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Page 48 of 55 OCT. 7, 2019 49 MEN'S BASKETBALL only one turnover prior to his injury late in the contest. Gibbs was able to play with more freedom in that game, knocking down 3 of 5 three-pointers while also dishing out four assists and committing just one turnover. Gibbs finished second in scoring (13.7), but he was "out of his lane" by becoming more of a slasher/driver in- stead of a spot-up shooter and trying too hard to compensate for the loss of Pflueger and the inexperience of fresh- man point guard Prentiss Hubb, who missed his senior year of high school basketball with his own torn ACL. Consequently, Gibbs' shooting per- centage plummeted from 41.1 overall as a sophomore to 34.7 as a junior, including dropping from 40.3 to 31.8 from three-point range. "He really forced stuff," Brey said. "He felt he had to do it all. Rex was a distributor, and T.J. then could spot up more and shoot. Prentiss and oth- ers, their games were not really there yet. … And then he had the weight of the world on him when he didn't shoot well. I actually said to him before one game if you don't smile before the first media time out, I'm going to kick you in the crotch. "What makes him so good is he does want it so bad, he's a fighter, he's a warrior, his assists to turnovers are unbelievable [third in the ACC last year] — but he's not a guy who should be driving too much. And he felt responsible for losing … Having Rex out there will help him." Brey is of the opinion Pflueger will be suited up for the season opener at North Carolina Nov. 6, but uncertain if he will be "fully" ready. "Rex and T.J., they ride emotions," Brey said. "My thing with them this summer is as seniors they have to be a little more even-keeled." As for Hubb, his 29 starts at point guard while playing 33.6 minutes per contest should serve him well this season. Only Chris Thomas in 2001- 02 played more minutes as a Notre Dame true freshman. Hubb's shoot- ing gradually improved even though he finished at only 32.4 for the year, but he finished sixth in the ACC in assist-to-turnover ratio (plus-2.0) while displaying remarkable poise. "He did a fabulous job for what we asked him to do," Brey said of Hubb. NEXT IN LINE Beyond that quartet, there are a lot of mixing and matching options. The sophomore tandem of 6-10 for- ward Nate Laszewski (6.9 points and 3.9 rebounds per game) and 6-6 guard Dane Goodwin (6.4 points and 3.2 re- bounds per game) provides flexibility to either play bigger or down-shift some in the lineup. Brey wants both to be much more assertive as shooters, and he continues to envision Good- win to bloom into one of his favorites: 2013-17 guard Steve Vasturia. "A total-package guy, and he's tough," Brey said. "He'll respond, he's got an edge about him." The stretch-four figure Laszewski might still be a year away physically from having more of a presence inside but is displaying more of an edge. The mandate this summer has been weight training workout four times a week instead of three, and Laszewski has progressed there as well. "There is a weapon there that is re- ally good," Brey said. "What people did is switched on him in ball screens where he can't step back and shoot, so he has a guard on him. We have to run him right into the post on a guard." Senior 6-11 forward Juwan Dur- ham (5.7 points and 3.9 rebounds per game), who is eligible for a fifth year in 2020-21, is up to about 225 pounds — "about as much as he can carry," per Brey — after playing in the 217 range last year. Staying healthy is the primary goal with Durham, who was one of the league's top shot blockers but was never quite the same after suf- fering an injury at Virginia Tech Jan. 1. The goal is to get 19 to 20 quality minutes out of him per game, be- cause that seems to be his thresh- old. Getting meaner would help too, because otherwise the staff likes his basketball IQ. "Sometimes I wonder if he's a kid who thinks, 'I'm playing basketball because I'm 6-11,'" Brey said. "He can score a little bit around the basket so we like throwing it into him, and he's a good passer. I still would like him to goaltend more shots. He's a little too conservative." Aiding Mooney on the boards is another prime objective. "Can we get Nate on the defensive board like the offensive board?" Brey asked. "Rex is a heck of a defensive rebounder. Juwan has to be better there." Aggression is not an issue with the 6-4 Carmody, who started the season opener last year prior to his injury. If anything, he needs to let the game flow to him more calmly while re- gaining his shooting stroke. "He does guard, and he sticks his nose in there," Brey said. "Drives physically, and is a tough kid." Classmate and 6-8 forward Chris Doherty possesses a similar tough- ness and will vie for action. Mean- while, 6-7 senior wing Nik Djogo, who started six games last season, was sidelined throughout the summer while recovering from a torn labrum that required surgery in March. ✦ Following an ACL tear that prematurely ended his senior season in December 2018, Rex Pflueger returns as a graduate student to give the Irish a strong veteran presence at guard. PHOTO BY COREY BODDEN 2019-20 ROSTER No. Player Pos. Ht. Wt. Cl. 0 Rex Pflueger G 6-6 218 5th-Sr. 3 Prentiss Hubb G 6-5 190 So. 5 Cormac Ryan* G 6-5 190 So. 10 T.J. Gibbs G 6-3 185 Sr. 11 Juwan Durham^ F 6-11 223 Sr. 13 Nikola Djogo^ G 6-7 222 Sr. 14 Nate Laszewski F 6-10 225 So. 15 Chris Doherty F 6-8 235 So. 23 Dane Goodwin G 6-6 200 So. 24 Robby Carmody G 6-4 201 So. 33 John Mooney F 6-9 245 Sr. * Must sit out the 2019-20 season per NCAA transfer rules ^ Can apply for a fifth season of eligibility after the season

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