July 30, 2013
Freshman Paige Rakers is part of U-M's three-member freshman class for the 2013-14 season, joining the Wolverines from Carlyle, Ill. A three-sport standout in high school, Rakers earned 12 varsity letters playing volleyball, basketball and softball at Carlyle High School. She talks about what she is working on this summer, adjusting to college and what head coach Kim Barnes Arico brings to the gym.
On being at the University of Michigan ... "It almost seems unrealistic at first, like a big dream. The whole process of being recruited by them was amazing. You get here the first week and have this realization that "this is going to be my life now." It is pretty awesome."
On what drew her to the University of Michigan ... "The culture, the coaches, the players, the community, everything is so welcoming. It felt like a new home, even on my visit. The football game was awesome. It was just somewhere I wanted to be."
On her first few weeks at Michigan ... "The first couple of weeks were getting to know things and transitioning. They weren't tough but required a lot of thinking and thought process. Now that I am in a routine, everything is flying by. It was a huge advantage coming here in the summer to get to know everything before everyone else is here. I think that if I had come in the fall for the first time, I would have been lost. I am taking English and philosophy classes right now. The summer classes are at a faster pace, but considering I only have two of them, it is easy to keep up with.
On how she would describe her game ... "I am more of a shooting guard but in high school I had to play point guard because we didn't have anybody else. I am a three-point shooter, but I can also drive and hit a pull-up jumper."
On what she is working to improve this summer ... "I am working on the different footwork on shots and to get quicker. I am working on being able to create my own shot because at this level, you can't always get an easy, wide-open shot. The game is a lot quicker so I need to be as well."
On what the biggest differences are from high school basketball to college basketball ... "Everybody is bigger and stronger. Everything is faster. The court is bigger, which makes a difference. It is just a step up from everything in high school."
On playing three sports (volleyball, basketball and softball) during high school ... "I miss it. At this level, it just is not possible to play all three. I was actually leaning more towards playing softball in college until my junior year. I had played softball every summer until then and I played basketball during that summer. I played with my AAU team and started getting recruited. I made the decision after that I could not go without basketball."
On the team's upcoming trip to Europe ... "I have never been to Europe. I am so excited to go. I have only been out of the country once and that was to the Dominican Republic. It is a huge advantage for us to practice beforehand, especially for us freshmen. It is good for us to get a head start on what practice during the season will be like."
On head coach Kim Barnes Arico ... "She brings such energy into the gym with her. But when it is time to focus, it is time to focus. She wants to get the job done. She is definitely here to improve us. Off the court, she is like family. She is great."
Contact: Sarah VanMetre (734) 763-4423