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Notre Dame Basketball

Brey Credits Staff, Success For Standout 2018 Class

November 8, 2017
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Mike Brey didn’t need to have many discussions about “Plan B” recruits during the 2018 recruiting cycle, which seems obvious given the Notre Dame men’s basketball program’s success on the trail, which was highlighted with four signees on Wednesday, the first day of the early signing period.

“We’re thrilled about this group; great fits for how we play,” Brey said during a press conference today. “We certainly needed to fill some holes with what we’re graduating and to fill it with these four guys, I am thoroughly pleased.”

The Irish signed four four-star recruits in point guard Prentiss Hubb, power forward Nate Laszewski and swingmen Robby Carmody and Dane Goodwin. But while they hit on most of their primary targets, Brey said it wasn’t easy and gave credit to the rest of his staff – Rod Balanis, first-year assistants Ryan Humphrey and Ryan Ayers along with video coordinator Eric Atkins and Director of Operations Harold Swanagan.

“It was a lot of work,” said Brey. “I really take my hat off to the staff. Certainly, Ryan and Ryan have given us new energy, but Rod Balanis was fabulous handling prospects and helping Ryan and Ryan, kind of training them a little bit about how we do it.

“Then when you add Atkins and Swanagan on campus visits, those guys being able to interact with families.”

All of his assistants, except for Balanis who has been with him for years, played for Brey in South Bend.

“That’s a powerful five that can really connect with young people,” the head coach said.

Brey pointed to a variety of factors in signing what could be deemed his best class yet.

“Our success, our style of play, our offensive style of play is really out there,” he said. “It was always there, but it’s really gotten out there these last three years.

“Joining the ACC has been a very, very strong piece to the puzzle and a selling point.”

Brey also talked about the upcoming standalone practice facility that’s being built along with the increased track record of NBA players coming out of the program.

“I think it’s been a combination of a lot of things,” he said. “Certainly, an ACC Championship, playing in that title game twice, the Elite Eights, some NBA guys, playing in big games on national TV and delivering enough times on that stage, we’re thought of a little differently now and this class, I think, is an example of it.”

Brey was especially excited about landing Carmody and Goodwin, whose fathers are their high school coaches.

“I think that’s an endorsement of your program,” said Brey. “When you have two coaches, veteran guys, send you their sons. I’m flattered and I’m honored.”

Laszewski was the last member of the group to come onboard and actually wasn’t even offered until the other three had committed. Brey said the Irish wanted to offer him a year ago, but Laszewski was hurt. Even in April, he wasn’t back to 100 percent yet, but by the time Brey saw him in June and July, he was and the head coach told his staff they were offering.

“I’m glad we got the offer in before the last weekend because he was off the charts in Vegas and we were already in the game,” he said.

Laszewski signing on Wednesday

Brey said the staff at Northfield Mount Hermon reached out to them early in Laszewski’s career because they knew he’d be a fit academically and stylistically at Notre Dame. But by the end, the Irish had to beat North Carolina and Arizona for his signature.

“For us to beat them on a guy like Nate, I think, is a really feather in our cap,” he said.

Brey goes way back with Gonzaga College head coach Steve Turner, which allowed Notre Dame to get involved with Hubb early.

“He probably texted me about Prentiss the summer before he got there as a ninth-grader,” Brey recalled.

His first in-person look at Hubb came when the Irish were recruiting his teammate, 2017 point guard Chris Lykes, who ended up going to Miami.

“I couldn’t keep my eyes off Prentiss Hubb, who was a 10th-grader at the time,” Brey remembered. “Fortunately, we were able to start on him early.”

Hubb will be sidelined his senior season with an ACL injury, but had successful surgery performed by the Washington Wizards’ team doctor last week, according to Brey.

The Irish expect Hubb to be moving around next summer and to be able to play with a brace when the team heads to the Bahamas for its foreign tour in August.

“By October 1st, we feel he’ll be ready to roll,” said Brey.

That foreign tour will be a good test for all four freshmen next year, not just Hubb.

“All four of those guys I think could be factors for us,” Brey said. “We really have to get them really and evaluate them.”

Despite typically relying on veterans, Brey said he’s excited about the youth movement coming to South Bend next season.

“I’m looking at all of them contributing as freshmen,” he said.

The Irish still have two open scholarships for next year if they choose to use them. They’re still in the mix for Massachusetts forward Chris Doherty, who took an official visit this past weekend. They’ll also be minding the transfer wire the coming months while keeping an eye out to see whether some more 2018 prospects pop up.

“You kind of keep an open mind to see who gets thrown back into that pool of players,” Brey said.

Regardless, Brey and the staff are thrilled with the group they signed on Wednesday.

 

 
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