LA PORTE, Ind. (WNDU) - La Lumiere basketball star and Purdue signee Jaden Ivey developed in more than just basketball during his one-year at boarding school.
"This opportunity that I had to move away and be on my own and become a man, in all aspects it just helped me a lot," Ivey said. "Just very college based schedule on a daily basis. I was able to just learn a lot of information from just being at La Lu."
The basketball was pretty good too. Ivey and the Lakers were ranked as the 8th best high school basketball team in the country, and had a great chance to win a national title.
"We just gave it our all every game," Ivey said. "It’s sucks we couldn’t compete for a national championship. I thought we could definitely beat anybody we played against."
Of course the coronavirus pandemic ended those national championship chances, and ended Ivey’s high school career.
"Day in and day out, I work so hard," Ivey said."This is the game I love and I put my all into it. When you find out that you can’t play because of a pandemic, it’s just very saddening."
But there has been a silver lining during this process. Jaden has been able to spend more time with his mom, Niele, who was in Memphis as an assistant coach for the Grizzlies before accepting the job as head coach of the Notre Dame women’s basketball team.
"Amazing, truly amazing," Jaden said. "Being away was my first team going to boarder school being away from my mom. I didn’t know what to do. Every day we used to talk and now she just took the job and we’re going to closer, and it’s going to be great. I can’t wait."
"Not being able to see him everyday, that was almost traumatizing for me," Niele said. "I was really upset about it ----but this time to have him every day just being able to be around him has really made up for the time we’ve been apart this year."
Jaden is ecstatic to have her home and wants her to watch him at Purdue as much as she can.
"I can’t wait for the opportunity to play in front of a great crowd, in front of my mom, " Jaden said. "Hopefully she can come see me play now that she’s close."