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Thursday, May 23, 2024
The Observer

Two top-15 prospects officially commit to Notre Dame

Two of the nation’s top high school women's basketball players signed their National Letters of Intent to attend No. 3 Notre Dame starting next fall, the team announced Monday.

With the early signing period coming to a close Wednesday, the Irish (1-0) were looking to lock in their class for next season, and they did just that when Erin Boley, a stretch forward from Elizabethtown High School in Hodgenville, Kentucky, and Jackie Young, a guard from Princeton Community High School in Princeton, Indiana, each made their official commitments to the program.

Irish head coach Muffet McGraw said this recent recruiting class fills the team’s needs and has the program in a strong position for next season.

“I couldn’t be happier with the two we got,” McGraw said. “They are exactly what we needed. We were looking for some good guards, obviously, losing some great shooters in [senior] Michaela Mabrey and [graduate student] Madison Cable [after this season].

“They’re both willing to go inside, to rebound, to be physical inside defensively, and that is something that we also need very much.”

According to the espnW 100 rankings, Boley is ranked No. 5 and Young is ranked No. 11, but both players are ranked in the top 10 of many other recruiting services’ rankings. As a result, it is all but certain that Notre Dame will have a top 25 recruiting class for the 20th straight season.

McGraw said she was ecstatic with the way the class has rounded out. In particular, McGraw said Boley provides the Irish with the best perimeter player in the country, filling a need with the best available talent.

“She is hands down the best perimeter player out there that can shoot the ball from three,” McGraw said. “She’s a big guard, about [6-foot-2]; she can rebound; she can do so many other things as well. [She’s] going to fit in perfectly with our offense, so [we’re] really thrilled with her.

“She’s really going to be able to stretch the defense. We’re going to be able to get so much more out of the post with her at the four spot because they’re going to have to come out and guard her so they won’t be able to pack it in around [sophomore forward Brianna Turner]. I think she really helps the offense.”

Additionally, McGraw said Young provides further versatility and an ability to score that complements Boley well.

“Jackie Young set the [Indiana] single-season scoring record [and] led the state in scoring last year,” McGraw said. “The girl can put the ball in the basket, and we certainly need that. She reminds me a little bit of [Kayla McBride], and I think the fans are really going to love watching her.

“She is someone that can pull up and shoot the mid-range jumper; she’s got a three; she can rebound; she can do a lot of things in transition; so she’s a very versatile guard [and] can help us in a lot of different ways.”

With the strength of the incoming class, McGraw says she is content with the class’s size and will not be looking to further bolster it.

“We’re done,” McGraw said. “We had 13 this year and really wanted to get back down to 12. Now with [freshman guard Ali Patberg] dropping down a class, we have three in that class so we’ll graduate four, bring in three, and that will be exactly the number that I’m looking for.”

In the end, the Irish recruiting staff set out to replace this season’s upcoming losses to the roster and found the best fit to replace them, McGraw said.

“We look at what we’re losing,” McGraw said. “We’ve really just tried to replace what we’ve had. [We] always want to look at the best players in the country, but it’s all about the fit. It’s not necessarily the most talented; it’s always how it’s going to fit with the rest of the team.”

That said, for next year’s class, Notre Dame seems to have been able to get both. Now, with next year’s recruiting class rounded out, McGraw and the Irish will return their focus to this season, which continues Wednesday at 7 p.m. when the team welcomes Toledo to Purcell Pavilion.