Purdue sophomore guard Jaden Ivey and his mother, Notre Dame women’s basketball coach Niele Ivey, have both advanced to the Sweet 16 of the men’s and women’s NCAA tournaments, respectively. Throughout the tourney, Niele has watched her son’s games in between her team’s own and both have their eyes on national titles.
“It’s so special. But I was so excited last night. First of all, my stress is as a mom. Today I was relaxed. Last night I was stressed,” Niele Ivey told reporters after her Fighting Irish beat Ohio State 108-64 Monday night in Norman, Oklahoma. “I was just so happy that he’s living out his dreams, I’m living out my dreams, and to watch him help his team get to the Sweet 16 was just so special for me. It was hard not being there, but he knows that I have a job to do, as well. I had a FaceTime with him earlier just before the game, so we’re there for each other in spirit. But yeah, it’s just a special bond. It’s a special, unique situation. We’re both living out our dreams. I’m super blessed. I feel blessed to be in this position, and I just feel that God has his favor on both Jaden and I.”
Jaden Ivey scored 18 points, grabbed three rebounds, and dished out three assists against the Texas Longhorns in the second round. At 6-foot-4, 195 pounds with a reported 6-foot-9 wingspan, the second-team All-American is an intriguing prospect at the next level.
He is a downhill attacker with a score-first mentality. He projects as a combo guard but could develop into a secondary playmaker. Jaden will need to be drafted by the right franchise if he chooses to forgo his remaining eligibility and enter the upcoming NBA draft.
“We just have to come out with the same intensity that we had today and just listen to what the coaches say and what we talk about pre-game. It all comes into play in the game, so we just have to stay focused,” Ivey said in Purdue’s press conference after defeating Texas on Sunday. “Obviously we’re happy to be in the Sweet 16, but we gotta win the game.”
Niele was named Notre Dame’s first Black woman head coach in April 2020, returning to her alma mater where she was an All-America guard for the Fighting Irish and an assistant coach for 12 seasons. She was the 19th pick in the 2001 WNBA draft, and was the first woman assistant coach for the Memphis Grizzlies.
It’s been an exciting few days for the Iveys but now their attentions turn to the regional semifinals.
Jaden’s Purdue squad will square off against the darlings of this year’s tournament, Shaheen Holloway’s No. 15 seed Saint Peter’s Peacocks.
“We’re just super blessed to just be in this position,” Jaden said before Purdue’s first-round victory against Yale. “I just think it’s just what God’s done for us to put us in this position. You know, both of us are in March Madness right now. We’re doing what we love to do. It’s just a blessing.”
Niele and the Fighting Irish will face a tough test against No. 1 seed North Carolina State Wolfpack.