Nov. 20, 2008
Coach McGraw Press Conference
NOTRE DAME, Ind. -
University of Notre Dame head women's basketball coach Muffet McGraw announced Thursday that Skylar Diggins, a 5-9 guard from South Bend, Ind., and a student-athlete at Washington High School, has chosen to continue her academic and athletic career with the Irish, signing a National Letter of Intent to attend Notre Dame beginning in the fall of 2009. Diggins, who made her official commitment to Notre Dame during the early signing period, is the second member of the Irish incoming class of 2009, joining guard Kaila Turner (Joliet, Ill./Marian Catholic HS), who signed her National Letter of Intent last week.
A smooth, athletic and versatile player who already is one of the top 20 all-time scorers in the storied history of Indiana high school basketball, Diggins is considered by all major recruiting services to be the top guard in this year's high school senior class and is rated as high as No. 2 in the nation (Blue Star Basketball). In addition, All-Star Girls Report, Dan Olson Collegiate Girls Basketball Report and ESPN Hoopgurlz each rank Diggins third in the country, with Hoopgurlz awarding her that outlet's highest marks ever for a point guard.
"This is a great day for our program, our University and the whole South Bend community," McGraw said. "Skylar is an exceptional young woman, on and off the court, and we are so excited and thrilled that her family, friends and other supporters will be able to watch her play right here at Notre Dame for the next four years.
"The things that really impress me the most about Skylar are her composure, her drive, her competitiveness and her will to win," McGraw added. "She's such an unselfish player and is someone I think our current team is really going to enjoy playing with."
The combination of Diggins and Turner (a top-90 player by all major services) also has given Notre Dame a Top 25 recruiting class for the 13th consecutive year. Dan Olson Collegiate Girls Basketball Report rates the incoming Irish duo as the 13th-best class in the country, while All-Star Girls Report has the Notre Dame pair rated 14th, ESPN Hoopgurlz positions them at No. 15, and Blue Star Basketball ranks the Irish tandem at No. 18. Only two other schools in the country (Connecticut and Tennessee) came into the 2008-09 early signing period with a 12-year streak like the Irish.
"So much of the credit for this year's class has to go to my staff and our players," McGraw said. "Skylar and Kaila will be tremendous additions to the Notre Dame family and we can't wait to see them on campus next year."
"This class sets the stage for the backcourt of the future for the Fighting Irish," Blue Star Basketball national evaluator Chris Mennig said. "Diggins and Turner have helped lead their teams on the national stage throughout their prep careers, and they will come in and strengthen (the Notre Dame) backcourt the moment they set foot on campus."
Notre Dame (2-0) is ranked 15th in the latest Associated Press and ESPN/USA Today/Women's Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) polls, and is coming off a 96-61 win over Evansville on Wednesday night at the Joyce Center. The Irish will return to the hardwood Sunday at 2 p.m. (ET) when they travel to Boston College for a non-conference game at Conte Forum in Chestnut Hill, Mass. The game can be heard locally in the northern Indiana/southwest Michigan area on Pulse FM (96.9/92.1) and around the world on the Internet at Fighting Irish All-Access, the free multimedia platform of the official Notre Dame athletics web site (www.UND.com).
A capsule look at the newest additions to the Notre Dame women's basketball program follows:
Skylar Diggins, 5-9, Guard (South Bend, Ind./Washington High School)
Statistics/Records: Entering fourth year as starter at Washington High School (combined record of 76-6, .927) in South Bend, Ind., where she has played for coaches Marilyn Coddens and Maurice Scott ... started 81 of 82 games she played in during in her first three seasons ... helped team reach Indiana Class 4A state championship game each year (won title in her sophomore season of 2006-07) ... career averages (entering senior season) of 24.8 points, 5.6 rebounds, 5.4 assists, 4.1 steals and 1.3 blocks per game ... career totals (entering senior season) of 2,036 points (19th in state history), 457 rebounds, 439 assists, 335 steals and 104 blocks ... holds school records for career points, single-season points, rebounds, assists, steals and blocks ... career single-game highs of 43 points, 17 rebounds (Indiana Class 4A state championship game record), 11 assists and nine blocks ... as a junior in 2007-08, she averaged 29.5 ppg. (tops in the state), 7.6 rpg., 4.5 apg., 3.9 spg., and 1.7 bpg., while leading Washington to a 23-3 record and a state finals berth ... averaged 24.4 ppg., 4.9 rpg., 6.1 apg., and 4.7 spg., as a sophomore in 2006-07 while helping WHS to a 28-1 record and the state title ... averaged 20.8 ppg., 4.3 rpg., 5.4 apg., 3.6 spg., and 1.2 bpg. as a freshman in 2005-06 when Washington posted a 25-2 record and advanced to the state championship game ... enjoyed extensive AAU career playing for South Bend Soldiers and The Family ... also a standout volleyball player at WHS.
USA Basketball: Two-time USA Basketball gold medalist ... started all five games at 2008 FIBA U18 Americas Championship in Buenos Aires, Argentina, leading United States to perfect 5-0 record and gold medal; averaged 10.8 ppg. (second on team), 3.2 rpg., 3.6 apg. (first on team) and 2.0 spg. (tied-first on team) ... also ranked among top 10 in entire tournament in scoring (10th), field goal percentage (7th - .500), assists (2nd), steals (tied-8th) and assist/turnover ratio (2nd - 2.00) ... at 2007 USA Basketball Youth Development Festival in Colorado Springs, Colo., helped USA White Team to 5-0 record and gold medal; averaged 8.6 ppg., 5.0 rpg., 3.2 apg., and 2.0 spg., during tournament ... among all 2007 Festival participants, ranked second in assist/turnover ratio (1.45), fourth in assists (16), tied for eighth in blocks (4) and tied for 10th in steals (10).
Awards/Honors: Two-time high school All-American by Parade Magazine (first team 2008; third team 2007) and EA Sports (first team 2008; second team 2007) ... USA Today All-USA Team (2008) ... USA Today All-Underclass Team (2006) ... 2008 Gatorade State Player of the Year ... MaxPreps Indiana Player of the Year/first-team All-American (2008) ... three-time Associated Press all-state selection (first team in 2007, 2008; third team in 2006) and coaches' all-state choice (first team 2007, 2008; second team 2006) ... three-time South Bend Tribune Metro All-Area selection (2006, 2007, 2008) ... two-time Northern Indiana Conference Most Valuable Player (co-2007, 2008) ... three-time first-team all-Northern Indiana Conference (2006, 2007, 2008) ... consensus No. 1 guard in the country by all major recruiting services ... ranked second overall by Blue Star Basketball and third by All-Star Girls Report, Dan Olson Collegiate Girls Basketball Report and ESPN Hoopgurlz ... earned highest ranking ever for point guard from Hoopgurlz.
Personal Data: Born Aug. 2, 1990, in South Bend, Ind. ... daughter of Renee Scott and Tige Diggins, and stepdaughter of Maurice Scott ... has three younger brothers and one younger sister ... attends same high school as former Notre Dame two-time All-America forward Jacqueline Batteast, who ranks fourth on the school's all-time scoring list (1,874 points) and also won a WNBA title with the Detroit Shock in 2006 ... will become fourth Indiana native to join Irish roster in 2009-10, along with fellow South Bend-area guard (and co-captain) Melissa Lechlitner, Indianapolis guard Ashley Barlow (and co-captain) and Valparaiso forward Becca Bruszewski ... like Diggins, Barlow played for the Indianapolis-based AAU program, The Family.
Bret McCormick (Analyst, All-Star Girls Report) on Diggins...
"Skylar Diggins is without question the best guard in the country. With the ball in her hands, she can breakdown an entire team in transition as well as in the half court. Her ability to score is multi-dimensional with the ability to get to the rim, hit the pull-up and knock down the three-pointer from deep. Unmatched is her competitiveness and abilities to take over almost any part of the game. Her keen basketball IQ, as well as her athletic ability, make her a terror defensively for opponents."
Dan Olson (Director, Collegiate Girls Basketball Report) on Diggins...
"Diggins is the consummate floor-leader, who is difficult to defend off the dribble and slices her way through opposing defenses. Diggins will impact Notre Dame immediately, bringing an added dimension on the court as a court manager and keeping the Irish among the nation's elite programs."
ESPN Hoopgurlz on Diggins...
"Diggins is a terrific young player who plays like a much more experienced player. She is one of the most savvy players on the court regardless of the competition and she is an incredible competitor to boot. She can really fill it up on defense and her being left-handed really gives defenses fits. The thing is she can go with either hand and can stop and pop on a dime. Her pull-up jumper is money. She can shoot the three as well and has range a few feet behind the arc. If she can prove she can play the point against top competition she will be an incredible and versatile player."
Kaila Turner (KAY-luh), 5-8, Guard (Joliet, Ill./Marian Catholic High School)
Statistics/Records: Three-year starter at Marian Catholic High School (combined record of 75-20, .789) in Chicago Heights, Ill., where she is coached by Annie Basic ... career averages of 10.0 ppg., 3.2 apg., 2.5 rpg., with .343 3FG% (81-236) ... averaged 13.4 ppg., 4.2 apg. and 3.7 spg., last season for 23-6 Spartans team that earned a spot in the Illinois Class 4A sectional final (two-point loss prevented team from making third consecutive trip to Illinois state tournament [top 16 teams]; Turner had game-high 13 points in contest) ... averaged 9.1 ppg. and team-high 3.3 apg., as a sophomore in 2006-07, helping MCHS to a 29-4 record and third-place finish in the state in Class AA (lost in state semifinals to eventual champion Fenwick, led by current Irish sophomore forward Devereaux Peters; came back to win third-place game in overtime) ... during freshman season (2005-06), she averaged 7.6 ppg., with .435 3FG% (30-69), and was part of Marian Catholic squad that reached Class AA state quarterfinals before ending up with a 23-10 record ... played AAU ball for Illinois Wolverines 16U Black, where she was coached by Ron Newquist ... team advanced to "Sweet 16" of '08 AAU Junior Girls National Championship (formerly 16U Nationals) before losing to eventual champion.
Awards/Honors: Second-team Illinois Basketball Coaches Association (IBCA) all-state (2008) ... Times of Northwest Indiana Illinois Player of the Year (2008) ... two-time first-team all-area selection by Times of Northwest Indiana, Illinois Times and Daily Southtown (2007, 2008) ... two-time all-East Suburban Catholic Conference choice (2007, 2008) ... Most Valuable Player of Maine West Tournament (2007) ... ranked 82nd in the country by Blue Star Basketball and All-Star Girls Report.
Personal Data: Born Sept. 5, 1990 ... daughter of Pat Autman and Danny Turner.
Dan Olson Collegiate Girls Basketball Report on Turner...
"Explosively quick lead-guard ... handles, penetrates, efficiently gets to rim ... difficult to contain ... range to the arc ... elevates on jumper ... solid floor game."
All-Star Girls Report on Turner...
"Very athletic ... slasher ... stop pop ... shoots 3 ... pull up J ... step back J ... good leader ... great passer."
-- ND --