March 10, 2016
By Chris Masters
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – University of Notre Dame women’s basketball incoming freshman Jackie Young (Princeton, Ind./Princeton Community HS) has been selected as the 2016 Naismith National High School Player of the Year, it was announced Thursday by the Atlanta Tipoff Club.
Young, who is the third Fighting Irish signee to earn the honor and the first since Skylar Diggins in 2009, also joined fellow Notre Dame incoming freshman Erin Boley (Hodgenville, Ky./Elizabethtown) in earning first-team Naismith All-America recognition earlier this month. Notre Dame was the only school in the country to have two of its incoming freshmen named first-team Naismith All-Americans.
The Naismith Awards, presented annually to the top girls and boys high school players and coaches in the country, are the most prestigious national honors in high school basketball. Similar national awards at the college level are presented by the Atlanta Tipoff Club, including the Naismith Trophy (college player of the year) and Naismith Award (college coach of the year) – current Fighting Irish sophomore forward Brianna Turner (Pearland, Texas/Manvel) is a finalist for this year’s Naismith Trophy, while Notre Dame’s Muffet McGraw is a leading candidate for her fourth Naismith Award as the nation’s top coach.
Notre Dame incoming freshman guard and 2016 Naismith National High School Player of the Year Jackie Young is the Indiana high school basketball career scoring leader (boys or girls) with 3,286 points.
Thursday’s announcement is only the latest in a series of high-profile honors for both Young and Boley, who have been selected to participate in the McDonald’s High School All-America Game later this month. The pair will be the 15th and 16th future Notre Dame women’s basketball players to compete in the McDonald’s game since its inception in 2002, with eight of those players slated to be part of the Fighting Irish roster in 2016-17. This also will mark the fifth consecutive year Notre Dame has multiple players competing in the same McDonald’s game.
Boley will suit up for the East squad while Young will play for the West Team in this year’s McDonald’s High School All-America Game, which will be played at 6:30 p.m. (ET) March 30 and will be televised live nationally by ESPNU from the United Center in Chicago.
Also on Thursday, Boley was named a first-team All-America selection by the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA), while Young was chosen as an honorable mention All-America pick. What’s more, both players earned the Gatorade High School Player of the Year for their respective states (Boley for the third consecutive year) and the pair also are in prime contention to earn Miss Basketball Honors in those states when those awards are announced later this month.
Young, a 6-foot-0 guard, recently completed one of the most storied careers in Indiana high school girls basketball history by leading Princeton Community High School to 53 consecutive wins and the 2015 Indiana Class 3A state championship. In her four years at PCHS, the Tigers posted a sparkling 97-9 (.915) record.
Young helped Princeton Community to a 27-1 record this season, ranking third in the state and ninth in the nation in scoring at 34.9 points per game, while adding 9.5 rebounds, 5.0 assists and 3.8 steals per game. What’s more, she was an exceptional shooter, connecting at a .605 clip (357-of-590) from the field, including a .429 mark (57-of-133) from three-point range and .861 (205-of-238) at the free-throw line. All told, she piled up 20 30-point games, 10 40-point games and a season-high 53 points on Nov. 20 against Gibson Southern. She also had 14 double-doubles this year and finished the year with 978 points (the third-highest single-season total in state history behind her own 2014-15 mark of 1,003 points, which was topped this year by Lebanon’s Kristen Spolyar with 1,031 points).
Those totals are only the tip of the iceberg for Young, who capped her prep career last month as the leading scorer (girls’ or boys’ basketball) in Indiana high school history with 3,268 points, surpassing girls’ record holder Shanna Zolman (3,085 at Wawasee High School from 1998-2002) and boys’ standard bearer Damon Bailey (3,134 at Bedford North Lawrence High School from 1986-90).
Overall, Young averaged 30.8 points, 10.3 rebounds, 5.5 assists and 3.5 steals per game with a .583 field-goal percentage (1,208-of-2,073), .382 from the three-point line (143-of-374) and .858 from the free-throw stripe (707-of-824). In addition to the state’s career scoring record, Young holds PCHS and Gibson County records in just about every meaningful category, including career and single-season points, rebounds, assists, steals and blocks.
Young was an honorable mention All-America choice last year by both MaxPreps and the Naismith Awards. She also is a four-time all-state selection by both the Associated Press and the state coaches’ association, as well as a four-time all-area, all-country and all-conference selection (2013-16). What’s more, she is ranked in the top 10 by nearly all major national recruiting services, including a No. 5 rank by Prospects Nation and No. 6 placement by Blue Star Basketball.
Notre Dame incoming freshman forward and 2016 first-team Naismith All-American Erin Boley is a three-time Gatorade Kentucky High School Player of the Year and has scored more 3,200 points in her prep career.
Boley, a 6-foot-2 forward, is in the midst of her final season at Elizabethtown High School, having led the Panthers to a 132-26 (.835) record during the past four-plus seasons since she began varsity basketball as an eighth-grade student-athlete (Elizabethtown plays in the round of 16 at the Kentucky state tournament Thursday evening).
Boley has paced Elizabethtown to a 29-4 record this season while averaging 24.2 points per game (good for third in the state), as well as 10.5 rebounds and 2.8 blocks per game with 23 double-doubles. She also is an outstanding shooter, registering a .597 field-goal percentage (299-of-501), including a .472 three-point ratio (59-of-125) and an .865 free-throw percentage (141-of-163).
Furthermore, she has logged 27 20-point games, seven 30-point games and a career-high (and school-record) 40 points on Dec. 29 against Americus-Sumter (Ga.) at a holiday tournament in Florida.
During her five-year prep career, Boley has averaged 20.4 points per game (3,260 total points ÃƒÆ’Â¢ÃƒÂ¢’Â¬” 10th in state history) and 8.8 rebounds per game (1,415 total rebounds).
Boley is a two-time MaxPreps All-American (fourth team last year, honorable mention in 2014), in addition to garnering honorable mention All-America status from the Naismith Awards last season. She also is a two-time Associated Press Kentucky High School Player of the Year (with this season’s award still to be announced), along with her three Gatorade state player-of-the-year honors (2014-16).
Boley is a four-time all-state choice, as well as a four-time all-area, all-country and all-conference selection (2013-16). Like Young, she is ranked in the top 10 by nearly all major national recruiting services, including No. 5 rankings by both espnW Hoopgurlz and All-Star Girls Report, as well as a No. 6 placement from Prospects Nation.
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 or register for the Irish ALERT text-messaging system through the “Fan Center” pulldown menu on the front page at UND.com.
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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).