Two top recruits sign with Notre Dame women's basketball

Ken Klimek
Tribune Correspondent

SOUTH BEND – The Notre Dame women's basketball season is only one game old, but already the Irish are looking forward to the mix of players they will have at their disposal next season.

The optimism comes from Monday's announcement that two of the top high school seniors in the country, Erin Boley and Jackie Young, have signed letters of intent and will attend Notre Dame next fall.

“We couldn't be happier with what we got,” said Irish coach Muffet McGraw. “They are exactly what we wanted.”

Young, a 6-foot guard from Princeton Community High School in Princeton, Ind., led her team to the Class 3-A Indiana state championship a year ago. She was the first female high school player to score more than 1,000 points (1,003) in a single season. She entered this year with 2,290 career points and is 796 behind all-time Indiana girls scoring leader Shanna Zolman, who played at Wawasee.

Young scored 32 points and grabbed 12 rebounds in last spring's state title game against Tippecanoe Valley.

Her 1,003 points a year ago was the highest total in the state for either gender since 1982-83 when New Castle (and then Indiana University) star Steve Alford scored 1,078.

Both players verbally committed to Notre Dame a year ago, choosing the Irish over a number of  top-flight programs like Connecticut, Kentucky, Louisville, Tennessee and others.

Selecting Notre Dame was somewhat easy for Young.

 "I knew the first time I set foot on campus that's where I would go,” she told the Tribune earlier. "I played pick-up with members of the team and attended an Irish football game. I loved it there. I love how they play."

She received her first scholarship offer while in eighth grade from Sharon Versyp, the former Miss Basketball from Indiana and the current coach at Purdue.

The 6-2 Boley is from Hodgeville, Ky., and plays for Elizabethtown High School in Elizabethtown, Ky. As a junior she averaged 20.1 points and 10.4 rebounds a game. 

“Erin is a little like Kathryn Westbeld, but she can score more off the dribble, McGraw said. "She shoots like Beth Morgan or Alicia Ratay, former Notre Dame proficient scorers.” 

“It is the intangibles that set her apart,” said Boley's high school coach, Tim Mudd. “She is a great basketball player, but her passion for the game and her work ethic is what sets her apart.”

Mudd was happy with Boley's college choice.

 “I was able to visit with her and was impressed with the quality of the players in the (Notre Dame) program,” he said. “She saw there the same passion and work ethic she has.''

 Boley was the 2014 Kentucky Gatorade player of the year.

Like Young, Boley received her first scholarship offer as an eighth grader. That offer came from Western Kentucky. Boley also decided to verbally commit to the Irish last year.

 “I'm excited to say I've made the decision to be a part of the Notre Dame family,” she tweeted at the time. 

 “It (the recruiting process) has been crazy, but exciting. I just feel a huge weight has been lifted off my chest,” she told the Tribune at the time she committed.

Boley earned a silver medal as a member of the 2015 USA Basketball Under-18 3x3 National Team at the world championships this summer in Debrecen, Hungary, She helped her team to an 8-1 record, while playing with current Notre Dame freshman Arike Ogunbowale.

McGraw noted that both players are aggressive. 

“We like their willingness to mix it up,'' she said. "They can drive, go inside to rebound, defend – that is something we need very much.''

Both Notre Dame recruits are considered among the Top 10 players in the country, according to many scouting services. Despite adding only two players, one service rates the Irish recruits as the No. 3 class in the nation.

“Coach McGraw and her staff continue to bring in high-quality and high-character young women to keep challenging for a national championship,” said Chris Mennig, national evaluator for Blue Star Basketball.

Young and Boley will join Ali Patberg, a current freshman who will miss this year after a knee injury sidelined her just before the season started.

Notre Dame women's basketball head coach Muffet McGraw talks to her team during Notre Dame Women's Basketball Media Day on Monday, Oct. 12, 2015, inside the Purcell Pavilion at Notre Dame in South Bend. (SBT Photo/ROBERT FRANKLIN)