"I chose Duke for a number of reasons, most notably that Duke academics is second to none and I want to use my degree to take me as far as I can go because the ball stops bouncing one day," Donovan told ESPN. "It is also close to home and my family."
Donovan is the highest-rated player to commit to the Blue Devils since head coach Kara Lawson took over the helm.
"My top two schools were the best options for me," said Donovan, who also strongly considered North Carolina, Arizona, UCLA and Tennessee. "[Notre Dame] Coach [Niele] Ivey and Coach Lawson both played in the WNBA and had NBA experience. ... I want to pursue a degree in communication and journalism, and coach Lawson has a lot of experience and background in that. I also want to continue to be involved in USA Basketball, and she has ties into that as well."
Donovan has been a highly ranked player since she stepped onto the floor at Sidwell Friends School (D.C.). She burst onto the scene at the She Got Game Classic in December 2019 with her speed and leaping ability.
Over the years, she developed a pull-up jumper and an array of finishing moves at the rim, and she has started to show she can be a threat from the 3-point line as well. Donovan has become a good passer who creates for her teammates and she also moves well without the ball with a strong understanding of when to cut and how to play out of actions by making the right reads.
As a junior, Donovan played alongside top-100 recruits like UCLA commit Kiki Rice (No. 2 in 2022), Khia Miller (No. 82 in 2023), Kendall Dudley (No. 4 in 2024) and Leah Harmon (No. 35 in 2024), averaging 15.2 points, 8.4 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 3.3 steals on 58% shooting from the floor.
The 6-foot Donovan also earned her second gold medal with USA Basketball this summer. Following last year's U16 FIBA Americas gold, she helped win the U17 FIBA World Cup in Debrecen, Hungary, averaging 10.3 points, 5.0 rebounds and 2.0 steals per game on 60.4% shooting.
She projects to be a lockdown defender the moment she arrives on campus, as well as a playmaker in the open court and someone who can put pressure on opposing defenses by getting to the paint and knocking down tough jump shots.
Donovan's commitment to Duke cannot be overstated for Lawson, who took over the program in July 2020. When Donovan gets to campus as a freshman, she will be greeted by the 11th-ranked recruiting class in the 2022 cycle, which featured No. 16 prospect Ashlon Jackson and No. 33 Shay Bollin. Duke also boasts ACC Freshman of the Year Shayeann Day-Wilson and Georgia transfer Reigan Richardson, a 2021 McDonald's All American.
Donovan's commitment could lead to more recruiting momentum. Duke has been listed for several other five-star recruits in the 2023 class, namely point guard Hannah Hidalgo (No. 5) and wing/forward Madison Booker (No. 15), as well as some international talent.