Notre Dame Basketball

INTEL: Irish Steal Tough Guy In Doherty

November 14, 2017

Ask anyone around the Notre Dame men’s basketball program about its 2018 recruiting class and it won’t be long before the word “tough” is uttered.

And that was before the Irish added 2018 Massachusetts forward Chris Doherty, who may be the toughest of the bunch.

“If there’s a bar fight, he’s winning it, all day,” said T.J. Gassnola, who is program director for Doherty’s New England Playaz AAU squad.

In fact, the only questions we’ve heard regarding Doherty’s toughness have been about which NFL star he should be compared to.

Doherty announced his commitment to Notre Dame on Monday night, two days before college basketball’s early signing period comes to a close.

Gassnola said Doherty more than held his own against Oak Hill center David McCormack (Kansas signee) and Georgia power forward E.J. Montgomery, two of the top big men in the entire 2018 class.

“Takes them out of the game, beats them up,” he said.

Doherty will excel on the defensive end, according to Gassnola.

“First of all, he can guard three positions,” he said. “The way he competes is a skill. He competes at a level that most guys don’t compete at.

“If Chris played football as a defensive end, he’d be Jared Allen. He just doesn’t stop. He’s not scared of anybody. He is relentless in his pursuit to win. I can’t say enough about him. He’s one of my favorite kids of all time.”

A separate source disagreed, but not really.

“I am telling you he is Gronk,” that source said. “I watched him in an open gym working out and he’s 6-8, 238 pounds and a total stud.

“He’s built like Gronk and has a tremendous upside,”

Doherty and fellow Irish commit Nate Laszewski have been with the Playaz for a long time and Gassnola and Playaz head coach John Carroll always knew big things were in store for both.

“Chris has been with us since he was a freshman in high school,” said Gassnola. “He’s an animal. He’s Troy Murphy. He doesn’t have the jumpshot Troy Murphy did, but this guy will kill you.”

Gassnola is convinced Doherty is just scratching the surface and his future remains bright on the next level and – possibly – the level after that.

“This dude is going to lead the ACC in rebounding,” he said.

“They got a big-time dude. That kid is going to have a chance to play in the NBA. I’m telling you right now.”

The second source said Notre Dame got a steal based on his “toughness, will to win” and “competitive spirit” while saying he has a similar edge to some past Irish bigs.

“He is so under-ranked it’s a joke.”

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