Photo by Rick Kimball/ISD
Notre Dame Basketball

Recap: ISD Power Hour With Mike Brey

June 27, 2017

Written by Alec Swain

This week on Power Hour, Irish Sports Daily’s Mike Frank was joined by a very special guest Mike Brey. The current Notre Dame head basketball coach is going on his 18th season at the helm for the Irish and is looking to continue the recent success of the basketball program. 

The last three years have brought a ton of new energy and enthusiasm into the Notre Dame Basketball program. According to Brey, joining the Atlantic Coast Conference, staying old and recruiting the right guys have been key reasons in maintaining the success year in and year out.

Historically, Notre Dame has not been a powerhouse in recruiting when it comes to basketball. Especially, with the amount of “one-and-done” recruits in the basketball world, which makes building and maintaining a level of success challenging. But Brey has found that his way to combat this challenge is by “getting old and staying old” and that success is starting to pay dividends on the recruiting trail. 

In Brey’s system, he has had many players break out in their later years throughout his Notre Dame career. His philosophy requires a great deal of maturity and patience for younger players, but it has proven to be effective. If you look at Jerian Grant, VJ Beachem, Zach Auguste, Matt Farrell, Tim Abromaitis, etc. they have bought into the program and were rewarded when it was their turn.

This upcoming season, Brey will rely heavily on Rex Pflueger and TJ Gibbs. Pflueger is one of the best defensive players in college basketball. On the other hand, a more experienced Gibbs has devoted himself to reshaping his body to prepare for his extended role this season, according to Brey. 

After losing Beachem and Steve Vasturia, the Irish will be led by Farrell and Bonzie Colson during the 2017-18 season. Both are veterans who have improved each year, which is key in the Irish program.

“With Bonzie sometimes I do not know what position he is,” stated Brey. “Just let him be a basketball player and let him make plays.” 

Notre Dame recently added transfer power forward Juwan Durham from UConn. Brey plans to add a little weight to the new big man and believes sitting out this year per NCAA transfer rules will allow him to progress significantly.

With an ACC Championship and back-to-back Elite 8 appearances, Brey has acknowledged expectations have changed within the program. 

“We really like how we have built this program with four and five-year guys, and in Scott Martin’s case maybe six years,” Brey jokingly remarked.

Notre Dame will be open to anyone. The Irish may chase a couple one-and-done guys here and there, but Notre Dame basketball has developed a definitive identity. 

Brey’s practice of bringing former players back to the programs as members of his staff has contributed to a consistent identity. Currently, Ryan Ayers, Ryan Humphrey, Eric Atkins and Harold Swanigan are working for their former coach. However, Brey has a list of even more past players that could eventually end up on his staff.

Notre Dame’s 2018 recruiting class is pretty strong so far with guards Prentiss Hubb and Robby Carmody having committed, although Brey could not mention either by name. Brey still wants a bigger guy that can stretch and shoot it. The coach is aware many Irish fans want big men, but Brey knows exactly what he is looking for. Notre Dame may never have a seven-footer under Brey, but the Irish will definitely have big men with ball control.

Notre Dame Basketball is finally getting some attention as their facilities are getting a well-deserved makeover which will aid in recruiting and being on par with the rest of the ACC. 

Brey has a personality that is easy to relate to. He is down to earth and determined to simply be the best teacher to his players. He is with them the most in their four years and wants to be the best teacher his players have while in South Bend. It is clear Notre Dame is well-represented and the program is in good hands under the direction of Mike Brey.

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Recap: ISD Power Hour With Mike Brey

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