Sophomore Anaya Peoples commits to Notre Dame women's basketball program

Eric Hansen
South Bend Tribune

Anaya Peoples started collecting basketball scholarship offers in the summer after seventh grade.

On Thursday, the sophomore point guard from Schlarman Academy in Danville, Ill., responded to the one that resonated with her the most.

The 5-foot-10 five-star prospect verbally committed to Notre Dame and coach Muffet McGraw, becoming the first prospect in the Irish 2019 recruiting class.

ESPN’s Hoopgurlz ranks Peoples as the No. 1 point guard nationally in that recruiting cycle and the No. 7 player overall regardless of position.

Peoples revealed her verbal commitment Thursday on her Twitter account.

“I’m extremely excited to announce my verbal commitment to coach McGraw and the University of Notre Dame,” she tweeted. “It’s truly a blessing and dream come true. #IrishFam #FightingIrish”

Peoples comes from a basketball family. Father Keith, who is her coach at Schlarman, played collegiately at Sam Houston State. Her mom, Tricia, played at Danville (Ill.) Community College.

Last season, Anaya Peoples averaged 15.6 points, 5.6 rebounds, 4.7 steals and 4.1 assists for Schlarman (21-6), one of the smallest schools in the state of Illinois but now with a big-time basketball program.

The one thing the Hilltoppers lacked? Upperclassmen. The team was composed entirely of freshmen and sophomores.

In Peoples’ freshman season, Schlarman dropped only three games. From fifth through eighth grade, she was a part of 90 victories without a loss.

Notre Dame’s four-year starter at point guard in 2016, Lindsay Allen, is now playing in the WNBA. Her one-time heir apparent, Ali Patberg, transferred after last season to Indiana.

Stanford grad transfer Lili Thompson is expected to be Notre Dame’s point guard in the upcoming season, but it will be her final year of college eligibility.

There are three guards in the 2018 Irish recruiting class — 5-9 Jenna Brown of Atlanta, 5-10 Abby Prohaska of West Chester, Ohio, and 5-11 Katlyn Gilbert of Indianapolis. Danielle Cosgrove, a 6-3 center from Farmingville, N.Y., is also a 2018 ND commit.

Schlarman Academy standout point guard Anaya Peoples (5), here during a game at Oakwood High School on Feb. 2, verbally committed to the Notre Dame women's basketball program on Thursday. (Photo Courtesy of The News-Gazette/ROBIN SCHOLZ)