Blue and Gold Illustrated

Oct. 9, 2017

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

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Page 48 of 55 OCT. 9, 2017 49 BY COREY BODDEN If Irish fans were to vote on which of Notre Dame's two major sports — foot- ball or men's basketball — has a top- five recruiting class in the country, it is likely the former would be victorious. Probably in a landslide. But after landing their fourth com- mitment in the 2018 class Sept. 27 — Northfield (Mass.) Mt. Hermon forward Nate Laszewski — it is head coach Mike Brey's program that boasts the No. 5 class nationally per Rivals. To add more perspective, the 247Sports Composite listing, which includes rankings from multiple ser- vices, puts the four-man group at No. 2 in the land, just behind Arizona. Brey and company beat out North Carolina, Arizona, Wisconsin and Wake Forest for the sharpshooter. "Definitely a sense of toughness, but really it's all about shooting with him," Rivals national analyst Corey Evans said of Laszewski. "He broke out to a degree this past July, but if people were watching the past two to three years he's always done it at a high rate. He just put together three or four games in front of a bunch of coaches. "Fortunately for Notre Dame, they always valued him, and that's why they won it." The addition of the 6-9, 205-pound Laszewski — who is ranked as the No. 69 overall player nationally by Rivals — helps take the Irish class to another level, adding a mixture of height and shooting ability to the group. "Nate's already coming in as one of the top five or six shooters in America," Evans said. "It makes the offense that much more difficult to stop. It opens up driving lanes, and it makes guys that aren't comfort- able stepping five or 10 feet from the bucket defend him. It just causes havoc to a degree." Notre Dame's class before Lasze- wski joined was already well re- garded with Washington (D.C.) Gon- zaga point Prentiss Hubb (No. 83 overall nationally), Mars (Pa.) High shooting guard Robby Carmody (No. 86) and Upper Arlington (Ohio) High shooting guard Dane Goodwin (No. 105) ranking as Rivals four-star prospects. With Laszewski now in the fold, Notre Dame's class contains four players who can fill it up from be- hind the arc, but also adds position versatility. Both qualities are vital in Brey's system, which values spacing and versatility. The four-man group should have Irish fans excited, ac- cording to Evans. "They are battle tested," Evans said. "Robby Carmody is one of the top five toughest players in Amer- ica. Prentiss and the others aren't slouches either. "They bring versatility, toughness — they found the right fit and sys- tem. You throw all that together, it's a special class brewing. Four years from now it could be the winningest class in school history." When you include Connecticut big man transfer Juwan Durham — who was rated as the country's No. 47 overall prospect by Rivals when he exited high school — Notre Dame will welcome five players for the 2018-19 season that where top-105 players per Rivals. " D u rh a m w o u l d be the highest rated, granted he's going to sit out a year," Evans said. "He might have been a five-star with us, if not a high four- star. "For Notre Dame, it's definitely the best I think I've seen on paper from a depth perspective and from a versatility perspec- tive. You have guys who can play multi- ple spots on the floor and on both sides of the court." Despite its back- to-back Elite Eight appearances and an ACC championship, Notre Dame initially did not appear to be building this type of class. "Back in the spring, if you would have asked me who Notre Dame had the best chance with I would have told you Robby Car- mody," Evans explained. "That was the only guy I would have expected. I wouldn't have expected Prentiss Hubb. I thought Maryland was the school to beat there. "Dane was still committed to Ohio State, and the new staff there did their best to try and keep him though. Juwan Durham, people thought that was done with Duke once he trans- ferred. Nate was anyone's ballgame. Notre Dame was there, but you just never know what can happen. "The fact that all five guys com- mitted and were priority recruits, the fact Notre Dame got all five priorities before October, is pretty special. It's really impressive." Notre Dame still has two scholar- ships to play with for the 2018 class if it so desires. The staff will likely monitor the high school ranks and transfer market next spring to see if any potential fits come about. With only current junior guard Rex Pflueger graduating after the 2018-19 season, the staff could save those two for the 2019 class in an effort to land another bonanza haul. ✦ COMMITMENT PROFILE NATE LASZEWSKI Notre Dame Lands Vital Piece To 2018 Recruiting Class Laszewski — a 6-9, 205-pound forward from Northfield (Mass.) Mt. Hermon — is ranked as the No. 69 overall prospect nationally by Rivals. PHOTO COURTESY RIVALS.COM

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