Nov. 16, 2015
by Chris Masters
Two of the nation’s top high school student-athletes in women’s basketball have chosen to continue their academic and athletic careers with the University of Notre Dame, each signing a National Letter of Intent to attend Notre Dame beginning in the fall of 2016, it was announced today by Muffet McGraw, Notre Dame’s Karen and Kevin Keyes Family Head Women’s Basketball Coach.
Erin Boley, a 6-2 forward from Hodgenville, Kentucky (Elizabethtown High School) and Jackie Young, a 6-0 guard from Princeton, Indiana (Princeton Community High School) both made their official commitments to the Fighting Irish during the early signing period that began Nov. 11 and continues through Wednesday.
Both incoming Notre Dame women’s basketball student-athletes are rated among the top 10 players in the country by multiple recruiting services, while the Notre Dame incoming class has been ranked as high as No. 3 in the nation (Prospects Nation), as well as No. 4 by espnW Hoopgurlz/Dan Olson Collegiate Girls Basketball Report and No. 6 by All-Star Girls Report (which factors in college transfers as part of its incoming class rankings). It’s the fifth consecutive top-five class for Notre Dame (final class rankings will come out following the early signing period), all but assuring the Fighting Irish will have a Top 25 recruiting class for the 20th consecutive year, a streak only two other schools in the country (Connecticut and Tennessee) can match.
“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 Michaela Mabrey and Madison Cable, so we’ve got the best shooter in the country (coming) in Erin Boley. Meanwhile, Jackie Young set the (Indiana) single-season scoring record and led the state in scoring last year. The girl can put the ball in the basket, and we certainly need that.
“When it comes to recruiting, for us, it’s all about the fit,” McGraw added. “It’s not always about the best player in the country, but it’s about who’s the best fit with the team. I’ve also got to credit my incredible staff — (associate coach/recruiting coordinator) Niele Ivey, (associate head coach) Carol Owens and (associate coach) Beth Cunningham. They have once again gone out and helped us bring in an outstanding top-five class. They are as good as it gets when it comes to identifying the kinds of players that we know will be an ideal fit for our program, and then taking those players and developing them into amazing, strong, confident and mature women who are ready for just about everything they will face after they leave Notre Dame, whether that be in the pros or the working world.”
“Notre Dame again holds claim to one of the best recruiting classes in the country,” said Chris Hansen, managing editor for Prospects Nation. “With the current freshman class being guard-centric it was anticipated the focus would be on the front court and the two signees fit that versatile player that has excelled there in the past. There are bigger classes across the country but few with the quality and program fit of the Irish.”
“Coach McGraw and her staff continue to bring in high-quality and high-character young women to keep challenging for a national championship,” added Chris Mennig, national evaluator for Blue Star Basketball. “The Fighting Irish, for the second straight year, have brought (our) No. 6 and No. 8 prospects to South Bend.”
“Notre Dame is getting two very, very good players,” noted Bret McCormick, analyst for All-Star Girls Report.
“Muffet McGraw has (commitments) from two bona fide superstars in her 2016 class,” Olson said.
Ranked No. 3 in the preseason Associated Press and Women’s Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA)/USA Today polls, Notre Dame (1-0) continues the opening week of play in the 2015-16 season at 7 p.m. (ET) Wednesday when it welcomes Toledo to Purcell Pavilion (live television on ESPN3 and the WatchESPN app; live radio on South Bend’s Pulse FM 96.9/92.1 and WatchND).
Single-game tickets for the 2015-16 Notre Dame women’s basketball campaign, as well as membership passes for Purcell Pavilion’s Club Naimoli (a package that includes numerous benefits such as reserved parking, early arena entry and complimentary premium menu items), are on sale through Notre Dame’s Murnane Family Ticket Office at (574) 631-7356 or visiting the ticket windows inside Gate 9 (Rosenthal Atrium) at Purcell Pavilion. Tickets also can be ordered on-line 24 hours a day with a major credit card at UND.com/buytickets.
For more information on the Notre Dame women’s basketball program, visit the main women’s basketball page on the University’s official athletics web site (UND.com/ndwbb), sign up to follow the Fighting Irish women’s basketball Twitter and Instagram pages (@ndwbb), like the program on Facebook (facebook.com/ndwbb) or register for the Irish ALERT text-messaging system through the “Fan Center” pulldown menu on the front page at UND.com.
Here’s a capsule look at the newest additions to the Fighting Irish women’s basketball program:
ERIN BOLEY, 6-2, Forward (Hodgenville, Ky./Elizabethtown High School)
Statistics/Records: Entering her final year at Elizabethtown High School in Elizabethtown, Kentucky (combined record of 113-22, .837, since she became a starter in eighth grade), where she is coached by Tim Mudd … career per-game statistical averages of 19.4 points and 9.0 rebounds with .546 field-goal percentage, .427 three-point percentage and .829 free-throw percentage… as a junior in 2014-15, averaged 20.1 points and 10.4 rebounds per game while leading her team to a 32-3 record, district and regional titles and berth in state quarterfinals (Kentucky holds a single-class state tournament) … also shot 54.9 percent from the field, 38.8 percent from the three-point line and 82.5 percent from the free-throw line … as a sophomore in 2013-14, paced Elizabethtown to a 32-5 record and a berth in Kentucky state championship game as well as district and regional titles … averaged 20.3 points and 9.4 rebounds while shooting 54.5 percent from the field, 43.9 percent from the three-point line and 84.6 percent from the free-throw line … as a freshman in 2012-13, helped her school to a 23-8 record and a district championship while collecting 17.7 points and 7.2 rebounds and shooting 54.3 percent from the field as well as 45.5 percent from the three-point line and 81.6 percent from the free-throw line … already holds Elizabethtown school records for career points (2,472) and rebounds (1,070) with one season remaining … also has been standout on AAU circuit for Kentucky Premier club and head coach David Tapley … averaged 17.4 points and 7.1 rebounds per game last summer for Kentucky Premier, ranking among the top three scorers in the nation on the 32-team Nike Elite Youth Basketball League (EYBL) summer series, helping team to 8-2 record.
USA Basketball: Earned a silver medal as a member of the 2015 USA Basketball Under-18 3×3 National Team at the FIBA U18 3×3 World Championships in Debrecen, Hungary — helped Team USA to 8-1 record … teammate on that squad of current Notre Dame freshman guard Arike Ogunbowale … will be one of seven players on 2016-17 Notre Dame roster who have earned USA Basketball medals during their careers (along with Lindsay Allen, Marina Mabrey, Arike Ogunbowale, Ali Patberg, Taya Reimer and Brianna Turner).
Awards/Honors: Two-time MaxPreps All-America selection (fourth team in 2015; honorable mention in 2014) … 2015 Naismith Trophy All-America pick (honorable mention) … two-time Gatorade Kentucky High School Player of the Year (2014, 2015 — first sophomore in state ever to win the award) … two-time Associated Press Kentucky Player of the Year (2014, 2015 — first sophomore in state ever to win the award) … four-time all-region and all-district selection (2012-15) … two-time all-state tournament team pick (2014, 2015) … two-time Naples Holiday Classic all-tournament team choice … two-time Most Valuable Player of Republic Bank Holiday Classic … on AAU level, was Most Valuable Player of 2015 Nike Midwest Showdown in Cincinnati … ranked No. 5 (five-star player) in Class of 2016 by espnW Hoopgurlz/Dan Olson Collegiate Girls Basketball Report … ranked No. 5 by All-Star Girls Report … ranked No. 6 by Prospects Nation … ranked No. 8 by Blue Star Basketball.
Personal Data: Daughter of Mary Beth and Scott Boley … oldest of three children … father, Scott, played at Western Kentucky University from 1989-92 … will be the second Kentucky native to play for the Fighting Irish, following in the footsteps of Lexington native and two-time All-America guard Natalie Novosel who attended Notre Dame from 2008-12 … ranked No. 1 academically in her high school class with 4.0 cumulative grade-point average (100.8 numerical GPA) entering 2015-16 academic year … has a passion for art and during the offseason, she teaches a weekly art class to underprivileged children at a local after-school care program … enjoys reading, writing and travel (among her vacation highlights are trips to Italy and Lake Tahoe) … has expressed interest in studying international business or law at Notre Dame.
Coach McGraw on Boley…
“Erin is hands-down the best perimeter player out there. She can shoot the ball from three, she can rebound and 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.”
Chris Hansen, Prospects Nation managing editor, on Boley…
“Erin Boley creates a lot of mismatches because she has the size and strength to play in the post but has a great feel for the game facing up. She’s really evolved in the last year to use her size better when facing the basket, getting to the rim off the dribble at a rate we had been hoping for as a junior.”
Chris Mennig, Blue Star Basketball national evaluator, on Boley…
“Erin Boley is a bit of a `throwback’ — a strong-framed perimeter player who finds a way to get on the floor playing multiple positions. Not as explosive as Jackie (Young), but can score in multiple ways. She can take a hit and has great touch with the basketball.”
All-Star Girls Report evaluation of Boley…
“Boley is really impressive because she has a great basketball IQ and tremendous fundamentals. She is a great shooter with an inside-outside game, so she will be a tough match-up.”
espnW Hoopgurlz/Dan Olson Collegiate Girls Basketball Report evaluation of Boley…
“Erin Boley, ranked fifth in the nation (by espnW Hoopgurlz), is an elite forward who has starred at Elizabethtown (Kentucky), one of the elite programs in the nation. On top of her scoring ability, the 6-foot-2 Boley also brings leadership qualities, an off-the-charts work ethic and an almost professional level of consistency. She’s already won two Gatorade player of the year awards in Kentucky. Bottom line: She’s a born winner.”
JACKIE YOUNG, 6-0, Guard (Princeton, Ind./Princeton Community High School)
Statistics/Records: Entering her final year at Princeton Community High School in Princeton, Indiana (combined record of 70-8, .897) where she is coached by Charlie Mair … career per-game statistical averages of 29.4 points, 10.6 rebounds, 5.7 assists and 3.4 steals with .574 field-goal percentage, .357 three-point percentage and .857 free-throw percentage … enters her final prep season with 2,290 career points, needing 796 points to pass Shanna Zolman (3,085 at Wawasee High School from 1998-2002) as the all-time scoring leader in Indiana girls basketball history (records date back to 1977-78) … as a junior in 2014-15, led state and finished ninth in nation in scoring at 32.4 points per game, while collecting 10.6 rebounds, 5.8 assists and 3.1 steals per game and shooting 63.8 percent from the field, 38.1 percent from the three-point line and 85.9 percent from the free-throw line … led Princeton to a 30-1 record and the Indiana Class 3A state championship … set Indiana girls’ basketball single-season scoring record with 1,003 points, the fifth player of either gender (first female) in state history to score 1,000 points in a season, scoring the most points in one season by an Indiana basketball player since 1982-83 (Indiana University and NBA sharpshooter Steve Alford tallied 1,078 points that season at New Castle High School) … scored 36 points (15-of-22 shooting) and grabbed 12 rebounds in Class 3A state championship game win over Tippecanoe Valley, setting record for most points and most field-goals made in a Class 3A final, as well as scoring the most points by one player in any Indiana girls’ basketball state title game since 1980 (42 by Columbus East’s Maria Stack in an overtime loss — well prior to the advent of Indiana’s multiple-class system in 1997-98) … also scored school-record 57 points against Mount Carmel (Illinois) High School on Dec. 8, 2014, tying for fourth-most points in one game in state history (most since Stephanie White scored 66 points for Seeger against Attica in 1995) … as a sophomore in 2013-14, paced Princeton to a 21-1 record and a spot in Class 3A sectional semifinals … averaged 28.8 points (second in state and 24th in nation), 11.7 rebounds, 6.2 assists and 3.2 steals while shooting 57.3 percent from the field, 37.1 percent from the three-point line and 83.7 percent from the free-throw line … as a freshman in 2012-13, helped Princeton to a 19-6 record and trip to Class 3A sectional final while registering 26.1 points (third in state and 49th in nation), 9.5 rebounds, 5.0 assists and 4.1 steals and shooting 49.0 percent from the field as well as 32.2 percent from the three-point line and 87.1 percent from the free-throw line … holds Gibson County records for most points in a game (57) and career (2,290) by a player of either gender … most recently played AAU basketball in summer of 2015 for Indy Lady Gym Rats Silver club and head coach Danny Riego, averaging 16.5 points and 7.0 rebounds per game while shooting 48.9 percent from the field and 36.8 percent from the three-point line, helping squad to runner-up finish at Nike Nationals (title game for Nike Elite Youth Basketball League summer series) … previously played on AAU circuit for Indiana Elite Swish and head coach Phil Kessler.
Awards/Honors: 2015 MaxPreps All-America selection (honorable mention) … 2015 Naismith Trophy All-America pick (honorable mention) … three-time first-team all-state choice (2013-15)… three-time all-area, all-county and all-conference selection (2013-15) … two-time Gibson County Athlete of the Year (2014, 2015) … ranked No. 5 in Class of 2016 by Prospects Nation … ranked No. 6 by Blue Star Basketball … ranked No. 8 by All-Star Girls Report … ranked No. 11 (five-star player) by espnW Hoopgurlz/Dan Olson Collegiate Girls Basketball Report.
Personal Data: Daughter of Linda Young … middle of three children … older brother, Terrence, led Princeton Community High School to 2009 Indiana Class 3A state championship … cousin, Travis Trice, played on men’s basketball team at Michigan State University from 2011-15 and currently plays in the NBA Development League (D-League) for the Westchester Knicks … will be the 22nd Indiana resident (most from any state) to suit up for Notre Dame women’s basketball program, and the third on the 2016-17 Fighting Irish roster, joining current junior forward/Fishers resident Taya Reimer, and current freshman guard/Columbus native Ali Patberg … will be the second player in as many seasons (after Patberg) to come to Notre Dame from the southern half of Indiana, but the first in program history to come from the far southwestern corner of the state (her hometown of Princeton is 30 miles north of Evansville) … enjoys working out and spending time in the gym, as well as family gatherings and local sporting events … has not yet decided on a course of study at Notre Dame.
Coach McGraw on Young…
“Jackie reminds me a little of K-Mac (Notre Dame’s former two-time All-America guard and 2015 WNBA All-Star Kayla McBride), so I think the fans are really going to love watching her. She is somebody who can pull up and shoot the mid-range jumper, she’s got a three, she can rebound and do a lot of things in transition. She’s a very versatile guard — she’s played the one, the two, the three and the four, so I think she can help us in a lot of different ways.”
Chris Hansen, Prospects Nation managing editor, on Young…
“Jackie Young has long been considered an elite talent in her class. This summer, she proved she is tough as nails as well. She played through considerable pain in July and helped her short-handed club team reach the championship game at Nike Nationals on pure guts. She is a player that can lead you in scoring or dissect defenses that pay too much attention to her by passing. She’s in the mold of a point-forward and she’ll give Coach McGraw and her staff plenty of lineup options with her ability to play multiple roles and positions.”
Chris Mennig, Blue Star Basketball national evaluator, on Young…
“Jackie Young can creates for herself and others in a selfless manner that makes those around her better. She can elevate in her midrange game as well as knock it down from behind the arc. Jackie will have Irish fans thinking they are looking at a bigger-sized Jewell Loyd before she finishes her career.”
espnW Hoopgurlz/Dan Olson Collegiate Girls Basketball Report evaluation of Young…
“Jackie Young will remind Irish fans of none other than (Notre Dame’s former two-time All-America guard, 2015 espnW National Player of the Year and 2015 WNBA Rookie of the Year) Jewell Loyd. Young is outstanding off the dribble and can score, score and score some more. Like Loyd, Young is a huge threat with the ball in her hands.”
— ND —
Chris Masters, associate athletics communications director at the University of Notre Dame, has been part of the Fighting Irish athletics communications team since 2001 and coordinates all media efforts for the Notre Dame women’s basketball and women’s golf programs. A native of San Francisco, California, Masters is a 1996 graduate of Ohio Wesleyan University, earned his master’s degree from Kansas State University in 1998, and currently serves on the Board of Directors for the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA).