July 23, 2014
Freshman Katelynn Flaherty comes to Ann Arbor as one of the highest ranked recruits in program history, coming in at No. 19 on the All-Star Girls Report when she signed her National Letter of Intent in November. She averaged 30.3 points, 5.8 assists, 4.1 rebounds and 3.5 steals as a junior at Point Pleasant, leading her team to its first-ever Group 1 state title. She transferred to Metuchen halfway through her senior season but suffered a foot injury that forced her to miss the remainder of the year. Flaherty was invited to the tryouts for the USA Basketball U18 team but missed the tryout because of the injury.
Flaherty has been at full strength since arriving at U-M, as she has been working to improve her game and adjust to basketball at the college level. In today's Summer Session, Flaherty discusses her time so far at Michigan both on and off the court, what she wants to study and how this team is like a family. She also talks about her East Coast connection to head coach Kim Barnes Arico and the strengths of the coaching staff.
On her time so far in Ann Arbor ... "It's been really good so far. There are a lot of new experiences, especially the level of play and the intensity of the workouts. I came here expecting it to be hard but I wasn't sure where it was going to be the hardest. Time management is so important. Coming in the summer is a huge advantage because you get acclimated to what it is like to have class and how the campus is. You get to know what the coaches expect of you, what responsibilities you have to take on before everything starts for real in the fall."
On what the biggest challenge has been this summer ... "The hardest thing is time management. Between classes and workouts, you always have somewhere to be or something to do. Being ready to work out and having energy for what you are doing is really important too."
On the coaching staff ... "I think it is great how supportive they are, but they can criticize you on the court too, which I like. At the end of the day, they are like your family. You can talk to them about anything, whether it is basketball or life related. It is truly motivating. They are all such smart coaches."
On her decision to come to Michigan ... "I picked Michigan because of basketball and academics. For me, I wanted to go to a strong academic school and a good basketball school so this was the best of both worlds. I love how supportive the coaches were and it seemed like they were really turning around the program. They always have the best interests of the players in mind. I wanted to be part of something that hasn't happened before and Michigan is the best place for me to do that."
On being back on the court after missing the second half of her senior season with a foot injury ... "It was really exciting to get back out there and play. I had only been playing for a couple of weeks before I came here for the summer. It was a little difficult to start playing against college players as my first time back, but everyone has been really supportive. At the same time, that has helped me raise my game to that level because I was jumping back into basketball with better players. The biggest difference between high school and college though is the speed and strength of everyone."
On what she plans to study ... "I am thinking about biology. I want to use that to get into the medical field. I don't know exactly what I want to do, but I want to be in medicine. I am taking an English class and anthropology class this summer."
On head coach Kim Barnes Arico and her style ... "She is energetic, motivational and a really smart coach. She is really good at getting the best out of you. We are both from the East Coast, so I knew she was at St. John's and that was close to me. We always heard about her and how great a coach she was."
On having a strong returning group ... "I think it is really helpful because they want to help us (freshmen). They tell you when you should do something or when not to do something. They have been really supportive and helpful as we figure everything out."
On what has been her favorite part of the summer ... "On the court and off the court, just being with the team and the staff has been my favorite part so far. It is always such a good time and we always have fun. It is amazing how well everyone gets along. I wasn't sure what to expect because we are all different people, but we all fit together into a family."
Previous Q&A: Jillian Dunston