2020 Recruiting Report, As Of March 7, 2019. Chart Linked.
by dillon77 (2018-04-17 20:06:36)
Edited on 2019-03-12 10:49:33

March Greetings Benchers:

Welcome to the March Madness posting of the ND Women's Basketball Recruiting Update. This will focus on the team's efforts to get to know and land prospects in the Class of 2020, but will also examine players who graduate from high school in 2021 and, in some instances, 2022.

This update is prepared in long-form. For those who prefer this information graphically, there's Baba Ghanouj’s chart, which is attached a link. You can (also) print this out and use while reading along. Scroll down and see below in the HTTP Link area.

For those new to the Bench and/or the update, our intents:
- This update is brought up to speed, altered, etc. To do that ...
- We rely on input from Benchers, publications, blogs and outside information; even posters from other sites. We try to verify claims, so it does not become a rumor board (pictures help). However, we're open to gleaning information from various media down to "I saw this coach/player at this game...."
- We try to include up-to-date ratings of Hoopgurlz and Prospects Nation. If I'm off, just drop a note that I've missed an HG or PN redo.


WHAT RECRUITING PERIOD IS THE NCAA IN? WHAT CAN COACHES DO?

The NCAA WBB is in a CONTACT period from March 1 to April 4, 2019, during which a college coach may have face-to-face contact with college-bound student-athletes or their parents, watch student-athletes compete and visit their high schools, and write telephone student-athletes or their parents.

March is also the time that college coaches can visit high school juniors for home visits, which are viewed as being a measure of just how serious a program is about recruiting a student-athlete.
Head Coach Muffet McGraw and Recruiting Coordinator Niele Ivey began this March with a visit to point guard Deja Kelly in Texas.

OVERALL LOOK AT PERSONNEL

After the 2019-2020 season, Jackie Young will no longer be eligible (if she chooses not to enter the WNBA draft this spring).
- Including current players, the two 2019 signees and the one 2020 commit (but no non-scholarship players), the projected number of scholarship players on the WBB squad for the start of the 2020 season now stands at nine (9) players. (Check with Baba's chart to see who they are and how long/when they'll be here.) Muffet McGraw (MM, Muffet) has discussed a possible graduate transfer, but that was referring to the 2019-2020 season.
- Muffet prefers to carry some 11-12 players on the roster, so that higher number is used as a baseline.
- Many of the 2020 prospects we'll mention were present with Anaya Peoples, Sam Brunelle and Alli Campbell at the 2017 fall mass recruiting event (Nielefest/Recruitapalooza). It will be interesting to follow through on where those attendees end up attending college.

Dillon's Druthers:
- Based on the "12" target number, MM can recruit up to a total of four (4) 2020 prospects, if she gets the right people (can't emphasize that enough). Assuming verbal commit Alli Campbell honors her pledge, that leaves room for three (3) more in this class. Campbell is now regarded as an off guard, possibly a wing, so:
- point guard is a natural target;
- post/big forward is another; and,
- here's the interesting one: Since Haley Jones went to Stanford, does Irish brain-trust pursue a wing? Or, if Campbell keeps growing, is there some flexibility here to possibly take another "best available guard?" Personally, I think MM and staff will follow that route if it presents itself.

With that in mind, let's take a look at the team, by position.


POINT GUARDS/GUARDS

Context
In Fall 2020, Jordan Nixon will be a junior, with perhaps one full year as the starting point guard behind her. It remains to be seen who will back her up in 2019-2020, but it's pretty clear that the Irish brain-trust will be looking for a point guard.

Class of 2020 Point Guards of Interest:
- Paige Bueckers (#1 in HoopGurlz (HG), #1 Prospects Nation (PN)), 5’11” guard from Minnesota. Athletic, fast, technically proficient and very creative offensively. Scores or passes off the drive. Can play PG, off- or combo- guard. Played on gold-medal-winning U.S. Nat'l. U17 team in July and 3x3 team in late summer. Was at ND-UConn game and MM went to see PB practice following it.
- Caitlin Clark (#4 in HG, 5 in PN) 6’0” PG from Iowa who played on USA U16 team. Very confident in her ability to run a team, yet look for her own shot. Did not make Nat'l. U17 team in May, perhaps due to injury, but came back strong in Nike EYBL in Chicago. Unofficially visited Oregon and Oregon State during '18 summer. Iowa schools, of course, have strong interest. MM visited Dowling HS in Iowa after the UConn-ND game and again later in the season.
- Deja Kelly (#22 in HG, #50 in PN) 5'8" guard from Texas who initially committed to Texas in 7th grade(!), but reopened her search and attended the UConn game on an unofficial visit. HG's Dan Olson writes that Kelly "...manufactures, delivers off the dribble with smooth delivery in mid-range game; knocks down the jumper at the arc; savvy floor leader." MM, Niele had a home visit with her on March 4th.

Other 2020 Point Guards:
- Keegan Sullivan (NR in HG, 21 PN), 6’0” from South Bend, Indiana, who is racking up offers/interest (S. Carolina, DePaul, etc.). Made several cuts at U.S. National Team U17 trials. Played at USJN Nat'l. Championships and got shout-out from Mark Lewis of Blue Star Media. Probably not in contention for a spot, but worth keeping a local favorite on the board.

Bueckers and Clark attended the 10/27-28/17 Unofficial Group Recruiting Visit. While these prospects are listed as point guards, ND continues to have interest in a few of them, which, perhaps, indicates ND's staff could be considering some of them as off- or combo guards. This approach offers flexibility in both recruiting and, down the line, game match-ups.

Dillon's druthers:
- This is the glamour position of the 2020 recruiting class, from Bueckers and Clark to Hailey Van Lith and Sarah Andrews. The Irish will undoubtedly make it a recruiting priority. Many schools will be after these and other top point guards so it's smart to have options (Plan B).
- Prefer Bueckers or Clark? Whose tape did I see last? That's how good they are. Of course, the action is between B&C and ND's coaches, and the choice is ultimately the players'. (Which is why I say "have options.") What if, say, both are offered and both accept? A Nobel Prize winner once wrote, "Don't think twice; it's alright."

- There must be “mutual Interest” between Kelly and ND if the Irish flew on a chartered jet to Texas to meet with Ms. Kelly and her mom. So there could be options in Texas.


Class of 2021 Point Guards To Watch:

- Arina (Ari) Wiggins, (HG #23, #6 PN) 5’8” sophomore at Heritage Christian, Indianapolis, who already has an offer from Indiana. Very quick. Attended USJN Championships in Washington, D.C. and was cited by Jason Key, Premier Basketball Report & The Jukes Report. Continues to attend ND home games.
- Taylor Bigby, (NR in HG, #15 in PN) 5'11" soph at Centennial H.S. in Las Vegas, Nevada. While playing AAU Ball for Cal Sparks, ND coaches apparently checked her out at a Nike event. Louisville and others have offered. Her HS team recently won a Nevada state title.


GUARD/WING

Context:
Abby Prohaska, combo guard Katlyn Gilbert and incoming 2019 guard Anaya Peoples will be on board when practice starts. While many see Sam Brunelle as a Kat Westbeld-type high post, it's worth seeing how the Irish employ her in 2019-20 (Play offense as wing, part of the "three (3) back line" in a "2-3" zone on defense.)


2020 Player Committed to the Irish:

- Allison (Alli) Campbell (#24 HG, 23 PN). 5’11 1/2” guard whose Bellwood-Antis HS won a 2018 state title in Pa. Made final 18 of National u17 trial. Played for Philly Belles in AAU ball and was cited as a key performer at Annual USJN Ntl. Championships by Jason Key of Premier Basketball Report & The Jukes Report. As of Sept. 13, 2018: COMMITTED TO NOTRE DAME. Current thought is Alli will play off guard and possibly wing, if she continues to grow. MM & Beth Morgan Cunningham went to see Ali play during the HS season.

Class of 2020 Players of Interest:

- Priscilla Williams (#16 HG, #8 PN). 6'2" wing from Katy, Texas, now in Branson, Missouri (dad's job switch). Very athletic, dynamic tall guard who has offers from all over that region. ND is getting involved late in the game. Stay tuned to see if anything percolates.
- Madeleine (Maddy) Westbeld (45 in HG, 25 in PN), 6’2” wing from Ohio who favors outside game more than Kat, her high-post sister. Made cut to 45 at recent U.S. Nat'l. U17 trials. Played at Annual USJN Ntl. Championships, getting a shout-out from Mark Lewis of Blue Star Media. Attended UConn-ND game and sat in recruits section.
- Madison Hayes, (#50 in HG, 54 in PN) 6-0 G/W from East Hamilton HS, Ooltewah, TN. Relatively new name to the mix who is averaging 25.2 points, 12.2 rebounds, 3.6 assists, 3.4 blocks and 3.1 steals. She has two dozen offers, primarily from ACC and SEC schools.
- Maddie Burke (NR in HG, 39 in PN), 6’0” shooting guard from Pennsylvania who is another member of the Philly Belles. Good outside stroke. Not connected to ND in awhile.

(2020's Campbell, Parrish and Burke and 2021's Fudd and Wilke all attended the 10/27-28/17 unofficial group visit.)

2020 Guard/Wing Prospects Who Will Go Elsewhere:

- Sydney Parrish, (#11 in HG, 18 PN) 6’2” wing/forward from Hamilton Southeastern, Indiana. Was a semi-finalist for the USA Basketball’s U16 and U17 teams. Played at Annual USJN Nat'l. Championships and got a shout-out from Mark Lewis of Blue Star Media. Has not been mentioned in regards to ND, so no surprise when her Top 7 didn’t include ND.

Dillon's druthers:
This is an interesting position, with Young gone. There are a number of guards and multi-positioners (Brunelle-Patterson) at ND already, Campbell is coming (and growing) and look who's available in 2021 (Fudd). Do you still go after a true wing, such as Maddy Westbeld? Or just take another best-available guard (Bueckers & Clark are tall)?


Class of 2021 Players of Note:
- Azzi Fudd (#1 HG, #1 on PN), a 5’11” guard who is in her sophomore year at. St. John’s College in Washington, D.C., the same school that Lindsay Allen attended.
-- Youngest player on the U.S. teams in Argentina and Europe.
-- Has scored 30+ points multiple times, prompting coaching pilgrimages to D.C.
-- She and Cameron Brink became first women to attend Stephen Curry's Summer Camp. Won the three-point shoot-around.
-- Could be that she's just a good friend, but attended Brunelle's announcement in April and wore an ND T-Shirt. Played with Brunelle on Fairfax AAU team and U.S. Nat'l. U16 and U17 teams.
-- Attended UConn-ND game in Dec. 2018, as did Brunelle and Paige Bueckers. MM and Niele Ivey attended her SJC vs. Christ the King HS game in D.C. on Dec. 8th.
– Made Naismith finalist award list for best HS player of 2018-19, as a sophomore.

- Matyson Wilke (Not ranked in HG, PN Top 25 Lists, but is listed as #9 HG guard), a 5’9” guard from Beaver Dam, Wisc. Attended ND games last season. HG's Olson: "elevates on jumper, manufactures, delivers to the arc; a consistent jump shooter."
- Sonia Citron, (Unranked in HG, PN) 6'1" Guard/Wing from Ursuline Academy, NY and Hudson Valley Elite 16 Gold. Mix of post and perimeter skills…Will hit the three off the jab…Comfortable handling the ball to score off the bounce. According to tweets, ND, UConn, Maryland know about her. Syracuse allegedly has offered a scholarship. Had excellent HS season.
- Sydney Affolter, 5'10" guard who plays for Marist H.S. in Chicago. Strong, sturdy build for sophomore. Drives to hoop, plays defense and has a quick 3-pt. release. Has offer from Illinois.

Class of 2022
- Camille Jackson, 5'8" Guard from Butler College Prep, Chicago. Ranked 3rd in Class by Blue Star. HG's Olson's description reads like a young Arike: "Athletic guard manufactures, rises on jumper in mid-range game; college-ready frame, rebounds at the guard position effectively, attacks in up-tempo; 3-point game opportunist." Attended ND-Louisville game.


FORWARDS/POSTS

Context
- In 2020 - 2021, the Irish will have the following posts and forwards: Mikayla Vaughn, Danielle Cosgrove, Dani Patterson and Sam Brunelle.

2020 Players to Keep An Eye On:
- Natalija Marshall (#12 HG, 15 PN), 6’5” forward from Christ the King H.S. in Queens, NYC. Attended Oct. '17 Unofficial Group Visit. Made several cuts at recent U.S. National U17 trials. Finalists: ND, Duke, Stanford, UConn, Texas, Tennessee, UCLA, Syracuse, South Carolina and Michigan. Really can't see Stanford (now that Ashten Prechtel and Cameron Brink have signed/committed) or South Carolina (with Boston/Amihere).
-- MM and Niele Ivey attended her Christ-the-King HS vs St. John's College (Azzi Fudd) in D.C
– Niele was in NYC recently and thought to have seen another CTK game
- ND had home visit with Nat Marshall (NM) on March 11 (confirmed by NM)
– Marshall has said she wants to start taking her Official Visits in April (specifically cited ND and Stanford) and then make her mind up by late May.
- Kylee Watson (#30 in HG & 16 PN), Agile 6’3” Post from Mainland HS in NJ who played on USA Basketball’s U16 Team in Argentina. Prospects Nation’s Chris Olson compares her to ND alum Natalie Achonwa. Was part of Oct. '17 Unofficial Group Visit. Did not make finalist cut at recent U17 Trials. "Mutual Interest" talk with ND had seemingly slowed down but ND has seen Watson at Philly Belles games and open workout. Watson is a "bi-coastal" unofficial visiter, having been to Duke, Oregon and UCLA, among other places.
-- MM attended a scrimmage of Watson's Mainland HS team in December '18
.– Like Marshall, Watson intends to take OV’s in the spring and make a decision before the summer.
- Jayla Kelly (NR in HG or PN), 6'3" Post from Parkway Central HS (St. Louis metro area), Missouri. Averaged averaged 11 points, 10.7 rebounds and 3.8 blocks per game sophomore season. Athletic post who supplies defensive and rebounding presence. Attended Lehigh game at ND on Dec. 30, 2018.

2020 Posts/Forwards Of Note Who Will Head Elsewhere
- Cameron Brink (#2 HG, 3 PN), a 6’4” stretch forward from Beaverton, Oregon, who led team to state championship. Just played on the U.S. National U17 Team. Rail thin, but mixes it up. As of Oct. 28, 2018: COMMITTED TO STANFORD.
- Angel Reese (#5 HG, 6 PN), 6’2” forward who plays for St. Frances Academy in Maryland. Was a finalist at U17 Trials this spring. Reese announced 10 finalists: Baylor, UCLA, Louisville, Maryland, Rutgers, South Carolina, Syracuse, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia.
- Hannah Gusters (#7 HG, 7 PN), a 6'5" center from DeSoto, Texas. Was a finalist at U.S. Nat'l. U17 Trials. In August 2018 listed a Final 12 list that didn't include ND. Gusters took an "unofficial" to UConn and apparently left with an offer. Geno A. just visited her in Texas.

Dillon's druthers:
MM & Niele have visited Marshall and/or Watson this year. Have to think they're the natural post/forwards of interest. Marshall is one tall drink of water, with range. Would need to bulk up for the paint. Watson is solid and has that Philly Belle background, which MM likes.

2021 Players To Keep Track Of:
- Amari DeBerry (#2 in HG, #2 in PN), a 6’5” forward starting at Williamsville South H.S. in New York. Another Blue Belle player. Made several cuts at U.S. National U17 Team trials. ND recently visited HS open gym. UConn has reportedly already offered.
- Destiny Adams (NR in HG, #13 in PN) 6-3' forward from Jersey Warriors Basketball Club. Had to get a Jersey girl in here! "USJN-April 2018: Athletic faceup-4 with off-the-charts potential; rebounds, handles and finishes plays coast-to-coast; superior length, wingspan, defends all 5 positions on the floor; knocks down the jumper to the arc; rebounds, outlets, executes in transition game; stretch-4 game with guard skills." (Dan Olson)

2022 Player To Keep Track Of:
- Maya Nnaji, 6'1' forward from Hopkins, Minnesota, who plays on the same high school as Paige Bueckers. Hoopgurlz describes her as a "Faceup-4 prospect with college-ready frame (who) brings offensive game attack to the arc...)"
- Ayanna Patterson, 6'3" center from Homestead H.S. in Ft. Wayne. Has dunked in high school practice and currently averages 12.9 points, 7.7 rebounds and 1.7 blocked shots per game in her first year of varsity basketball. Already has offers from multiple D1 schools, including B1G. ND has shown interest.
- Mila Reynolds, 6'2" forward from Washington H.S. in South Bend, alma mater of one Skylar Diggins. This freshman, who already has an offer from DePaul, is a regular at ND home games and is often seen on campus.


MEANWHILE ON THE SOCIAL MEDIA FRONT

A few of you are very good at tracking recruits and/or have interest in recruits via social media, which is great since so many of them communicate via one of the tools.

Here is a list of uncommitted players followed by MM's twitter account (thanks to Orangutan for supplying these and for his constant finds via social media):
- Alli Campbell (Yes! Verbal Commit)
- Natalija Marshall
- Azzi Fudd
- Kylee Watson
- Caitlin Clark
- Paige Bueckers

Orangutan has also studied whom Niele Ivey, who directs ND's recruiting efforts, is following. As he wrote in a post in late January,

"I'll list them by Class and in order of their Hoopgurlz rankings, with Prospects Nation rankings also provided. Note that the HG & PN rankings go up to 60 for the class of 2020 and to 25 for the class of 2021. There are no rankings for '22 and beyond yet."

Class of 2020 (HS juniors)
- Paige Bueckers - HG #1, PN #1
- Caitlin Clark - HG #4, PN #6
- Natalija Marshall - HG #12, PN #16
- Jordyn Merritt - HG #15, PN #31
- Sasha Goforth - HG #21, PN #9
- Deja Kelly - HG #22, PN #50
- Kylee Watson - HG #30, PN #17
- Maddy Westbeld - HG #45, PN #23
- Madison Hayes - HG #50, PN #54
- Maddie Burke - HG unranked, PN #40
- Rain Green - unranked
- Ariel Loiter - HG unranked (from Singapore)

Class of 2021 (HS sophomores)
- Azzi Fudd - HG #1, PN #1
- Amari DeBerry - HG #2, PN #2
- Payton Verhulst - HG #10, PN unranked
- O'Mariah Gordon - HG #11, PN #14
- Jada Walker - HG #25, PN unranked
- Raven Johnson - HG unranked, PN #20
- Caroline Ducharme - HG unranked, PN #22


*Class of 2022* (HS freshmen)
- KK Bransford
- Timea Gardiner

On McGraw's Bench:
Also, please take in posts/insights/links/research by Orangutan, Fighting Artichoke, Baba Ghanouj, Dave Winkler, Domerduck, MPG, RI Steve, Cbiebel and others who scour the internet for more information/tape. Any and all information is appreciated.