Nov. 9, 2017
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – With Wednesday, Nov. 8, officially marking the first day of the early signing period for the Class of 2018, `Here Come the Irish’ took on a new meaning. Karen & Kevin Keyes Notre Dame women’s basketball head coach Muffet McGraw adhered to the slogan by announcing the addition of four future Irish players.
Guards Katlyn Gilbert, Abby Prohaska and Jordan Nixon, along with post Danielle Cosgrove all signed their national letters of intent over the past two days. The Notre Dame quartet was ranked as the No. 6 recruiting class in the country by espnW HoopGurlz.
“I think we addressed our needs with the addition of three guards,” Coach McGraw explained. “Ultimately, a top-10 ranked class who can come in, and play, and help us right away, was really important for us. Also, to have the perimeter scoring ability of all four of them was key.”
A 5’10 guard, hailing from Indianapolis, Indiana, Gilbert ranked 25th overall in the Class of 2018 and sixth at the position.
In her first two seasons at Heritage Christian School, Gilbert led her squad to back-to-back Class 3A State championships. Now, Gilbert is coming off her best season, averaging 16.8 points and 7.5 rebounds per game as a junior, while shooting 52.0 percent from the floor.
In addition, Gilbert was named an AP All-State First Team selection, a National Gatorade Player of the Year candidate, an IBCA Underclass All-State honoree and received an invite to the Indiana Classic All-Star Game, just to name a few.
“Katlyn is a very smooth player,” Coach McGraw explained. “She reminds me of Kayla McBride. She is someone that can score, rebound, run the floor and defend. Just a gifted athlete with a promising future.”
EspnW’s Dan Olson describes Gilbert as a confident and athletic combo-guard with a smooth floor game who can break down the defender. She attacks the basket, passes well in transition and boasts great court awareness. She handles and passes with purpose in an uptempo game. Lastly, she elevates on jumper in mid-range game and is developing a deep threat.
A 5’10 left-handed guard from Liberty Township, Ohio, Prohaska ranks 78th overall and 20th by position. Prohaska attends Lakota West High School, where she led the Firebirds to a 24-3 season as a junior, reaching the Division I Regional Semifinals, before being named an AP Division I All-State honoree. Prohaska averaged 11.4 points, 7.1 rebounds, 2.5 steals and 3.5 assists along the way, as the latter tied the school record set back in 2006.
Prohaska also boasts valuable experience on the national scene, earning a bronze medal at the FIBA U17 World Championship with the USA U17 squad in 2016.
“Abby brings a tremendous amount of energy,” Coach McGraw said. “She is a great team player because she is someone you can count on to take a charge, dive for loose balls and set the tone defensively. You like having her on the court because she does so many little things well. She can drive, she can pass, she can shoot, so she’s just an all-around talented player.”
Olson describes Prohaska as a fundamental guard who competes on both ends of the floor with high motor effort. A mid-range game creator and stationary threat at the arc, Prohaska also defends well and is quick to 50/50 balls. She can elevate in mid-range game with a soft touch, and be physical off the dribble, drive and finish in traffic. Lastly, she is described as a leader with a poised persona and high energy.
A 5’8 point guard living in New York, New York, Nixon is ranked 56th overall and 12th by position. Nixon attends the Mary Louis Academy, which should sound familiar to Notre Dame fans, as McDonald’s All-American and current freshman Danielle Patterson graduated from there.
Alongside Patterson, Nixon led Mary Louis to three titles – the 2017 Borough, City and State Championship, as the latter marked the school’s first ever New York State Catholic School `AA’ Championship. Nixon had 21 points and 12 rebounds in the final.
Ultimately, Nixon averaged 20.1 points, 8.0 assists and 10 rebounds as a junior, earning her Naismith Trophy High School Girls All-America Honorable Mention along with NYSSWA Second Team Class AA All-State in 2017.
Over this past summer, Nixon led her iEXCEL AAU team to three national titles at the Nike Chicago tournament, the Basketball on the Bayou in New Orleans, and the Nike Tournament of Champions in Atlanta.
“Jordan was the final piece of the puzzle that we were missing, in the point guard position,” Coach McGraw stated. “She’s going to be counted on to step in right away and lead our team. She’s a very mature, intelligent, high basketball IQ player, who will look to take over the reins of running this team.”
Olson describes Nixon as one of the elite back court prospects in the class of 2018. Nixon is an explosive athletic guard with a quick first-step attack and with major 1-on-1 creativity. She can collapse the defense, rise and deliver in the key. She boasts keen court awareness, passes with flair and continues to develop her deep threat game consistency. She’s also very crafty, shifty and tough to contain.
A 6’4 forward from Holbrook, New York, Cosgrove is ranked 64th overall and 12th by position. Attending Sachem East High School, Cosgrove led the Flaming Arrows in scoring for each of the past three seasons, averaging a double-double as a junior with 17.3 points and 10.7 rebounds per game.
Furthermore, Cosgrove is just the ninth player in Sachem history, both East and North, to reach 1,000 career points, and ultimately ranks fifth in district history with her 1,211 career total. Cosgrove also holds the school’s single-season and all-time records in rebounding and blocked shots.
In addition, Cosgrove plays for the Philadelphia Belles, and in 2016, participated alongside her fellow Irish Class of 2018 signees at the USA U17 Team Trials.
“Danielle brings a lot of versatility,” Coach McGraw said. “She’s a 6-4 post that can shoot three’s from deep. She’s a great shooter, can pass, rebound well and score inside. She’s going to fit inside our offense extremely well.”
Olson describes Cosgrove as an elite post prospect in the class with a consistent interior game. She’s patient in the post, reads the defender and reacts. She’s also physical in the block, competes on the glass, initiates the fast break, and is quite mobile in an uptempo game.
Fans will have to wait till the 2018-19 season opener to catch the new Irish quartet in action, but the wait is just about over for this season. Notre Dame kicks off the 2017-18 slate at home versus Mount St. Mary’s on Saturday, Nov. 11, at 1 p.m. ET, at Purcell Pavilion at the Joyce Center.
Josh Bates joined Fighting Irish Media as associate athletics communications director in July of 2017, serving as the women’s basketball and men’s golf contact. Bates earned both his bachelor’s (2011) and master’s (2014) degree in sports management from the University of Illinois. He also worked as a grad assistant at Illinois from 2012-14 and worked full-time at Tulane University from 2014-17.