Notre Dame’s Skylar Diggins has become the face of college basketball – and some don’t like it

John Altavilla of the Hartford Courant states the obvious, that Notre Dame point guard Skylar Diggins has become the face of college basketball, for many fans:

She is literally the face of women’s basketball; high cheekbones, soft features, piercing eyes that have attracted more than 300,000 followers to her Twitter site — many male, some even intent on marriage.

She is the hometown kid who stayed home and in four years lifted Notre Dame to sustained national prominence in women’s basketball; two straight national championship games and, most recently, an undefeated season in the Big East Conference.

But to some, Skylar Diggins All-American doesn’t get enough credit for who she is and how she plays the game that has made her as familiar as perhaps any female athlete in the United States.

But some fans decry the attention given her. Diggins knows it:

Throughout the process, Diggins has remained true to herself. As galvanizing as she’s been to the Irish, it’s fair to say she’s had somewhat of a polarizing impact on those who follow the game.

She’s too pretty. She’s too pouty. She gets too many foul calls and she complains when she doesn’t. She is bigger than the game itself, social media’s darling.

She has heard it all — over and over again.

I’ve noticed this too, and I don’t agree with the criticism heaped on Diggins. It would be one thing if she tried to ride on her good looks and be a lazy player, but the young woman works hard. Her passion shows in every picture of her screaming in joy during a game – this season especially. It’s not fair to blame her for our looks-biased society’s leanings. If anything, she might be able to help shatter the myth that pretty women can’t play.

It’s time to lay off the Diggins hate.

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  1. Absolutely shes a pretty face of Wmns Hoops, but not "the face" of Wmns Hoops. Great player and a hard worker, cant take that away. But would she be the face of Wmns Hoops if Lil Wayne had not tweet her 3 yrs ago? Probably not! When she goes pro, the catering and antics will stop. If I wasnt crazy, I'd think N Ivey (Asst Coach) thinks Diggins is the only Guard on the Court. Only time will tell. #BGrinerAllDay

  2. She's absolutely a fabulous player. Her work ethic is admirable. What she has done for the game has continued to move it forward.

    It's quotes like this that make me shudder: "When the Irish won at Tennessee later that month, on the night that a banner was hung in honor of the Hall of Fame coach Pat Summitt, Diggins said she 'wanted to rain on that parade.'"

    It may be her youth, I don't know. I can hope.

  3. I have no problem with Diggins being pretty. That's probably a good thing for the sport. I do have a problem when some one shoots 11-for-31 in a big win and gets a pass on all the missed shots because their "will" and "intangibles" were so good.

    There was a high school state championship game in the West last year in which the winning team's star shot 1-for-8 from the field. She was promptly awarded the tournament MVP because the losing team had "focused all its energies on stopping her." Members of the losing team told me this was not so, that they had played her straight up.

    Now, this is a great player, currently playing decent minutes in a BCS conference as a freshman, but too often some one has a big moment — and with Diggins her accomplishments obviously predate the recent ND win over UConn — and the media forever after tries to fit the story to the personality.

    In another instance from last year's high school season, a star player — also in DI this season and starting, so not some one who needs a reporter's help — had a poor game by her standards, but the major metro newspaper in her area reported that she had keyed a big playoff victory by yelling at her team mates during a timeout. 🙂

    That's where Diggins looks might be a negative to some, they might feel she is getting more credit for the things she does than the numbers suggest at times because she has charisma.

    I don't care about that. I do wish the "intangibles" and "wouldn't let her team lose" cliches would be used less often as sometimes the will to win is simply outdone by the skill to win.

  4. Some people proactively dislike Skylar Diggins. They have a right to that and I honor it.

    I am somewhat overboard on the other side. In my humble opinion, Skylar is mega great for women’s basketball and America because:

    1. She is a super role model and ultra leader (a) with lots and lots of women and others being inspired to be better by her and (b) with her teammates being elevated by her play and “on the court” coaching.

    2. She works extraordinarily and although she has many gifts, she us 5”9” a height which is shorter than many of the women who play BB.

    3. She is a dedicated student getting almost all A’s in HS and soon to be graduating with honors from a top academic university.

    4. She has a phenomenal family support system with sometimes as many as 200 members in her immediate family attending games and a super extended family throughout Michiana as per ND having more home game WBB sellouts this year than ever before.

    5. She is beauty blessed when she wants to tune up this aspect of her life. Lots and lots of WBB players are equally attractive, so in my opinion again, this is helpful but not nearly as significant as $’s 1 to 4 above.

    6. She is extremely
    competitive and, infrequently, this may be leading to comments like the one at the recent Tennessee game and others like it. For me, when you look at the whole picture plus overall contributions, these comments are insignificant.

    7. People sometimes question her shooting percentages in certain games. Overall her FG % are very good and her FT % is outstanding. When someone is guarded heavily, when they are often slammed to the ground and sometimes bloodied, they may not always be able to make lots of shots. But, except for the Baylor game this year, SD4 made all the shots she needed to make and is ALWAYS credited by her teammates and coaches for contributing significantly to everyone’s game.

    8. Lil Wayne’s tweet as well as her performance in the NCAA finals in her sophomore year may have been a factor in taking her from 5K to 65K almost overnight but, for me, it’s all her in terms of twitter growth from 65K to 300K+.

    And the extra good news for the 300K+ of us who ultra appreciate her is that she is in her early 20’s with decades of contributions to America and the foreign lands in which she plays upcoming!!! YAY!!!
    Please know that I come to this with a serious predisposition in that I attend ND in the magical Parseghian era. But even if that was not the case, I assure you being a mega fan of WBB players, Skylar would still be in the top .1% of the ballers that I would ultra appreciate and commend.


  5. Diggins is certainly the real deal and deserving of praise. She did a good job this year of holding her team together after their heavy graduation losses. She gets a ton of foul calls going her way but most of the really good ones do. She's attractive and has tons of attitude, but when someone is that good they normally get away with it.

    I'll be interested to see how she does in the W next year. She's not an exceptional jump shooter and probably won't be able to get away with as much in her penetration game in the W as she does in college.

    In my opinion she's like many other great college ballers in that she won't be as exceptional in the W. I agree with several pieces I've read that both Griner and EDD have significantly more upside in the W than Diggins. As we've seen, she's super marketable so whatever team drafts her should really benefit from it even if she isn't an exceptional pro baller.

    That said she's been perfect for Notre Dame and WCBB. I'm sure Geno will be happy to see her graduate.

  6. Perfect for ND I agree, but Wmns College Hoops won't miss her. Seen many like her, and plenty more will come. Now maybe we can focus on that great Guard in Waco, TX. #SicEm

  7. I'm not wild about Diggins, but in spite of Griner's obvious talent trying to leverage her mad skills and overall package to increase the popularity of WCBB generally wasn't really a viable option. Not saying it's fair, just saying it is. Griner's appeal is more to the core WBB fan, not so much as a means to grow the fan base.

    If EDD hadn't been playing at a mid major she could have easily been the face of WCBB for the last several years instead of Diggins. Problem was that no one except serious roundball fans knew the story and with no national TV exposure for Delaware there was no way to make it work. Who knows what would have happened if she had stayed with UConn. Probably would have had some epic battles between Baylor and the Huskies over the past three years. Instead we have this reality.

    So you end up with Diggins as a default face for WCBB. At this point I think everyone except ND is ready to move on.

    True That on Sims. She can ball.

  8. Following up on the comments above, some ppl in BB are universally popular: Tamika Catchings, Steve Nash, Kevin Durant. Some ppl are super popular but have a cadre of ppl who dislike them proactively, LeBron James, Kobe Bryant – and putting her in a line with super titans – Skylar Diggins. That’s OK, Controversy is good for the sport.

    Perhaps, in my humble opinion, the best thing about Skylar — as regards role modeling and upping the absurdly under appreciated American treasure that is WBB –is the fact that she choose ND.

    ND has tens of millions of ULTRA loyal FB fans, even when they were not getting W’s like last year, all games were still on broadcast TV. And ND is an ultimate Catholic institution and totally luved by Merica’s 68 mil Catholics.
    Catholics are in bad need of winners and ND WBB is an incredible one. Why just follow a FB team in its on season when you can “feel super good” abt following a WBB team during their season. For me, it’s elemental. SD4’s popularity (and controversy) are simply the best for WBB as ND reaches more and more of the FB fans and Catholics. Lots of the ND WBB games are televised and there have been more 9149 seat sellouts this year, by far, then ever before.

    Let me start this section by stating I luv EDD and Odessey Sims but some things need to be offered for consideration.

    EDD is a great wing and a wonderful woman in many ways with special emphasis on how she is role modeling how to support Merica’s disabled. But (1) Deleware has not advanced in the NCAA tourney in the past as ND has, (2) For me Chicago already has one of the world’s great wings in @pipendagreat and has an opportunity to get a likely 2 year Liberman Award winner who has showed she dish as well as score big time and can make Ms Prince, Ms Fowles and others even bigger stars than they already are.
    Odessesy is a great PG and also a wonderful woman.

    Earlier in the year, I compared #’s for the two and if you have doubts about SD4, you may wish to do the same. It was revealing.

    Hope this is helpful. Thanks again!!!!!

  9. Everytime a player brings eyeballs to the game that normally would not give a hoot about WBB, people find something to complain about. I give Diggins credit for playing hard, and playing thru the noise.

    She has mainstream appeal, WBB fans will one day learn that this isn't a bad thing.