The Wolverine

June-July 2012

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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stant personal relationship is Barnes Arico's M.O. on the recruiting trail. She takes pride in her honesty, loy- For the most part, that kind of in- alty and energetic personality — and prospects immediately respond to that. "One of the most important things for me was to get connected with the players in the program and the ones that signed with the program for next year," she said. "They're the future of Michigan women's basketball, and they're who I am going to be work- ing with every single day. I wanted to make sure that I build a relationship with each one of them." Barnes Arico has been a successful a 42-point outburst in the Michi- gan Class C finals, which University Liggett lost 61-57. "We needed her to be a scorer, but Her crowning achievement was I think she'd rather be a distributor," first-year University Liggett coach Joe LaMagno said. "She really enjoys cre- ating for her teammates and reading the floor." The Wolverines lost starting point (2,013), and racked up 62 career dou- ble-doubles. "She's very strong, especially for her age," said Ollie Mitchell, her father and high school coach. "She has tre- mendous timing. "What I like most about her is that recruiter for years, and she's already tweaking her message. "One of the best things I have to sell is the University of Michigan," Barnes Arico "There is so much positive energy around what is going on, that it's the perfect time for players to choose to come to Michigan." she said. "But I also talk about where I've been and what I've been able to achieve in my period of time as a head coach. A lot of times, when I first meet a kid, I'll say something like, 'Did you see that team on "SportsCenter" that broke Connecticut's streak last year?' Or, 'Our team went to the Sweet 16 last year.' "I think recruits and their families want to be a part of something special, and they want to create something special along with me. "There are a lot of kids out there because I really think that she's a great young talent from our area. "As a freshman, I would imagine she will make an impact. Don't hold me to it, but it's a clean slate for every- one. That's what I'm telling the play- ers that are currently in the program, as well. It's not like I've watched them practice before or spent a lot of time around them. They have an opportu- nity to impress me right away." Barnes Arico met with the Ristovski who want an opportunity to be the face of a program, want to help put Michigan women's basketball on their back and move forward. I want kids that have that same vision and dream, and really truly believe that they can make a difference and that we can do it together. "That's what I'm selling right now guard Courtney Boylan to gradua- tion, and, from film and conversa- tions Barnes Arico has had with Ristovski, she is looking forward to getting the incoming freshman on campus. "She's special player, and more im- portantly, I think she's a special kid," Barnes Arico said. "I'm really excited to have the opportunity to coach her, she's a very fierce competitor. She takes her work to heart. Her biggest attribute is being able to compete and her strength." "That's something we could use in our lineup, is a big, strong, physical post that can really rebound the bas- ketball," Barnes Arico added. "I think we're returning a lot of great shooters and scorers. She gives us something we don't truly have." Mitchell has been on the national re- cruiting radar for several years. When she was 12, her travel team entered a tournament in Atlanta, in which Mitchell tallied 14 points, 13 rebounds and 12 blocks, garnering her first col- lege offer (from Northwestern). The other two signees, Denham and Lyttle, suffered setbacks as seniors, with torn ACLs. Denham, who hails from the same high school as men's basketball sophomore point guard Trey Burke, is a month ahead of sched- ule in her rehab, and Lyttle is making encouraging progress, too. There is plenty to be excited about — promising recruits, new facilities and a proven coach. Now, it's time to put it all together. "I think it's a great time to be com- family May 10. Although Ristovski was already sold on Michigan, she felt even better about her future after the meeting. "There's something to be said about ing on board," Barnes Arico said. "There is so much positive energy around what is going on, that it's the perfect time for players to choose to come to Michigan." ❑ — an opportunity to jump on board, because we have something special started here. Let's continue to move this thing forward, and let's do it together." averaged 19.2 points, 9.0 assists and 3.0 steals a game on her way to Miss Basketball honors this season. Ristovski is the gem of the class. She A STRONG START TO THE NEW ERA why things happen for a certain rea- son," said Ristovki's father, Loren, a high school athletic administer who has worked hard with Ristovski on the court. "Kim is a communicator. I think this is something that's going to be great for Michigan, and not only from a bas- ketball standpoint. She's going to put the program on the map." Mitchell is another local talent who will fight for playing time next season. Michigan was dead last in the Big Ten in rebounding margin in 2012 (-3.8), while Mitchell was a dy- namite rebounder in high school. She left Inkster as the program's all-time leader in boards (1,492) and points Guard Symone Denham from Columbus, Ohio, suffered a torn ACL in her senior sea- son, but she is already ahead of schedule in her rehab. PHOTO COURTESY SYMONE DENHAM JUNE/JULY 2012 THE WOLVERINE 41

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