Blue and Gold Illustrated

Nov. 19, 2018

Blue & Gold Illustrated: America's Foremost Authority on Notre Dame Football

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 7 of 55

8 NOV. 19, 2018 BLUE & GOLD ILLUSTRATED UNDER THE DOME Prentiss Hubb Can Help Make Others Shine By Lou Somogyi This Notre Dame freshman class epitomizes the meaning of "shopping down a different aisle" when it comes to college basketball recruiting. Initial impressions tell us this five-man harvest will be 19th-year head coach Mike Brey's best and most well-rounded group. Combined with the three years of eligibility re- maining for forward D.J. Harvey and center Juwan Durham, we believe in two years this program has a nucleus to return to Elite Eight status, a la the 2015 and 2016 editions. However, when watching Duke's astounding freshmen, there is a sobering recognition of what constitutes a developmental phase com- pared to an instant mini-NBA franchise. Robby Carmody combines moxie, court sense and athletic skills — which is why he started the opener — while Dane Goodwin is an incubating Steve Vasturia, Chris Doherty can provide inside muscle and Nate Laszewski has perhaps the highest ceiling in pro potential with his beautiful shooting stroke (one of the best I've seen from an Irish big man in 47 years). In 2018-19, though, point guard Prentiss Hubb's skill set might be the most needed for several reasons. One is to enable junior and top scorer T.J. Gibbs to play off the ball a little more. Two is to add another threat to drive to the basket, resulting either in a finish at the hoop or a kick-out for an open look. Three is to provide more perimeter pressure defensively with his quickness. Down the road, all will aid another bona fide Sweet 16 program (or more), but for this season Hubb's growth will be especially needed. Nate Laszewski Adds Much-Needed Shooting Prowess By Corey Bodden There is no disagreement coming from me when it comes to the ability of Notre Dame's freshman class overall. It is early in the season, but the group continues to make a strong impression on those within the program and those who cover it. Irish fans should have some excitement when thinking about the potential of the group over the next few years while in South Bend. However, for the 2018-19 specifically, it is Laszewski — in my mind — who will provide the biggest impact. Last season the Irish were missing scoring off the bench and shooting in general. Laszewski is the best of the group in that area. The 6-10 freshman does not have the strength necessary at this stage to be a consistent threat down in the post, but he can still use his height to his advantage on the perimeter. Laszewski hit 132 triples during his senior year of high school, and adding that ability to the Irish offense is his top priority in year one. He is the type of shooter who can knock down five or more triples on any given night to space out a defense, which would also open up opportunities elsewhere if defenses collapse too hard or leave the paint more susceptible to drives if they pay too much attention to the freshman outside. The Irish like to space the floor offensively to open driving lanes, and Laszewski's presence accomplishes just that. They will need his spark whether he eventually earns a starting nod or continues coming off the bench. Point ✦ Counterpoint: WHICH FRESHMAN MEN'S BASKETBALL PLAYER WILL HAVE THE MOST IMPACT IN 2018-19? HUBB LASZEWSKI Over the summer, Notre Dame freshman for- ward Chris Doherty of Marlborough (Mass.) High returned home to handle family and personal issues. Head coach Mike Brey and the Fighting Irish were fully supportive of Doherty's decision and expected him to return once classes resumed in the fall. Doherty did just that and now continues to work on his game heading into his first year with the Irish program. A redshirt could be a possibility, but Brey men- tioned leading into the opener that Doherty had mostly caught up from the missed time, including the foreign tour to the Bahamas. BGI: Did you know you were always coming back after the summer? Doherty: "There was some uncertainty, but I wanted to come back. It was a big change so quick. It was the goal to come back. I was grate- ful that Coach Brey let me come back. I'm really close with my grandfather and he was sick, but he is better now. It was a welcoming environment coming here. Maybe a little bit of being homesick, but mostly just a big change and my grandfather being sick. "Maybe for like the first day or two [I was un- sure]. The coaches were understanding of the situation. I'm grateful that they were. It was huge [to have their support]. I guess it was kind of a pride thing. I didn't want to seem like a quitter. I definitely wanted to come back. I love this place." BGI: What did you learn over the summer? Doherty: "I wanted to come back. I needed some time to figure everything out. I wanted to come back and I was working out every day. "Just seeing the Instagram and Twitter [posts] got me anxious to come back. When Aug. 17 rolled around, I was ready." BGI: How has it been juggling both classes and basketball? Doherty: "Since I got back on campus, I've been loving it. I love the dorm life. The dorms here are close knit. You meet everyone during the first weekend. "The basketball is great and I love everyone on the team. I'm glad to be part of it." BGI: How would you describe your game enter- ing year one at Notre Dame? Doherty: "Definitely doing the dirty work like rebound and set screens. Still trying to get a feel for the offense completely. I just need to learn how to play and not be so timid. "Being a freshman you have to do what they ask and find your niche on offense and defense. I've been working with Coach [Ryan] Humphrey on floats because kids in the ACC are extremely athletic and different, along with working on my perimeter game. "I'm just trying to evolve." BGI: How do you feel about the team heading into the new season? Doherty: "I think we're coming along well and really understanding each other. "We're definitely coming along and maybe even further than people expected up to this point." — Corey Bodden Five Questions With … MEN'S BASKETBALL FRESHMAN FORWARD CHRIS DOHERTY Doherty averaged 19.7 points, 12.3 rebounds, 4.5 blocks and 3.1 assists per game during his senior season at Marlborough (Mass.) High. PHOTO COURTESY FIGHTING IRISH DIGITAL MEDIA

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of Blue and Gold Illustrated - Nov. 19, 2018