Former Stanford guard Nivar transferring to Tar Heels, giving them six five stars on their roster

By R.L. Bynum

Carolina got its third women’s basketball transfer commitment when former Stanford combo guard Indya Nivar, a North Carolina native and former McDonald’s All-American, committed to the Tar Heels on Sunday to give them six former five-star recruits on next season’s roster.

The 5–10 Nivar, born in Fayetteville but an Apex Friendship High School graduate, will be a sophomore with three seasons of eligibility. Here addition gives the Tar Heels 14 scholarship players, one short of the limit.

“I’m home,” Nivar said, announcing her decision on Instagram. Her final three schools coming out of high school were Stanford, Carolina and N.C. State. She was the Gatorade State Player of the Year and Ms. Basketball her senior year, when she was tournament MVP in leading Apex Friendship to the state 4-A title game.

Her decision comes eight days after the UNC men’s team got a Stanford transfer in forward Harrison Ingram.

A five-star recruit out of high school and the No. 20-ranked player in the Class of 2022, she averaged 18 points, 8.5 rebounds, 3.8 assists and 3.5 steals as a high school senior.

She becomes the sixth player on next season’s roster who was a five-star recruit, joining freshman Ciera Toomey, redshirt sophomore Teonni Key, senior Deja Kelly, senior guard Lexi Donarski and senior center Anya Poole.

The stars aligned

Five stars
Ciera Toomey, No. 4 in high school Class of 2023
Teonni Key, No. 9 in Class of 2021
Deja Kelly, No. 10 in Class of 2020
Lexi Donarski, No. 14 in Class of 2020
Indya Nivar, No. 20 in Class of 2022
Anya Poole, No. 49 in Class of 2020
Four stars
Kayla McPherson, No. 17 in Class of 2021
Paulina Paris, No. 27 in Class of 2022
Reniya Kelly, No. 30 in Class of 2023
Alexandra Zelaya, No. 89 in Class of 2020
Rylee Grays, No. 90 in Class of 2023

She joins Donarski, who played three seasons at Iowa State, and Boston College junior transfer center Maria Gakdeng as incoming transfers for UNC.

It’s the most transfers Coach Courtney Banghart, who was named UNC’s coach four years ago Sunday, has brought in during one offseason. Before the 2020–21 season, she welcomed two guards: Petra Holešínská from Illinois and Stephanie Watts, who returned to UNC after a year at Southern Cal. She also welcomed two guards before the 2021–22 season: Carlie Littlefield from Princeton and Eva Hodgson from William & Mary.

Nivar played 35 games last season for Stanford, starting once, and averaging 12.6 minutes per game. In 441 minutes for the season, she scored 111 points, with 69 rebounds and 35 assists. She shot 39.6% from the floor but made only 10 of 42 3-point attempts and 21 of 32 free-throw attempts.

Her season-high was 13 points on Nov. 7 against San Diego State with a season-high three 3-pointers. She dished out a season-high five assists at Washington State in a 71–38 victory on Feb. 5.

Stanford won the Pac 12 title and went 29–6, losing 76–71 in overtime to No. 1 South Carolina on Nov. 20. The Cardinal was upset 54–49 by Ole Miss in the second round of the NCAA tournament, with Nivar scoreless in 20 minutes off the bench.

In addition to Nivar, freshman center Lauren Betts and junior guard Agnes Emma-Nnopu also entered the transfer portal after playing for Stanford last season. Betts is the first former No. 1 overall recruit to transfer since Elena Delle Donne left UConn for Delaware in 2008.

Nivar won a gold medal as part of the United States U18 national team at the FIBA U18 Women’s Americas Championship in Argentina last June, averaging 6.7 points, 3.7 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 1.8 steals in six games.

Nivar is the fourth North Carolinian on the roster, joining Cary’s Teonni Key, Raleigh’s Anya Poole and Durham’s Sydney Barker, a freshman walk-on.

Nivar’s sister Jasmine will be a junior next season on the Apex Friendship team.

UNC roster

Here is Carolina’s projected roster with their class for next season listed.

YearReturning playersPos.Height
RS Soph.Kayla McPhersonPG5–8
SeniorDeja KellyPG5–8
Soph.Paulina ParisPG5–9
SeniorAlyssa UstbyF6–1
SeniorAnya PooleF6–2
RS Soph.Teonni KeyF6–4
SeniorAlexandra ZelayaF6–4
Incoming transfers
SophomoreIndya Nivar (Stanford)G5–10
SeniorLexi Donarski (Iowa State)G6–0
JuniorMaria Gakdeng (Boston College)C6–3
ESPN rankIncoming freshmenPos.Height
30thReniya Kelly (4 star; Alabama POY)PG5–7
Laila Hull (Indiana POY)W6–1
90thRylee Grays (4 star Alabama POY)F6–3
4thCiera Toomey (5 star)F6–4
Sydney Barker (walk-on)PG5–7
Class of 2024
10thBlanca Thomas (5 star)C6–5
3rd in Minn.Jordan ZubichG5–11
Class of 2025
23rdLanie Grant (4 star)G5–9
College careers overPos.Height
Eva HodgsonPG5–10
Ariel YoungW6–1
Malu TshitengeF6–3
Outgoing transfers
Kennedy Todd-Williams (Ole Miss)W6–0
Destiny Adams (Rutgers)F6–3

Photo via @StanfordWBB



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