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Why Naz Hillmon can lead Michigan to even more postseason success

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The senior forward has already earned a lot of awards

Ohio State v Michigan Photo by Aaron J. Thornton/Getty Images

There’s a ton of reasons why you should make time to watch the 2021-22 Michigan Wolverines’ women’s basketball team, and Naz Hillmon is one of the biggest reasons why.

The senior forward has made a legitimate case to be one of the best players in program history, as she has already earned a laundry list of accomplishments (per MGoBlue.com)

• First player in program history to earn All-America honors

• Finalist for the 2021 Wade Trophy

• 2021 WBCA All-America, 2021 USBWA All-America (first team), 2021 Associated Press All-America (second team), 2021 Sports Illustrated All-America (first team), 2021 The Athletic All-America (first team)

• 2021 Big Ten Player of the Year (consensus)

• 2021 Michigan Female Athlete of the Year

• Three-time All-Big Ten first team (consensus)

• Two-time finalist for the Katrina McClain Award (2020, 2021)

• Two-time WBCA All-Region (2020, 2021)

• 2019 Big Ten Freshman and Sixth Player of the Year

• Three-time team MVP

She struggled with foul trouble in Tuesday’s loss to Nebraska, but the dominance inside of Hillmon and fellow senior forward Emily Kiser helped the Wolverines defeat Ohio State on New Year’s Eve, 90-71.

Hillmon has been especially dominant against Ohio State in her Michigan career. In her junior year of high school, the Cleveland native won a state championship at The Schottenstein Center, so she seems more than comfortable returning to her home state to dominate.

Arguably the best game of her college career came against the Buckeyes, as she set the program’s single-game scoring record and became the first women’s basketball player in school history to score 50 points in a game in a loss to the Buckeyes about a year ago.

Hillmon was recently featured on The B1G story, the Big Ten Network’s docuseries, where viewers got a glimpse of what makes her such a talented and respected young woman on and off the court.

I highly recommend catching that show the next time it’s on. We all know Hillmon is one of the best players in the Big Ten, but the network did an excellent job showcasing her upbringing and humility.

She truly is the rare star player who also does the dirty work because when she’s not scoring in the post, she’s grabbing boards, screening for teammates and cheering on her teammates, bringing a contagious energy felt through the television screen.

After beating Tennessee — a school that Hillmon’s mother, NaSheema, resents after Pat Summit recruited her and wanted her to switch positions before she decided to play at Vanderbilt — to reach the Sweet Sixteen, Hillmon showcased why she is such a beloved teammate. She got emotional when talking about her and her teammates accomplishing their goals.

Despite Tuesday’s loss, Michigan is still one of the most talented teams in the country and have already gotten big wins against the 25th-ranked Buckeyes, 16th-ranked Oregon State and an overtime win against fifth-ranked Baylor.

Hillmon’s talent and senior leadership can help the Wolverines to postseason success again this season. If she continues to do her thing and dominate in the post, she could help lead Michigan to another one of its most successful seasons ever while earning a litany of awards along the way.