Remember the kid in high school who did everything?
Who was the class valedictorian, student council president, honor roll student and star of the basketball team?
Michigan senior guard Krista Clement was all those things and more and at Michigan she’s showcased her leadership skills as the four-time captain of the women’s basketball team.
“She’s really one of a kind, she really is,” Michigan coach Kevin Borseth said. “She’s someone that everybody likes, is an overachiever and a kid that gets it.”
Added teammate Carly Benson: “Krista’s the reason I came to Michigan. She’s fun to be around, easy to talk to, always encouraging, very positive and really hardworking.”
Clement is the first four-time captain in program history and is the ultimate coach’s player – arriving first to practice and leaving last.
With her slight 5’9″ frame, Clement’s success on the court comes from intelligence, hard work and defensive effort.
Hailing from St. Ignace, a basketball town of just under 3,000 people in the Upper Peninsula, Clement comes off as quintessential go-getter.
“Everything she paints, she wants to be a masterpiece,” Borseth said. “She doesn’t do anything half-way. She does it all the way or she doesn’t do it at all.”
Her success on the court has a lot to do with the support she gets, particularly from her family. Clement’s parents have attended all but one of her home games at Michigan, driving eight hours roundtrip to see her play.
With a great foundation, it would seem Clement had an easy road to success. But that couldn’t be farther from the truth.
As a freshman and sophomore, Clement played more than 20 minutes per game, while switching in and out of the starting lineup. But last year, the guard played just eight minutes per game – giving her reason to feel confused and discouraged, especially after being named captain for the third straight season.
Still, she never stopped working.
“I put a lot of time in during the summer,” Clement said. “My brother was here all this summer. We worked out together every day. So that was maybe a little bit more helpful than the other summers, when I was by myself.”
With Borseth’s arrival, Clement found herself with a great opportunity. Unlike many coaches, Borseth didn’t choose to play underclassmen to build for the future. Instead, he followed the philosophy of playing veteran players.
“I’ve been really grateful for that,” Clement said.
And she hasn’t wasted her chance.
Starting all 15 games this season, Clement is averaging 6.1 ppg and 3.4 rpg while playing nearly 35 minutes a night.
Clement’s steady play has helped Michigan get off to its best start in recent memory. The Wolverines are 10-5 and tied for the fourth-best record in the Big Ten at 3-2.
“It’s been amazing,” Clement said. “We’ve gone through a lot. (Winning) has been pretty nice for all of us.”
Clement chose Michigan because she dreamed of winning a national championship wearing the maize and blue. Although Michigan has been a dreadful 31-71 record since she arrived, Clement doesn’t regret her college choice.
“Experience-wise, I’m just really grateful,” Clement said. “I’ve learned so much.”