by Danny Hazan / @DeeHaze24
Current Tulsa Shock guard Skylar Diggins’ dominance in college led Notre Dame to three consecutive Final Fours.
But last year’s 35-2 campaign was also aided by USBWA National Freshman of the Year and unanimous All-Big East Rookie, do-everything guard Jewell Loyd.
Loyd started all but one game a year ago, averaging 12.5 points and 5 boards per, while learning closely from Diggins who took her under her wing. But Loyd wasn’t ready to say she was being groomed to take over Diggins’ former role.
“We never really talked about the whole passing the torch thing,” Loyd says. “Obviously she believed in me, and trusted me, but I’m not going to come out this year and be like, This is my team, because it’s not. I’m still young and I’m still learning. When my time comes, it comes. I’m just fortunate to be playing the game I love.”
Loyd’s immense prep success, in which she amassed over 3,000 points at Niles (IL) West and was a McDonald’s All-American, translated to college relatively seamlessly as evidenced by the accolades she’s already received. Now, she’ll most likely be a big reason for the Irish’s future success, and she’s going to do it her way.
She credits the off-season work she puts in with her older brother Jarryd for much of her talent—as well as the list of specific goals they wrote out that have propelled “her time” in approaching rapidly. “I really keep those goals to myself for personal reasons,” she says, “but trust me, you’ll know if I haven’t achieved them. I’m in the gym if I haven’t.”