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Notre Dame Basketball

Mike Brey Notebook | Post-Alabama

March 18, 2022

Notre Dame basketball coach Mike Brey spoke following Friday's win over Alabama. 

On the win:
”Proud of this group. I thought our defense in the second half was definitely the difference. We defended, really the last 30 minutes we defended. We couldn't guard them early. And certainly, they're a different team when Quinerly goes down, and it looked bad and I feel for him because he's a heck of a guard. Thrilled about our resiliency and belief on wanting to survive and advance in this tournament.”

On the emergence of Cormac Ryan:
“I think Nate (Laszewski) got banged up at NC State. And we had him -- he's in the starting lineup. And I thought that grew him and got him more confident. And as he's been more confident -- he was voted a captain; he's always been a great leader -- but as he's been more confident, he's been even a better leader, to the point where he drags people with him, even his coach sometimes.

“His energy and wanting to go after it is really special right now. It comes at a great time. It's funny how that started since he's been starting. And I knew he'd be ready the way he was talking, the way he was talking to his teammates. He senses the moment for us. And he's been a great leader.”

On the injury to Jahvon Quinerly:
”That's a big loss for them, great guard. Having the two of them in there together is what really makes them go. So that really changed them. And their other guard, I'm drawing a blank on his name, it's a little too much. He's had to play the whole time and be the playmaker the whole time when they really have two playmakers, like we do. They got cut down to one playmaker. And he was exhausted.

“Having said that, our group it's survival of the fittest, and we kind of -- I thought we really went for it. And our defense -- we knew a little bit more what to do defensively when he was out because there was really only one guy really going.”

On the First Four game being an advantage:
”It's my first experience with it, and I would say it's a little bit like maybe not having the double bye in a league tournament. And I thought Virginia Tech was really ready to roll against us two weeks ago because they played well and you got a feel of things.

“So I think it is an advantage. And certainly it's played out in previous years. And we would love to be the example this year.”

On it feeling like 2015 and 2016 where Notre Dame is must-watch basketball:
“I think we play the right way. We share it. And we play with a free mind. And it's a group that has complete ownership of itself. I use Cormac as his leadership, but Dane, Prentiss, Nate, Paul now. When you can get a group to take ownership of itself, you're 80 percent of the way there.

“And these guys really had ownership by late January. And then they talk about what they want to do and they sell my stuff when I'm not around. That's the ultimate dynamic as the leader. It doesn't always happen. But with special teams they have complete ownership. Every team in this tournament had ownership of itself and leadership.

“As a coach, don't screw it up. Don't overcoach them. Cormac Ryan grabbed me in Brooklyn, we were walking into a press conference after Virginia Tech beat us, came up put his arm around me, he said, Coach, be all over our ass tomorrow in practice. I said, message taken. Thank you.

“And so leadership -- and they have ownership. It's a neat group that way.”

On PG Prentiss Hubb playing 79 minutes and having one turnover over the last two games:
“When he rotated into the role of just delivering and not worry about hunting it, we came back around and put him in the starting lineup against Western Michigan, and him and Blake starting out together, and he understood the weapons he has, that's when we really became the group. He just knew I got some weapons around me and I'll worry about my shot and my scoring later. And it's just been fabulous how he -- that's an amazing stat.

“And we really harp on taking care of the ball. I actually have a sign in the locker room: Don't skip class; don't throw the ball away; you and I will get along just fine. There's a picture of me. And really that's our team meeting. That's all I say in the team meeting. He has lived that -- taking care of that ball.”

On Cormac Ryan transferring to Notre Dame after turning the Irish down:
“I have a short memory. If the dude can help us win, man, my feelings aren't hurt. I'll date you again. And I'll pay for everything, baby. I know he's a good player.

“Now, in fairness, he shouldn't have come to us as a freshman. We were too crowded on the perimeter because Pflueger and Gibbs were still there. And the year he sat out they were seniors, and the timing was perfect, really.

“But you think back -- this is the portal stuff. So I'm somewhere -- one of my assistant texts "Cormac is in the portal." I still have his contact in my cell phone. I called him. He was shocked, almost, like, I just went into the portal ten minutes ago. I said, I know. Nothing's changed, man. Timing's perfect. When can you come visit?

“And I'm not going to talk to you about academics. It's about basketball now. You were at a good school. You're coming to a good school. You'll figure all that out. So I have a short memory, if he can help us. Even if you break up with me, I may still come back. (Chuckling).”

On Texas Tech:
“I've watched them during the year. You watch them a bunch. But I wanted to go out and just peek in and see them on eye level. Woohoo, do they have some bodies, baby.

“No different than what we dealt with in the Big East all those years -- Florida State, Rutgers, these guys. They'll come after us, be all over us. They're a great defensive team. I guess I have to watch some film, huh? Maybe a half. I'll watch a half (chuckling).”

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Mike Brey Notebook | Post-Alabama

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