Spotlight on Michigan's No. 18-ranked 2014 Recruiting Class
Kim Barnes Arico

Nov. 26, 2013

U-M five-member recruiting class of Katelynn Flaherty (Point Pleasant, N.J./Point Pleasant Beach), Jillian Dunston (Germantown, Md./Academy of the Holy Cross), Emoni Jackson (Pasadena, Calif./Long Beach Polytechnic), Maria Backman (Bronx, N.Y./Cardinal Spellman) and Terra Stapleton (Proctorville, Ohio/Fairland) was ranked as the No. 18 class in the country by Prospects Nation. With the recruiting process behind them and their signature on a National Letter of Intent to join the Wolverines for the 2013-14 season, asked each player why she picked Michigan and her thoughts about head coach Kim Barnes Arico.

Michigan National Letters of Intent Signees

Name Pos. Ht. Hometown (High School)
Maria Backman G/F 6-1 Bronx, N.Y. (Cardinal Spellman)
Jillian Dunston G/F 5-11 Germantown, Md. (Academy of the Holy Cross)
Katelynn Flaherty PG 5-7 Point Pleasant, N.J. (Point Pleasant Beach)
Emoni Jackson F 6-1 Pasadena, Calif. (Long Beach Polytechnic)
Terra Stapleton C 6-4 Proctorville, Ohio (Fairland)

Maria Backman

On why she picked Michigan ... "Why did I choose Michigan? Why not? The academics are phenomenal and the athletics are just as great. The combination of both is beyond everything I would want to experience in college. Michigan is my dream school!"

On head coach Kim Barnes Arico ... "Having Kim Barnes Arico as a head coach is a great opportunity for me to learn from a great leader. With her experience of being in the Sweet 16 with St. John's and achieving so many things as a head coach, I am sure that she will help me grow as a player and also as a young woman. The fact that she is from New York helped a lot during the process as well. In my opinion, when compared to Michigan, there is no other choice!"

Jillian Dunston

On why she picked Michigan ... "The reason I chose Michigan was because I realized it was my dream school. It had all the things I wanted in a program and I felt I would fit right in. I feel like the timing was right since Coach Arico had just come here as a new coach. Everyone is still adjusting and as a freshman, I wouldn't be the only one adjusting. After comparing Michigan to other schools I had visited, I knew it was the place for me."

On head coach Kim Barnes Arico ... "I love Coach Arico as a coach and a person. She has a system that I love to play. She is so upbeat and encouraging! I can't wait to play for her next year!"

Katelynn Flaherty

On why she picked Michigan ... "Michigan is an amazing academic institution and it plays in one of the best leagues in the country, so it had the best of both worlds to me. I felt very comfortable with the staff and the rest of the Michigan community. I also wanted to step into a school and be able to play and contribute right away. I want to help build a program to be the best. I want to be able to bring leadership, enthusiasm and a positive and intense work ethic to the team. I really loved the combination of academics and athletics at Michigan and that the coaching staff believes me. The college atmosphere at Michigan was great and I can't wait to be part of it."

On head coach Kim Barnes Arico ... "I love that she is very enthusiastic, high energy, plays an open court game and truly cares about her players on and off the court. I look forward to having a great player-coach relationship with her and taking my game to the next level."

Emoni Jackson

On why she picked Michigan ... "When I am asked 'Why Michigan?', my response every time has been 'Why not Michigan?'. I chose Michigan because it gave me a feeling like no other. On my official visit, I fell in love with the University before we visited anything to do with basketball. Michigan is not just a basketball college like the rest; academics come first. The atmosphere at Michigan is incredible. Every person I met there was so thankful and proud to be a Wolverine. Another reason I chose Michigan was because of the amazing coaching staff that has been behind me since 2012."

On head coach Kim Barnes Arico ... "I couldn't ask for a better head coach. Even though I haven't been coached by Coach Arico yet, I know she is going to be great. I know that every decision she makes is going to be the best for me. Coach is such a great mother figure and an awesome all-around person. I can't wait to be coached by her and the rest of the staff!"

Terra Stapleton

On why she picked Michigan ... "I have always known that the University of Michigan is a magical place where records are set and broken. They get the best from their students and student-athletes. I knew that Michigan was the place for me after my visit."

On head coach Kim Barnes Arico ... "What comes to mind when I see Coach Arico in action is that she is a very involved and determined coach. She is relentless and is not afraid to get in your face, which I love about her. You always know what she is thinking and where you stand with her. When I speak to her, she inspires me to the absolute best I can be. I cannot wait to wear the Maize and Blue on the court!"

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