The Wolverine

November 2016

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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58 THE WOLVERINE NOVEMBER 2016 2016-17 BASKETBALL PREVIEW just 6-0. In fact, after Thome's 6-5, the next tallest player on last year's roster was 6-1. Junior Jillian Dunston also helped out in the post — especially in the rebounding department with a team-high 5.6 rebounds per game in 2015-16 — but at just 5-11 she is not the ideal power forward. This year the team's overall height will change in a major way, with the addition of three freshmen that stand six feet or taller. The most signifi- cant addition, however, may come from a redshirt junior volleyball star. Abby Cole will join the basketball team following the conclusion of the Michigan volleyball season, and her 6-5 frame will be a welcome addi- tion. The second-team All-American college volleyball player was a prep standout for Grand Haven High School in Michigan, and if her bas- ketball skills are anything like what she has shown on the volleyball court, she will a major weapon for the Wolverines. "Sometimes we got hurt because we didn't have the length to compete with some of the other teams that had the average height of 6-1, 6-2," Barnes Arico said. "You can really affect the game on the defensive end with your length, so hopefully we become a better defensive team, a better rebounding team. "But also the ability to see over people makes a big difference, and when you have bigger guards that really helps being able to pass inside to our bigs." FRESHMAN CAMARADERIE Michigan has to replace three se- niors from last year's roster, and the four freshmen have big shoes to fill. The star of the recruiting class is Pa- rade All-American guard Kysre Gon- drezick. She made headlines during her senior year at Benton Harbor for scoring 72 points in a high school playoff game and was named Miss Basketball in Michigan following the season. Joining Gondrezick are forwards KeAsja Peace and Kayla Robbins as well as fellow guard Akienreh John- son. It is likely that multiple fresh- men make contributions to the team this year, with Gondrezick possibly playing a major role on the team from the start. Given that opportu- nity, the new players will have to adjust to the college game quickly. "This is definitely a mental game, rather than physical," Gondrezick said. "I think in high school, for some players you could get away with just going off of your physical [skills], but being able to be intellectually alert and intelligent about the game is re- ally going to make me grow as a bas- ketball player." The freshmen will have to help fill the roles played by key contributors Madison Ristovski and Kelsey Mitch- ell. Ristovski will be especially hard to replace after she graduated as the all-time leader in games played (137) and won (83) for the Wolverines. One thing the four freshmen have going for them, however, is how tight knit a group they are. "I think the freshman group is re- ally connected," Barnes Arico said. "I think they decided to come here together. They all knew each other a little bit — maybe with the exception of Kayla [Robbins] — [and came to U-M] to create something special. "I think freshmen stick together be- cause it's a bumpy road. Some days are really good and some days are not so good, so they've developed a definite camaraderie." ❏ The freshman class brought in by head coach Kim Barnes Arico (pictured) features last year's Miss Basketball in Michigan, guard Kysre Gondrezick. PHOTO BY PER KJELDSEN Center Hallie Thome had an outstanding freshman year, scoring 505 points last year for the 10th-best single-season mark in team history. PHOTO BY PER KJELDSEN

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