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Notre Dame Basketball

Mike Brey Notebook | 2.8

February 8, 2019
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Notre Dame head coach Mike Brey spoke on Friday afternoon as his team prepares for Sunday’s game against Georgia Tech at Purcell Pavilion. 

On Georgia Tech’s defense:
“They have shot blockers and they are committed to it. It’s similar to attacking Syracuse’s zone. You have to really work. We have to get some middle touches. We had different guys in the middle down there last time we played. 

“You have to be in the Syracuse mindset. You’re going to play against zone every possession and you have to pass fake to get it in the middle. TJ (Gibbs) has been very good against zone. Prentiss (Hubb) is still learning how to be a guard against zone.” 

On TJ Gibbs being different from last year:
“He’s really struggling. You try everything to help him. He’s in great shape and he has the weight off. He’s had a lot of different people thrown in there with him. Prentiss does help him. Rex (Pflueger) not being in there hurts him. Rex was his running mate and toughness guy.” 

On shot selection for Gibbs:
“He gets to the end of the clock sometimes and he has to go. For us, someone has to eventually make a play. That’s kind of where we are trying to evolve offensively. Saturday gave you hope and the first five minutes against Miami gave you hope, but after that, it was the pits. 

“He’s got to go try to make plays for us and get to the basket. That means he may take a bad one every now and then. Against zone, he’s had calmer feet and get his feet set. I love his passing against zone. He’s important to have on the floor because he’s so good at finding the holes of the zone.” 

On conversations with Gibbs:
“I visited with all the guys individually as we were flying back the other night. He said he has to make shots. When a guy ties himself up in knots like that, the last thing I’m going to talk about is his shooting or that type of thing. 

“You just try to take the pressure off of him and get him to enjoy the game. Each day is a clean slate. What helps him is when he pressures the ball defensively and he’s active, it gets him going a little better offensively. That’s something we have to look at for Sunday.” 

On individual conversations with the team:
“The basic theme was that I love them and I love coaching them. We’re on our heels. We won on Saturday and got off to a good start down there and then it didn’t happen. It’s a matter of letting them know we’re going back to work and let’s keep investing. Just keep coming in and practicing. They’re going to get in the game and get experience.” 

On drawing the line of nurturing and anger:
“It’s a fine line. I challenged them at halftime. We have really sharp guys. They are hard on themselves. I have to find ways to keep them moving and confident or repair confidence. It’s much more teaching. 

“There is going to be some pain and we’re feeling some pain. I’ve tried to remind myself to teach and I can light them up when I have to, but I have to keep teaching. We have receptive guys.” 

On the painful loss to Miami:
“When we lost Rex, it was a long ride back after a win. Wednesday was painful to watch especially after how we played on Saturday offensively and how we started the game. I’m not sure who we’re going to start on Sunday, but I like how the lineup has started games. We’ve got flowing and moving. Nik (Djogo) has given us really good stuff. 

“It came crashing down and give Miami credit. (Chris) Lykes’ ball pressure started to bother us and we turned it over more than usual. In the second half, we had some great looks to make a run and we didn’t make any of them. We missed stuff around the bucket and then it gets hard to get out of it.” 

On the importance of wins with a young team:
“To see our guys celebrate on Saturday was great. They haven’t had a lot to celebrate since ACC play started. It was a team win and a lot of guys contributed. It was great. It was short-lived. If you’re a younger group, it really helps some of the guys believe.” 

On the decision to start Nik Djogo:
“He competed against Duke. He played 20 minutes and I thought he was fighting and driving. He competed. He’s had an unbelievable attitude. As the year started, we were in a youth movement. Nik had his opportunities last year to take a spot and he couldn’t. 

“He delivered. I didn’t expect 21 points at Miami, but he did give us good energy by driving, cutting and rebounding. I think he’s important for us as we finish this thing. He gives us some energy.” 

On offensive struggles:
“We’ve struggled with as a staff how to help them offensively. Are we in more sets? Sunday will be different because we’re going to be playing against zone for 40 minutes. You have to be good with the ball. But against man-to-man, how do we help them? 

“The night before the Boston College game, I was talking to the staff and talked about putting in something completely different offensively. I’m thinking we might have found this thing. Feeding the post is good to us. To have Juwan (Durham) back as a post-release is good. John (Mooney) has been the only guy for a while. Juwan is good with the ball and can score for us a little bit. 

“Dane (Goodwin) and Nate (Laszewski) have to keep shooting it.” 

 
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