Cheryl Burnett may no longer be the Michigan women’s basketball coach, but her direct impact on the program looks like it will last for at least four more years.
Veronica Hicks, a senior at Thornwood High School (South Holland, Ill.) signed a National Letter of Intent in November, and the Burnett recruit still plans to attend Michigan.
“She told me, ‘Coach, it doesn’t matter,’ ” said Kevin Connor, Hicks’s coach at Thornwood. ” ‘I have to get used to a new coach other than you anyway.’ So she was like, ‘It didn’t matter to me at all.’ “
Hicks averaged 18 points, seven rebounds, 6.3 assists and 4.4 steals her senior year. She set a school record by scoring 40 points in a game, and added 11 rebounds, 10 assists and 10 steals for a quadruple-double.
Connor said the 5-foot-9 point guard has a wingspan of about 6-foot-3, which allows her to get so many steals. He also said Hicks has great court vision and would thrive in a system that lets her control the ball, penetrate and make plays.
Hicks also drew a lot of interest from Iowa prior to her commitment, Connor said.
Hicks couldn’t be reached for comment.
Alex Guyton could push Burnett’s direct effect on Michigan even further into the future.
Guyton, a junior at Bloomington North High School, verbally committed to Michigan before her junior season, but has decided to “start the recruiting process all over again” after hearing of Burnett’s retirement and getting a call from the former coach.
“She just apologized and said that she wishes that she could be there,” Guyton said. “She understands my feelings and she had to do what she had to do.”
Despite the apparent obstacles, it’s still very possible Guyton ends up a Wolverine.
“The biggest factor was that we were extremely comfortable with coach Burnett and her staff and the way they went about recruiting her and the honesty and the integrity that they had and the fact that the University of Michigan is an outstanding school,” said Robin Guyton, Alex’s mother. “Alex is actually hoping that when the new coach comes in, it will be somebody who will want to pursue her. She’s definitely leaving it open to come back as a committed person to Michigan, provided that when the new coach comes in, that they can work together.
“Right now, Michigan is still at the top of Alex’s list. She talked to (sophomores Ashley Jones and Melinda Queen the day after Burnett retired). They want her. She still wants to play with them. But until we know what the situation is there, we needed to let other coaches know that she’s available in the event that once the coach comes in, Alex doesn’t fit their system.”
Robin Guyton said her daughter wasn’t in a rush to choose a new school and would wait until Michigan hired its new coach.
But Alex Guyton did say, once the new coach is hired, she would wait for him or her to call her.
Alex Guyton said she received offers from No. 12 Purdue (Big Ten Champions and alive in the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament), Indiana (alive in the Sweet 16 of the Women’s National Invitational Tournament), Cincinnati and Princeton before she verballed to Michigan.