ND Women’s Basketball: Diggins honored before victory over Valparaiso
Mary Green | Sunday, November 17, 2013
The lights dimmed, the spotlight turned on, and Notre Dame’s biggest star returned for one last encore as Skylar Diggins claimed her spot in the Irish Ring of Honor on Saturday at Purcell Pavilion.
Before her former team tipped off against Valparaiso, Diggins was honored in the pregame ceremony, which included a video of her highlights during her college career, congratulations from athletic director Jack Swarbrick and several standing ovations. The loudest applause of all came when the banner with Diggins’ No. 4 unfurled from the Purcell Pavilion rafters, the apex of the ceremony.
“That’s something I dreamed about,” Diggins said in her pre-ceremony press conference. “You dream about stuff like this happening. It’s not a goal, ultimately; you just kind of play the game to win, to be competitive and to represent Notre Dame the best that I could, and [represent] South Bend and my family.
“But the experiences I had here were so special, and the memories we made here, what we were able to accomplish, is so special, so this does not only represent myself, but also my family and my teammates and coaches and those that paved the way before me.”
Diggins’ parents, Renee and Maurice Scott, escorted her onto the court for the induction and remained by her side throughout the ceremony. The South Bend native said she chose to attend Notre Dame to remain close to her familial support system for four more years.
“They’re a major, major part of the reason I stayed [in South Bend],” she said. “I wanted them to be a part of my college experience. Notre Dame is a great university, and it sells itself, but my family was a big reason why I stayed around and stayed closed to home. … It’s just great having a tight-knit family and people that are there for you to keep you grounded.”
The four-time All-American and the only Notre Dame player to pick up 2,000 points, 500 assists and 500 rebounds in her career joined former Irish legends Ruth Riley, Austin Carr, Adrian Dantley and Luke Harangody in the Ring of Honor.
“I join such an elite group of players who have done so much for our basketball programs here at the university,” Diggins said. “I’m so blessed to be a part of such an elite group.”
As with the other members of that group, Diggins’ basketball career did not stop with her time at Notre Dame. The Tulsa Shock drafted her with the third overall pick in the 2013 WNBA Draft, and Diggins earned a spot on the league’s all-rookie team after her first season. However, she said she still is not sure what the future holds for her.
“I want to do so many things, and not just on the basketball level,” she said. “I’m working on a lot of things now. I don’t know what I want to do because I want to do so much. … [I’m] just slowly painting my masterpiece.”
One thing is certain: as long as the Purcell Pavilion stands, Diggins’ No. 4 will hang in the rafters, reminding players, fans and visitors of one of the most accomplished athletes in Notre Dame history.
“I never wanted to leave this university,” Diggins said to the crowd at the ceremony. “I grew up always wanting to come here, and I lived in this gym. I never wanted to leave this gym. I wanted to be here forever. And now I have that opportunity.”
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