Blue and Gold Illustrated

Oct.10, 2016

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

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Page 48 of 55 OCT. 10, 2016 49 MEN'S BASKETBALL guys, having a good group around us who have been through many things, many tough, close games … you get to watch great leaders. "I know now that there are younger guys here that want to hear my voice the way I wanted to hear the guys before me." That's how people over the last 10 years who were non-factors their first two seasons — Russell Carter, Tim Abromaitis, Jack Cooley and Zach Auguste — became All-Big East or All-ACC selections on the first or sec- ond team. It's how Ben Hansbrough — a two- star figure with no national ranking — becomes the Big East Player of the Year in 2011 while guiding the Irish to a No. 5 finish in the Associated Press poll during the regular season. It's how No. 104-rated Luke Ha- rangody becomes the Big East Player of the Year as a sophomore and a three-time All-American. It's how Jerian Grant and Pat Con- naughton — three-star players ranked 105th and 128th nationally, respec- tively, by Rivals — become game- changers as seniors while leading an Elite Eight run and becoming first- and second-round NBA Draft picks. Likewise, Vasturia and the 6-8, 201-pound Beachem now as seniors have asserted themselves. Beachem in particular has grown in that area after a fabulous, clutch March in the ACC Tournament, and especially the four games in the NCAA Tournament when he exploded for 70 points (17.5 average), never tallying less than 15 while converting one clutch basket after another to make the NCAA East Regional All-Tournament team. "He was talking in the huddles in the NCAA Tournament more than ever before," Brey said. "… He is in such a great frame of mind, he is so confident with what happened in March … I've kind of gotten on him when he has turned down a shot, even a bad shot. I wanted him to force some shots." "I've just been trying to voice my- self as much as I can and show them my work habits," Beachem said. "That's the No. 1 thing for me." Meanwhile, the 6-5, 225-pound Colson individually best represents the collective Notre Dame men's bas- ketball program. His game has been described as one of a "junkyard dog" which he wears as a badge of honor. It's not always pretty or smooth, and often seems unorthodox, but the two- time Rhode Island Gatorade Player of the Year gets results. While averaging 25.3 minutes per game last season playing mainly as a second big to the graduated Zach Auguste, Colson still averaged dou- ble-figure scoring (11.1) and pulled in 6.7 rebounds per game, second on the team, which he also was in steals. "We're hungry," Colson said of what drives the program. "We've al- ways been doubted here, so it's noth- ing new to us. We're always going to play with that chip on our shoul- der and continue to do the things we have to do to win." ✦ Men's And Women's Recruiting Update With a month remaining until the early signing period in college basketball Nov. 9‑16, the Notre Dame men's and women's teams are entering the home stretch. The Irish continue to put the full‑court press on Baltimore Mount St. Joseph four‑star guard Darryl Morsell, the nation's No. 93 player according to On Sept. 26, head coach Mike Brey and assistants Rod Balanis, Ryan Ayers and Ryan Humphrey all went to Baltimore to visit Morsell, showing him he is a top priority to join four‑star wing D.J. Harvey from DeMatha Catholic in Hyattsville, Md., Rivals' No. 51 player in the country. The Irish's goal in this recruiting cycle is to find two wings to replace this year's senior tandem of Steve Vasturia and V.J. Beachem, and a duo of Har‑ vey and Morsell is the staff's ideal vision. Morsell took an official visit to Villanova the weekend of Sept. 24, visited Maryland the week‑ end of Oct. 1 and has one more trip scheduled to Dayton Oct. 22. He is also considering an official visit to Virginia Tech. As of now, it appears to be a three‑team race among Notre Dame, Villanova and Maryland. • Three new offers have been extended by the Irish staff the past couple of weeks. The headliner is 2018 Rivals100 Milton (Mass.) Academy shooting guard Cormac Ryan. The four‑star prospect and No. 62 player in the junior class received his offer during his visit to South Bend the weekend of the Michigan State football game. Ryan enjoyed his time in South Bend and did not expect the offer heading into the visit. "I definitely have interest in a place like Notre Dame because of all it has to offer," Ryan said. "I look forward to staying in touch with those guys as the year progresses." • Brey was able to reignite the Notre Dame and DeMatha Catholic connection by securing a com‑ mitment from Harvey, but he doesn't want it to stop there. Brey and the Irish staff extended offers to 2019 guard Justin Moore and 2020 big man Hunter Dickinson. • On the women's side, Muffet McGraw and her staff hosted the nation's No. 1 (guard/wing Megan Walker) and No. 2 (guard/wing Evina Westbook) players during the weekend of Sept. 24. Walker, from Chesterfield, Va., has completed her official visits and will decide among the Irish, Texas and the Connecticut dynasty. Meanwhile, Salem, Ore., native Westbrook — who was visited in‑home by McGraw and assistants Niele Ivey and Beth Cunningham on Sept. 26 — still had official visits to Maryland (Oct. 1) and South Carolina (Oct. 8). USC and local Oregon State also are in the hunt. • Signing two post players is a priority in this cycle. The Irish have a verbal from Pennsylvania's 6‑3 Mikayla Vaughn, and 6‑3 Danielle Patterson from New York's Mary Louis Academy is slated to visit for the Miami football weekend Oct. 29. Patterson, ranked as the No. 30 player nationally by ESPN HoopGurlz, also is scheduled to visit Tennessee Oct. 15. • Also on deck for a visit sometime in October is 6‑3 wing Maya Dodson, an Alpharetta, Ga., resident who stars at St. Francis High and ranks No. 11 nationally according to ESPN HoopGurlz. Her final three are the Irish, Tennessee and Stanford. — Corey Bodden and Lou Somogyi Guard Darryl Morsell is a huge priority for Notre Dame in this recruiting year to team with D.J. Harvey. Reigning national champ Villanova and Maryland are the main competition. PHOTO BY JACEY ZEMBAL

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