Notre Dame women's hoops gets commitment from elite junior prospect Boley

Tom Noie
South Bend Tribune

There was an easiness about her effort, about the way she operated on the basketball court, the way she got herself good shots from key spots while not feeling at all intimidated competing against players who were two, three and four years older.

Elizabethtown (Ky.) High School girls basketball coach Tim Mudd knew he had someone special in forward Erin Boley, even though she was only in eighth grade.

“It didn’t take a genius to see it,” Mudd said late Tuesday. “You could tell that she just played like she belonged.”

A 6-foot-2 junior who received her first scholarship offer in eighth grade – from Western Kentucky – Boley committed to Notre Dame late Monday during an in-home visit with coach Muffet McGraw.

Ranked the No. 7 prospect by AllStar Girls Report and No. 9 by ESPN’s Hoopgurlz, Boley is the first member of Notre Dame’s Class of 2016. Also holding offers from the likes of Connecticut, Kentucky, Louisville, Stanford, Tennessee and Vanderbilt, Boley announced her college choice Tuesday evening on Twitter.

“Excited to say I’ve made the decision to be a part of the Notre Dame family!” she tweeted.

Boley then spent much of the evening receiving an endless parade of calls and texts on her cell phone. She also had to do an interview on her father’s cell.

“I feel like I’ve been on the phone for three hours,” Boley said late Tuesday night. “It’s been crazy, but exciting. I just feel like a huge weight has been lifted off my chest.”

Under NCAA recruiting regulations, McGraw is prohibited from commenting on Boley until she signs her national leter-of-intent in November 2015.

Notre Dame has, to date, commitments from two high school seniors – both, like Boley, five-star prospects. Ali Patberg, a 5-9 guard from Columbus, Ind. (North), and Marina Mabrey, a 5-10 guard from Point Pleasant Beach, N.J. (Manasquan). They will sign with the Irish during the early period this November.

Boley averaged 20.3 points, 9.4 rebounds and 2.1 steals last season for an Elizabethtown team that finished 32-5 before losing to Louisville Butler in the state finals of the state’s one-class basketball tournament.

Elizabethtown, which sits 49 miles south of Louisville off Interstate 65, opens the 2014-15 regular season on Nov. 22 with a rematch against Butler.

Boley’s work last winter also earned her Kentucky 2014 Gatorade Player of the Year honors. It was during that sophomore season when she first received strong recruiting interest from elite schools such as Notre Dame. Boley spent a few days on campus during the summer for an elite basketball camp, then returned earlier this month for an unofficial visit during Labor Day weekend.

She just had to – had to – bring her coach to campus.

“Going to Notre Dame has always been on my bucket list,” Mudd joked. “I was ready to commit that day.”

That trip helped convince Boley that Notre Dame felt most like home.

“It emphasized all the things about Notre Dame that I really liked,” Boley said. “I just felt like that’s where I belong, so I didn’t want to wait any longer.”

Last season, her third on the E’town varsity, Boley shot 60 percent from the floor and 40 percent from 3. Mudd, who has coached for two-plus decades, insists he’s never seen anyone be so consistently good in the mid-range game. It’s come from all the hours she’s put in in the gym. It’s not uncommon for Boley to be the first one ready for practice, then spend another 90 minutes in the gym after a workout and long after her Panthers teammates have headed home.

She’s good, but Boley’s constantly working to be better.

Mudd often reminds himself that Boley’s only halfway through high school. She plays with a demeanor that says otherwise.

“She improves every day,” he said. “You truthfully cannot give her enough basketball each day. After we practice, that’s where she really goes to work with her skills. She’s relentless to be as good as she can be.

“There’s no glaring weakness in her game.”

Boley looks forward to spending her collegiate career in the Atlantic Coast Conference.

“It’s a tough conference,” she said. “But I think that I can contribute in a lot of wins.”

Erin Boley, a junior from Elizabethtown, Ky., committed to Notre Dame for the 2016 recruiting class. (Photo provided/The News-Enterprise, NEAL CARDIN)