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Defend the Block: KBA on Staff New-Look, “Momentum” on the Dawn of Next Season

By on June 9, 2021 0

From left to right: Val Nainima, Harry Rafferty, Kim Barnes Arico, Carrie Moore (Michigan Photography)

Defend the Block: KBA on Staff New-Look, “Momentum” on the Dawn of Next Season

In this week’s edition of the “Defend the Block” podcast, the Michigan women’s basketball head coach Kim Barnes Arico talks about each of her three new assistants, what she and the players are up to at this point in the offseason, and Naz The opportunity for Hillmon to represent the American team at the AmeriCup next week. Also, one of these assistants, Harry Rafferty, stops by to discuss his increased responsibilities, the acclimatization process for new staff, and his close relationship with former Wolverine Duncan Robinson.

By Brian Boesch

Michigan’s women’s basketball enjoyed its best season in 2020-21, reaching the NCAA Sweet 16 tournament for the first time in program history and carrying National Power Baylor in overtime to the regional semifinals. The memories of this race will live on forever, but the head coach Kim Barnes Arico has his sights set on the upcoming 2021-22 season.

Emerging programs like Michigan must balance the unexplored successes of the past with the untapped potential of the future, which is why Arico – and the program as a whole – has focused on a word that captures this unique position.

“We’ve used the word ‘momentum’ a lot,” Arico said in this week’s edition of the “Defend the Block” podcast. “The momentum for such an incredible season has been really special when it comes to talking to rookies and having rookies on campus and really getting these new staff.”

Momentum can be fleeting, but if a program handles things the right way, it can be sustained, even if some reshuffle takes place. Wolverines will return many key players from last year’s Magic Run, including the senior star Naz hillmon, but Arico’s assistant coach trio will be completely different. Arico is convinced that the new assistants Carrie moore, Val Nainima and Harry rafferty can maintain, if not intensify, this momentum.

Moore may be a prime example of the new stature Michigan women’s basketball is claiming nationally. Arico had tried to convince Moore to return to his home country several times before, and this time it worked. The results have been exceptional so far, according to Arico.

“I was really, really impressed with how she goes about everything,” she said. “The coaches really love her passion and enthusiasm for every aspect of the game, whether it’s player development, coaching on the sidelines or recruiting. She is one of the best in the business.”

Arico has similar expectations for Nainima, who may not have the experience Moore has, but she has similar potential.

“She is definitely a rising star in the field,” said Arico. “She was a little under the radar, but when I did my research and did my homework on her, I thought she would be just fabulous for our program.”

The most recent hire was familiar to team members. Former graduate manager Rafferty has been elevated to assistant coach thanks to his selfless approach and attention to detail since moving to Ann Arbor.

“I know something special when I see it, and I have witnessed it for the past two years in Harry Rafferty, ”Arico said. “Obviously it starts with his work ethic and his passion to be great and to learn. He just wanted to be a sponge the last few years. “

The program’s momentum always starts with the head coach, and Arico has set the tone for a productive offseason following the most productive season Michigan women’s basketball has ever seen. Everyone else, both new and old, followed suit.

“We are coming off the best season in the history of the program, with a great return squad and three great assistants on board,” said Arico. “The energy, the enthusiasm, the work ethic, the fire is right there. It was just an amazing atmosphere.”

“We’re motivated to make a plan for Michigan and for this season, and for the recruiting – whatever goes with developing a championship program.”

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