Blue and Gold Illustrated

Preseason 2020

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

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 60 of 67 PRESEASON 2020 61 MEN'S BASKETBALL BY PATRICK ENGEL M ike Brey is all about recruiting South Bend right now — a con- venient method during a time when recruiting is indefinitely deterred. The Notre Dame head coach and his staff have secured a commitment from one hometown player, three-star wing JR Konieczny from St. Joseph High School in South Bend. Their top target to join him in the 2021 class is his longtime friend who plays only a few miles away — four-star guard Blake Wesley of Riley High School. They're ranked No. 135 and No. 95, respectively, in the 2021 Rivals150. "We've been on the same team or played against each other since be- fore middle school," Konieczny said. "We've been close since the second or third grade." Notre Dame's competition for Wesley is from in-state powers and a growing list of non-local options. Indi- ana and Purdue have been after Wes- ley since last summer. He took official visits to both last year, in addition to Notre Dame. He has visited Notre Dame for football games as well. Louisville hosted him for an unof- ficial visit right before the NCAA in- stituted a dead period that now runs through at least Sept. 30. "Everything has been going well," Wesley said. "I'm still thinking about that decision. They're saying I could be a star in South Bend. I talk to them at least twice a week." Texas and Maryland are two non- regional programs that have been in pursuit for a while. Kansas State and Missouri offered him in late July and early August, respectively. Wesley has not, though, visited any of those schools. He would like to, but the unknown timeline for visits may end up nixing those plans. Wesley's decision timeline isn't firm, but he's planning to narrow down his list in August or September. A commitment could follow later in the fall, per his father, Derrick, though that's subject to change with the sta- tus of visits and Blake's preference. "We wanted to see a few more teams play, but who knows what that's go- ing to look like," Derrick Wesley said. Wesley committing before the dead period ends would put the in-state programs at an advantage over those he has not visited. Notre Dame handed out two more 2021 offers this summer. The first went to 6-8, 195-pound forward DaRon Holmes II, the No. 30 overall player in the class per Rivals. He is a Phoenix native and the reigning MaxPreps Ari- zona Player of the Year, but has since transferred to national powerhouse Montverde Academy in Florida. There is a helpful tie for Notre Dame here — his father, DaRon Sr., is an alum. "While they have a lot of work to do, their connection to Holmes could lead to greater traction in his recruit- ment if he holds off from making a quick decision," Rivals national re- cruiting analyst Corey Evans noted. Notre Dame has also offered Bryce Hopkins, a 6-7 forward out of Oak Park (Ill.) Fenwick. He is Rivals' No. 34 overall player and recently backed off a Louisville commitment. 2022 RECRUITING BOARD TAKING SHAPE Notre Dame's nine Class of 2022 offers this summer are a sign Brey is willing to change his approach. The coach likes to watch play- ers in person before offering. Now, though, that's impossible, and Brey is assuming it stays that way until next spring. But the need to send out of- fers and get involved in recruitments is still present. "I don't need to see a kid in per- son," Brey said. "That can't be an ex- cuse for not offering a player. We have to go for it. Everyone — especially the prospects and their families —is feeling it and wanting to grab a spot." So Brey is recruiting like he did this spring, when he signed current fresh- man Tony Sanders Jr. and Santa Clara transfer Trey Wertz without meeting either of them in person. "We're in the April philosophy," Brey said. "We were aggressive. We were Zooming. … We were offering scholarships and saying we want you. "We'll continue to operate like that. I don't think we can save it for a rainy day, so to speak." Notre Dame conducted an Aug. 14 virtual campus visit with 7-1 center Donovan Clingan from Bristol (Conn.) Central High School. He is the No. 46 overall player in the 2022 class, and the Irish offered him on June 15. One 2022 target to keep an eye on is Fort Wayne (Ind.) Homestead guard Fletcher Loyer, who is currently not ranked but has received several high- major offers. Notre Dame offered in July, and he his family are longtime friends of Irish junior guard Dane Goodwin and his family. "They've been in great contact," Loyer said. "I really like their style of play and atmosphere." ✦ Blake Wesley, a South Bend native and Rivals' No. 95 prospect nationally, is Notre Dame's top remaining 2021 recruiting target. PHOTO COURTESY RIVALS.COM Notre Dame Is Angling To Add Another In-State Product 2022 NOTRE DAME BASKETBALL OFFERS Name, Position High School Rivals Ranking Jaden Bradley, PG Bradenton (Fla.) IMG Academy 5-star, No. 7 overall Jarace Walker, SF Bradenton (Fla.) IMG Academy 5-star, No. 10 overall Donovan Clingan, C Bristol (Conn.) Central 4-star, No. 46 overall Prince Aligbe, SF Minneapolis Minnehaha Academy 4-star, No. 48 overall J.J. Starling, PG La Porte (Ind.) La Lumiere School 4-star, No. 92 overall Ben Middlebrooks, PF Fort Lauderdale (Fla.) Westminster 3-star, No. 106 overall Isaac Traudt, PF Grand Island (Neb.) 3-star, No. 117 overall Kyle Filipowski, PF Wilbraham and Monson (Mass.) 3-star Fletcher Loyer, SG Fort Wayne (Ind.) Homestead Not ranked

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of Blue and Gold Illustrated - Preseason 2020