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Notre Dame Basketball

Mike Brey Notebook | 10.1

October 1, 2022

Notre Dame basketball coach Mike Brey spoke before practice on Saturday morning. 

On forward Dom Campbell:
”Dom’s the only one not here today - a little bit of flu symptoms. He’s the only one not available. 

On guard Robby Carmody:
”You’ll see Carmody is moving and going through his shooting stuff. He’s playing a little one-on-one with Ryan Greer. Does he eventually get into some five-on-five? Maybe he does, but I don’t think there’s any crazy pressure. It’s just nice to have him back involved in some of the stuff.” 

On veteran presence on the team:
”You have some old guys. 12 scholarship players, six of them are in graduate schools. Six guys are getting master’s and five of the guys in the rotation are fifth-year guys. They certainly know how to play. I think it’s a group that learned how to win last year. It’s a pretty focused group. 

“Here we go with the day-to-day stuff. We’ll go today, Sunday, Monday and Tuesday will be our off day. We’ll try to get into a rhythm. A big thing is pacing them physically, especially those older guys. Those guys have played a lot of basketball. They’re always working on their game. They’re always in here at night. They did a lot through the summer, even when they weren’t with us. Their wheels are on my mind because we’re going to ask a lot of them as we really get into it in November.” 

On goals for 2022-23:
”They feel they can advance. You can sit there and talk about advancing in the NCAA Tournament, but when kids haven’t tasted it, I think that’s kind of a pipe dream. They really tasted what it was like to advance and the excitement of it. I hope they’re really vindictive to it. 

“To play deep in that thing - to stay alive - dream big dreams. When I got here a long time ago, we’ve only been to one Final Four. It’s always driven me and it’d be neat to get us back to that spot. I’m really driven to try to do that. You have a group that has tasted what this thing is all about, so it’s been exciting. 

“I take the big three out every couple weeks. It’s more me listening than talking because those guys have seen it all - (Cormac) Ryan, (Nate) Laszewski and (Dane) Goodwin. They’re going to set the tone and run things for us.” 

On the rotation:
”JR (Konieczny) now that he is healthy has been really good through September. I think the trip to Europe helped get him some confidence and got him out there. What is he battling there? Zona and Tony are just so solid and they’ve been in our program for so long. The other day we had 17 assists and only three turnovers. I’m looking at everyone being involved and of course I said we have too many players. It’s roster management. You can sit there and talk the 10th and 11th man until the cows come home, but the 10th and 11th man are the 10th and 11th man even if they’re playing well. 

“Those seven have really established themselves. How do we keep that nucleus healthy and who adds to that? Through October, everybody is playing. It’s when you sit on that bench at DePaul on October 23rd and they see the first substitution pattern and they go oh. That’s when my work begins - on the bus ride back on the 23rd is when my work begins on the management of everything. That’s all part of it. 

“This group can talk about playing deep in the tournament because they felt advancing in the tournament. It’s cool to be around. I’ve been around it a couple times. It’s been really neat to see it.” 

On get old, stay old philosophy:
”This is really a record. We have lived on the older thing. As a rule of thumb because of the COVID year and NIL, kids stay in college basketball. You almost better be old now. Old was a little bit of an advantage and maybe we were ahead of the game in my early years. We were built with four and five year guys. You could get a good rhythm of things, but now, you look at Carolina’s roster, Virginia and how people have recovered after losing good players. 

“For us, there is no question. I don’t think we’ve ever had this old of a rotation. I just think it’s a dagger to be young. This is really interesting with them in graduate school. We were trying to figure out when we could practice. Graduate school is so demanding. Do we have to go at 7 in the morning or 7 at night? Luckily we’ve been able to carve out 4-6 Monday-Thursday. Their courses and meetings - it’s all really cool stuff, but we’ve never had that many graduate guys.” 

On Cormac Ryan’s momentum coming off the NCAA Tournament:
”I think it’s given him a lot of confidence. The thing that’s neat about him, he has always guarded and he’s our best voice. He really wants to win. He wants to be responsible to win. Offensively, can we just slow him down a little bit. He was a little fast because he plays too hard on offense (laughs). He plays really hard on D and that’s OK, but sometimes don’t play too hard on offense. 

“I think he’s really kind of downshifted. His tempo is better. He’s making decision with the ball better. When he has a shot, just take it with that beautiful stroke he has. That voice as soon as we start will be consistent throughout. When we come to timeouts, he’s talking all the time. Sometimes I have to say get him some Gatorade. 

“He just wants it. He deserves it. He came off the bench for us and that was a bit of a sacrifice last year. Then he’s starting when Nate got hurt. He wants it bad. He’s hungry. He’s a guy physically that we have to keep an eye on him. We’re gonna ask a lot, especially of those three guys.” 

On his energy to coach:
”There’s no question we needed a good year and I needed a good year. We needed to be back in the tournament. That’s been encouraging. I think it started with our recruiting last year with JJ (Starling) and Ven (Allen Lubin). Both of them I thought started to bring our momentum back and carried it over into the season. 

“Blake and Prentiss and Paul were fabulous for us. We lost three really good players. I look at some of these clips, Prentiss Hubb had an unbelievable year for us making plays, finding people and leading and doing his thing. 

“We had two great mercenaries. We had two one-and-dones. Paul was a one-and-done. I think this group kind of finding themselves and then with what's coming back has energized. When I start a sentence, they can finish it. They move themselves through practice. You kind of manage them that way. That’s always been really fun for me with veteran groups.”

On what he learned about coaching Blake Wesley that can help JJ Starling:
“I did breakfast with Blake once a week. We would get together and I’m doing the same with JJ. Like Blake, JJ has really good teammates. The nucleus of guys that helped Blake and calmed him down when they needed to and really helped him is back. 

“JJ is really easy to play with. What I’ve been so impressed with is his passing. I knew he could pass. I didn’t think he could pass as well as he’s passing and seeing the floor. He certainly can score. We have another guy - he’s not going to be a four year guy and he might not be a two year guy. That’s OK. I’m looking at if you get him to the territory that Blake Wesley got to, I think my work is done.

“He’s got an old nucleus that knows they need him. I’ve been through it, but they’ve been through it too. Laszewski, Goodwin, Ryan, (Trey) Wertz - OK, we have another guy like that. We need him and let’s nurture him now.” 

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