After sitting out for almost a year, freshman wing Elise Stuck will join the Michigan’s women’s basketball team this year, adding another offensive weapon to its roster.
With Stuck, the Wolverines will be able to tap into the abilities of a 6-foot-1 player who averaged 21 points and 10 rebounds a game during her junior high school season. Stuck is the all-time leading scorer of Charlevoix High School, scoring 1,494 points over her career, a fact even more impressive given that she tore her ACL last summer and had to sit out almost her entire senior season.
After surgery to repair her knee in August, Stuck is eager to get back on the court.
“I definitely had just some minor setbacks, just not playing an actual game for about a year after that, and then with COVID, I didn’t play very many high school games after I returned, but that was a little bit of a transition for me,” Stuck said. “I played five games in my senior year of high school, and even that I didn’t play very many minutes. I think the biggest setback to me was just my IQ. The game felt really fast.”
The Wolverines have had their fair share of knee injuries in the past. Fifth-year senior guard Akinereh Johnson, junior forward Naz Hillmon and sophomore guard Maddie Nolan have all dealt with knee injuries at some point in their careers.
Stuck and Nolan are similar in the way they started their careers. Nolan suffered a devastating knee injury in her junior year of high school and had to sit out of her senior season. Yet she recovered in time to play for Michigan in the 2019-2020 season and averaged 18.9 minutes per game of playing time.
If Stuck can follow a path similar to Nolan’s, she may have the opportunity to contribute to the Wolverines’ offense in just her first year with the team. Although Michigan coach Kim Barnes Arico has mentioned how a group of older players may dominate the rotation, she remains excited about the addition of Stuck.
“(Stuck) has been working incredibly hard and just does all the intangible things. There’s a lot of little things: rebounds the ball, has a certain toughness about her, and can play multiple positions,” Barnes Arico said. “She’s undersized, so she could play the post for us, but she can also move out to the wing spot and shoots the three exceptionally well.”
Stuck has a good 3-point shot, which is something that the Wolverines missed last season. Michigan attempted 133 fewer 3-point shots than all of their opponents combined over 32 games, and averaged 4.8 shots made per game compared to 6.0 shots made per game by their opponents. If the Wolverines want to compete for a Big Ten Championship, they will have to shoot from behind the arc better than they did last season.
Stuck’s season will boil down to her ability to get on the court, although a crowded bench may limit her playing time. Regardless, Stuck will be ready to support her team however necessary.
When asked if she feels any pressure to perform or stand out on the team she laughed and said, “No, not at all. Definitely not. I’m just here to better the team.”
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