Four Players Make Up Barnes Arico's Initial U-M Recruiting Class
Kim Barnes Arico

Nov. 14, 2012

ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- University of Michigan women's basketball head coach Kim Barnes Arico announced Wednesday (Nov. 14) the signing of the following players to National Letters of Intent. They will join the Wolverines for the 2013-14 campaign.

Name Pos. Ht. Hometown (High School)
Paige Rakers G 5-11 Carlyle, Ill. (Carlyle)
Shannon Smith G 5-7 Gastonia, N.C./Forestview [Trinity Valley CC]
Siera Thompson PG 5-7 Gardena, Calif./Serra
Danielle Williams PG 5-9 Phoenix, Ariz. (St. Mary's)

"I am excited about the young ladies who will be joining our program," Barnes Arico said. "I think it was really important for us to make inroads and get this first recruiting under our new coaching staff on board. They are all tremendous young ladies who come from very successful high school programs. They have played in AAU programs that compete at the highest level. It was important for us in the process of building our culture to get players that come from winning programs. These young ladies are all from great families and are excellent students. They will represent Michigan in the best way. They are leaders and best in everything that they do.

"Considering this was our first year and I didn't get hired until late in the recruiting process, I think this is an exceptional class," Barnes Arico said of the quartet. "We are really excited to get them on campus and coach them. We have a foreign trip next summer, which will give us the opportunity to get in the gym with them prior to practices starting in the fall. The staff did a great job of getting involved with players at this high level, considering how late we got started in the process. We are thrilled and think they will do a great job here at Michigan, representing the University the way they should."

Paige Rakers (Carlyle, Ill./Carlyle), a 5-foot-11 guard, averaged 19.4 points per game on 44 percent shooting during her junior year of high school, recording team highs in steals (52) and assists (49). She helped her team to the title game of the Class 2A Regional before falling to the eventual state runner-up. She was named "Queen of the Hill" last year for winning the Illinois High School Association's statewide three-point shooting contest. Rakers plays AAU with Team Adidas out of St. Louis.

"Paige is from a tremendous family, a great student who really values academics," Barnes Arico said. "She is one of the best shooters that I came across all summer. Besides her ability to shoot the basketball, she has a great feel for the game. She is a really good passer and she works incredibly hard. She is going to be a tremendous addition to our program. She plays AAU for head coach Tony Condra on a great team, Team Adidas, out of St. Louis. She has helped take her high school program to the next level, and they are expecting to have a championship-type season this year with head coach Randy Voss."

Shannon Smith (Gastonia, N.C./Forestview [Trinity Valley CC]), a 5-7 guard, was the Associated Press women's prep co-player of the year in North Carolina in 2009-10 after averaging 23 points and seven assists to lead Forestview to the 3-A state title. She was named North Carolina's Miss Basketball in 2010, finishing her high school career as the leading scorer in Forestview and Gaston County history with 2,329 points. She started her collegiate career at North Carolina, taking a medical redshirt in 2010-11 after playing in only eight games while battling an illness. During her redshirt freshman campaign (2011-12), Smith played in 25 games, averaging 3.0 points and 1.4 rebounds in 13.0 minutes per game. Smith is currently at Trinity Valley Community College and will have two years of eligibility remaining at Michigan.

"Shannon is going to bring, more so than the other freshmen, experience at the highest level," Barnes Arico said. "She comes from a great high school program and AAU team and, of course, was at North Carolina for two years. She was a big-time recruit. I think that with the loss of this senior class after this year, she can come in and bring some experience to our backcourt. She is a tremendous playmaker who has the ability to score, has speed and athleticism. Her dad played basketball at Michigan State and her family is from Detroit, so she is coming home. I think one of the most important things about her is that she is a winner. When you ask her what her goals are, she wants to win a championship. She is coming to Michigan to help us achieve that."

Siera Thompson (Gardena, Calif./Serra), a 5-7 point guard, is ranked as the No. 68 national recruit by ESPN, coming in at No. 15 at the point guard position. As a junior, she averaged 11.0 points, 4.9 assists, 4.4 rebounds and 2.5 steals per game during her high school season. She has helped her high school team to three consecutive section championships, scoring 28 points with five steals, five rebounds, two assists and a block in the 2011 section championship game. Playing for the Cal Sparks during the AAU season, Thompson was tabbed the No. 53 prospect in the ESPN HoopGurlz Super 60 and a four-star prospect.

"She had a great high school season last year playing with head coach McKinsey Hadley," Barnes Arico said. "She also plays AAU for one of the best teams in the nation, Cal Sparks, with coach Elbert Kinnebrew. Both of those coaches, along with her father, have helped take her game to another level. She is a really tough, strong-nosed point guard who can handle the ball and score while also defending at the highest level. I think her experience, growing up and playing against some of the best competition in the country in California, has really prepared her to help us here at Michigan."

Danielle Williams (Phoenix, Ariz./St. Mary's), a 5-9 guard, is ranked as the No. 97 recruit in the country by ESPN, coming in as the No. 28 guard. She helped St. Mary's to the 2012 national championship, earning the No. 1 ranking in the ESPN/USA Today poll after winning the Nike Tournament of Champions in December of 2011. Her high school team finished a perfect 30-0 last season en route to the Division I Arizona state championship. A three-star recruit, Williams has helped St. Mary's to the last two state titles.

"I have had the opportunity to watch Danielle play since she was in the seventh grade," Barnes Arico said. "I have watched her progress and develop. She plays for a national championship high school program as well as AAU program. Her coach, Curtis Ekmark, he has done a phenomenal job with her and making his program one of the best in the country. Once I got the job here, knowing the academic piece was so important for her and her family, he knew it would be a great fit. She has done nothing her whole life but win at everything she does. She is a leader and best in the classroom and on the basketball court. She is going to come in and do whatever you ask from her. She will give 100 percent to our program."

Michigan will lose the five-member senior class of guard Jenny Ryan (Saginaw, Mich./Saginaw Nouvel Catholic Central), forward Rachel Sheffer (Watervliet, Mich./Watervliet), forward Nya Jordan (Detroit, Mich./Detroit Community), guard Kate Thompson (Plymouth, Minn./Wayzata) and forward Sam Arnold (Medinah, Ill./Lake Park) to graduation following the 2012-13 season.

Contact: Sarah VanMetre (734) 763-4423

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