Blue and Gold Illustrated

May 2018

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

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 54 of 63 MAY 2018 55 MEN'S BASKETBALL an elixir that helped propel one of the three or four greatest seasons in Notre Dame annals since the end of World War II. "It probably jump-started us a little bit, helped that group play together," Brey said of the foreign tour in 2014. "They're always good to bring the group together, practice the routine of game prep — and it will be very important for our six new faces." While the incoming five-man fresh- man class — guards Prentiss Hubb, Robby Carmody and Dane Goodwin, plus forwards Nate Laszewski and Chris Doherty — is promising, there also must be some context: These are not Duke-like freshmen, a la a Mar- vin Bagley this past season. The incoming Blue Devils class fea- tures the nation's No. 1, No. 3 and No. 5 players in R.J. Barrett, Cam- eron Reddish and Zion Williamson — plus the No. 12 prospect Tre Jones. The incoming Irish freshmen don't have future lottery picks written all over them, and maybe not even an NBA career. But down the road, they too can develop as juniors and se- niors the way the back-to-back Elite Eight teams did in 2015 and 2016, or even in the manner that gradu- ating seniors Bonzie Colson, Matt Farrell and Martin Geben did over four years. "They're all really gifted, [and] they're going to make some mis- takes," Brey said of the incoming freshmen. "Dane Goodwin is not Steve Vasturia right now — but he can be better down the road." Following the team banquet April 9, Brey noted that a couple of graduate transfers at guard had reached out to him to play next season, but Brey said he'd prefer to build for the long run with the youth he now has. "I've really got to invest in D.J. Harvey, Hubb, Carmody and Good- win," Brey said of next season. "We're going to take our lumps … I've got to develop those guys. "To bring in a grad transfer, who would take [playing time] from them, I don't want to do that." BALANCING OLD WITH NEW Consequently, the combination of losing the three starting seniors — Colson, Farrell and Geben — while attempting to mesh the young ros- ter has the earmarks of a rebuilding campaign in 2018-19, or another NIT bid. Much will depend on how much the "staying old" theme transpires with the upperclassmen. The two returning starters are junior point guard T.J. Gibbs (15.3 points and 3.0 assists per game) and senior guard Rex Pflueger (8.0 points and 4.3 rebounds per game), who Brey said "will be very good, strong leaders for us." At this point, they don't quite have the résumé/star power that the past three previous duos of Jerian Grant/ Pat Connaughton in 2015, Deme- trius Jackson/Zach Auguste in 2016, Vasturia/V.J. Beachem in 2017 or Colson/Farrell in 2018, injuries not- withstanding for the latter. Durham is the X-factor, especially after two knee surgeries and recov- ering from a wrist injury this year. Senior Elijah Burns and juniors John Mooney and Niko Djogo must fend off the challenge of the newcomers. The 6-8 Burns' ailing knee has had two Platelet-Rich Plasma injections with the hope that offseason surgery won't be needed. The 6-9 Mooney has the makings of a quality stretch four (he con- verted 31 of 74 threes this past season for a 41.9-percent clip) — but how productive will he be over a potential 30 minutes instead of the 15.4 he av- eraged per contest this year? At 6-7 Djogo has some athletic skills to work with — but he cannot afford to shoot at a 28.4-percent rate (29 of 102) from the field as he did this year, including 24.1 percent from beyond the arc (14 of 58). Particularly crucial to Brey are the knee surgeries performed on Har- vey and Hubb, who missed all of his senior season at Gonzaga Prep in Washington D.C. Harvey will not be ready to play during the foreign tour, and there have even been whispers about him taking a medical redshirt next sea- son — but Brey said that is not in the plans right now and the projection is to have him available for the first day of practice in October. "Hubb could maybe play a little bit in August in the Bahamas," Brey said of the rookie point guard. "I think by the first day of practice he's going to be close to 100 percent." Either way, Notre Dame will be much more under the college basket- ball radar in 2018-19. If the past 18 years are any indication, that might not be the worst deal for the pro- gram. ✦ 2018-19 ACC Opponents Announced Notre Dame's 18-game Atlantic Coast Conference schedule — with dates to be released sometime in September — will feature Boston College, Georgia Tech, Virginia and Virginia Tech as the four home- and-away foes: Home: Boston College, Clemson, Duke, Georgia Tech, North Carolina State, Syracuse, Virginia, Vir- ginia Tech and Wake Forest. Road: Boston College, Florida State, Georgia Tech, Louisville, Miami, North Carolina, Pittsburgh, Vir- ginia and Virginia Tech. The non-conference portion of the schedule will have a particularly challenging back-to-back matchup: versus Purdue at the Crossroads Classic Dec. 15 in Indianapolis, followed by a Dec. 18 trip to UCLA (which will make a return visit during the 2019-20 campaign). In the earlier part of December, head coach Mike Brey's Fighting Irish will partake in the Jimmy V Clas- sic doubleheader held in Madison Square. Florida- West Virginia will square off in one game while Notre Dame-Oklahoma will be the other contest. Notre Dame also welcomes in DePaul after open- ing last season in the Blue Demons' new arena, and likewise will host the ACC/Big Ten Challenge against an opponent to be named later. — Lou Somogyi Brey and the Irish will play another challeng- ing non-conference schedule to go with the always competitive 18-game ACC slate. PHOTO BY COREY BODDEN

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of Blue and Gold Illustrated - May 2018