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"He's special with this": How Dreamnicks' draft topic Jaden Ivey learned the game from coach mom, Final Four's locker room, and WNBA's "sister."

Jaden Ivey of Purdue drives to the basket during a 2022 NCAA Tournament game against Saint Peter's; Niele Ivey coaches the Notre Dame women's basketball team.
AP; Getty Images

Like many of the top basketball candidates, Jaden Ivey dreamed of playing in the NBA from an early age.

There is nothing new there. Really a cookie cutter. His upbringing is where his story goes in a very different direction.

Most of his adolescence was spent around the Notre Dame Women's Basketball Team, in locker rooms, team buses and planes, practice, and in-game stands. His mother, Niele Ivey, was an assistant coach at the University of Notre Dame from 2007 to 2019, and then head coach Muffet McGraw allowed Neil to take Jayden everywhere.

"It really shaped who Jaden is as a person and who Jaden is as a player," Niele Ivey, now head coach at the University of Notre Dame, told Sports +. "I think it's very powerful and amazing that he learned the game from a woman. He was inspired by a woman because that's all around him. All his role models. Was a Notre Dame female basketball player.