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Notre Dame Basketball

Mike Brey Notebook | Virginia Tech & Howard Thoughts

January 14, 2022

Notre Dame basketball coach Mike Brey spoke ahead of road games at Virginia Tech (Saturday) and Howard (Monday). 

On Virginia Tech games last year:
"I thought it was two games where they physically put it on us both times. I thought it was disappointing for our guys. They beat us up and kind of took our lunch money, quite frankly. 

"They have the remanence of that roster back. I know they're 0-4, but I think they're really gifted. Their two bigs are really good and they're dying for one. 

"For us, it's meeting the physical challenge and can we score on the road and get into a rhythm of scoring on the road?" 

On there was a lift from the six-game winning streak and atmosphere in the Purcell Pavilion:
”I think it really helps us. There's no question. I'm thrilled with how our student body showed up. I think it made all the difference in the world when our guys came out and saw that end zone pretty much full. It was almost like the Kentucky game. That's why we got off to a full start. 

"I'm going to do my darndest to recruit those kids back every home game.” 

On guard Trey Wertz:
"I thought he was really important the other night. He had the injury and the ankle was bothering him. I thought it's taken him a while to get back in shape. He missed Corpus Christi and I think it's taken him a while to get back in a rhythm, but we need him. 

"He's a great passer and feels the game. I think he's a really good shooter too. He's not had as many looks and he's gotten better physically defending and being better there. Playing harder and competing harder. 

"We need him. Those seven guys - we've had different guys finish and he could be a finisher as he was against Kentucky.”

On the upcoming schedule as they'll play a lot of games in a short amount of time: 
"I think we're pretty good. I think six (of seven-man rotation) of them are in good game shape. It's important for me to pace them and the day after the game, we do less physically and more of a recovery day with Tony Rolinski.

"This facility has the technology to help people recover better. That's one thing I love about this place. When you do practice like today, we won't be out there very long. We kind of know who we are and we'll go through the scouting report a little bit, get up and down and then we gotta. 

"It's coming fast and it's important for me to pace us in practice and the practice plan has to be smart about that." 

On his health:
"I'm feeling good. I have a little congestion. It's not COVID. I'm not positive. I have a little sinus thing. I think that bus ride from Indianapolis from 3-6am on Sunday morning probably punched me a little bit.

"I did use a lot of energy jumping on dining room tables and jumping up in the crowd. I gotta get my energy back, but I'm good. I'll be ready." 

On being in second place in the ACC:
"I'm proud of our group. We didn't get off to a very good start. We were searching and we were really searching in Boston. Since then, I think we've found a little bit better identity. I give a lot of credit to our leadership and how our leadership has embraced Blake and Paul - two new guys that are main guys for us. 

"Those older guys liked the two new additions because they can help us win. It's been neat to see Nate, Dane, Cormac, Trey and Prentiss say, yep, these guys are in the club. They can help us win." 

On if he feeds off the energy of the team or vice versa: 
"I hope it's a two-way street. It's interesting. The day after a game, you talk about recovery for your players, I'm sore and banged up. I love our group and I think they've got to feel my energy and juice, especially in this building. I think our fans and students reaction when I'm a little nutty and that's OK. I feel it the next day. 

"On the road, I pick my spots a little bit because you try to be poised in a road atmosphere. Here, I'm going to be a maniac every night." 

On Jim Boeheim and Syracuse petitioning for a fifth-year for Jimmy Beoheim and if that is something Paul Atkinson Jr. can do:
”We really haven't talked about it with him, but it's been out there. Some Ivy League parents I heard have moved the needle - rightfully so. I saw Jay Bilas' tweet and that's an easy one. That's as easy as what we did last year making all the transfers eligible. It's just the right thing to do. 

"If that happens, we certainly would have that discussion with Paul. There's no question about it. I don't think it's anywhere in his mind right now, but that would be a discussion.” 

On Howard game:
"Kenny Blakeney, I recruited him at Duke and he was on my staff at Delaware. We go way back. When he got the job at Howard, he asked me if we would do a home-and-home. That really would be cool and a neat thing for us to be on the campus of an HBCU. 

"A year ago, it was scheduled to be here and then everything happened in that summer. The state of the country and everything - Kenny and talked and I said, Kenny, how about we come play on your campus with everything that's going on. He asked if we would play on MLK Day. I said we will and I'll call the ACC to work it out. 

"The neat thing is a year ago before the election, the vibe was that we did it in conjunction when we all vote - the Michelle Obama initiative that drove voter registration. Our players and Howard players worked jointly and we went through training sessions on how to get people to register to vote. Our guys were really instrumental in that. 

"After the election, I said more people voted than ever before and you guys should feel like you had a hand in it. I also think for us, it's an honor to be on an HBCU campus, a prestigious university in Howard and to be in that setting. I think it's a great educational opportunity for our players. 

"I think it's an unbelievable message for our university to be there. I saw one of our themes was to walk the walk. I think we're walking the walk on Monday down there on FOX national." 

On if Father Jenkins will make the trip to Howard:
”I think Kamala harris could be there because she's a Howard grad. I wouldn't be surprised. He was all excited about coming, but we have travel restrictions on our personnel. He texted me yesterday, 'Great win.' He wanted to be there. He and the Howard President are very close. He will not make it.

“One of the initiatives that we have is our players will wear a shooting shirt with the number of a former African-American player in our history. I have Bob Whitmore's. I'm going to wear Bob's around. There's just some really good powerful stuff. 

"I'm worried about the game. I've been in Burr Gym. It's a little pit and they're going to be rocking. We gotta play well. The overall message of the thing - Gus Johnson is doing the game and he's a Howard grad. There's some really cool stuff for our kids and our university on a really special day." 

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Mike Brey Notebook | Virginia Tech & Howard Thoughts

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