Arike Ogunbowale recently earned national acclaim for her performance in “The Big Dance.”
With that said, Friday’s news seems pretty appropriate.
Ogunbowale — whose back-to-back buzzer-beaters against Connecticut and Mississippi State helped secure Notre Dame’s first women’s basketball national championship since 2001 — will participate in an athletes-only season of ABC’s “Dancing with the Stars,” the network revealed on Friday.
Ogunbowale — a 5-foot-8 junior — will be joined on the show by basketball legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Olympic figure skater Mirai Nagasu, NFL cornerback Josh Norman, luge Olympian Chris Mazdzer, Olympic snowboarder Jamie Anderson, former major league baseball player Johnny Damon, former softball player Jennie Finch, former figure skater Tonya Harding and Olympic figure skater Adam Rippon.
The Milwaukee native’s partner will be Russian dancer and choreographer Gleb Savchenko.
For Ogunbowale to maintain her amateur status, she will not be allowed to participate in commercial promotions for the show, Emily James, the NCAA's associate director of public relations, told USA TODAY by e-mail on Friday.
James said, however, went on to say that Ogunbowale can receive prize money from the show. That’s because the prize money would be for dancing achievements, unrelated to her NCAA “basketball abilities.”
Ogunbowale — who was named a second-team All-American this season by USA Today, espnW, the Associated Press and the United States Basketball Writers Association (USBWA) — led the Irish with 20.8 points per game in 2017-18, connecting on 44.3 percent of her field goal attempts and 38.2 percent of her 3-point tries. She added 5.4 rebounds and 2.8 assists per contest.
And, to dispel any doubt about her impending return, Ogunbowale tweeted on Friday, “To answer the question, YES OF COURSE I am coming back for my senior year at Notre Dame. Why would I not want to get a degree from the greatest University in the world (& a chance to repeat)”.
The 26th season of “Dancing with the Stars” will air on Mondays at 8 p.m., starting on April 30.
To answer the question, YES OF COURSE I am coming back for my senior year at Notre Dame. Why would I not want to get a degree from the greatest University in the world 😄☘️ (& a chance to repeat 🏆)— Arike Ogunbowale (@Arike_O) April 13, 2018