Blue and Gold Illustrated

June July 2018

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

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Page 52 of 63 JUNE/JULY 2018 53 MEN'S BASKETBALL to their senior year (or junior and sophomore campaigns) with the op- tion of returning to school if they do not get selected. SHARING THE RECRUITING POOL About five or six years into his Notre Dame tenure, Brey (now em- barking on his 19th season) came to accept that the school likely will not attract the upper-tier talents — top- 10 to top-25 prospects — that a Duke, Kentucky or North Carolina will. Not that the Irish didn't or wouldn't try, but the culture at the school and in the basketball program centered more on development over four or even five years where a high basketball IQ and teamwork will have a chance against superior NBA-level talent. Thus, Brey's target market has been more the top-50 to top-150 players. His most recent All-American, senior forward Bonzie Colson, was ranked as the No. 145 overall prospect nation- ally by Rivals. The two full-time NBA players from Notre Dame this year, Jerian Grant and Pat Connaughton, were Nos. 105 and 128, respectively. The highest ranking for an incom- ing freshman over the past 15 years was local product Demetrius Jackson (No. 38), who turned pro after his junior year in 2016. Current freshman D.J. Harvey was No. 51. 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. Lasze- wski is rated the highest at No. 53 in the nation. The incoming Blue Devils class features the Rivals' No. 1, No. 3 and No. 5 players in the country in R.J. Barrett, Cameron Reddish and Zion Williamson — plus the No. 12 pros- pect, 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 graduating seniors Colson, Matt Farrell and Mar- tin Geben did over four years. The absence of the one-and-done player from college doesn't mean it will be easier to recruit at Notre Dame. In fact, it could be more challenging. "Those people that recruit 'one- and-dones' are now going to recruit the same pool we recruit, so maybe it will be more competitive in our re- cruiting," Brey said. "If the one-and- done rule was in [this past year], a couple of those institutions wouldn't have much of a recruiting class. "Those guys would be gone [to the NBA}, and we'd probably be bang- ing heads with them. It makes me think about our recruiting when that changes." ✦ Commission On College Basketball Notebook After seven months of discussion, review and research, the Commission on College Basketball released on April 25 its recommendations to re- form the sport and address several issues that are believed to have corrupted the sport, resulting in an FBI probe. They included the elimination of the "one-and- done" rule by 2020, allowing student-athletes to test their draft prospects to return to school if a professional contract is not signed, establish "in- dependent investigations and adjudicative arms" to take on NCAA rules violations cases, having the NCAA, with support from USA Basketball and NBA, run its own recruiting events and make "non-scho- lastic basketball and its finances transparent." The wait now begins to see which of the recom- mendations wind up becoming part of the NCAA's legislation. Notre Dame president Rev. John I. Jen- kins, C.S.C., who was on the commission, under- standably spoke cautiously about the reform plans. "It's a steep hill to climb," Jenkins said. "Let's not declare victory. We have a lot of responsibil- ity. I think we are better off today than we were yesterday. It will require commitment. I wouldn't place odds on it. "As someone once said, you never waste a good crisis. This is a crisis, and I think we can use this to make college basketball better." STRICTER PENALTIES Former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice — who chaired the commission — mentioned that Level I violations could be punishable by a five-year postseason ban and the loss of postseason rev- enue. The possibility for a lifetime ban for coaches who commit serious violations and are repeaters was also suggested. "Bring it," Notre Dame head coach Mike Brey stated of the bans. "… If we're going to do it right, we have to be really aggressive with it." Brey hopes stricter punishments will reduce such nefarious activity. "I don't want to sit here and be holier than thou," Brey said. "We've been very confident in how we've run it. I think a lot of colleges run it like ours and do it the right way. There have been a few that have pushed it. "When you see them sometimes advancing in the NCAA Tournament, that's a little bit hard to swal- low. I think it will level out a little bit. I think coaches as a whole are going to be very pleased with harder and harsher penalties." PAY FOR PLAY Players earning gains from their name, image and likeness is a topic that has been broached, but it is one where Jenkins believes the line of amateurism would be crossed. "Once we go down that road we become a second- or third-tier professional league," Jenkins said. "I don't see an end to that, and I don't want Mike and the university bidding a player and trying to outbid Duke, Michigan or whoever for a player." Brey sees that route as one that would only make matters worse. "That cuts against everything we're about, especially at Notre Dame," Brey said. "You ask any of our current guys, 'Yeah, that'd be great. Let's get paid.' But what are you worth? What are you worth if you aren't an NBA prospect? What am I supposed to pay you? The commission didn't even touch that." — Lou Somogyi Notre Dame president Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C. — who was part of the Commission on College Basketball — said of the state of the game: "This is a crisis, and I think we can use this to make college basketball better." PHOTO BY JOE RAYMOND

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