WBB: Michigan Adds Five-Star Transfer, Hillmon Set for WNBA Debut
Oregon State transfer Greta Kampschroeder becomes the program's first McDonald's All-American.
SITE STUFF: Starting next week, I’m taking a month off from posting and podcasting. I need the time for my mental and physical health. I’m also working on an exciting, to-be-announced project behind the scenes that I can’t wait to reveal to everyone when the moment comes.
While I won’t be posting, there’ll still be plenty of content on the site. Dan aka Thicc Stauskas, Connor Southard, Patrick Mayhorn, and Taylor Fulton are all lined up to contribute while I’m away, and I’m excited to read their stuff. Dan will be previewing the Big Ten by position group, Patrick will dive into Michigan’s non-conference opponents, and Connor and Taylor will wax poetic on fandom or other such topics.
We’re also recording a podcast that’ll be posted this evening. Much of the last few podcast episodes should stay fresh for a while — we’re continuing Dan’s position group rankings with the running backs this week. Stay tuned.
Incoming: Oregon State transfer Greta Kampschroeder
Kim Barnes Arico added an instant-impact transfer in 6’0 guard Greta Kampschroeder, a 2021 McDonald’s All-American who played her freshman year at Oregon State. She’s the first McDonald’s AA in program history and has three years of eligibility remaining. ESPN’s Charlie Creme ranked her as a top-ten available transfer a couple weeks ago:
After showing the promise that made her a McDonald's All-American, Kampschroeder struggled once the Beavers hit Pac-12 play. She hit double figures only once after Jan. 13 and scored just 5.2 points per game on the season. She also considered Stanford and Iowa during her recruiting process, but she has yet to pick a destination.
Kampschroeder didn’t have the impact OSU anticipated in her freshman year, averaging 5.2 points on a 42.0 effective field goal percentage in 21.5 minutes per game, though she did start 25 of 31 games. As Creme mentioned, she had a tough time in Pac-12 games, though she still improved in some areas over her non-conference play:
While her three-point and free throw shooting went from great to bad, she improved by seven percentage points inside the arc with a pickier shot selection. OSU played at a very slow pace and she was the fifth option, so there weren’t a ton of opportunities to shoot out of her three-point slump.
Kampschroeder’s best game against the Pac-12 occurred, promisingly, against conference champ and NCAA one-seed Stanford. I went through extended highlights of that game; she came out aggressive and made some difficult plays. This is great patience running the pick-and-roll to take the switch and find the right passing angle:
She scored 12 points on 3/5 twos and 2/4 threes to help the Beavers stay unexpectedly competitive for most of the game. Her three-point form looked good:
And she made some tough shots:
Kampschroeder’s positional and stylistic versatility were big reasons she was such a coveted recruit and also factored into Michigan’s pursuit both out of high school and this offseason. Here’s Kim Barnes Arico from the official press release:
Greta's versatility and ability to do so many different things on the basketball court will immediately make an impact for us. She is the total package - an ability to score, a knack for making people around her better, defensive prowess, rebounding and leadership. Greta is a playmaker and a winner who has experience playing against the very best."
And Kampschroeder herself in an interview with The Michigan Insider:
Growing up, I played every single position growing up. I actually started at ‘5’ and worked my way always down to the point guard. I’ve played ‘1’ through ‘5.’
In high school, I was bringing the ball to court, but then I would go post up. I kind of see myself as someone that can fill in any hole, whatever you need me to do, I can step in and do that. I think I'm the most valuable when I am doing a little bit of everything — I’m not doing the same thing, just running up on the wing or whatever.
That last line may be a glancing shot at her old team; as best I could tell, they had her starting almost every play in the corner.
Kampschroeder’s versatility, combined with Leigha Brown’s ability to run the offense as a small forward, gives Barnes Arico a lot of lineup options for next year. Here’s one possible depth chart:
Kampschroeder could sub in for Brown, Maddie Nolan, or Laila Phelia and fit with a potentially productive lineup. While it’s hard to find a spot for her in the starting lineup, she could demand that level of playing time. She was an elite scorer in high school and I expect she’ll at least be a solid spot-up shooter and secondary playmaker.
This is an ideal use of the portal: Michigan didn’t desperately need a player but found someone with serious upside who could be anything from a rotation player to a breakout star. Meanwhile, Kampschroeder gets a fresh start after a freshman year that didn’t go as planned. This should work out for everyone.
Notebook: Hillmon Makes Roster, Assistant Coaching Shakeup
Naz Watch is a go. As I mentioned a couple weeks ago, it’s difficult for second-round draft picks to catch onto a roster in the WNBA. Thankfully, Naz Hillmon isn’t regarded as a normal second-round pick, and the rebuilding Atlanta Dream will release a final roster this evening that’ll include her:
The WNBA regular season begins tomorrow and the Dream open on Saturday night at Dallas. Here’s where I’ll mention that WNBA League Pass is remarkably affordable.
Hillmon accumulated 11 points on 4/9 shooting with nine rebounds (five offensive) in two preseason games. She’ll begin the season working to earn rotation minutes behind Cheyenne Parker and Nia Coffey. I can’t wager a guess as to how much she’ll play but I’ll be watching to find out this weekend.
Staff shakeup. Kim Barnes Arico is quickly growing her coaching tree. Melanie Moore left her assistant post to become Xavier’s head coach in 2019, Toyelle Wilson did the same to SMU last year, and now Carrie Moore — who was brought in to replace Wilson — will be the head coach of Harvard.
Replacing Moore is Erin Batth, who spent the last four seasons as an assistant at perennial powerhouse N.C. State and added recruiting coordinator duties in 2020. She’ll continue to serve as recruiting coordinator at Michigan. She worked her way up the coaching ladder from Towson to Tennessee Tech to Georgia State before joining the Wolfpack and she played at Clemson before a pro career in the WNBA and overseas.
Assistant coaching changes are always wild cards. Michigan lost a good one in Moore. Given Batth’s resumé and Barnes Arico’s track record of hiring assistants, though, it seems like the program will move forward in good shape.