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Notre Dame Basketball

Mike Brey Notebook | Post-Clemson

January 12, 2022
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Notre Dame basketball coach Mike Brey spoke following Wednesday's win over Clemson.

On sophomore forward Elijah Taylor missing the rest of the season:
"He's got some work to do academically. We love him. We support him. He'll be back. Actually, I'm going to have Laphonso Ellis spend some time with him. I think you remember when Phons was inducted into the Ring of Honor, he spoke of bouncing back from an academic misstep. 

"He can practice with us, but he cannot play. He's going to be part of the team. We're educators. We'll work with him, grow him up and get him going." 


On the win:
"To hold them to 56 was a good defensive night for us. I was really worried about them making threes. They're 3rd in the country in three-point percentage. Holding them to 6-for-32 was a key because they really need that three-point line. We did a good job in our zone in the first half playing it wide and taking away shooters. 

"I thought we were methodical offensively. It's a heck of a night for us to get to 4-1 in this league." 


On the concern that Clemson was going to get hot despite being up 17 points:
"They can get going from out there. It's one of the reasons we never went back to zone. I thought they'd get their feet a little settled. It helped us in the first half because, in zone, you shoot it in a different rhythm. 

"They're so good with their man-to-man stuff. They kind of snuck up on me because we didn't see them last year. All of a sudden, they're more of an offensive group than a defensive group. Brad (Brownell) has always been a defensive guy.

"How they're stretching it and their skill guys - I'm really impressed with them. I felt we had to chase them off the arc, which we've done. We didn't want to go back zone. We wanted bodies on bodies even though they threw a couple in at the end." 


On Dane Goodwin battling foul trouble:
"You can overcoach that foul thing. I felt a senior should be able to play with some. We kind of yo-yo'd it a little bit. I'm confident in our older guys playing with fouls now. I really liked what our bench gave us. Cormac (Ryan) again. (Trey) Wertz gave us a little more lift. He's really good and we need him to play with confidence like that. 

"We worked around Dane and sometimes I'm like the assistants say, 'That's four,' and I'm like, 'Yeah, you need five. He's staying out there and he's going to make two more threes." 


On struggling shooting threes early in the season:
"I was a firm believer in the law of averages. A couple of the games in Vegas, especially the Texas A&M game where they're coming back on us and we had all those clean looks. I'm going, we can say all we want about turning the ball over, but we have to make a couple of those and I think we can.

"Practice stats say we're a pretty good shooting team. Lately, when we get to double-digit threes and the other team doesn't, what are we...8-0? We keep them off the line. That's kind of been good for us." 


On team needing a win streak to get confidence up:
"It's very mental. There's no question about it for a group to have an edge. First of all, our crowd was fabulous. Don't worry, I'm going to jump from table to table in the dining hall before every home game moving forward. Our student section - as soon as I came out and saw that, it just gives our guys energy and the building was alive. 

"IT was neat to see us start off with a punch. We hadn't really done that and started off out of the gate. I think our crowd helps us when we have that energy, especially our students. Our kids feel like let's roll.

"They're confident. It's my job to keep them that way." 


On going to the dining hall to rally the students:
"I communicated with them all through Christmas. I have an email chain to our student section because my whole take was last time you were here on Dec. 11th, you got to storm the court. I think it's pretty cool if you come to games. I need you at Clemson. I'm hitting them. Welcome back. 

"Alan (SID) said you need to go to the dining hall to let them see you. I've always felt connected. I go to the dorms, not since the pandemic, but I've been connected to our student section. 

"I almost crowd surfed. I was close to diving up there and I probably will. I wonder how long it'd take me to be surfed from the baseline to the top. We're going to try that before the year is out on a good win. 

"It was an awesome atmosphere as the Kentucky game was. My feeling was this was kind of fun over here. We have six home games left. Come on out. Let's have fun. It helps our kids." 


On zone defense:
"I give a lot of credit to Coach (Antoni) Wyche. He taught our zone differently. Slo handled our man-to-man stuff and no middle and that's been fabulous too. 

"Ton gave us some different looks where our forwards are up real high and our guards are more protecting the middle. That's helped us. I think overall because it's a group that has played together a lot, whatever they play, they're more connected defensviely because they know each other pretty good. Blake's (Wesley) come a long way defensviely. 

"I think the second possession we got in it and we just rode it. The second half, my feeling was because I was so worried about them knocking down threes to close the gap, I was thinking let's just keep bodies on people.

"We gave up some twos and jump hooks, but those count as two. You used to be in the mindset of don't play zone because they'll make threes, but we can play ours wide. Against Pittsburgh, we played it tighter because they weren't a threat. This group can adjust to the scouting report." 


On message to Blake Wesley after a slow first half:
"I give him a lot of credit. I just grabbed him before the half started and said, 'Look, let it come to you and you don't have to force anything.'

"I thought his drives got us going. I have a lot of respect - a young player like that a lot of times when they start like that and can't make a shot, they can't fight their way back. He always has - every game. Every game he works himself back. 

"He has great older teammates, especially that dude No. 3 (Prentiss Hubb). He's a unique talent and a very confident young man." 


On Nate Laszewski:
"He is so unselfish defensively - talking, rotating, helping. Then his post defense tonight and rebounding - he just does everything on that end of the floor. He doesn't try to force anything offensively. I think he turned down a couple. 

"He's become a better passer with what we're doing with our motion. He's catching it and touching in that slot up top and starting to get crafty. You can always count on him, no matter what's going on the offensive end, but he's going to guard, talk, rebound, take a charge. He gives himself up physically. Some of his post defense this year - how about how he played Kofi (Cockburn)? He just works his back side off. He wants to win.

"Maybe he'll get 20 in Blacksburg."  


On making a run at the NCAA Tournament:
"It's all in front of us. There's no question about it. We handled our business here the last two weeks to dream about that and keep working for it. Dane Goodwin is a Player of the Year candidate, in my opinion. I don't know if he's talked about like that, but what's he's doing has been that way from day one. 

"They dream about that and they know what they're trying to chase. To be 4-1 in the league - the standings are going to look a lot different tonight." 

 
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