July 25, 2013
Junior Shannon Smith joined the Wolverines for the spring semester, coming from Trinity Valley Community College in Texas after spending two years at North Carolina. She will have two years of eligibility remaining and instantly becomes a veteran presence on a team that features three freshmen and four players coming off knee injuries in 2012-13. She sat down to talk about everything from why she picked Michigan to her parents -- who both graduated from Michigan State -- to what head coach Kim Barnes Arico is like on and off the court.
On her journey to Michigan ... "When I decided that I was going to transfer from North Carolina, I started contacting schools and coach Nichols' name came up because I knew him from when he was at West Virginia. We knew he had come to Michigan with coach Arico, who we knew from all the success she had at St. John's. I knew I would love to play for her. We contacted them and got a visit set up last summer. I committed on the second day of my unofficial visit here."
On winning a national championship at her junior college, Trinity Valley ... "It was amazing. We went undefeated, other than one game that we had to forfeit. It was a great experience. At first, I was really against the junior college thing. When I transferred, I really just wanted to stay at the Division I level. But it ended up being such a great thing for me. I matured both on and off the court. It was a great experience, meeting all those girls and my coaches. Being so far away from home, they were always there for me and became another family. And on top of all of all that -- we won a national championship."
"It was the best decision I could have made to go the junior college route, just to get back on the court. I really didn't play my freshman year at North Carolina because I was redshirting, so I really only had practice time. So for me to get more experience at the college level was important. I didn't really know what to expect about the competition, but it was great. Three of my teammates went to Division I schools in Texas, Mississippi State and Colorado."
On what type of player she is ... "I will pass when I need to pass and I will shoot when I need to shoot. I love making big-time assists. I love making a great pass to somebody. I get more hyped when I set someone else up to score than when I score. But if my team needs me to score, I will."
On what she is working on in the gym ... "I am working on my left hand, making it just like my right hand. I can go left but I want to make it so there is no difference between going right or going left. I am working on finishing at the hole. Once I get there, I am working on being able to take the contact and finish."
On how her first few months at Michigan have been ... "They have been great. Everyone has shown so much hospitality and everyone is always there for you when you need it. The weather has been good so far, I was used to the hot weather from spending last year in Texas. I love my teammates, love my coaching staff and love everyone here. It is a lot more welcoming and warming than what I was used to. You can talk to the coaches about anything and they won't judge you. It is nice knowing that you can go to anyone here."
On the advantage of being here for spring and summer classes ... "It helps me understand the culture of Michigan Basketball. They have a big thing on that. It has been great to get to know the campus and how to get around, what buses to take. Getting to know my teammates, I think, has been the biggest thing. It has been awesome getting to know them, both in the gym and out of the gym."
On her favorite basketball memory ... "It is pretty hard to top the national championship, but we won the state championship my senior year in high school after losing by a point the year before. We came back and played at North Carolina, where I was already committed to play. That was a great experience to get to win on the court that I was going to be playing my college ball at. But then again, nothing compares to the national championship. People doubted us and it was just awesome to be able to win that. Winning MVP of the tournament was just another thing that showed how great our team was. Being named an All-American at the junior college level was something that I will always remember too."
On what her dad, a former Michigan State basketball player, thinks about her attending Michigan ... "He loves it. All of his friends went to Michigan, so he knows a lot of Michigan people. They will always be Spartans for life, though. My mom is a crazy Michigan State fan, she went there too. They love it here and they love the coaches. They are happy for me. They will definitely cheer for the women's basketball team. I can't make that promise about the men's team though!"
On going to Europe ..." I am excited. I am ready to play and get everything going. It is exciting that we get the opportunity to play before other teams get to. And not only that, we get to do that in Europe. It should be a good time."
On wearing No. 5 ... "I wear No. 5 because my dad wore it. Growing up, I always wore No. 5. When I started playing at the YMCA to playing AAU, I wore No. 5. In middle school, I had to wear No. 10 for double five's because we didn't have the No. 5 jersey. Everywhere I have gone, I have been that number."
On head coach Kim Barnes Arico ... "She is a great all-around person. My junior college coach was like that, just so warming. Coach's energy just spreads out to everyone. She comes into the gym yelling and jumping around and all hyped up. That just gets you hyped as a player and is always great to have around. I love how she will talk to you, and not just about basketball, but about anything you want to talk about. It is nice to have someone who is not always going to get on you and will talk to you when you need it."
On her shoe collection ... "My dad is really big on shoes and it rubbed off on me. When I was younger, I would always need new shoes to play basketball in. I have always been really into Nike and Jordan shoes and have a lot now. Every time I got money as a kid, I would run to go get more shoes. Most of them are in my closet here but some of them are in my parents' attic. I am working on getting some more adidas shoes now that I am at Michigan."
Checking In With Coach Barnes Arico - July 23, 2013
Contact: Sarah VanMetre (734) 763-4423