By Nate Thompson
But when she was offered a volleyball scholarship at the University of Michigan, basketball was put on the backburner.
That is, until now.
Cole, a 6-foot-5 senior, will join the Michigan women’s basketball team following the 2016 volleyball season, the university announced Thursday. She will have two years of eligibility to play hoops for the Wolverines.
“One thing I was certain about going into college was that my basketball career was over,” Cole said in the press release. “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.”
Cole led Grand Haven to back-to-back Class A state championships in basketball in 2012 and 2013. During her senior season, she finished runner-up in the voting for Miss Volleyball and was third in the voting for Miss Basketball.
Cole said she began having conversations during her sophomore season at U-M with volleyball coach Mark Rosen about the possibility of playing basketball. Rosen relayed Cole’s desire to women’s basketball coach Kim Barnes Arico, with the understanding that Cole wanted to finish her volleyball career first.
That will be over by December, so she will be free to join the basketball squad then.
Barnes Arico was already aware of Cole’s immense talent on the hardwood.
“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 in a press release. “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.”
As a high school senior, she averaged 13.9 points, 9.6 rebounds and 7.9 blocks per game and was named the Associated Press Class A Player of the Year in 2013.