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Notre Dame men’s, women’s basketball land grad transfers

| Friday, February 5, 2021

Both Notre Dame men’s and women’s basketball teams have each acquired graduate student transfers for the 2021-2022 seasons: Yale’s Paul Atkinson and Stanford’s Maya Dodson.

Yale graduate transfer Paul Atkinson announced over Twitter on Jan. 3 that he will be joining Irish head coach Mike Brey’s team next season. 

Atkinson, a 6-foot-10 power forward, was named the Ivy League’s co-Player of the Year for the 2019-2020 season, along with Penn’s A.J Brodeur. For the same season, Atkinson was a unanimous first-team All Ivy League selection. Atkinson graduates this spring, making him immediately eligible for next season. 

Joining the transfer portal in October, Atkinson immediately received over a dozen offers, ultimately cutting down the list to five schools in December, including NC State, Texas, Miami, Iowa and Notre Dame.

I think, you know, we talked about it, can you hit a Grand Slam in that spot that Juwan [Durham] is leaving with returning experience around him? And I think we pretty much did,” Brey said. “That was the best fit for us on all fronts, certainly being a Yale grad.”

In his last season, Atkinson averaged 17.6 points and 7.3 rebounds for the Bulldogs, with four double-doubles and six 20-point games. In his final game, Atkinson scored 23 points and six boards in a loss to Harvard. In his freshman year, he averaged 9.3 points a game and 9.1 as a sophomore. 

Stanford’s Maya Dodson, a 6-foot-3 forward signed her NLI on Tuesday, confirming she will be playing for the Irish next year after opting out of her senior season.

In her freshman year, Dodson immediately had a strong presence on the team, shooting 49.5% from the floor and 39.4% at the line. Despite having to be sidelined for 10 games due to a foot injury, Dodson was still able to appear in 26 and start in 13, doubling her average points and averaging 3.1 boards, 1.6 blocks and 20.6 minutes of playing time per game. In her junior Dodson’s foot injury continued to impact her season, having her miss 24 games. She recovered in time to play in the last nine games of the season and started in the final seven, where she averaged 5.0 points, 3.7 rebounds and 1.0 blocks, averaging about 19 minutes of playing time.

Following Lili Thompson and Marta Sniezek, Dodson is the third Cardinal women’s basketball player to transfer to Notre Dame in the past four years.

Stanford and Notre Dame players are just student-athletes,” Irish head coach Niele Ivey said. “The culture of both programs is very similar as far as [having] academically high rigor. Character-wise, we kind of recruit the same type of player, same type of person. So I just think it’s turns out to be almost like a perfect transition for Stanford players, to be honest, because they’re looking for the same type of things that Notre Dame provides.

“She is high character, highly motivated, highly driven,” Ivey said. “She’s a rim protector, she can shoot the three, she can shoot off the bounce, she can [play] high-low, she can post-up defenders, she can guard one through five so she can do it all. She reminds me a lot of Brianna Turner. But the impact that she will have in these programs will be huge.”

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