Blue and Gold Illustrated

Oct.10, 2016

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

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Page 47 of 55

48 OCT. 10, 2016 BLUE & GOLD ILLUSTRATED MEN'S BASKETBALL BY LOU SOMOGYI W hen 17th-year Notre Dame head coach Mike Brey needed to replace former assistant coaches Martin Ingelsby (head coach at Delaware) and Anthony Solomon (assistant at Georgetown) this spring, he first met with senior wings Steve Vasturia and V.J. Beachem, plus junior forward Bonzie Colson, the three returning double-figure scorers from last season. "I said we're going to get great guys, we're going to get guys that played for me," Brey began. "But let's be honest: You three guys are my assistants — and [you] have to run this thing this summer." To no one's surprise, Brey said they rotated into their new roles seam- lessly. Then again, it's a natural pro- gression at a program that takes im- mense pride in the way its players develop from their freshman through senior years. With few exceptions — such as ju- nior guard Demetrius Jackson turn- ing pro this spring to sign a four-year, $5.5 million contract with the Boston Celtics — the modus operandi under Brey is clear: sign the four- or five- year players who as fringe top-100 to top-150 prospects develop their first two seasons, begin to blossom by their third and then become all-league caliber players as seniors while taking ownership of the program. It might not put them among the top 20 or even 30 recruiting classes, but it has resulted in NCAA Tournament bids six of the last seven seasons, an ACC championship in 2015 and the lone men's program to advance to the Elite Eight each of the last two years. "This program, it's a progression," said the 6-6, 212-pound Vasturia — who has started a team-high 86 straight games, including all 74 each of the past two years. "My role has increased each and every year. It's just taking what you learn from older THE BIG THREE The leadership baton has been passed on to veterans Steve Vasturia, V.J. Beachem and Bonzie Colson THREEPEATS Notre Dame's 12-man scholarship roster fea- tures three players in each class. Here is the breakdown: SENIORS V.J. Beachem, forward, 6-8, 201 Austin Torres, forward, 6-7, 241 Steve Vasturia, guard, 6-6, 212 JUNIORS Bonzie Colson, forward, 6-5, 225 Matt Farrell, guard, 6-1, 178 Martinas Geben, forward, 6-10, 255 SOPHOMORES Elijah Burns, forward, 6-8, 235 Rex Pflueger, guard, 6-6, 202 Matt Ryan, forward, 6-7, 228 FRESHMEN Nikola Djogo, guard, 6-7, 203 Temple "T.J." Gibbs, guard, 6-3, 200 John Mooney, forward, 6-9, 245 Walk-ons are 6-10, 255-pound Patrick Mazza, a graduate student, and 6-8, 201-pound junior Matt Gregory. Head coach Mike Brey told (from left to right) Vasturia, Beachem and Colson during summer that they would be counted on to lead the team this season. PHOTOS BY JOE RAYMOND

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