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2020 Recruiting Report, As Of June 21, 2019 by dillon77
Summer Greetings, Benchers:
Welcome to the 2019 summer equinox edition of the ND Women's Basketball Recruiting Update. This primarily focuses on the team's efforts to get to know and land high-school prospects in the Class of 2020, but will also examine players who graduate from high school in 2021 and, in some instances, 2022. And given the growing trend of transfers, we'll indicate how and which transfers might impact the overall squad and recruiting.
This update is prepared in long-form. For those who prefer this information graphically, there's Baba Ghanouj’s newly updated chart, which is included in the text. You can (also) print his chart 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 is brought up to speed, edited, 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. 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.
- Same goes for recent developments and heights (assuming growth!). We tend to use national team listings and/or informed local descriptions.
WHAT RECRUITING PERIOD IS THE NCAA IN? WHAT CAN COACHES DO?
Until July 5th, The NCAA WBB is still primarily in a QUIET period, during which a college coach may have face-to-face contact with college-bound student-athletes or their parents on the college's campus. A coach may not watch student-athletes compete (unless on their college campus) or visit their high schools. They may write or telephone student-athletes or their parents.
There were three EVALUATION periods in this period, during which coaches may have watched college-bound student-athletes compete. However, they can't have face-to-face contact off the college's campus.
These evaluation periods were:
- April 19-23: Scholastic events only
- April 26-28: Non-scholastic events only (AAU Invitationals, primarily. Irish coaches attended these in Virginia, Ohio and Texas)
- May 17-19: Non-scholastic events only (AAU Invitationals, primarily)
High School Juniors can take official visits (OV's) to college campuses (this started just after the NCAA Championship Game). OV's are paid for by the college and an athlete can take up to five of them. ND's first visitor was post/forward Natalija Marshall from NYC, which ended very well...a verbal commitment from Marshall to ND.
OVERALL LOOK AT PERSONNEL
- North Carolina's Destinee Walker has committed to the Irish as a graduate transfer. The 5'10" guard played two seasons at UNC before suffering injuries that have kept her out since then. She can play immediately (2019-20). Her father says she has two years of eligibility, but NCAA posts say you need to play four seasons in 5 years. So, Walker would have to petition the NCAA for a sixth year to play her senior season. Will she? In any case, we'll have to see if Walker can regain the form that made her valuable member of the Tarheels, with her aggressive defense and long-range shooting.
- So has Stanford graduate Marta Sniezek, a 5'8" guard, who will team up with Jordan Nixon to run the point in 2019-20. Sniezek is very much a pass-first guard and is known for tough, pesky defense and overall play.
- And on the negative side, forward Dani Patterson entered the transfer portal and transferred to Indiana University. For 2019-20 season, this leaves one returning inside player with some degree of experience (Mik Vaughn), one untested rising sophomore (Danielle Cosgrove) more known for her three-point shooting and a freshman. Granted that frosh is one Sam Brunelle, but she'll have to adjust (quickly) to college-paced ball because she'll be in. There are barely, if any, grad. transfer post prospects of note. Might have to rely on regular transfers and/or more high school prospects (see below for both).
- Including current players, the two 2019 signees and the two 2020 commits players on the WBB squad for the start of the 2020 season now stands at ten (10) players, possibly twelve (12), if graduate transfer Destinee Walker has a second year and newly-name scholarship guard Katie Cole sticks around past graduation. (Check with Baba's chart to see who they are and how long/when they'll be here, what positions they play, etc.)
- If there are further transfers, we'll adjust accordingly.
- Muffet prefers to carry some 11-12 players on the roster, so that higher number (12) is used as a baseline.
- Anaya Peoples, Sam Brunelle, Alli Campbell and Natalija Marshall all attended Nielefest/Recruitapalooza in Fall 2017. Other possible prospects who attended include Caitlin Clark and Kylee Watson. (Those present who have chosen elsewhere include Paige Bueckers, Sydney Parrish & Kylee Watson.)
- Based on the "12" target number, MM could recruit up to a total of four (4) 2020 prospects, if she gets the right people (can't emphasize that enough). Assuming verbal commits Alli Campbell and Natalija Marshall honor their pledge, that leaves room for two (2) more in the 2020 class.
If Destinee W. stays for the '20-21 season, MM could just recruit one person to reach twelve (12), or go with two (2) to reach thirteen (13).
Campbell is now regarded as an off guard, possibly a wing, so:
- point guard is a natural target (but perhaps not a necessity);
- another post/big forward seems a necessity, given Patterson's transfer; and,
- here's an interesting one: Since Haley Jones went to Stanford, do the Irish pursue a wing? Or, if Campbell keeps growing, is there some flexibility here to possibly take another "best available guard?"
With that in mind, let's take a look at the team, by position.
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 for 2020.
Class of 2020 Point Guards of Interest:
- Caitlin Clark (#4 in HG, 7 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. Unofficially visited Oregon and Oregon State during '18 summer. Iowa schools, of course, have strong interest. MM visited Dowling HS in Iowa twice last season. Irish coaches probably saw her at Boo Williams 2019, where she got glowing reviews.
- Deja Kelly (#19 in HG, #31 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. Also played at Boo Williams 2019 and received positive reviews.
Other 2020 Point Guards:
- Keegan Sullivan (NR in HG, 25 PN), 6’0” from South Bend, who has several D1 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 ND plans, but worth noting a local favorite on the board.
While Clark and Kelly are listed as point guards, ND continues to have interest in both of them, which, perhaps, indicates ND's staff could be considering one of them as an off- or combo guard. This approach gives flexibility in both recruiting and, down the line, game match-ups.
- This is the glamour position of the 2020 recruiting class, from Paige Bueckers and Clark to Hailey Van Lith and Sarah Andrews. The Irish will undoubtedly make it a recruiting priority. Many schools are after these and other top point guards so it's smart to have options.
- An Option. 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. With Bueckers at UConn and the competition for Clark extremely fierce, Kelly very much looks to be a serious option for the Irish.
- Another PG Option: Jordan Nixon and Marta Sniezek are set at PG for 2019-20. If Clark and/or Kelly don't work out, Nixon is still here and could be backed up by Peoples or Gilbert for a year. There are several excellent PG's in the Class of 2021, including Olivia Miles and Ari Wiggins.
2020 Point Guards Who Went Elsewhere:
- 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 last July and 3x3 team in late summer. ON APRIL 1ST, Bueckers committed to UCONN. Not a total surprise, but a bummer, nonetheless.
Class of 2021 Point Guards To Watch:
- Olivia Miles, (HG #2, PN #3). 5'10" pass-first PG who plays for Blair Prep in New Jersey and the Philly Belles in AAU (so MM & Niele know her). Currently playing on u15 U.S. Basketball Team in the Americas Tournament in Chile.
- Arina (Ari) Wiggins, (HG #26, #6 PN) 5’8” junior-to-be at Heritage Christian, Indianapolis, who has P5 offers. Very quick. Attended USJN Championships in Washington, D.C. and was cited by Jason Key, Premier Basketball Report & The Jukes Report. Attends ND home games. Got shout-outs for her play at Boo Williams 2019.
- Taylor Bigby, (#25 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.
Abby Prohaska, combo guard Katlyn Gilbert and incoming 2019 guard Anaya Peoples will be on board when practice starts, as might Desiree Walker. While many see Sam Brunelle as a Kat Westbeld-type high post, it's worth seeing how the Irish employ Sam in 2019-20.
2020 Player Committed to the Irish:
- Allison (Alli) Campbell (#20 HG, 26 PN). 6’1” guard whose Bellwood-Antis HS won 2018 &'19 Pa. state titles. Made final 18 of National u17 trial. Plays 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 HS season. Played well at Boo Williams in 2019.
Class of 2020 Players of Interest:
- Priscilla Williams (#12 HG, #9 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 took a look late in the game. Have not heard/seen much since then.
- Madeleine (Maddy) Westbeld (31 in HG, 24 in PN), 6’2” wing from Ohio who favors outside game more than Kat, her high-post sister. Made cut to 45 at 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. Says she'd like to made college decision by late summer.
- Madison Hayes, (#25 in HG, 57 in PN) 6-0 G/W from East Hamilton HS, Ooltewah, TN. Added a bit later 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. Her TGB team won the gold medal at the recent 3x3 U18 Trials in Colorado, upsetting Sam Brunelle's team in the final. Played and was noted at Boo Williams 2019.
- Maddie Burke (NR in HG, 45 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, 19 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. Was not been mentioned in regards to ND, so no surprise when her Top 7 didn’t include ND. As of April 15th, VERBALLY COMMITTED TO OREGON.
There are a number of guards and multi-positioners (Brunelle) 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? Or wait until 2021?
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.
-- Scored 30+ points many 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. Also very tight with Paige B. who is attending UConn.
-- 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.
– Won Naismith Award for best HS player of 2018-19, as a sophomore.
- Currently recuperating from an MCL injury and then will have surgery on her ACL, which will definitely affect her junior HS season.
- Payton Verhulst, (#9 HG, NR PN), Bishop Miege H.S., Kansas. 6' guard who is one of the most exciting players on the u16 U.S. National Team playing in Chile. Long-range shooter who will also go to the hoop. Surprisingly good athlete...reminds me of Maddie Cable. Starts with Olivia Miles and Sonia Citron. ND not offered as of yet, but Niele follows her on social media.
- Sonia Citron, (#17 HG, PN) 6'1" Guard/Wing from Ursuline Academy, NY and Hudson Valley Elite 16 Gold. 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, playing against UConn signee Aubrey Griffin in New York state playoffs. Currently starting on u16 U.S. Nat'l Team in Chile, with Olivia Miles. Efficient and seemingly does the right thing all the time.
- Matyson Wilke (Not ranked in HG, PN Top 25 Lists, but is listed as #9 HG guard), a 5’10” 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." Played at Boo Williams and her excellent outide shooting (58% from 3) was noted.
- Sydney Affolter, 5'10" guard who plays for Marist H.S. in Chicago. Strong, sturdy build for a junior. 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.
- In 2020-21, the Irish will have the following posts and forwards: Mikayla Vaughn, Danielle Cosgrove and Sam Brunelle.
2020 Players Who Have Committed to ND:
- Natalija Marshall (#35 HG, 16 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 over the winter and thought to have seen a CTK game
- ND had home visit with Nat Marshall (NM) on March 11 (confirmed by NM)
– Marshall said she will take her Official Visits in April (citing ND and Stanford) and then make her mind up by late May. She did, indeed, visit ND with her parents in mid-April.
- As of April 17, 2017: Natalija Marshall COMMITTED TO NOTRE DAME.
Other 2020 Posts/Forwards to Keep An Eye On:
- Jayla Kelly (99 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 (#3 HG, 3 PN), a 6’4” stretch forward from Beaverton, Oregon, who led team to state championship. played on the U.S. National U17 Team. Rail thin, but mixes it up. As of Oct. 28, 2018: COMMITTED TO STANFORD.
- Angel Reese (#2 HG, 6 PN), 6’2” forward who plays for St. Frances Academy in Maryland. Reese announced 5 finalists: Maryland, South Carolina, Southern Cal, Syracuse and Tennessee. She'll make her choice by Nov. 2019.
- Hannah Gusters (#9 HG, 8 PN), a 6'5" center from DeSoto, Texas. Was a finalist at U.S. Nat'l. U17 Trials. Gusters took an "unofficial" to UConn and apparently left with an offer. As of May 20, COMMITTED TO BAYLOR.
- Kylee Watson (#17 HG, 17 PN), an agile 6'3" post from Mainland HS in NJ who was one of the attendees to Nielefest/Recruitapalooza. Has U.S. National Team experience and also plays for the Philly Belles.
-- Watson lead Mainland to first NJ State sectional title in March
-- MM attended scrimmage of hers prior to HS season
-- Watson was scheduled to take an OV to ND this June, but announced her commitment to Oregon on May 22.
- 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 offensive range. Would need to bulk up in college. Watson is solid and has that Philly Belle background, which MM likes. Cooks could be a very good option to pair with Marshall, as well.
2021 Players To Keep Track Of:
- Amari DeBerry (#5 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 and is constant visitor.
- Destiny Adams (#35 in HG, #13 in PN) 6-3' forward Manchester Twnshp. and Exodus NY AAU (same as N. Marshall). Had to get a Jersey girl in here! "USJN-April 2018: Athletic face-up-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)
-- Dillon's druthers: I saw her play and she reminds me of Stewie in that, while she's playing against others and interacting with friend and foe, she's kind in her own world, enjoying it. A bit otherworldly.
2022 Player To Keep Track Of:
- Maya Nnaji, (#8 HG, PN Not Rated Yet) 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...)" Brother will be a D-1 hoopster. Great genes.
- Ayanna Patterson, (#4 HG, PN Not Rated Yet) 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. Her defensive prowess and grit, despite a leg injury, was cited at Boo Williams '19.
The Chart(A Look at the Current and Possible Future Make-Up of the Irish)
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 (Yes! Verbal Commit)
- Azzi Fudd
- Caitlin Clark
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 (Rising HS seniors)
- 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 (Rising HS juniors)
- 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* (Rising HS sophomores)
- 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.