Notre Dame women will sport nation's No. 6 signing class — eventually

Anthony Anderson
Tribune Correspondent

SOUTH BEND — Notre Dame’s latest collection of women’s basketball recruits won’t necessarily rank among the nation’s best in terms of how quickly they submit letters of intent, but it is a quartet that’s expected to rate high on the court once that paperwork is official.

The Irish received a letter of intent from feisty off guard Abby Prohaska on Wednesday, the first day of the NCAA’s eight-day early signing period.

But as of early Wednesday evening, there was still no official word from the university on combo guard Katlyn Gilbert, point guard Jordan Nixon or post player Danielle Cosgrove.

Nonetheless, each player was still expected to follow through on previous verbal commitments and join Prohaska in shaping Notre Dame’s recruiting class of 2018.

All of ND’s anticipated four new players are ranked among the nation’s top 80 by ESPN women’s basketball recruiting guru Dan Olson, though none is rated higher than Gilbert’s No. 27 slot. He also has Nixon at No. 59, Cosgrove No. 67 and Prohaska No. 80 in his espnW HoopGurlz Recruiting Rankings.

“I know people are talking about how they didn’t get that real elite, that top-10 player,” Olson said Wednesday by phone, “but as a group, I think it shakes out as a decent class.”

Pending what program or programs land a pair of uncommitted players currently ranked among Olson’s top five individually, he had Notre Dame’s class at No. 6 in the nation Wednesday, and No. 2 in the Atlantic Coast Conference behind Florida State. The Irish are not thought to be in the mix for either of those top-five players.

Based on NCAA rules, Prohaska was the only recruit Irish coach Muffet McGraw could publicly comment on Wednesday afternoon.

“Abby Prohaska is a blue-collar type of player, takes charges, dives for loose balls, comes out of the game with bruises, because she’s always on the floor,” McGraw said following an ND practice. “She sets great screens. She’s a scorer, she can pass, she can defend, and she takes a lot of pride in her defense. She’s a real energy player.”

Here’s more from Olson’s perspective Wednesday on each of ND’s expected signees:

Katlyn Gilbert

“Just a smooth guard,” Olson said of the 5-foot-10 Gilbert from Heritage Christian in Indianapolis. “Look, Notre Dame’s had some great guards over the years. They’ve made it a consistent (priority) and landed good guards, and with Gilbert, this isn’t going away. She’s a smooth operator, sees the floor well and has good size.”

Jordan Nixon

“Arguably the best guard in the state of New York and one of the better point guards in the nation,” Olson said of the 5-8 Nixon from The Mary Louis Academy in Queens. “If you want a one-on-one creative guard, you’re going to be hard-pressed to find a more acrobatic guard with ability than this kid. And she’s got a New York City swag to her.”

Danielle Cosgrove

“Getting true post players in this age of women’s basketball is kind of like hitting the lottery,” Olson said in in reference to the 6-3 Cosgrove from Sachem High School East in Farmingville, N.Y. “You don’t find many, especially that are skilled. Cosgrove is skilled. She’s got good footwork. She can post, she can step out and hit the 3, and she will be a good college player at Notre Dame.”

Abby Prohaska

“If there’s a wall in front of this kid, she’s running through it and asking questions after,” Olson said of the 5-10 Prohaska from Lakota West High School near Cincinnati. “She’s just a tough, tough kid. The intangibles she brings to the floor and to her team are priceless. She does all the intangibles to help make you better.”

Lakota West High School (Westchester Twp., Ohio) junior guard Abby Prohaska verbally committed to Notre Dame Tuesday night. (Photo courtesy of Jenny Walters Photography)