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Bull Dog commits to play for Irish


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Columbus North sophomore guard Ali Patberg ended the recruiting battle for her services Monday when she called Notre Dame coach Muffet McGraw and announced her decision to play basketball for the Fighting Irish beginning in 2015.

She can sign a national letter-of intent in November 2014 to make it official.

“There were a lot of things I was looking for in a school, and Notre Dame has it,” Patberg said. “It’s close, so my friends and family can come and see me play. It’s a great school, and I like the coaching staff. It’s a perfect fit for me.”

Patberg also had scholarship offers from Indiana, Purdue, Butler, Illinois, Louisville, Marquette and Dayton. Numerous other schools, including national powers Connecticut, Stanford and Duke, had shown interest.

Monday night, after talking to McGraw, Patberg called the other schools’ coaches to tell them she was headed to Notre Dame, the national runner-up the past two years.

“That’s probably the hardest part, telling the coaches you’ve built relationships with that you’re not going to go there,” Patberg said.

McGraw, who has been recruiting Patberg since she was in eighth grade, was at New Castle on Friday to watch North’s Hall of Fame Classic semifinal win over Hamilton Southeastern, which included fellow Notre Dame recruit Taya Reimer. The Bull Dogs, who were ranked No. 2 in Class 4A, beat the No. 1 Royals 53-30, then downed 2A No. 1 Evansville Mater Dei for the championship to improve to 14-0.

Patberg, a 5-foot-10 combo guard, is averaging 18.3 points, 5.6 rebounds and 3.7 assists a game. She averaged 12.9 points as a freshman in leading North to a 23-4 record and a 4A state runner-up finish.

“Ali has worked really hard,” North coach Pat McKee said. “She’s very focused. We’re thrilled that Ali is going to get this opportunity down the road, and we’re looking forward to some of our other players getting opportunities that are special, as well.

“The good news for us is, we’re blessed with several good players,” he said. “In the short term, the group of them playing together has resulted in a terrific team for Columbus North. The best part about Ali and all our players is, they’re team players, and all the credit goes to them for playing the right way.”

Patberg said she is happy to be done with the recruiting process.

“The recruiting process is stressful,” Patberg said. “It feels good to get it over with. I can just focus on my team and work on what they want me to work on.”

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