The Wolverine

June-July 2012

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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Page 39 of 83

FORGING A NEW PATH With U-M's National Brand And New Facilities, Head Coach Kim Barnes Arico Aims To Recharge The Wolverines' Recruiting Efforts he was famously not shown the inside of Yost Fieldhouse, where the Wolver- ines then played their games. He was told the door was locked — U-M's staff feared the decrepit old building would be a turn-off — so he saw The Big House and other campus build- ings instead. Russell's historic career, which in- W hen legendary Michigan basketball player Cazzie Russell arrived in Ann Ar- bor for his recruiting visit, BY ANDY REID 10 wins or fewer in 2005 (five), 2006 (six), 2007 (10) and 2009 (10). But there are plenty of reasons to be excited. Last season, Michigan unveiled the cluded two appearances in the NCAA championship game, helped the ath- letics department gain the traction necessary to build Crisler Arena, which is affectionately called "The House That Cazzie Built." Decades later, the Michigan basket- ball program found itself in a similar situation. Crisler Arena had grown outdated and overshadowed by new gleaming arenas, such as Michigan State's Jack Breslin Center and Ohio State's Value City Arena. And, as other teams constructed separate practice facilities with state-of-the-art equip- ment, the Wolverines were forced to find places to do individual work by themselves. The Michigan men's team's strug- has cracked the HoopGurlz top 100 prospects list (Sam Arnold, 2009), tied with Indiana and Nebraska for the lowest total among Big Ten teams. In that time, other conference teams have grabbed several recruits from the rankings: Ohio State (11), Purdue (10), Penn State (nine), Michigan State (eight), Northwestern (six), Minne- sota (six), Illinois (five) and Wisconsin (two). While Michigan was bringing in gles with inadequate facilities have been well documented, but it affected the women's team, too, especially in the recruiting world. Since 2004, just one U-M signee 40 THE WOLVERINE JUNE/JULY 2012 William Davidson Player Develop- ment Center, which has already had a vast impact on the program's success, both on the court and the recruiting trail. Meanwhile, Crisler Arena is un- dergoing a massive renovation proj- ect that will improve the game-day atmosphere. In 2012, the Wolverines went to the NCAA Tournament for the first time in 11 years, and hauled in an impres- sive 2012 recruiting class that includes Michigan's Miss Basketball, Grosse Pointe University Liggett point guard Madison Ristovski. And after the loss of head coach Kevin Borseth, who resigned from the program to accept the head job at Wisconsin-Green Bay following five seasons in Ann Arbor, Michigan in- troduced an energetic and promising coach in Kim Barnes Arico, who has a record of turning around downtrod- den programs and building success. Arico used her recruiting skills to make the Red Storm a destination for top prospects, including point guard Keylantra Langley, who was No. 37 in the HoopGurlz top 100 rankings. "I definitely have recruited nation- BUILDING RELATIONSHIPS While at St. John's (2002-12), Barnes Madison Ristovski averaged 19.2 points, 9.0 assists and 3.0 steals a game on her way to winning Michigan's Miss Basketball award for 2012. PHOTO COURTESY MADISON RISTOVSKI he said. "We looked, a lot, at the quality of player she was able to recruit. And we believe that Kim can be even more effective with this national footprint. "Clearly, you have some restrictions when you're coaching in New York City, as opposed to being in the Big Ten, being located in the Midwest with the kind of national brand we have here at Michigan, and I know that's something she's looking forward to." Barnes Arico, who has been on the ally, and the thing about women's bas- ketball is that it's become national," Barnes Arico said. "The best AAU teams in each state go to the national events. I've had an opportunity to re- cruit from some of the best programs in the footprint of the Big Ten." When looking for a new coach, job for a little over a month, has been busy getting to know the current team and convincing the four signees in the 2012 class — Ristovski; Inkster, Mich., forward Kelsey Mitchell; Hollywood, Fla., forward Rebecca Lyttle; and Co- lumbus, Ohio, guard Symone Den- ham — to stay on board with the new direction of the program. So far, so good. The four signees less-than-stellar talent, the program went 108-139 from 2004-12, recording Michigan athletics director Dave Bran- don weighed recruiting ability heavily and was pleased what he saw from Barnes Arico. "Every coach we hire, recruiting is such a big part of their responsibility," have not asked for a release from their letters of intent after Barnes Arico trav- eled to meet all four and their families. "I was definitely nervous when I heard there was going to be a new coach," Mitchell said. "But when I met her, she was just as excited as me to get the program going in the right direc- tion. I really like her, and I'm excited to start this summer."

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