Nov. 9, 2016
ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- University of Michigan women's basketball head coach Kim Barnes Arico announced Wednesday (Nov. 9) the signing of Hailey Brown and Deja Church to National Letters of Intent to join the Wolverines for the 2017-18 academic year. The early signing period began today and runs through Nov. 16.
"We have known Hailey and Deja, along with their families, for a long time and have been watching them play since we have been at Michigan," Barnes Arico said. "They are two special young women. It feels like they have been part of our Michigan family forever, so it is great to officially welcome them today. I think the continuity of our coaching staff really helped in the recruiting process because each of our assistant coaches has been able to build great relationships with all of our recruits.
"Hailey and Deja had multiple opportunities to go to other schools, but after going through the process, they knew that the University of Michigan was the best place for them in terms of a 'forever' decision. We talk about when you come to Michigan, it is a 40-year commitment, not just a four-year one. One day, basketball is going to go away, but that Michigan degree is going to be with them forever."
Hailey Brown (Hamilton, Ontario) // No. 38 HoopGurlz
Brown, a 6-foot-1 forward, will come to Ann Arbor with a wealth of international experience after playing in the Canadian National Team program for the last four years. In her latest stint with the junior national team at the 2016 U18 FIBA Americas this past summer, Brown appeared in five games and averaged 10.0 points and 8.8 rebounds in 23.7 minutes per game. She has been in the Canadian National Team program since 2013 and has played in seven international competitions for a total of 31 games. She attends St. Thomas More C.S.S. for high school and plays AAU for Hamilton Transway.
"Hailey is so versatile on the basketball court," Barnes Arico said. "She is a post player who can face up, can knock down shots to extend the defense and can go off the bounce. I really think that it is her overall basketball IQ and toughness that are going to help us. Her time with the Canadian National Program the last few years has given her so much confidence while consistently facing the best basketball players in the world. I think she is mature beyond her years, both on and off the court. She is a great student, has a great understanding of the game of basketball and knows how to make those around her better. She wants to be part of building something special and doing things that have never been done before, which is what we have emphasized with our current team and our recruits. I think Hailey will bring a toughness and edge that we need in our program."
"I chose Michigan for many reasons," Brown said. "The University of Michigan is a high academic school that is known worldwide. It is also a school that is building its women's basketball program. For me, this was an important factor because I want to play on a team that is working its way to the top. Finally, I chose Michigan because they are very family-oriented and I wanted to go to a school that acts as if they were my family away from home."
Deja Church (Southfield, Mich.) // No. 67 Prospects Nation
Church, a 5-10 guard, will make the short move from Southfield to Ann Arbor. A four-star recruit, Church was the Class A Player of the Year as a junior and earned all-state honors after helping Southfield Lathrup to the regional final and a 21-5 record. Church was also the MIPrepZone's Player of the Year for Oakland County after going for 19.4 points, 6.5 rebounds and 2.6 assists per game in 2015-16. She plays AAU for Michigan Crossover and was teammates with current U-M freshmen Kysre Gondrezick and KeAsja Peace.
"Deja is just a sparkplug and is someone who I have watched improve ever since I became the coach at Michigan," Barnes Arico said. "She is a coach's dream who puts you in the mindset of a Nicole Munger or a Jillian Dunston. She has a motor on both the offensive and defensive ends of the floor and is always playing hard. She just wants to get out on the floor and work. She is constantly focused on improving her game and how she can make everyone around her better. Her commitment to stay at home and help continue to elevate this program means so much to me personally. Since we have been at Michigan, our focus has been on getting the best players in the state to stay home. I think that we are finally turning a corner because players are realizing that Michigan is a good fit and this is a style that is fun to play. Deja grew up right outside Detroit, and getting a player like her to choose this university speaks volumes about the direction of our program."
"I chose Michigan because of the relationships I made with the coaches and players during my whole recruiting process," Church said. "The school has great alumni support, which will help me when my basketball career is over. I look forward to playing in Crisler Center in front of my friends and family for my four years in a Michigan uniform."
U-M kicks off the 2016-17 season on Friday (Nov. 11), hosting Oakland at 6:30 p.m. The Wolverines will also play at Crisler Center again on Sunday (Nov. 13) when they host Niagara at 3 p.m.
Communications Contact: Sarah VanMetre