Blue and Gold Illustrated

Sept. 12, 2016

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

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Page 48 of 55 SEPT. 12, 2016 49 MEN'S BASKETBALL RECRUITING BY COREY BODDEN I t may seem odd for a program coming off back-to-back trips to the Elite Eight and an ACC champion- ship in 2015 to not have secured a commitment or two in the 2017 class. But that is where Notre Dame and head coach Mike Brey were entering September. The goal for Notre Dame this cy- cle is to sign two wing players. Brey mentioned the staff wouldn't turn down a good big man and that a point guard isn't a top priority with freshman T.J. Gibbs in the fold from the 2016 class. While Notre Dame appears to be off to a slow start with the class of 2017, part of the explanation is the type of players the Irish are recruit- ing. Notre Dame is still in the mix for several high-profile prospects. The fall will be extremely important for the Irish with the early signing pe- riod, Nov. 9-16, two months away. One of the first visitors will be Hyattsville (Md.) DeMatha Catholic four-star small forward D.J. Harvey, who is ranked No. 42 nationally by Rivals. The 6-7, 180-pound Harvey will visit for the Nevada football game weekend Sept. 9-11. Notre Dame has major ties to the DeMatha program. Brey and assis- tant Rod Balanis both played there, and the high school has produced Notre Dame players Adrian Dantley (1973-76), a member of the Naismith Basketball Hall Of Fame, and 2015 NBA first-round pick Jerian Grant, who is now with the Chicago Bulls. Harvey has had Notre Dame in his top tier, but official visits also had been set for Shaka Smart's Texas team (Aug. 26-28) and Rick Pitino's Louisville power (Sept. 2-4). The highest ranked player on the board for the Irish is a player who is just up the road in La Porte (Ind.) La Lumiere: Jaren Jackson, who is ranked as a five-star recruit and the No. 20 overall player nationally by Rivals. The 6-10, 220-pound Jackson took an unofficial visit to Notre Dame Aug. 26. Jackson is currently not do- ing interviews, so how the visit went is unknown. He hasn't released a list of favorites and will likely continue taking unofficial visits. Aamir Simms of Palmyra (Va.) Blue Ridge included Notre Dame in his top six in the middle of Au- gust along with Pittsburgh, Miami, Clemson, Iowa State and VCU. He might take an official to Notre Dame Oct. 16, but the trip still isn't final- ized. The 6-8, 230-pound Simms said following the release of his favorites that Notre Dame was the best school of the six when looking at the combi- nation of athletics and academics. He has never been to Notre Dame, but has taken a virtual tour. The weekend of Sept. 17, when Notre Dame takes on Michigan State on the gridiron, will not be a big weekend for only football recruit- ing. Two basketball standouts also will take official visits that weekend — four-star big man Luka Garza of Washington (D.C.) Maret School and Baltimore Mount St. Joseph three- star guard Darryl Morsell. The 6-10, 230-pound Garza was offered by Notre Dame in late July during the evaluation period. A ver- satile big man, he is ranked No. 107 nationally by Rivals. The four-star has taken notice of Brey's work with big men and the program's recent success in the ACC and the NCAA Tournament. Garza will travel to South Bend after having taken official visits to Alabama, Iowa and Georgia. He is an AAU teammate of Harvey. Morsell recently listed Notre Dame in his top five along with Maryland, Villanova, Virginia Tech and Day- ton. The 6-3, 180-pounder compares his game to former Irish guards De- metrius Jackson and Grant, and is well aware of how they were used at Notre Dame and Brey's development of the two players. Morsell has no timetable to make his decision. He goes to the same high school where former point guard and current Irish video coor- dinator Eric Atkins graduated. Another wing Notre Dame is after is Westtown (Pa.) School four-star shooting guard Brandon Randolph, who has a good relationship with Gibbs. Randolph keeps his recruit- ment quiet. One wing who has eliminated the Irish is La Porte (Ind.) La Lumiere five-star forward Brian Bowen. He recently cut his list to 12 schools. ✦ Hyattsville (Md.) DeMatha Catholic forward D.J. Harvey is scheduled to officially visit Notre Dame the weekend of the Nevada football game. PHOTO COURTESY NIKE Notre Dame Is Still Looking To Secure First 2017 Commitment

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