievements for both Hillmon and U-M women's hoops. They reached the program's first Sweet 16 during the 2020-21 campaign. This past year, Michigan advanced to the Elite Eight — another first — before falling by a score of 52-50 to Louisville, ending Hillmon's career. Head coach Kim Barnes Arico believes that Hillmon's No. 00 jersey should be honored at Crisler Center. "I think she belongs in the rafters of Crisler for sure," Barnes Arico said during the postseason. "We always talk about the house that Cazzie [Russell] built, but we sometimes should talk about the house that Nazzy built on the women's side." Hillmon credits many for the success she has enjoyed at Michigan. "I'll continue to say that I'm not the player I am without my team- mates and my coaches surround- ing me, making me look as good as I do sometimes," she explained. "[My teammates] make me look really good; they get me the ball. Without them, I wouldn't be able to get the ac- colades I have, and the success that I've had throughout my years. "In terms of the jersey retirement, if that happens, you put the years of all my teammates on there, too." Hillmon's impact went beyond her on- court performances. Barnes Arico would use the term "Naz for President" about how active her star was while sitting on the Big Ten coalition during the CO- VID-19 pandemic. Her outspoken nature and community impact are what ham- mered home her legend status at U-M. "We speak about it nonstop because it's on the court, but it's off the court as well," Barnes Arico said. "What she's done in the community, what she's done FEMALE ATHLETE OF THE YEAR NAZ HILLMON 'NAZ FOR PRESIDENT' Naz Hillmon Ends Her Storied U-M Career By Leading The Charge For Another Storybook Season In her final season at U-M, Hillmon earned first-team Associated Press All-America honors and led the Wolverines to the Elite Eight for the first time in program history. PHOTO BY PER KJELDSEN

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