Blue and Gold Illustrated

Sept. 19, 2016

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

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50 SEPT. 19, 2016 BLUE & GOLD ILLUSTRATED MEN'S BASKETBALL RECRUITING BY COREY BODDEN T he weekend of Sept. 17 is shaping up to a major one for Notre Dame football on the field — the Irish play Michigan State — and off the field with several high-profile 2017 football tar- gets expected to be in attendance. It will also be a significant weekend for head coach Mike Brey and the bas- ketball program. Brey and the Irish were scheduled to host two of their top targets on the board in Baltimore Mount St. Joseph guard Darryl Morsell and Washington (D.C.) Maret School center Luka Garza — who then com- mitted via Twitter to the University of Iowa during Notre Dame's Sept. 10 football game with Nevada. Morsell is a 6-3, 180-pound combo guard and is listed as the No. 60 over- all player in the country by 247Sports Composite rankings, which factor in the ratings from all the major recruit- ing services. Notre Dame made a quick impres- sion on Morsell when he was offered in the middle of July. Around a month later, he included the Irish in his top five along with 2016 national champ Villanova, Maryland, Virginia Tech and Dayton. "When they first contacted me I knew right away about Demetrius Jackson and Jerian Grant," Morsell said. "They are downhill, attacking guards that are athletic. I think their playing style is very similar to mine. Coach Brey says it like it is, and that's something that I like. "They are a winning program. They have a good winning tradition. If I went there I think I would be part of something big that's known for winning." Distance isn't a factor for Morsell, but he still wants a home feeling in his future school. "I'm just going to be taking it all in, getting to know all the players, the whole campus vibe and the whole at- mosphere around the campus," Mor- sell said about his Notre Dame official. "I don't really care about distance, but if I go away from home I want to feel like I'm at home. I'm just going to be observing everything and see what the community is like down there." Morsell is good friends with another top Notre Dame target, Hyattsville (Md.) DeMatha Catholic forward D.J. Harvey. He spoke with him over the summer a little about Notre Dame dur- ing the Victor Oladipo camp in July. Last season as a junior, Morsell was named All-Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association and first-team All- Baltimore Catholic League, and earned a spot on The Baltimore Sun's All-Metro first team. According to The Sun, he averaged 10.6 points, 5.1 rebounds and 1.7 assists per game. Brey noted in July that a big man wasn't the top priority for the Irish. Securing two wings is goal No. 1 with the program having to replace V.J. Beachem and Steve Vasturia after the upcoming season. Top wing targets include Harvey and Morsell. Brey, however, noted if a quality big man did present himself the staff would consider adding one. Enter Garza. The 6-10, 230-pounder can play with his back to the basket or can step out and knock down a three. He, like Mor- sell, received his offer in July during the evaluation periods. Brey saw Garza often while also watching Harvey, who is an AAU teammate of Garza. Brey had pitched the idea of Har- vey and Garza being teammates on the next level. Garza and Brey have been in constant communication since the offer was extended. "The success they've had in recent years in terms of back-to-back Elite Eights and what Coach Brey has done with big men in the past— that's very interesting," Garza said. "That's some- thing I'm going to take a better look at. Just the way they play and the level of competition they play in the ACC. " However, after already visiting Ala- bama, Georgia and Iowa, Garza issued his commitment to the Hawkeyes. When Blue & Gold Illustrated reached out to Garza to see if he still planned to visit Notre Dame, he offered no reply by the end of the Sept. 10-11 weekend. ✦ Mobile App Providing you the best coverage of Notre Dame Football, Basketball, Recruiting and Sports – on the go! Notre Dame Will Host A Top Target During The Michigan State Football Weekend Notre Dame has quickly made a positive impres- sion on Baltimore Mount St. Joseph combo guard Darryl Morsell, who was offered in late July. PHOTO BY JACEY ZEMBAL

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