Notre Dame Basketball

Mike Brey Notebook | Summer

July 10, 2019

Notre Dame basketball coach Mike Brey spoke following Tuesday’s practice to provide an update on the summer. 

On the team: 
“I think we’re a little older. I don’t know how much better I’ll be able to evaluate until we start playing other people. It starts difficult at North Carolina, but I will say our rising sophomore class all talk more and are more comfortable. That’s a big step forward right there.” 

On sophomores having experience:
“They have to grow. Even the first workout we had two weeks ago, all five of them are saying more. That’s why I am continually coming back to them on defense and them having to talk. If I would have done that a year ago or in February, I couldn’t have got them to say anything.” 

On enthusiasm during Tuesday’s practice:
“The kids want to work. We have a great group of guys who have a little chip on their shoulder. We’re all disappointed in last season and we’re trying to regain some momentum. We don’t have Rex (Pflueger) here during the day because he’s so busy with the Master’s program and a couple other guys are a little banged up. 

“It’s good competition. I’m excited about next week because some of our pro guys will be back. They’ll be here for the week, so the pickup games will be awesome.” 

On pro guys returning:
“This facility is now a magnet to get them back. I couldn’t get them back. It wasn’t because they didn’t like the place, but they didn’t want to get hit in the head with a baton while trying to get to the gym. We have an alumni locker room and they will be here for the week. I think it’s going to be an annual thing.

“Connaughton is the ring leader for this and there will be about 10 of them back. It’s great for our guys to be around them and let them teach, coach and eat with them. We can do it annually because of this facility.” 

On Dane Goodwin and Juwan Durham playing overseas this summer:
“It was good for them. They all got to play a lot. Durham helped win the last game with a lot of blocks. Dane was banged up with an ankle, but he still went. We’re going to send John (Mooney) to Providence. Ed Cooley and the Big East All-Stars will be our Pan American team. They are bringing in some guys to practice against them and John will go up there at the end of July.” 

On Robby Carmody:
“He gives us some toughness. I think there was one charge and one guy dove on the floor and it was Carmody. I’m excited to have him back.” 

On Prentiss Hubb:
“I think he’s going to be a solid shooter. I don’t think he’s ever going to be a knockdown guy. He’s a better shooter than last year. It’s just a matter of getting a better feel for it, being more confident and being more of a veteran. 

“He played a lot of basketball against great guards and he’s better for it.”

On John Mooney being underrated:
“We’ll go into Media Day in October and I’m sure he’ll be a first-team All-League guy. I think people did double-takes on the double-doubles. They were almost like ‘No, not Mooney.’ He’s a great story of guys getting better here. 

“He’s a machine. With him and TJ is not killing them this summer. They want to do everything. They are going to play a lot of minutes and we have to keep those legs fresh.” 

On TJ Gibbs:
“Prentiss playing with him, Dane and Robby being a year older and knowing how to help him and then Rex with him is really good. Rex continues to make progress. TJ felt he had to do more and he did because we were desperate at times. 

“He needs to let it come to him, make open shots and not force plays. I felt for him last year because he was stranded trying to do it all. It wasn’t him. He can just let it happen and read the defense. 

“If you watch the decisions he makes with the ball, I use him as an example with our young guys. He makes great reads. He finds open people and it comes back to him for an open shot. I can help him better and put him in some spots.” 

On Rex Pflueger:
“He’s doing good and on schedule. He has a very grinding academic schedule. The Master’s program in the summer is intense. They crush you. He’s in school 9-3 and he’ll go to school until August 16th. Our guys leave the 25th and he’ll still be in school. 

“The fall and spring come back to earth. He’s doing his rehab. You know Rex, he thinks he’ll be back before he should. I’m looking at November 1st and he should be moving pretty good on it.” 

On Nate Laszewski:
“We didn’t win a lot of games, but Dane and Nate played better the last couple of games. I don’t want it to be lost even though we didn’t win. After Nate missed the free throw against Clemson, he played great. That tells you the character the kid has and he was upset and bounced back.” 

On Scott Martin joining the staff:
“He’s always had a great mind and feel for the game. He was one of those guys who understood how to play. I always told him he was going to be the head coach at Valpo one day. He’s sharp. He can really help a Nate (Laszewski) and John because they play like him.”

On summer changes:
“We’ve changed our lifting program. It’s four days a week instead of three. We need more strength development. They know the road back is hard, but they have good habits. It’s a group who has hung together and have each others back. That’s a good start as we climb back up the ladder. 

“The league loses a lot of men, which may be as important as hard work. We’re getting a little bit older and the league is going through the rotation of losing some flat out men.” 

On staying healthy:
“We had a three-year run where we almost had nothing and it’s really been a cycle. You ride it out. We even tested the arena floor last year after Bonzie’s stuff. You think about everything. We’ve really been bitten by it. 

“Sometimes you have to ride it out and wait for some good karma to come on the health front. We went 40 minutes today. They want to go more, but that’s good. Next week will be great because the pro guys will be back to play.” 

On his mindset this summer:
“I’m recharged. It took me a while. That was the toughest year I’ve had in basketball as a head coach. It really was hard. The youth, the men we played against and how great our league was – it was also tough because we would play our backsides off and be in that thing for 30-35 minutes, but it wasn’t as close. I knew it wasn’t as close as they thought, but it was still crushing for them. 

“The kids who come here haven’t failed much. Handling failure overall at this place is a little hard for this group. If we get this thing going, it will be a good reference point for us one day. I would hope they look back and know they got it handed to them and they grew from it.” 

WATCH | Notre Basketball Practice Highlights 7.9

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