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From New Jersey to Puerto Rico, Michaela Mabrey’s Journey to South Bend

Mar 4, 2013, 10:44 AM EDT

Michaela Mabrey (photo by Maria Massa)

Michaela Mabrey has been playing hoops ever since she was little, and it’s largely thanks to her older brother, Roy Mabrey, that she decided to shoot a basketball.

“I first got involved with basketball when I was younger definitely by playing with my brother. He always played, so it was just the natural thing for me to do too.”

Though Roy may have played a big role in initiating the basketball enthusiasm among his younger sisters, “the running joke is that he might not even be the best player in his family,” says Scott Stump of the Manasquan-Belmar Patch, a New Jersey periodical. Stump was referring to Roy’s younger sister, Michaela, who had been able to give Roy a good workout at the time by playing basketball in their backyard together. When asked about the “running joke,” Michaela responded with a certain “no” that she does not think she is any better than Roy.

“My whole family plays, and we all make each other better,” she said. Both siblings play hard and have learned a lot from each other about the game.

Roy now plays basketball for St. Anslem’s College after a successful high school basketball career, during which time he played for Christian Brothers Academy (CBA) in New Jersey and St. Thomas More in Connecticut. Having been to CBA to visit my boyfriend’s high school alma mater and having watched a couple of games while there, I can definitely attest to the fact that New Jersey high school basketball is no joke. New Jersey produces many top level recruits each year, from the Cleveland Cavaliers’ Kyrie Irving to Notre Dame’s own Michaela Mabrey.

Before she became part of Notre Dame’s famed women’s basketball program, Michaela was a star on the New Jersey high school basketball scene as well. She played for St. John Vianney and then Manasquan High School, and truly made a name for herself at Manasquan.

“During my sophomore year, I transferred from one high school to another and really had to change my scoring mentality. I went from scoring 13 points per game to scoring 28 points per game.”

Michaela’s natural talent, hard work, and new mentality did not go unnoticed as she quickly started to be recruited by top-level collegiate basketball programs. In addition to Notre Dame, Connecticut, Rutgers, Villanova and Princeton all actively recruited her during high school. Michaela was one of the top female recruits in her class, ranking 33rd overall, and tenth for her position, according to her ESPNW high school basketball profile.

Her basketball success only continued after high school when Michaela participated in the FIBA Americas U-18 tournament during her summer before officially becoming a freshman at Notre Dame. “It was so much fun! I was able to meet so many people and learn different traditions. We got to play in Puerto Rico, and it was so much fun.”

Michaela and the USA squad did more than just play in Puerto Rico, they won the gold medal in the FIBA Americas U-18 Championship. She was instrumental in the USA’s victory during this tournament, and Michaela represented her school and her country so well during her time playing in Puerto Rico as she managed to match and break records set in the competition. Joining Skylar Diggins and Kayla McBride, Michaela Mabrey is the third Notre Dame player to bring home a gold medal in the last five years with the USA U-18 National Team.

All of Michaela’s hard work and determination in both her high school and international play paid off when she got to Notre Dame. As a true freshman, Michaela has seen a fair amount of playing time for the Irish, and her stellar three-point shooting has helped lead the team to victory on several occasions during this season, the most notable time being in the team’s first meeting with UConn this year.

More than just starting off her college career by playing well, Michaela has also enjoyed her experience playing at Notre Dame so far and believes that playing here is different from playing anywhere else.

“It is a complete family here, and everyone has your back,” she said.

The Notre Dame community will always have the backs of all the women’s basketball players here, and that support is shown by every sellout game in Purcell Pavilion and the fans’ deafening cheers each night that the Irish step out onto their home court. We look forward to seeing Michaela and all of the other young players on the team continue to grow as they continue to lead Notre Dame to victory.

About In The Paint

Welcome to In The Paint, the official blog providing in-depth and exclusive access to the Notre Dame basketball programs. With features, videos, photos, commentaries and news from inside the Purcell Pavilion, we are committed to bringing you coverage of the Fighting Irish unlike any you can find elsewhere.

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