Peoples has 'a lot to bring' to next college basketball home |  Sports

Peoples has ‘a lot to bring’ to next college basketball home | Sports

SOUTH BEND, Ind. – Anaya Peoples admits she never created a true list of top contenders for her basketball services the first time she experienced the college recruiting process.

“I had Notre Dame in the back of my head from the very beginning,” the 2019 Schlarman graduate said. “Now, I’m trying to enjoy this process again and live in the moment, develop these relationships and just truly figure out where I want to go.”

Peoples announced on March 30 that she had entered the transfer portal following three seasons with the Irish.

The 5-foot-10 guard has two remaining seasons of eligibility.

“The best way to describe it is high school recruitment on steroids,” said Peoples, a three-time News-Gazette All-Area girls’ basketball Player of the Year and The NG All-State Player of the Year in 2019. “I feel like, the first time, I rushed a lot of things. … I kind of had a feeling for a long time it was going to be Notre Dame. ”

Peoples joined the Irish when Muffet McGraw was their head coach. Peoples’ first college season with Notre Dame included a right shoulder injury that required surgery, the start of the COVID-19 pandemic and McGraw announcing her retirement.

Peoples averaged 12.6 points, 8.1 rebounds, 1.6 assists and 1.9 steals across 17 games as a true freshman. But her statistics dipped the following two seasons under coach Niele Ivey, as Peoples averaged 9.1 points, 6.0 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 1.5 steals in 20 games during her sophomore season before averaging 3.8 points, 3.8 rebounds, 1.2 assists and one steal across 32 games in her junior campaign.

“It was a lot of things, honestly,” Peoples said when asked why she decided to enter the portal. “I’m ready for something new. … That was probably the hardest thing I had to do was tell my teammates. ”

Peoples said her shoulder is “100 percent” healthy at this point.

“I’m feeling good,” she said. “I’m motivated. I’m ready. I have a lot to bring to where I go next. ”

Where exactly that is remains to be seen.

Though Peoples didn’t create a physical list during her previous recruiting foray, she said Illinois, Michigan State, Purdue and South Carolina were some of her other favorites besides Notre Dame.

Peoples still is on the Notre Dame campus. She plans to earn her degree from the school regardless of where she ends up next, studying race, gender, equality and intersection of class via the Irish’s American studies program.

“There’s not a drop-dead date (for my commitment),” Peoples said. “I don’t want to carry it too far into May.”

Peoples said she has spoken with Illinois coach Shauna Green, who was hired last month, as well as Illini assistant coach Ryan Gensler.

“I’m looking to maybe take an official (visit),” Peoples said. “Illinois is always going to be close to my heart because I live next to them and has been visiting since seventh grade. But you never know. We’ll see. ”

Peoples is most concerned with relationships in finding her next college to call home.

“I want to be able to lead,” Peoples said. “I feel like I have a lot of wisdom and knowledge from Notre Dame that I want to show and give to my next school. I’ve been working on my game a lot. I have a lot of things I didn’t really show in my last three years. ”

No doubt some Illinois fans watched Peoples compete in the 2018 and 2019 IHSA Class 1A state tournaments, both of which Schlarman won.

That they could witness an improved version of Peoples inside State Farm Center next season may have them salivating.

“I have grown so much,” People said. “I played under Coach McGraw – the GOAT of women’s basketball. … I have gained so much insight to what it takes to compete for a national championship. ”

Colin Likas is the preps coordinator at The News-Gazette. He can be reached at clikas@news-gazette.com, or on Twitter at @clikasNG.

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