Notre Dame HC Niele Ivey Lands An Elite Backcourt

Notre Dame first-year head coach Niele Ivey has signed an elite backcourt as part of her first recruiting class

The basketball season has yet to start for first-year head coach Niele Ivey, but the former Irish point guard and assistant coach has already made a huge splash, signing two of the nation’s best guards in the 2021 class.

Notre Dame signed Phillipsburg (N.J.) Blair Academy point guard Olivia Miles and Scarsdale (N.Y.) Ursuline guard Sonia Citron.

“From the moment I was hired, I identified exactly who I thought would help continue the legacy of excellent at Notre Dame,” Ivey said in a statement when the two talented guards signed with the Irish. “I am so blessed and fortunate to welcome two of the top premier guards in the 2021 class. They exemplified everything I was looking for as a I began to build this new era: strong work ethic, high character, confidence, competitive mentality and swagger.”

Miles is a five-star recruit and the No. 8 player in the country according to ESPN. Citron is the highest ranked four-star recruit in the class, ranking No. 16 nationally. Prep Girls Hoops ranks Miles No. 2 overall and Citron at the No. 19 spot. According the ESPN HoopGurlz rankings, Miles is the highest ranked guard to sign with Notre Dame since Jewell Lloyd (No. 4) back in the 2012 class.

According to the Notre Dame release, Miles averaged 13.6 points, 8.1 rebounds and 7.6 assists per game last season for Blair Academy, leading the Bucs to a 26-5 record.

“I knew Notre Dame was the perfect fit for me as soon as I got to know the supportive and loving environment that I was going to be surrounded with during my time there,” Miles said in the Notre Dame release. “I knew that’s somewhere I wanted to go and I feel like my education is so important. It’s a well-rounded school where you get the best of both worlds in basketball and academics.

“Also, going to be coached by someone I love,” continued Miles. “Someone so relatable and a national champion.”

Ivey did not hide her excitement about her new point guard.

“Olivia is a special talent and one of the most dynamic guards I’ve ever seen,” Ivey said of her five-star recruit. “She has incredible quickness, tremendous vision and the ability to make everyone around her better. She is a poised floor general that plays a fast pace and brings a unique flair.

“She is great attacking 1-on-1 and is a true competitor,” continued Ivey. “From her no look passes, deep scoring range, and elite finishing package, she will bring a whole new level of swag to South Bend.”

Citron led Ursuline to a 24-0 record and a sectional champion last season while averaging 23.8 points per game, 10.4 rebounds per game, 4.3 assists per game, 3.5 steals per game and 2.9 blocks during her junior season. According to Notre Dame, Citron was named the 2020 New York State Gatorade Player of the Year.

“Notre Dame checked all the boxes for me: great academic school, great women’s basketball program, beautiful campus and wonderful facilities,” Citron said in the ND release. “When I visited, I was intrigued by the family atmosphere and all the tradition that they have had for generations. Most of all, I love the coaching staff led by Coach Ivey, a basketball icon.

“I love her passion, energy, knowledge of the game and their style of play,” continued Citron. “I am looking forward to learning, competing, growing as a person and winning championships at Notre Dame.”

According to Ivey, Citron is a versatile scorer and athlete.

“… She has the capability to stretch the defense with her three-point shooting range, attack the dribble, distribute and post up smaller defenders with her size,” Ivey said in the Irish release. “On the defensive end, she uses her athleticism to rebound and loves to take on challenges. Mostly, I am impressed by her unselfish persona, high IQ and willingness to do whatever it takes to help her team win.”

According to Notre Dame, Miles and Citron were teammates on the Under 16 USA National Team that won a gold medal while competing in Chile. Both were starters on that squad, with Citron scoring 13.3 points per game and Miles scoring 5.2 points while handing out 7.5 assists per game.

“There is no doubt that both will fit in perfectly to our style of play and make an immediate impact on our program,” Ivey said. “The future is bright with the additions of Olivia and Sonia and I’m so excited to have the opportunity to coach and mentor them. They will always have a special place in my heart for being a part of my first signing class.”

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