"Back to School" 2018 Recruting Update and 2019/20 Primer
by dillon77 (2017-09-07 16:00:03)
Edited on 2017-09-22 14:22:20

With summer winding down, here is our “back to school” 2018 Recruiting Update and Primer for 2019/20.. It includes, as best we can tell, information up to and/or including this week, which included prospect Jordan Nixon visiting campus and Brianna Turner & Coach McGraw announcing Brianna Turner will take the ‘17-18 season off to fully rehabilitate her knee. It also includes HoopGurlz’s revised rankings.

BTW, Early signing period is Nov. 8 – 15.

So, grab a refreshing adult beverage while you read this (you might need two!).

Commits for the Class of 2018 are down to three, after point guard Jenna Brown of Atlanta de-committed from the Irish (and promptly committed to Stanford). In alphabetical order:
- 6-3 forward Danielle Cosgrove of Long Island, NY;
- 5-10 guard Katlyn Gilbert of Indianapolis; and,
- 5-10 guard/wing Abby Prohaska of West Chester, Ohio.
All three commits were at ND over Labor Day weekend, along with Jordan Nixon.
In addition, 6-4 post/forward Jessica Shepard transfer spent the summer on campus and worked out with the team. Right now, she will be eligible to play in the Fall of 2018, along with these incoming freshman. However, Coach McGraw & the ND Athletic Dept. has filed a petition with the NCAA for Shepard to be granted a waiver to play immediately, much like Chatrice White and Florida State did after White transferred from Illinois. ND will apparently hear back with two weeks.

Prior to Shepard’s transfer, Blue & Gold had an article stating that “McGraw said she wants to sign one more post player, and probably another guard as well, in 2018.” She later said ND has up to three slots open “if there is mutual interest.”

My gut is that the Shepard transfer and the planned Turner comeback in Fall 2018 (as indicated) gives the Irish bit of a cushion in the post. That’s good because Olivia Nelson-Ododa and Queen Egbo both don’t have the Irish on their finalist lists. Unless there’s an unknown gem out there, the Irish look like they’ll (have to) focus on getting a top post in 2019.

As for off-guards, Christyn Williams of Arkansas is the big fish still swimming in the pond and we’re one of the five schools she’s listed. Coach McGraw has also said she wants one more “true point guard.” Jordan Nixon has two more visits (UVA and Georgia) this month and will hopefully make a decision prior to the early signing period.

In both the forward/post and guard sections, I've listed a few ranked players that have not committed. I've got no idea if the Irish coaching staff know about them and/or if there is interest. Just scanning the lists.



Until Sept. 29th, this is currently a “Contact Period “ during which a college coach may have face-to-face contact with college-bound, student-athletes (or their parents), watch s-a’s compete and visit their high schools. Coaches may write or telephone college-bound, student-athletes (or their parents) during this time.”

Given that ND has multiple openings in their 2018 class, you can expect a lot of activity during this “contact period.” Once again, early signing period is Nov. 8 – 15.


Here is a list of players we at McGraw’s Bench think have been/are being considered and – if they’ve made a commitment – where they are slated to attend in the Fall of 2018. I’ve added a few 2019 and 2020 prospects. It's interesting to see just how many prospects are needed – and all the resources that go into doing so -- to fill out a class and where the prospects eventually end up their freshman year.

Current (HoopGurlz, Prospects Nation) rankings listed prior to prospects.

(Summary: After Cosgrove committed, Coach McGraw said she wants one more forward/post. Since that time, all four forward/posts have either committed or don’t have ND on their finalist lists. It once was interesting to see how the Shepard transfer affects/influences this area. Now, there are not that many known “big” prospects left.
Committed to Notre Dame
(#67 in HG, 92 PN) – Danielle Cosgrove – 6’3” forward/center from Farmingville, Long Island, NY (Sachem East High School, Philadelphia Belles club team). Solid inside game, uses both hands on layups/variety of hook shots. She can also shoot up to/from outside the arc. (STATUS: Committed to NOTRE DAME, as of April 2017.)

Committed Elsewhere

(2 HG, 1 PN) - Charli Collier - 6-4 post from Texas. Once committed to Texas. After de-committing, had some interest in ND but took an unofficial visit to UConn and was very impressed. (STATUS: Committed to UCONN, as of Nov. 2016. De-committed from UConn and Re-Committed to Texas Sept. 22)

(67, 9) - Amira Collins - 6-3 forward from MD - Per FA, Muffet watched her play a few times. She plays at Paul VI High School, along with PG Honesty Scott-Grayson and 2017 ND recruit, Mikayla Vaughn. (STATUS: Committed to TENNESSEE, as of Dec. 2016.)

(3, 17) - Shakira Austin - 6-4 forward from VA - ESPN listed her with ND interest. STATUS: Committed to MARYLAND, as of Jan. 2017.)

(33, 49)- Oliva Owens - 6'3" post from Niskayuna, upstate NY. Big, athletic post who is tough down low and still developing her offensive game. Muffet saw her play in late January. (STATUS:Committed to MARYLAND, as of August 2017.).

(#55 HG, 119 PN) – Naz Hillmon – 6’2” post from Cleveland area (Gilmour Academy). Hard-rebounding, bruising inside player with offers from ND, as well as Clemson, DePaul, Louisville, Mich. State and Northwestern. Made 1st team USA Today in Ohio. STATUS: Committed to MICHIGAN, as of Summer 2017.)

Not Committed (and probably won’t be attending ND)

(5, 6) – Olivia Nelson-Ododa – 6’4”post from Winder-Barrow H.S., Georgia. Very agile, traditional post who runs the floor well. Supposed to be an excellent student and engaging on social media. Just announced finalists: UConn, Stanford, Duke, Florida State, South Carolina and Georgia.

(15,25) Queen Egbo, - Agile 6'3" post from Richmond, Texas, who averaged 17.5 points, 13.5 rebounds and 4.5 blocks last season, earning MVP honors in her district. Egbo has 24 scholarship offers from colleges such as ND, Florida, Ohio State and Michigan. Finalists are Texas, Baylor, Florida State & Mississippi State.

Possible Other Forwards/Posts in 2018

(#11 in HG, 36 in PN) Emily Engstler, 6’1” forward from St. Francis Prep, Queens, NY. Best described as an “old fashioned forward,” who can play inside and outside. Quick first step and good mid-range jumper. Rebounds well. Made first –team Queens with ND’s Danielle Patterson and prospect Jordan Nixon, so can play at that level.

(40 HG, 15 PN) Valencia Myers, 6’3” Post from Solon, Ohio. Appears to be the highest-rated Post still uncommitted on the boards (ESPN lists Ohio State, Louisville and Kentucky as schools being considered). Scouting write-ups seem to indicate that she’s an agile low-poster.

(Possible 2019 Targets:
- Sam Brunelle (1 HG, 3 PN), 6’2” F/C, Virginia, who has interest from everyone around the globe, but has visited UConn and NC State;
- Francesa Belibi (28 HG, 34 PN) 6’1” athlete from Denver/Cameroon, who has dunked in games and has interest in Stanford, Princeton and ND.) Also just made the USA Basketball U16 Team. First-team HS All-State.
- Laeticia Amihere, (#2 HG, Not in PN), 6’3” forward from Ontario, Canada. Another of the dunkers.
- Faith Masonius (#53 at HG, 72 PN) 6'1" forward from Manasquan HS, NJ. Plays center in HS, but can go outside to pop the 10-15 footer. Nice array of hooks, jump-hooks and spin moves, left and right. Could be a “tweener” between high post & wing, like an old-fashioned forward.
- Ramani Parker (#58 at HG, NR at PN)6'4" forward who recently listed ND in her Top 10 Lists (Sept. 2017). Offensively, can both put ball on floor and drive, as well as shoot 3's. Lock-down defender who is good weak-side defender.

2020 Players to Keep An Eye On).
-- Kylee Watson (Top rated by Blue Star, #2 in HG & 6 PN), Agile 6’4” Post from Mainland HS in NJ who played on USA Basketball’s U16 Team in Argentina. Prospects Nation’s Chris Olson compares her to our own Natalie Achonwa.
-- There’s also Cameron Brink (#4 HG, 5 PN), the 6’4” stretch forward from Beaverton, Oregon, who was a finalist for the U16 USA team this summer.

(Summary: If Coach McGraw is “probably” after one more guard, Christyn Williams would be the highest-rated guard in the bunch. However, given the stiff competition for her, it would be best to keep options open. Could there be an opening for other guards?

Committed to Notre Dame

(27 HG, 14 PN) - Katlyn Gilbert - 5-11 guard from IN. (Committed to NOTRE DAME, as of Nov. 2016.)

(80 HG, 74 PN) - Abby Prohaska) - 5'10" guard from Ohio - Per FA, she had a high level of interest in ND. Played on U.S. National Team with former PG commit Jenna Brown. (STATUS: Committed to NOTRE DAME, as of Nov. ’16.)

Not Committed

(1, 3) - Christyn Williams - 5-10 guard from Arkansas STATUS as of Sept. 12. Announced new set of finalists(UConn, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, UCLA) which does not include ND. Sept. 30th visit cancelled.

Possible Other Guards in 2018

(28th rated guard at HG, 48 Overall at PN) - Dara Mabrey – 5’8” guard from NJ. Led her Manasquan HS team to NJ State Final and was named NJ Gatorade Player of the Year. Did well on AAU circuit thus far. She is apparently down to two finalists.

(HG 100, 38 PN) Arieal Scott, 5’10” guard from Urbana, Illinois, who was a one-time commit to Duke but de-committed. Sturdy off-guard who can stroke it off the catch from long range, but can also hit the pull-up jumper. Good energy. (STATUS as of SEPT. 19: Committed to ILLINOIS.)

Possible 2019 Targets:
- Kierstan Bell (#4 HG, 16 PN), 6’1” guard who was named Ms. Basketball in Ohio last year and already has offer from ND.
- Haley Jones (#5 HG, #14 PN), 6'1" guard from Archbishop Mitty in California. Irish coaching staff apparently attended a showcase of hers in Sept. 2017 with "usual" competition (UConn, Duke, Baylor, etc.). Wing with size who "plays taller than advertised" and "finishes plays in traffic."
- Rickea Jackson (#9 HG, 2 PN), 6’2” wing from Detroit. Slasher.
- Breanna Beal (#10 HG, 8 PN), a 6'1" wing/forward from Rock Island, Ill., who has multiple offers and has expressed admiration for UConn and the type of academics Stanford offers
- Celeste Taylor (#14 by HG, 54 PN), 5’10” guard from Lutheran H.S. in Long Island, who was on USA Basketball’s U16 team. Fast, athletic slasher who plays with ’18 Commit Danielle Cosgrove on Philly Belles.
- Diamond Miller (#17 by HG, 46 PN), 6’1” wing from Franklin H.S., NJ who lead her HS to NJ State Title and played on USA U16 Team this summer. Versatile athlete who plays multiple positions and also plays defense, rebounds, in addition to scoring.
- Leilani Correa, (#21 by HG, 48 PN), 5’10” guard from Rutgers Prep, NJ. Very athletic, speedy off-guard, similar to Taylor.
- Michelle Sidor (NR in HG, #17 PN). 5’8” guard from Saddle River, NJ. Energetic, fast shooting guard who can score from anywhere. Handles ball well and also plays good defense. Similar to Katelynn Flaherty of Michigan.

2019 Committed Elsewhere

- Sammie Puisis (#12 HG, 29 PN) 6’1” wing/guard from Ohio, who was/had interest in UConn, ND and a slew of other P5 schools..(STATUS: Committed to FLORIDA STATE, as of Labor Day 2017.).

Class of 2020 Players of Interest:
-- Sydney Parrish, (#7 in HG, 8 PN) 6’1” guard/wing/forward from Hamilton Southeastern, Indiana., who was a semi-finalist for the USA Basketball’s U16 team. Already has offers from virtually all B1G teams.
-- Maddie Burke (16 in HG, NR in PN), 5’10” shooting guard from Pennsylvania who is Kylee Watson’s teammate on the Philly Belles. Good stroke.
-- Madeleine Westbrook (NR in HG, 23 in PN), a 6’2” wing from Ohio who favors the outside game more than her high post sister, one Katherine.


Committed Elsewhere

(20 HG, 12 PN) – Jenna Brown – 5’9” PG from Atlanta. Top prospect who made and played for U.S. National Team, along with Abby Prohaska. Was Injured during summer of ‘16, sat out this HS season. Excellent student. Initially committed to Notre Dame in Jan. 2017: (STATUS: DeCommitted from NOTRE DAME and committed to STAFORD in Summer 2017.)

(NR in HG, 23 in PN) - Tatum Veitenheimer - 5-7 PG from TX - ND reportedly had expressed interest. She visited campus Summer 2016. (STATUS as of APRIL 2017: Committed to OKLAHOMA.)

(29, 27) - Mykasa Robinson - 5-7 pg from KY. ND had an in-home visit.. (STATUS AS Of SPRING 2017: De-committed from Colorado and now COMMITTED TO LOUISVILLE.)

Not Committed

(18, 5) Honesty Scott-Grayson - 5'11" pg played past year at Paul VI High School, with Amira Collins and 2017 ND recruit, Mikayla Vaughn. Has ND listed as finalist but thoughts are she won’t be coming here. She just visited Ole Miss. Ohio State also a finalist.

(59, 16) Jordan Nixon – 5’10” PG from New York City who played HS ball with 2017 ND commit Danielle Patterson this year. Visited ND over Labor Day with Gilbert, Prohaska and Cosgrove. Sept. visits to UVA and Georgia planned. Ohio State, UCLA are other finalists.

2019 Commitment:
- Anaya Peoples (#15 HG, #4 PN), 5’10” PG from Illinois, who played club ball with 2018 commit, Katlyn Gilbert. STATUS: After visit to ND, she became first ND COMMIT of the Class of 2019, as of Summer 2017.

Other 2019 Point Guards

- Ashley Owusu, (!#8 HG, 10 PN), 5’ 9”, starting PG for Paul VI and teammate of Mikayla Vaughn. (STATUS: Committed to Maryland, as of Summer 2017.)
- Zia Cooke (7 HG, 42 PN), 5’ 9” from Toledo who played for the USA Basketball’s U16 Team.

Class of 2020 Players of Interest
--Caitlin Clarke (#1 in HG, 4 in PN) 5’11” PG from Iowa who played on USA U16 team. Very confident guard in her ability to run a team and look for her own shot.
-- Paige Bueckers (#6 in HG, 3 PN), 5’10” guard from Minnesota who was on the same u16 team as Clarke. Athletic, fast and very creative offensively. Can see her playing combo-guard.
-- Keegan Sullivan (NR in HG, 18 PN), 5’11” from South Bend, Indiana, who plays for St. Joe's, is racking up some impressive offers already (S. Carolina, among them).

Great stuff ... one slight correction
by ND8486  (2017-09-08 08:44:26)     cannot delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

Sullivan lives in South Bend not Granger.

Easily Taken Care Of...Thanks! *
by dillon77  (2017-09-08 09:10:09)     Delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

I feel guilty reading this without paying for it! Thanks D77 *
by Cavanaugh82  (2017-09-08 06:27:45)     cannot delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

Thx, Cav. Good to see you back on board.
by dillon77  (2017-09-08 16:48:36)     cannot delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

Look forward to your analytics and points of view as the season approaches and the games start. "Small ball" could afford a lot of analysis, ranging from sheer offense and point differential, to how many shots hoisted will cause Arike and Marina's arms to fall off. :-0

Hear! Hear! I'm not sure which trope applies…
by BabaGhanouj  (2017-09-08 19:12:31)     Delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

phoenix, prodigal son, or Lazurus. In any case, welcome back. There was a big smile on my face when I saw the name on the post.

by MPG  (2017-09-07 20:46:34)     cannot delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

Thank you for taking the time to compile and present all this information!

I am disappointed that ND has not added a recruit from Georgia since Kristina Nelson, nor a freshman recruit from Texas since Brianna Turner. Texas seems to have more outstanding post prospects than any other state.

Has anyone seen any reactions from Jordan Nixon following her ND visit? I haven't. ND was playing catch-up in her recruitment and my guess is that ND still has ground to make-up.

Christyn Williams would be a great boost to the 2018 class for ND, but her visit to Storrs in mid-October does not bode well for us. It will be interesting to see where ND makes its home visits this month. This is when new names may appear for 2018 or 2019.

Adding Owens or Hillmon to Cosgrove would have been ideal for 2018. Maybe there's an international post available, although having Turner and Shepard together eases the need for another big player for 2018.

Did you notice that Andrea Aquino is top ten in the latest HG listing?

I hope that Shepard will be eligible for this season. I believe that Mikayla Vaughn was underrated and will provide some good low post minutes. Danielle Patterson should be the back-up for Jackie Young this season.

Report on European Youth Programs
by dillon77  (2017-09-08 16:55:35)     cannot delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

This was written by a guy who spends his time analyzing FIBA programs and the big winner this year is....France! Interestingly, Syracuse has not one, but two French players entering school this year.

I've attached the article, with a tip of the hat to charliebball from the Boneyard site. Charlie is another Jersey-based guy who spends too much time on recruits.

Having watched as much tape as is available and a number of games, I've got think some of these players would match up well in a ball-movement system such as ND.

And in the "quasi-international" bracket, Canadian Dunker Laeticia Amihere apparently listed 14 schools that comprise her "short" list and ND is among them, as are the usual suspects.

Thank you for the Euro report. Ireland's team
by MPG  (2017-09-12 13:43:14)     cannot delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

looks very Irish, especially their 6'4 post player who seems to be their star.

So, there's a sizeable sample of International Players
by dillon77  (2017-09-12 17:23:31)     Delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

coming into the P5 conferences this year (I think Syracuse has 3 or 4). If they do well, maybe look into a few countries, perhaps those with Roman Catholic backgrounds to add something to the mix for them. Look at Ireland, Spain, France, Italy (to start). Just a thought.

Tremendous recap
by RISteve  (2017-09-07 20:14:54)     cannot delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

Dillon--great article. Just so good. I am fortunate I found this board because this information cannot really be found anywhere else, in such a concise manner.

One follow-up on Faith Masonius. Her mother coached at Uconn with Geno about 25 years ago. She was on his staff for a few years. Also, Faith's brother, an NHL-draftee, currently plays for UConn's hockey team. I have no idea whether there is any interest, but if so, I would guess who has the inside track. Unless, of course, she can be swayed by The Mabrey girls.

Thanks again.

thx. Regarding Faith Masonius...
by dillon77  (2017-09-08 09:09:20)     cannot delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

..thanks for the information. There's a poster over at the Boneyard -- charliebball -- who also has an interest in NJ Women's Basketball and his daughter attends a number of Tiny Green's events. Charlie passed along that information once. He also has shared that Mom/Geno connections aside, there does not appear to be any connecting going on thus far, unless they're keeping it very under the covers, a la the Mabrey family.

The Masonius/Manasquan/Mabrey connection is even more thorny, as you probably know. Mrs. Masonius was a Clarke before getting married and her sibling's kid (Faith's cousin) -- Stella -- was Manasquan's point guard and will play for either BU or Northeastern this fall. Small world on the shore!

by RISteve  (2017-09-08 10:24:05)     Delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

Correct--Stella Clark is at Northeastern--as is my daughter. I will definitely stop by for a few games this season

The Gold (and Blue) Standard for Recruiting *
by BabaGhanouj  (2017-09-07 18:04:42)     Delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post