July 15, 2014
Freshman Jillian Dunston was the first member of the 2014-15 freshman class to commit to Michigan. She, along with the rest of the freshman class, arrived in Ann Arbor at the end of June to start summer classes and workouts. She sat down to talk about her transition from high school to college, what it is like being on the court with head coach Kim Barnes Arico and how this team is more like a family than anything else.
On any surprises since coming to Michigan for the summer term ... "I think time management was the thing I was worried about the most. I am still getting used to it. I think getting the right sleep schedule is key, just so that you aren't trying to fight off going to sleep in class. Otherwise, it has been really good. Maybe a little better than I thought it would be. College seems so intimidating at first, but it is just really like going to school. You go from middle school to high school and then from high school to college. It is just another step in it all."
On how coming in the summer has helped her ... "Coming in the summer is a big advantage, especially with the bridge program here at Michigan. I think if you are just tossed into this world of higher academic learning, it can be easy to fail if you aren't prepared for it. If you start in the summer like we have, they have a hand on your back to help you along."
On passing the time until she finally got to Michigan for the summer ... "I remember that some of us had a group text with each other. We kind of kept a countdown until we were coming here. I remember when it was "six months guys!" Then, the day before I came here I was thinking "where did all that time go?" It went by fast. A lot of anticipation, but it came really quick."
On being on the court with head coach Kim Barnes Arico ... "I love how intense it is. I love how everything simulates a game. In high school, it felt like practices were kind of slow paced. You would jog here, jog there. Here, everything is a sprint and hard. When you are done doing something, you are a little out of breath when it is over. It is fun to really work on that."
On picking Michigan ... "I wouldn't say that this was my latest offer, but it came later into my sophomore year because Coach Arico had just gotten here. I had been on all these visits for the past three years and when I took the time to compare everywhere, I knew that Michigan was the place. When I came on a visit here, it just seemed like the place for me."
On what she is going to study ... "I think I am going to start with kinesiology and then maybe branch out into sport management. It would be good for me to go towards being an athletic director."
On wearing No. 11 ... "I was No. 11 before high school. When I started in high school, someone was already wearing that number, so I switched to No. 2 for no real reason. I wanted to keep wearing that number in college, but of course when I came here, Siera (Thompson) wears No. 2. So then I just figured I would go back to No. 11. It all came full circle.
On what she is working on this summer ... "I would say mental toughness. It is easy to kind of beat yourself up when you don't do things correctly. I am working at that whole process of not doing that. I think it is already coming around. Plus, you have all your teammates to pick you up when you might not do something right."
On how having a more experienced team this year helps her get acclimated ... "It helps a ton. Before everything we do, we get some advice from them on what to do and what not to do. It helps so much to have those players around you with that experience. It doesn't get offensive or anything like that when they are telling you how to do things because they are trying to help you out."
On this team ... "I love this team. I was just talking about this with Emoni (Jackson) the other day. It is really awesome how we all get along. We are the perfect combination of different people and personalities all strung together. We are like one tight fist."
Previous Q&A: Coach Barnes Arico