Kim Barnes Arico, the Michigan women’s basketball coach, announced that Abby Cole will join the basketball team after the volleyball season. The 6-foot-5 athlete will fashion the No. 32 jersey.
"I saw Abby play basketball in high school when I first got the job at Michigan and was blown away with her ability to impact the game on the defensive end," Barnes Arico said. "The other team could barely get a shot off around the basket. Her length is incredible, and she moves so well for her size. She is an elite-level athlete who will bring another dimension to our team. When she approached me about playing basketball, I was thrilled. She will be an amazing ambassador for our program. She is a great student, involved in extracurricular activities outside of athletics and of the utmost character. I can't wait for her to join us but look forward to seeing her succeed again on the volleyball court this fall."
Cole and freshman center Hallie Thome both stand at 6-foot-5, which will help with the presence of the Wolverines in the post.
Believe it or not, Cole led Grand Haven High School to back-to-back state championships in 2012 and 2013. She was named the Class A Player of the Year by the Associated Press for her senior season and was third in the Michigan Miss Basketball voting by logging 13.9 points, 9.6 rebounds and 7.9 blocks per game. The Michigan Miss Basketball award was instead given to Michigan State junior guard Tori Jankoska.
"One thing I was certain about going into college was that my basketball career was over," Cole explained. "Growing up, I didn't just play volleyball, I played basketball too. From the beginning of my collegiate career, I have missed being a dual-sport athlete. Following the holiday break during my sophomore year, I had some honest conversations with (volleyball head coach) Mark Rosen. He was very supportive of my desire to play basketball again, knowing that my commitment to the volleyball program would not waiver. Mark connected me with Coach Arico, and when she offered me the chance to continue my basketball career, I could not turn her down. Until I exhaust my volleyball eligibility this December, volleyball will be my top priority as I am focused on finishing my senior season on the strongest note possible. I feel very blessed to have the opportunity to play both of these sports at the greatest university in the world."
Cole has been put on the All-Big Ten volleyball team twice and made the AVCA All-American second team for her performance in her junior season. She played 92 sets this season and leads the squad with 278 kills and 95 blocks.
The student studying sports management will play part of the 2016-17 basketball season after her stint with volleyball ends. Then, she will play the entire 2017-18 season on the basketball court. Essentially, she has two years of eligibility for basketball.