Nearly every day, the players on the Michigan women’s basketball team take orders from coach Kim Barnes Arico and her staff.
Sunday gave the players the opportunity to step into Barnes Arico’s shoes and try their hand at coaching.
The Wolverines spent their day at a basketball clinic at Crisler Center teaching the fundamentals of basketball to girls who are currently in third through eighth grade. Six Michigan players each took a group of kids to teach dribbling, passing, shooting, defense, rebounding and free throws, respectively.
“It’s so awesome that they’re here to get better,” said senior guard Danielle Williams. “For us to see them on the court when they normally see us on the court, to get to know them and interact with them is awesome.”
For the Wolverine players who participated in the clinic, Sunday represented an opportunity not just to connect with younger players and improve their coaching skills, but also to improve their own playing abilities.
“I just continue to think (about) the game and learn in different ways,” said sophomore guard Boogie Brozoski. “To look at other players and say, ‘Hey, fix this because it’s not right,’ and also to look at myself and say, ‘Hey, am I doing it right?’ it’s great just comparing myself to them and teach them new things.”
When asked, both Brozoski and Williams agreed that Barnes Arico should take a look at some of the clinic participants for future recruiting.
“I’m sure someday, class of 2035 or something like that, that maybe they’ll be here,” Williams said. “It’ll be awesome, because that’s really what it’s all about.”
Added Brozoski: “(Barnes Arico) should be out here right now looking at them. They’re pretty good. They’re intense, they’re competitive.”
While the event has occurred every year since Barnes Arico became coach, this year’s edition proved especially popular. A total of 360 girls were admitted into the clinic before registration had to be closed.
Those who made it in received a few souvenirs as a bonus. Everyone received a T-shirt, season tickets and a Michigan basketball poster that could be autographed by each of the players.
“We want the younger kids to really look up to you, really like you, put themselves in your shoes and want to be here,” Brozoski said. “I think it’s great for the kids to want to come watch us because you build relationships with them and they feel like they know us.”
Coming on the heels of the Jumpman uniform unveiling and media day, the kids clinic only made the Wolverines more anxious to begin their season. Michigan will host Wayne State for an exhibition contest Nov. 3 and Oakland for the first official game Nov. 11.
Whatever ultimately happens during those contests and during the rest of the season, the Wolverines will walk in knowing both their playing and coaching skills are better after the kids clinic.