Notre Dame Basketball: Women’s Recruit Ali Patberg Named MaxPreps National Player of the Year


Notre Dame reloads with three state ‘Player’s of the Year’

With Notre Dame junior guard Jewel Loyd seemingly surprising everyone with the announcement of entering the WNBA Draft, we need to turn our heads to some more positive news. And for that we need only look at the spectacular recruiting class Muffet McGraw and Niele Ivey have coming in. The all-guard class has become even more important now with Loyd’s departure.

Now the Irish can breathe a bit easier about their future when you look at the incoming talent, including recently name National Player of the Year by MaxPreps, Ali Patberg. The honor was also earned by another former Irish guard–South Bend Washington’s Skylar Diggins.

Last year the Irish added the Gatorade Player of the Year in Brianna Turner, who didn’t disappoint in her freshman season. Now, for the 2015-2016 season, they’ll add three guards, all Miss Basketball Player of the Year for their respective states. Patberg (Indiana), Arike Ogunbowale (Wisconsin) and Marina Mabrey (New Jersey).

With these three talented young ladies coming in, and only one player lost that saw significant minutes in Madison Cable–the Irish should be in great shape entering the season.

MaxPreps also had Mabrey and Patberg as First Team All-American picks, while Ogunbowale was a second-team selection.

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The loss of Loyd still stings, especially with no deep explanation of the choice. Not that she owes that to anyone, but it leaves a “what if” feeling. But with this trio of guards coming in next season, added to the fine play of Turner and Kathryn Westbeld in their freshmen seasons, the future is still very bright for the Irish.

Coach McGraw has built something special in South Bend with the help of recruiting coordinator Niele Ivey. The only thing keeping it from being more than special is the Connecticut Huskies, who aren’t going to lose a step either with their recruiting class.

The battle between the two is likely to continue again next year, and we wouldn’t want it any other way.