Kalamazoo Central grad Corey Person still on Michigan basketball team, pursuing his dreams
ANN ARBOR, MI -- Corey Person is living a dream as a fifth-year member of the University of Michigan basketball program.
With a sports management bachelor’s degree already in his back pocket, the Kalamazoo Central High School alumnus is the elder statesman for an 8-0 Wolverines team that’s currently ranked No. 3 in the nation.
Person is a vocal and inspirational leader on the U-M bench – a player/coach of sorts – and enrolled in Rackham Graduate School, where he’s pursuing organizational studies. The 6-foot-3, 210-pound guard does not play much, but his long-term goal is still intact: To work in an NBA front office.
“Definitely. When it’s all said and done with basketball, and I’m finished with basketball, I still want to be involved with sports somehow so that’s what eventually my goal is,” Person said following U-M’s 73-41 victory over Western Michigan University Tuesday at renovated and expanded Crisler Center.
“Some of the coaches have talked to me, what I thought about getting into coaching, but I haven’t put too much thought into that. I’m more so, want to work with business and things like that.”
Another local connection between Kalamazoo and the U-M basketball team is freshman Alex Stephanak, a Hackett Catholic Central alumnus who is a video manager for the Wolverines.
Person, who was a four-year varsity basketball player at Kalamazoo Central and an Associated Press Class A first-team all-stater in 2007, walked on at Michigan in October 2008 during his freshman year.
During this past offseason, he weighed the pros and cons of returning to the U-M team for a fifth year. Person is happy with the decision he made to return, and his role has developed a little more even though he’s played only six minutes total in the Wolverines’ first eight games.
He played two minutes against WMU, and finished 0-for-1 from the floor with one rebound and one turnover against his hometown team.
“Of course, everybody came here to play. I don’t look at it as discouraged, I look at it as motivation,” said Person, who is a two-way link between players and coaches.
“ … The coaches this year are putting me out there, asking me about (things). It’s more communication with the coaches, ‘As a leader, this is what we want you to do.’ I guess it’s just more so being that link between the players and the coaches to keep that transition. Sometimes the guys tell you things or talk to you differently than they would talk to the coaches.”
Person, 23, has had a true insider’s look while the U-M program and its basketball facilities have developed.
No. 3 is the highest U-M has been ranked since the 1993-94 season. In Person’s previous four seasons, the Wolverines have finished 24-10 (three-way tie for Big Ten regular-season title), 21-14, 15-17 and 21-14.
“From where we’re at now, it’s just so incredible just to almost, like, watch something grow in front of your eyes and actually be part of it,” he said.
The $52 million renovation project at Crisler Center included the installation of a practice facility.
“There’s no excuse now, why you can’t get better. We have all the facilities,” Person said. “I think that’s what’s also helping our program grow because we have those facilities that not only match up with everybody else as far as recruiting – whether it’s Kentucky, Louisville, whoever it is – wherever it is that has top-notch facilities. For Michigan to be able to be on the same level, and actually now above pretty much every other school in the nation as far as facilities, it’s another recruiting statement that we can make.
“On every level, we’re competing with every other school, and on top of that we have the fact that some other schools don’t have – we’re able to give them a good education while they’re coming in here and still able to play out your dreams and try to make it to the NBA.”
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