Diggins on ESPN Sunday night

Published 8:48 am Friday, July 17, 2009

NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Notre Dame women’s basketball incoming freshman guard Skylar Diggins has been named the 2008-09 Gatorade National High School Athlete of the Year, it was announced Wednesday afternoon in Los Angeles at a special ceremony held prior to the 17th annual ESPY Awards held at the Kodak Theatre, also in Los Angeles.

Diggins and the award’s male recipient for this year, quarterback Garrett Gilbert of Austin, Texas, will appear at the ESPY Awards show that will be broadcast at 9 p.m. Sunday on ESPN.

The Gatorade National High School Athlete of the Year award has been presented annually since 2003 to the nation’s top overall male and female athletes across each of the 12 sports in which Gatorade presents a national player of the year award.

A national panel of 300 sports journalists, coaches, prep sports experts and analysts reviews each of the 12 Gatorade National Player of the Year resumes, with the primary athletic criteria for selecting the nation’s top overall male and female high school athlete as follows:
• Individual resume, including historical context of accomplishments, statistics, honors, talent-level evaluation, etc.
• Team play, including leadership ability and impact on team success.
• Overall contributions to sport; including, but not limited to achievements/impact made at the club, national or international levels of competition, standout performances in multiple sports, etc.
Some of the previous recipients of the prestigious Gatorade National High School Athlete of the Year include: NBA superstars LeBron James (2003) and Dwight Howard (2004), as well as women’s basketball notables Candace Parker (2004), Tina Charles (2006) and Maya Moore (2007).

“I’m humbled and honored to receive such a tremendous honor,” Diggins said. “When you consider how many athletes and how many sports are under consideration for this award, it’s just such a blessing. I have been fortunate to play with some incredible teammates and for some amazing coaches during my high school career. I’m also so grateful for the love and support from my family, my friends, and the whole South Bend community, and I share this with each and every one of them.”

“What makes this award so special is that it recognizes teamwork and contributions to collective success,” Notre Dame head coach Muffet McGraw said. “Both on and off the court, Skylar is an incredibly unselfish and giving person and we couldn’t be happier to hear that she is the Gatorade National High School Athlete of the Year. She will be an important addition to not only our program, but our entire University, during the next four years, and we are looking forward to having her on campus when classes start up next month.”

Diggins and fellow incoming freshman guard Kaila Turner (Joliet, Ill./Marian Catholic) join a Notre Dame squad that returns all 12 monogram winners from last year’s 22-9 club that made the program’s 16th consecutive trip to the NCAA Championship and tied for fourth place in the rugged BIG EAST Conference. The Irish also were ranked 23rd in the final ’08-09 Associated Press poll, extending their string of consecutive appearance in the AP poll to 38 in a row, heading into next season.

The Gatorade award is the latest in a series of national honors for Diggins, who is training with the United States U19 World Championship Team in Colorado Springs, Colo.