In her eighth year at the helm of the women’s basketball program, Michigan coach Kim Barnes Arico raked in the 12th-ranked recruiting class in 2020 to join the Wolverines, highlighted by the No. 30 recruit in the country — forward Cameron Williams.

Williams is one of four players to sign her letter of intent, and is joined by No. 40 ranked Seattle native, guard Meghan Fiso, and two local Michigan players — guard Elise Stuck and forward Whitney Sollom.

Williams’ decision to join the Wolverines adds her to the long list of impact forwards recruited by Barnes Arico.

“Those kids as high school kids want to go to a place where they’re going to have an opportunity to learn from one of the best,” Barnes Arico said. “Naz Hillmon wanted to come to Michigan because she watched Hallie Thome develop over the years and she wanted an opportunity to learn from her and have a year to spend with her. The same was true when (Williams) was going through the recruiting process.”

Similar to what Thome meant for recruiting bigs, Williams could prove to be the catalyst for a new recruiting ground.

“Whitney Young High School is traditionally one of the best (basketball) high schools in the country,” Barnes Arico said. “(Williams’) head coach there — her husband is Mac Irvin, who runs the AAU program. They traditionally have one of the best AAU programs in the country.  Year in, year out, they have shown consistency and they just do a tremendous job developing their players and building high character kids.”

The acquisition of Sollom and Stuck, from Hartland and Charlevoix, respectively, marks the Wolverines’ first addition of players from Michigan since Deja Church transferred after last season.

“That has really been a point of emphasis since I’ve been here is to try and get the best players in the state to stay home,” Barnes Arico said. “When you want to build a program and you want to build a championship culture, you want to do it with Michigan kids that really bleed maize and blue, were born that way and want to win a championship for their home state.”

Sollom and Stuck were also recruited by Michigan State, whose roster currently contains eight players from the state. Three of the Spartans were four star recruits in the 2019 class and are making impact plays for the Spartans this season.

What all four recruits bring to the Wolverines is what Barnes Arico mentions every time she talks about recruiting — the experience of winning. Each player has moved far in their respective state tournaments, winning all-state honors along the way.

In order to win at this level, Michigan needs more talent to break into the upper echelon of teams, and recruiting impact players and gaining a foothold in a fertile recruiting ground is vital if it wants to take the next step. Over the last few years, with the acquisition of star recruits like Amy Dilk, Izabel Varejão, Hillmon and now Williams and Fiso, it’s slowly moving in that direction.

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