Photo by Rick Kimball/ISD
Notre Dame Basketball

Mike Brey Notebook | 12.6

December 6, 2018

Notre Dame head coach Mike Brey spoke before Thursday’s practice as his team prepares to head to the West Coast to play UCLA on Saturday night. 

On takeaways from the loss to Oklahoma:
“We’re disappointed we couldn’t get over the hump. I was happy with how our young guys played in that atmosphere the first time away from our building. We had different guys playing confidently, and they weren’t afraid. They were playing against an older group. I’m hoping it can help us against another really talented group. 

“Oklahoma was old. UCLA is a little young, but they are gifted.” 

On the importance of getting UCLA back on the schedule:
“It ’s great. We talked about it in the recruiting process and getting Rex (Pflueger) home for a game. To have them coming back for a home game next year is really powerful. 

“We want to rotate to back to UCLA every couple years. You’re not going to do it every year, but the plan would be to come back to them. When you offer to start there, a lot of people want to do a series.” 

On forward Juwan Durham:
“I’m really excited about him and the last two games. You feel like a light bulb is going on. There he is in the Garden getting comfortable. We’re learning about our group and our offensive philosophy as we go. He’s productive in there so let’s throw it in. 

“We have something developing there. Nobody deserves it more because the poor guy didn’t have the best of luck physically, but we got him out here and stronger. His frame of mind is good and playing well right now.” 

On seeing the development of Durham in real time:
“There are flashes in practice. He’s been very productive in practice. Through 45 practices, he’s shot about 58% from the floor. The commitment about a month ago, especially after the DNP, he’s more serious and coming in to get some reps with Coach Humphrey in the morning and watching some film. 

“He took his level up, and it’s paid off.” 

On Durham wanting the ball on offense:
“It’s exciting. We don’t even know what we have. We’re still watching him blossom. We want to keep growing it and my goal today is to tell him how good he’s playing to be confident in practice.” 

On John Mooney’s development:
“He’s in a new role. We were throwing it into the low post in the second half. We can do that. We weren’t sure we could do that offensively. These guys are developing and doing things around the bucket. They are good with passing it out if they get jammed up. 

“John is a really confident guy right now. I saw he leads the ACC in double-doubles. He’s been pretty effective.” 

On building non-conference resumè:
“Starting with DePaul, the five games are important and opportunities for us. I’m thrilled we got the first two here, and the next three get a little harder. They are opportunities for us. We are a work in progress and a part of the process kind of group. 

“We’re finding out stuff game to game about our team. It’s kind of new territory for me.” 

On challenges UCLA brings:
“They have young pros and some one-and-done guys. Oklahoma was old and veteran. This is young and gifted. They are very gifted offensively. The guard, (Jaylen) Hands is playing amazingly. He makes them go. They have the big kid in the middle, and they have athletic ability. 

“The one thing about this program is they always have good players.”

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