Photo by Rick Kimball/ISD
Notre Dame Basketball

Harvey Confident Irish Are Turning The Corner

January 18, 2019
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DJ Harvey’s future was in doubt heading into the season and Notre Dame head coach Mike Brey was very cautious as practices began in October. 

The 6-foot-6, 225-pounder was coming off microfracture knee surgery and no one knew how much he could contribute this season. 

The sophomore guard has answered the call and probably even more than most thought he could. Harvey is averaging 11.7 points and 4.3 rebounds per game, but he knows there is still work to be done to put the injury in the rearview.

“Every day I still get treatment and rehab stuff,” explained Harvey. “I do preventative stuff, so it doesn’t happen again. I’m still not out of the forest yet with the injury. It’s still day-by-day.” 

The Bowie (Md.) native played in six ACC games last season before the injury, so while he has experience, Harvey is also still learning to navigate the conference schedule.

“We’re taking every game as a learning experience,” stated Harvey. “Even though we’re young, we’ve been right there with some of the best teams in the country. I feel like if we had the experience, Rex (Pflueger), or TJ (Gibbs) at full strength, we could have gotten over the hump.”

Following the loss at North Carolina on Tuesday, Brey and his team feel the Irish are close to turning the corner. 

“John (Mooney) said on the plane ‘We’re close,’” recalled Brey. “We are. We have to keep trying to help them and teach them to see if guys will step forward like a few did against Boston College.” 

Notre Dame and Harvey have also felt the love and support from their head coach. Brey has taken the burden of the up and down play and hasn’t put the blame on his team. 

“He’s been doing everything and instilling confidence in us,” said Harvey. “He’s always behind us 110%. He’s always confident in our abilities on the court. He’s always putting it on himself and taking the blame or responsibility for the tough losses. 

“We have to help him pick it up.”

Harvey can be one of those who can take his game to the next level as he can be more aggressive on the offensive end. But it also comes from gaining confidence in his knee and working on consistency in practice. 

“It comes with time,” said Harvey. “I feel like we’re in a great spot right now. We’re getting better each day and with every practice. We just don’t have a win to show for it yet.” 

Notre Dame will now enter a gauntlet of tough games to end January. The good news is the Irish will only play Georgia Tech on the road, but the bad news is NC State (17), Virginia (4) and Duke (1) all come to Purcell Pavilion.

“It’s helpful to be at home and having the home fanbase behind us every step of the way,” Harvey said of the opportunity to play big games at home. “I feel we play our best basketball at home. We definitely need that playing the top teams in the country.” 

The Irish will get a chance to pull to 2-3 in the ACC on Saturday at 2:00 p.m. as NC State comes to South Bend and Harvey is looking forward to playing a complete game. 

“They are a top 15 team in the country,” said Harvey. “With the loss to Wake Forest, it shows they are beatable. Anyone in this league beatable. If we play hard and outwork them on both ends of the court, I feel like we’ll come out with a win.” 

 
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