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Notre Dame Basketball

Coach | Cormac Ryan A Brilliant Fit For Notre Dame

June 29, 2019

Not long after Cormac Ryan put his name NCAA Transfer Portal, he called his former AAU coach, Mike Crotty of the Middlesex Magic.

Not long after that, Notre Dame was ringing Crotty.

“Two seconds later, Rod Balanis called me because he saw that he was in the portal,” Crotty says.

Notre Dame hosted the transfer prospect from Stanford on an official visit earlier this week and by Friday, Ryan was the newest member of the Irish basketball program.

It’s easy to understand why Balanis leapt into action when you ask Crotty how the 6-foot-5 guard will fit in with the Irish on the court.

“Ummm, brilliantly,” says Crotty.

A consensus Top 100 prospect coming out of high school, Ryan averaged 8.7 points, 3.5 rebounds, 1.9 assists and 1 steal in one year with the Cardinal.

“I got to coach him for about three years and he’s got all of the tools,” says Crotty. “He’s a really, really good athlete. He’s tremendously skilled with the ball. He’s a great shooter off the catch and off the bounce. He finishes above the rim. He likes to defend. He’s active and long. He can do it all on the court. He’s a really good player. I think his IQ is as high as anybody I’ve had the chance to coach.

“I think that that combination is what Mike (Brey) and the staff love to do. I think he’s going to be a great fit.”

Crotty also believes Ryan will fit in South Bend off the court.

“He’s really smart,” he says. “He’s a really kind person. He’s a great kid. He comes from a big family. He’s one of five kids. He’s a family-oriented kid. I think he sort of embodies all of the things you would hope a Notre Dame student-athlete would. I just hope he has as much success as the last guy I coached who went to Notre Dame.”

Crotty is referring, of course, to former Irish star and current Milwaukee Buck Pat Connaughton.

“Pat Connaughton is an extremely passionate guy, an amazing leader, a winner,” says Crotty. “Sometimes, when his fire was lit, you could see smoke coming out of him, but you did not always see him roaring and yelling.

“Cormac has a little more visible, vocal fire at times. I’ve seen a lot of guys play for the Irish over the years and when you channel it the right way, it’s been great for those players. I think he’s got a chance to step in and be a big-time player, so I’m pumped.”

Ryan seemed to be looking for a different program and a chance to win in his next stop.

“It wasn’t a huge, huge list,” Crotty says. “There were a bunch of people who had recruited him before who were very interested. Notre Dame was immediately right on that very short list.”

Ryan visited South Bend when he was in high school and left campus with an offer from the Irish, but it was a busy weekend and he did get a ton of personal time with the coaching staff. That changed with the official earlier this week.

“After visiting Notre Dame, he cancelled any subsequent visits he had,” says Crotty. “He just knew it really felt great for him, his mom and dad when he was out there. I was happy to get that call from him yesterday telling me he was feeling a little extra Irish. I know he’s really, really excited.

“I think everyone in the country knows how great a guy and how great a coach Mike Brey and the staff is there. I think Cormac and his family really got to know him a bit better on their two-day trip. He feels really comfortable and excited to play for him.”

Once he knew, Ryan wasn’t going to waste anybody else’s time.

“He’s mentally tough. He’s physically tough. I think it gives him a chance to not just be a good part of the program, but to be a big-time player and somebody who hopefully helps them get back to a Top-10 type of team that makes ACC and NCAA tournament runs.”

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