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Notre Dame Basketball

Mike Brey Notebook | Rolfs Athletics Hall, Transfer Portal & Injury Updates

May 18, 2019

Notre Dame basketball coach Mike Brey was thrilled to show off the new Rolfs Athletics Hall this week, but he might have been more fired up to answer some questions about his program. 

On losing a recruit because of a lack of top-notch facilities: 
“There is no question. When people have walked through practice facilities at other places, I do think we have lost some momentum in some areas. We’ve run into that. 

“Our mission is our mission and we have to find the right guys. What we run into more is the housing situation. Many of these guys are in condos or in special housing. Of course, the regular student body will be on campus for three years now and our guys have to do that.” 

On players living in dorms:
“I’ll use Chris Thomas as an example. It was after his junior year and he was ready to go and he was a St. Ed’s guy. He couldn’t leave his boys. Scott Martin and Ben Hansbrough were roommates in Dillon Hall, two transfers. I thought it could be interesting because they were off campus at Purdue and Mississippi State. 

“They were like ‘This is awesome.’ You can’t explain that on the front end to the guys until they live it.” 

On the efficiency of the new facility:
“It’s a one-stop shop. Four years ago, I was kind of at wit's end. We’ve lifted the last seven or eight summer in Compton because the equipment to use is more thorough. I’m driving in seven or eight years ago off Edison and here go our guys. Two of them are riding on the side of someone’s truck and standing in the back. Someone is going to flip out of a truck commuting to weight training. 

“I said that’s it. We’re lifting in the North Dome and we’re not walking across the parking lot. Tony Rolinski came to me three days later because we needed to equipment and we moved back. 

“When I needed to find a guy, I used to drive to Compton. Now, you lift, train, rehab and have nutrition all here.” 

On favorite part of Rolfs Athletics Hall:
“I love our conference rooms. It overlooks the court and has all the high tech stuff, which I’m still trying to figure out how to use. Thank God I have millennials on the staff to help. It’s really cool.”

Irish Sports Daily
Conference room at Rolfs Athletics Hall

On the barber chair:
“I haven’t sat in the barber chair yet. I’m not letting any of these dudes cut my hair. We have a guy who comes in and does it. It’s got all the bells and whistles.” 

On still getting time in Purcell Pavilion: 
“During the season, whoever was playing had the Joyce Center no matter what the day before. I like getting on there more often even though you don’t have extra baskets. To play on there and go live – we still have to do that. We probably have to do it even more because we weren’t very good at home. 

“This building has been good to us and it has to be good for us again. Strategically, once the floor is up, we’ll get out of here and get some reps up.

“The day before a game will be a given. If the women are playing on Wednesday and we’re playing on Thursday, they will have it on Tuesday. If they are playing, we get in there early and get off the floor before the game.” 

On message to the team as the summer starts:
“This is a hard and long road back in this league. I have no magic bullet. It’s work and a process we knew we would probably be in. It was more of a process than we anticipated. 

“The big message is about less running and conditioning and more weight room. (Juwan) Durham left last week at 230. (Nate) Laszewski left at 222. Tony has done a good job hitting the base. 

“One of the things Tony and I talked about on the way back from Charlotte was grinding them up. It will be less conditioning. We’re able to do basketball stuff with them and we’ll get into that four hours a week. There has never been a summer where strength training has been maybe the most important thing because of the young bodies we’re developing.” 

On potentially landing more grad transfers:
“We have three scholarships open. I came from the league meetings and we’re a little spoiled up here. We had DJ (Harvey) leave, but there are guys who have people in the transfer portal, guys in the draft and four or five scholarships to fill. We’ve had good continuity. 

“With three spots open, we check the portal every day. Grad transfers, undergraduate transfer and kids getting out of their letter of intent. There is so much going on in college basketball with guys not promised to places. This could go on all summer. Maybe we add a guy after summer school? How does the FBI stuff play out?” 

On message to Ryan Humphrey:
“He’s a good Christian man. He told me every morning he gets up, reads the Bible and checks the portal. I said, ‘Let’s switch that up. Go to the portal and then read the Bible.’” 

On graduate transfers:
“I’m not sure how I feel about graduate transfers. The undergraduate stuff, I love with the year sitting out. The graduate transfer thing has changed the game. Teams haven’t had to rotate back into inexperience and they’ve been able to stay old. It’s an interesting dynamic.”

On undergraduate waivers:
“There have been more waivers granted than ever before. Kids are confident the NCAA has given them a blueprint more than a sick relative. ‘If Coach yelled at you a little bit, you have a case. Did he yell at you about not playing defense? Did he shake his finger in your face? It might be grounds to get a waiver.’”

On fixing the transfer situation:
“I was at our coaches association meetings last week and the transfer people are almost at wit's end. They are almost like ‘Please give us some ideas on this thing.’ The horse is out of the barn. We had two extremes presented.

“One was to have a one-time transfer exception. You can just go, but you can’t go after your freshman year unless you have a high GPA threshold to get a scholarship. That’s interesting. Everything said there would 1500 kids in the portal, but maybe not. We almost have 
It now with the waivers. 

“The other argument is everybody sits out. Women’s softball, tennis, basketball sits out. They both hold some water.

“We had an AD in Jacksonville present the idea of Men’s basketball going to 11 scholarships. Women’s at 13. We’ve never had 13 scholarships, so now you don’t have as much to throw at a transfer. There is a broad spectrum in trying to deal with the dilemma of transfers.” 

On kids maximizing the portal:
“How good is (Kerry) Blackshear Jr. (Virginia Tech)? He’s in the portal and the NBA Draft. That is a guy who is keeping his options open.”

On DJ Harvey:
“I think he wants to sit out. I think it would be a good thing for him. He and I talked. He could use a year of just physically getting all the weight back and working on his game. I told him if he wants to play right away, we would support that if he asked for the waiver. 

“One of the ways kids are getting the waiver are if someone’s role completely changes and their minutes are going to change. I presented that to him and his role might not be the same because of how we played without him at the end and we might look at that.” 

On Rex Pflueger:
“His rehab is going great. I’m thrilled because we weren’t sure if his mom was going to make it to graduation on Sunday. He is way ahead of schedule. We have to be careful because he’ll try to do too much. We have missed him. 

“He’ll be able to do some shooting drills this summer. October 15th or November 1st, I think he’ll be feeling pretty good.”

On Robby Carmody:
“He was back shooting. When he comes back for summer school, he’ll be full speed.” 

On Nik Djogo:
“He’ll be probably more like September.”

On John Beilein leaving college basketball:
“We’ll miss him. He was one of the ultimate educators and good guys. I respect the fact he wanted to take a swing at the next challenge. He’s done everything at every level in college basketball. 

“He was a great role model for some of the younger guys in our profession when it comes to doing things the right way and handling his kids. I wish him well and I wouldn’t be surprised if he gets it going real quick like he’s done everywhere else he’s been.” 

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