April 24, 2008
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Notre Dame head women’s basketball coach Muffet McGraw announced Thursday that Fraderica Miller (first name pronounced fruh-DARE-uh-kuh), a 5-10 guard/forward from Ellenwood, Ga. (The Marist School), has chosen to continue her academic and athletic career with the Irish, signing a National Letter of Intent to attend Notre Dame beginning in the fall of 2008. Miller made her official commitment to the Irish during the regular signing period, which began April 16 and continues through May 21.
The first player to sign with Notre Dame during the spring period since Breona Gray in 2003, Miller joins guard Natalie Novosel (Lexington, Ky./Lexington Catholic) and forwards Erica Solomon (Oak Park, Mich./Detroit Country Day School) and Kellie Watson (Ionia, Mich./Ionia) to make up the 2008-09 incoming freshman class for the Irish. Collectively, these four student-athletes have an average class ranking of 15th by various national recruiting services, including a No. 8 ranking by Dan Olsen Collegiate Girls Basketball Report. It marks the 12th consecutive year that Notre Dame has welcomed a Top 25 recruiting class, a streak that only two other schools in the country (Connecticut and Tennessee) can match.
“Fraderica has a number of skills that should translate very well to our style of play,” McGraw said. “She is a fast, athletic wing, and a great defender, all traits that will help with our presses and transition offense. We also like to bring in players who come from winning programs, either at the high school or AAU level, and have experienced success in the past. Fraderica has that kind of competitive spark and experience that we’re looking for, and I think she can help pick right up where Tulyah Gaines left off at the defensive end of the floor.”
Notre Dame recently completed a 25-9 season in 2007-08, advancing to the school’s seventh NCAA Sweet 16 in the past 12 years. The Irish also were ranked among the top 15 in both major national polls at season’s end, finishing 13th in the ESPN/USA Today coaches’ poll and 15th in the final Associated Press poll. Three starters and seven monogram winners will return for Notre Dame next season, including three of the team’s top four scorers (and seven of the top nine), led by a pair of honorable mention all-BIG EAST Conference guards in rising junior Ashley Barlow and senior-to-be Lindsay Schrader and two ’07-08 BIG EAST All-Freshman Team selections in forward Devereaux Peters and guard Brittany Mallory.
A capsule look at Miller’s prep career, as well as a senior-year update on the other new additions to the Notre Dame women’s basketball program, follows:
FRADERICA MILLER (fruh-DARE-uh-kuh), 5-10, Guard/Forward (Ellenwood, Ga./The Marist School)
Statistics/Records: Averaged 10.0 points, 8.0 rebounds and 3.5 steals per game during her four-year prep career at The Marist School in Atlanta, Ga., under the guidance of coach Kim Hixon … as a senior in 2007-08, averaged team highs of 11.8 points, 6.8 rebounds and 3.5 steals per game with a .494 field goal percentage for the War Eagles, who went 24-4 and were ranked second in the state’s Class AAAA … she also posted four double-doubles in her final prep season, nearly notching a triple-double on Feb. 2 vs. Blessed Trinity (17p, 10r, 9a) … scored in double figures 16 times as a senior, including three 20-point outings (season-high 21 points on Jan. 2 vs. Mays), and had eight double-digit rebounding nights, including a season-high 20 boards on Dec. 14 vs. Tucker … helped Marist to 102-18 (.850) record during her career, along with back-to-back Class AAAA state title game appearances in 2006 and 2007 … high school teammates with Maryland forward Drey Mingo and Indiana guard Andrea McGuirt … played AAU ball with FBC Georgia, where she was coached by Brian Harmon; AAU teammates included Mingo, McGuirt and Antionette Howard (Florida State) … also competed in track & field during prep career, running sprints (100 meters, 200 meters, 400 meters) … high school ranked 15th nationally in overall athletics excellence in 2005 by Sports Illustrated.
Awards/Honors: 2008 all-state selection (second team – Atlanta Journal-Constitution; honorable mention – Georgia Sportswriters Association) … in 2008, was named one of top 30 players in state of Georgia by Atlanta Journal-Constitution … first-team all-metro choice in 2008.
Personal Data: Born April 28, 1990 in Atlanta, Ga. … mother is Melissa Stone-Miller … member of Fellowship of Christian Athletes.
McGraw on Miller…
“Fraderica has a number of skills that should translate very well to our style of play. She is a fast, athletic wing, and a great defender, all traits that will help with our presses and transition offense. We also like to bring in players who come from winning programs, either at the high school or AAU level, and have experienced success in the past. Fraderica has that kind of competitive spark and experience that we’re looking for, and I think she can help pick right up where Tulyah Gaines left off at the defensive end of the floor.”
All-Star Girls Report on Miller…
“Athletic, strong body, turnaround (jumper), runs well, can go coast to coast, gets to the rim, can play the 3 or 4 position.”
NATALIE NOVOSEL (KNOW-vuh-sell), 5-11, Guard (Lexington, Ky./Lexington Catholic High School)
Statistics/Records: 19.9 ppg. and 9.1 rpg. as a senior at Lexington Catholic High School in Lexington, Ky. … helped pace Knights to outstanding 130-11 (.922) record during her final four years on the LCHS varsity (began playing on varsity as eighth-grader) for coaches Greg Todd and Jeff Hans … led team to state championships in 2005 and 2006 … as a senior, sparked team to 29-5 record and berth in regional title game for fourth consecutive season … as junior in 2006-07, averaged 17.9 ppg., 8.5 rpg., 4.4 apg., 3.8 spg., .583 FG% (13th in state), .787 FT% (20th in state) while team compiled 30-4 record before being upset in regional title game … as sophomore in 2005-06, averaged 12.4 points and 6.1 rebounds per game and helped team to 35-1 record with No. 3 ranking in USA Today Super 25 poll (highest ever for a Kentucky school) … team posted 36-1 record in 2004-05 and was ranked as high as sixth in USA Today Super 25 poll … ranks fourth in school history for career points (2,103) and one of five players in LCHS history with 2,000 points and 1,000 rebounds (1,021 boards) in career … also holds school record with 561 steals … career averages of 14.0 ppg., 6.8 rpg., 3.7 spg., and 2.8 apg. … also played for high-powered Tennessee Flight Silver AAU squad (coached by Matt Insell) that won a pair of titles in summer of 2007 — prestigious End of the Trail tournament in Oregon City, Ore., (Novosel canned two free throws with six seconds left to seal semifinal win), and Midwest Showdown in Mason, Ohio … AAU squad also tied for third at Boo Williams Invitational.
Awards/Honors: Ranked 32nd in nation by All-Star Girls Report … ranked 43rd in nation/four-star player (13th among guards) by Hoopgurlz.com … ranked 47th in nation by Blue Star Basketball … ranked 71st in nation (11th among off-guards) by Dan Olson Collegiate Girls Basketball Report … two-time Street & Smith’s preseason honorable mention All-American … one of top three vote-getters for 2008 Kentucky Miss Basketball … three-time all-state selection (unanimous first team pick in 2008; top vote-getter in balloting by Lexington Herald-Leader) … four-time all-city pick … MVP of 2006 Kentucky 11th Region Tournament, 2006 Fifth Third Bank Kentucky Holiday Classic and 2007 Lexington Catholic Holiday Classic … selected to try out for 2008 Kentucky All-Star Team, but opted to forgo selection in order to allow minor knee injury to heal completely and prepare for summer classes at Notre Dame.
Personal Data: Born Nov. 22, 1989 in Lexington, Ky. … one of three children — older sister, Shannon, recently completed junior season on Evansville women’s basketball team, while twin brother, Nathan also attends Lexington Catholic … parents are Jaine and Nick Novosel … first Notre Dame women’s basketball player to come from state of Kentucky … hails from same high school as former Irish men’s basketball standout David Graves (1999-2002).
McGraw on Novosel…
“Natalie has a scorer’s mentality and with a fiesty, aggressive presence that we really like. She’s also poised in pressure situations, shows good court awareness and her fundamentals are really solid. She’s got a chance to make some early contributions for us next season.”
Hoopgurlz.com on Novosel…
“Novosel has an explosive first step and great strength for the guard position which allows her to penetrate and create for her teammates as well as get to the cup or show off her nice pull-up jumper.”
Dan Olson Collegiate Girls Basketball Report on Novosel…
“Fundamental off-guard, passes, court savvy, dangerous and streaky threat from the mid-range to the arc, solid overall skills.”
All-Star Girls Report on Novosel…
“Pretty athletic big guard, fundamental, shoots 3 or puts on floor, good passer, rebounds, gets to the rim.”
ERICA SOLOMON, 6-2, Power Forward (Oak Park, Mich./Detroit Country Day School)
Statistics/Records: Averaged 12.0 ppg., 9.0 rpg. and 4.0 bpg. as a senior at Detroit Country Day School in Beverly Hills, Mich., playing for coach Frank Orlando … helped Yellowjackets to 25-1 record and 2008 Class B state title, in addition to state semifinal appearance in 2007 … team was ranked regionally or nationally in USA Today Super 25 poll each of her three seasons … limited much of junior season while recovering from knee injury (torn ACL in February 2006) … as a sophomore in 2005-06, averaged 15.0 ppg., 12.0 rpg. and 5.0 bpg. for DCDS … won 2004 Class C state title as freshman at Saint Martin de Porres High School before school closed and she transferred to Country Day.
Awards/Honors: Not often seen by recruiting services because Michigan had fall basketball season prior to 2007-08 … ranked 18th in nation (fifth among power forwards) by Dan Olson Collegiate Girls Basketball Report … ranked 52nd in nation by Blue Star Basketball … ranked 68th in nation by All-Star Girls Report … ranked 70th in nation/four-star player (seventh among posts) by Hoopgurlz.com … two-time Street & Smith’s preseason honorable mention All-America selection … 2008 Associated Press Class B Co-Player of the Year (with fellow ND signee Kellie Watson) … runner-up for 2008 Michigan Miss Basketball … 2008 Detroit News Dream Team … four-time all-state selection (first team in 2006 and 2008) … four-time all-county selection … played AAU ball for Motor City Suns, where she was coached by Willie Riley … also competed in high jump during prep career, setting school record (5 feet, 6 inches).
Personal Data: Born Nov. 10, 1989 in Charleston, W.Va. … youngest of three children … sister, Stephanie, played basketball at Saint Louis … brother, Christopher, played football at Northwood (Mich.) … daughter of Debbie Solomon … comes from same high school as NBA standouts Chris Webber and Shane Battier … attended Saint Martin de Porres High School with current Irish wide receiver David Grimes during her freshman year … pairs with fellow signee Kellie Watson to give Notre Dame 16 women’s basketball players from the state of Michigan in program history (second only to Indiana’s 18 players) … Solomon and Watson are first Michigan natives to join Irish since Ann Arbor resident (and Huron High School graduate) Julie Henderson suited up from 1996-2000.
McGraw on Solomon…
“Erica gives us another gifted athletic post presence, which is something we will need with the graduation of Melissa D’Amico. She’s got a strong fundamental base and good versatility. She can stretch defenses with her offensive skill package, whether it’s posting up, taking defenders off the dribble or hitting from outside. She’s also a very good rebounder and defender, which are two qualities that you can never have enough of.”
Dan Olson Collegiate Girls Basketball Report on Solomon…
“Long-framed and athletic perimeter threat, range beyond the arc, explosive offensive talent, superb footwork combined with size and agility provide consistent offensive game to the arc.”
All-Star Girls Report on Solomon…
“Very athletic, strong good body, can play inside/outside, can play in any league.”
KELLIE WATSON, 6-2, Small Forward (Ionia, Mich./Ionia High School)
Statistics/Records: 19.1 ppg. and 8.1 rpg., during four-year prep career at Ionia High School in Ionia, Mich., playing for coach Andy Barr … registered 19.2 points, 8.3 rebounds, 3.4 assists and 2.6 blocks per game during her senior season … averaged 24.0 points and 8.0 rebounds per game as a junior … played much of final two seasons at less than 100 percent due to shoulder injuries (since repaired) … owns school record — boys and girls — for most career points (1,529), as well as IHS record for most points in a single game (41) … led state of Michigan in three-point percentage as a freshman (.452) … standout softball player who set single-season school records for doubles (86) and triples (27) while leading IHS to softball and basketball regional titles (one of only four players at school to play on both teams, the only regional titleists in school history).
Awards/Honors: Not often seen by recruiting services because Michigan had fall basketball season prior to 2007-08… ranked 35th in nation (sixth among small forwards) by Dan Olson Collegiate Girls Basketball Report … 2008 Michigan Miss Basketball … 2008 Gatorade State Player of the Year …2008 Associated Press Class B Co-Player of the Year (with fellow signee Erica Solomon) … two-time Lansing State Journal Player of the Year (2007, 2008) … two-time Lansing State Journal Dream Team (2007, 2008) … 2008 Detroit News Dream Team … four-time all-state selection … four-time all-city choice … four-time all-conference honoree … also lauded for her play on the softball diamond, as two-time all-state, three-time all-city and three-time all-conference pick.
Personal Data: Born May 1, 1990 in Jackson, Mich. … older of two children … parents are Pam and Keith Watson … pairs with fellow signee Erica Solomon to give Notre Dame 16 women’s basketball players from the state of Michigan in program history (second only to Indiana’s 18 players) … Watson and Solomon are first Michigan natives to join Irish since Ann Arbor resident (and Huron High School graduate) Julie Henderson suited up from 1996-2000.
McGraw on Watson…
“Kellie is not your typical forward in that she has the size of a low-post player, but the skills of a perimeter player. She creates a lot of matchup issues for other teams, much like Lindsay Schrader. Kellie is a very heady player and works extremely hard on her game. Her ability to play multiple positions fits very well with our system and will really add to our team next season.”
Dan Olson Collegiate Girls Basketball Report on Watson…
“Long frame, fundamental skills, finesse low-block scorer, breaks down defender on perimeter with consistent faceup game to 17 feet, transition finisher, provides mismatch problem.”
All-Star Girls Report on Watson…
“Pretty athletic, good skills, inside/outside game, nice shot, nice free throw shooter, shoots the three.”
— ND —