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Notre Dame Basketball

Mike Brey Notebook | January 11

January 11, 2022

Notre Dame basketball coach Mike Brey spoke before Tuesday's practice as the Irish prepare to host Clemson on Wednesday evening. 

On Paul Atkinson Jr. being back in the starting lineup: 
"We'll put Paul back in there like we started the second half. You try to send a message a little bit as you go through the season. You also felt guard-wise, you had a better defender out there. We'll start that way, but we certainly can downshift quickly." 

On managing three games in six days and travel: 
"We're just really being smart about recovery. Our seven guys are our seven guys. No one has really said I'm another guy you can put in there even though JR (Konieczny) and Matt Zona have gotten better in practice. If those seven guys are healthy, that's the nucleus that's found itself a little bit. I think we're going to ride that. 

"You hope for health and lack of foul trouble, which we did a little better job of the other night. Right now, you're not practicing very long. These are veteran guys. They've played a lot of basketball and you're trying to keep them fresh. 

"Again, we have this week and then we have that other week that just got thrown at us." 

On keeping minutes low despite seven-man rotation:
"What I've tried to do and that's why Coach Solomon has been good for a lot of reasons. He's helped me get (Prentiss) Hubb out of the game and tapped on my shoulder. Let's get him a rest. When he's right, which he has been the last five games, it's been hard for me to take him out of the game. 

"The main guys, especially those three seniors and Paul - and Blake is just a special athlete - they've all been able to play longer minutes. You've heard me say it before, you have to have nine or 10 guys. 

"If you look at rotations and minutes, it's seven guys maybe eight and the guys know they're playing and play right because they know they're going to get their minutes. 

"We used to have two of the top five in minutes played. I think Goodwin and Hubb were in the top five. I didn't know we only had one in the top 15. We just feel really comfortable. 

"(Trey) Wertz was hurt and working himself back. I was teasing Cormac (Ryan) after Pittsburgh that he came off the bench and played 35 minutes. Wertz could play 34 minutes off the bench. You have those seven rolling through there and then its' what you're doing with recovery, energy and this week is a challenge, but that other week is really a challenge. I haven't tried to grasp that yet." 

On success at home:
"We got an opportunity. We've played well here. We've been confident here no matter how gloomy it looked at times. We've figured out a way to get out. I think we're going to have a good student section, especially after my visit to the dining hall this afternoon. 

"I didn't fall off either dining hall table. The rectors were a little nervous when I stood up on the table and blew my whistle. A couple professors look at me like that guy is nuts. 

"We'll have good juice in here. Can we hold serve and can you get to 4-1 in this league?”

On dining hall visit:
”Our students were so great. My tone with the students was last time you were here, you got to storm the court. That was pretty cool. I need you. We need you. We missed you. I always try to stay in touch. Last year was tough because we couldn't get them in here. 

"I've always tried to recruit the students in my 22 years. We felt let's go make an appearance in the dining hall. I'm throwing tickets around. We need you. I had a hand full of tickets, even though they get in free, but I’m throwing tickets at people and the whole bit just to get them. 

“What do they have to do? I think they’re excited to be back in school with all the unknowns of COVID. They’re back and with their friends. C’mon out.” 

On Clemson
"A lot of respect for Clemson. Here's the weird thing. We haven't seen Clemson for two years. I think it was Feb. 9th, 2020 - that was the game down there. Rex (Pflueger) played great and we stole a road win down there. We haven't seen them. I was kidding with our staff, we've actually played Clemson twice in football and we haven't played them. 

"You look at them and he's had some change in personnel. You didn't really pay attention to them last year. You never even got to the scouting report because we didn't play them. 

"They're an offensive group. They're still solid defensively. He always hung his hat on D. They're shooting the ball and skilled. It's really like playing against ourselves a little bit - a gifted offensive team. 

"They've won on the road at NC State and Virginia. They're a hell of a challenge. I was very impressed with them. They kind of snuck up on me the last couple days because we didn't play them last year. You weren't paying attention to personnel. There's been a little more catch up from me with Clemson." 

On Dane Goodwin's leadership:
"Not a real vocal guy, but there's always been a toughness about him and a little edge about him. I think he's made amazing strides defensively. I don't think that is something a lot of young gifted offensive guys - was very important to him when he got here and it didn't have to be that much in high school.

"He was always kind of a high school four-man. Between the defensive stuff, he could always rebound. He's giving us a little more and you look at his assists the last few games he's become more of a guard now seeing the floor. He's always could score it and hunt it. 

"His teammates are great at finding him. I think the overall seeing the floor being a guard and the defensive chest and resistance on guys - he's played a lot of minutes and he's confident. 

"He communicates a little more on the court than I thought we'd get out of him. He's amazingly reliable physically. He can play 38 minutes and he's ready to practice two hours the next day." 

On Goodwin's work ethic to get to this level of play:
"He's really a grinder. He's a very focused guy. He's a coach's son. Probably always felt that his destiny was to be an all-league caliber guy. I think there's a confidence and a little cockyness and edge about him in how he carries himself. This should happen for me. He doesn't doubt himself." 

On Goodwin leading the team:
"I think he's really good in huddles. He's not going to be a real vocal guy like Prentiss, but in the heat of the battle, what he says and we've had a lot of heat of the battle timeouts. It's game situations. He's really calm and cool. 

"I'm really proud of him. He's become an all-league player and he believes it. He wants to win really bad. He's become more of a guard.

"We post him. We run every out-of-bounds thing for him and then we just read off of him. He's come off ball screens and made decisions with the ball that I've not seen before - seeing the floor. He had a little bit of tunnel vision on scoring, which is why he's a good scorer." 

On letting Blake Wesley play through mistakes:
"You got to let him go a little bit and live with some stuff. He's really gifted and sees everything. He's a gamer. I think one of the things I've challenged him a little more is being a consistent practice guy. 

"I got him out the other night after a turnover. He's played for me now. I took him out and said don't force stuff and then he played the rest of the game. 

"I've learned how to coach him and what he brings to the table. His teammates really understand he gets us good looks and he's not afraid to make big plays. He's got to have some freedom to go." 

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Mike Brey Notebook | January 11

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