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Notre Dame Basketball

Mike Brey Notebook | Win Over Western Michigan

December 20, 2021

Notre Dame basketball coach Mike Brey spoke following the blowout win over Western Michigan on Monday night. 

On the win:
"I glanced at the stat sheet and see 19 assists. Still working on our identity. It's a step in the right direction trying to find our identity. I did think we defended their guards we were worried about and chased them off the arc most of the night. Made somebody else make plays." 

On sharing the ball:
"I thought we ran our stuff and stayed disciplined. Saturday - they're so good defensively, it was a little hard. 19 assists - moving that ball around and controlling the tempo. We picked our spots running on misses, which we have to get some easy buckets on misses. 

"We put Prentiss (Hubb) and brought Cormac (Ryan) off just to do something different. I thought Prentiss was the senior guard, the veteran guard all night. I think when he's out there with Blake (Wesley), especially to start a game, it helps Blake. Then we have Cormac and Trey (Wertz) coming off the bench and maybe we'll ride that for a while." 

On offense: 
"We moved the ball and didn't settle for the first easy jump shot and grind on offense and do it together. We've worked a lot offensively. I like where we are defensively. We're working, man. There's more of a consciousness. We're chasing and moving around. 

"Where we haven't been able to find enough - we played some really good teams. I think our schedule is 12th. Just move it and if it gets to single digits in the shot clock, don't panic. We're fine." 

On what he sees in practice:
"We got guys that can make shots. You've seen them throughout their careers. I'm confident in them taking good shots. It's not my first rodeo with a group that's maybe not shooting well. 

"I'm not saying anything to you. Guys have their own routine if they aren't shooting well. We don't go look at film and go, "Look at your stroke. Where's your elbow?' We don't over coach that. Shoot it when it's a good shot, or I'm going to take you out of the game. 

I think we're trending the right way of getting better shots out of our continuity. I think that can help us." 

On 10-0 run to start the game:
"It was great. We were ready to play. We were disappointed on Saturday down there. We didn't play great, but we came back and had a chance to take the lead a couple times against a good team in a tough atmosphere. 

"It's a great group of kids. They're coachable. I think we're still finding out identity and our staff is trying to figure out how to help them better every day. We're going to go back and watch this and how do we help them again tomorrow? 

"When we can get off to a good start, it helps." 

On the team feeling better with Prentiss Hubb on the floor:
"I think so. He's a senior, veteran guard who has played more minutes than I think anybody in the  ACC. He struggled early and was all over the place early. We made some changes. 

"We need him out there. The thing I noticed out there today, the refs talk to him because they know him. We've always had seniors who the refs know. Our seniors know how to communicate, which is all part of the game. 

"He's got a great presence. He's never afraid. My feeling was on the bus ride back, we're starting him and we're getting him back in there. 

"I said to him, 'Run the gym. It's your gym.' It helps Blake Wesley. Those two guys are joined at the hip. He has been Blake Wesley's mentor the whole time. He's never been jealous. He's like the man is good and we need him. 

"It should happen for the kid. He knows how we play and I feel we have it on the rails again." 

On Hubb playing himself out of the slump off the bench:
"When we did that - he and I have been through a lot together. It's kind of a hard one. I said, Look, man, I'm going to bring you off the bench.' He was great. 

"My feeling was to get him in there. I think we have two good guards on the floor right out of the gate with him and Wesley. They have a little pop together and they both can handle it. Who knows who the point guard is. We can just kind of play. 

"I like what Cormac gave us off the bench. We're starting this way. We're searching. He's still going to play and get his minutes. Maybe we found something." 

On the next step for Blake Wesley:
"I think he has been really good at keeping it simple and maybe because we changed and structured our offense a little bit more. It's helped him become a better basketball player and not force plays early. He's so good he can just go a lot of times and we still maybe do that every now and then with a set. 

"Given that we swing it a couple times, he's learned he doesn't have to go right way and it's going to come back. He's handled everything really well. I think it's because he has some older guys that help him. They know we need him." 

On Wesley playing patient:
"Very much so. It's a fine line with me. There's a great engine there. I don't want to put too much of a governor on the engine. You have to pick your spots. 

"Hubb helps him at the start of the game. Hubb helps him all the time when they're on the floor together. Maybe we're back to that after going around the block." 

On Paul Aktinson Jr.: 
"The guys are picking their spots. I thought Paul is adjusting to the tempo and it's a little different. You transfer from Yale, I throw you Kofi (Cockburn), the dude from Kentucky and Trace Jackson-Davis. He ain't at Dartmouth on a Friday night. Here they come. 

"He's been great, but he's adjusting." 

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