comment. Almost every other team I see has them, many times 3 or 4 of them. It doesn't matter if it's a small or large school either. I don't know if ND doesn't recruit that type of player as hard or what but it's a major deficiency of the program. If we can target and get high 3 and 4 star guards and wings why can't we get a couple of 6-10 6-11 athletes every couple of years? Do big men not want to deal with academics like a guard? Do Big men want a nice practice facility more then a guard? I simply do not think that type have player has been the focus for the program for whatever reason. ND needs to start aggressively pursuing talented size, or the ceiling for the program will
never be a final four.
Do they understand offensive spacing? Will they be a liability because their game is limited to athletic ability rather than having actual basketball smarts? The pool of athletic big men that also have those traits and can hack the academic rigors if ND is incredibly small.
In a very simplistic way, I'll just observe that our teams, like I think most teams in most sports, take on the characteristics of their senior leadership. I loved Vasturia and VJ, but the team ended up being as good and as consistent (or inconsistent) as they were. When our senior leadership is good, the team tends to be the same.
I hope our recruiting improves, but overall, I've been really impressed by how Brey and his staff develops the kids.
state of the program.
my only quibble is why anyone would think it will be difficult to replace VJ. His sole contribution is to shoot open threes. Ryan can already do that. Replacing SV and all he does is another story. That said, you are still dead on with where we are and,more importantly, where we are going.
reading your posts.
Taxman, Just want to let you know how much I enjoyed reading your thoughts all season!! Thank you for taking the time!
The future is bright for ND Basketball!
Thanks Taxman for all your thoughts. Always enjoy reading your comments!
I agree with your comment re Mooney. I was actually thinking the exact same thing yesterday. He very well may be the key. I'm excited to see more of his game.
In my opinion Ryan's issues were he tried to get bigger and become a stretch 4, add this to his foot injury and it took till a March for him to be in proper shape and move with the proper agility.
Ryan is not a stretch 4, he is a 3 and will need to actually slim down and improve his agility.
I'd wager a lot of money we will either see him or Ryan as a starter. And that will be good for a lot of reasons. Putting Colson out there on the jump ball basically just gives the other team a free possession.
Not that Geben should be put in there solely for the jump ball, he brings a lot to the table and people didn't notice his minutes this year simply because he doesn't have the offensive output we are used to seeing. Geben is the player you put in there when you're players are cold and you aren't getting the calls. The problem is we need about 2 Gebens because his style of game leads to a lot of fouls. But he is the best interior defender (specifically against other teams' centers) and offensive rebounder Brey has had in quite some time.
And again, I disagree that Ryan will be competing with the bigs for playing time; he'll be able to defend a position similar to Beachem, he might not have the flash to get awesome blocks, but he's athletic enough to cover a lot of ground and has a better frame for it, not to mention the height. But offensively he can handle the ball well enough and shoot the 3 well enough to be a wing/guard combo in the vein that we've used Connaughton/Beachem and even Colson at times.
Colson's game will be that much more effective on a court that has that kind of size on it... Farrell is too much of a defensive liability and Gibbs doesn't have enough offense yet, I just don't see them out on the court together too much when Colson is in there, except in very specific packages against small teams.
Pflueger's offense will really come around, in my opinion, he just passed up a lot of good open looks in these last 2 games, often for a much worse shot or even a turnover. I suspect that watching film from those and gaining a little more confidence in his long shot will work wonders for his game.
I do agree that we need Mooney or Burns to step up, preferably both. Even if Geben is a starter that cleans up his fouls without sacrificing too much on defense I don't see him playing more than 20 minutes a game. I have confidence in Brey. Next year's team will be every bit as good as the team that took Kentucky down to the wire a couple years ago. Maybe not in terms of complete quality across the board, but it'll be much deeper, which good be good news for a team that needs to improve a lot on defense.
which you mentioned, they all are more committed to winning, systematically, be it recruiting, admissions flexibility, and facilities than ND, and they've all experienced greater success than ND in the last 10 years. Mike Brey has taken a Boston College caliber program and gotten us to the upper half of the ACC, which is a fantastic accomplishment. I wonder if you could stick him at Boston College (or perhaps a Georgia Tech or a Wake Forest) and turn them into what ND is now. We are a Mike Brey retirement and another John McCleod hire away from sliding back to being a Boston College.
I'd like to think we could be a Butler, Gonzaga, or Villanova type program, but I don't think even Mike Brey can accomplish that completely on his own given the pieces around him at Notre Dame.
Last 3 years have been highly satisfying, and 7 of last 8 years, on balance, have featured far more positives than negatives.
Chris Collins saying that he wants to build a program like ND's spoke a lot about the current state of the program.
He's quick enough to get a first step and get to the rim, but i feel his dribbling is still a little loose/high in traffic and he doesn't finish that well at the rim yet.
If he can approach Vasturia's ball handling and finishing prowess, then we'll be in business.
I look forward to your insights after every game. You make "the ride" that much more enjoyable for many of us.
He is the highest rated recruit since DJ and DJ seemed to take a year to get used to the college game before having a breakout season as a Sophomore.
Without using google, I tried to think of the best season a Freshman has had while Brey has been the HC. The only one that came to mind was Harangody and he wasn't very highly recruited (I think IU was the only other school of note that offered him)
I'm not trying to imply a successful season depends on Harvey's play, but if he can score/handle the ball/etc it will help alleviate losing SV & Beachum.
#1 - Chris Thomas
#2 - Tory Jackson
I'm not sure if we had one before or after Chris Thomas. He was very close to bearing Melo and Warrick at the Dome
Tory only became a starter because McAlarney was kicked out. Harangody had the better season as a freshman - Kurz came to Brey in December saying he should start. And it was the right call.
As always, thank you for your thoughtful insights.
Would love to hear your in-depth points of view about the 5 star players (Jackson, Thomas, Francis, Zeller) we have recruited under Brey. What happened to each of them at ND; what could have been if... and how do we make any adjustments, if any, to future recruitments of them.
Francis was overrated as a recruit. We fell in love with the 5 star part and didn't focus on the "can't play like a five star" part. He was stiff and mechanical.
Thomas blew out his knees. Before that, he was a very good player.
Zeller was a shooting guard trapped inside a 7 foot body (non-Kevin Durant division). We got the wrong Zeller.
Jackson was an important contributor on the best ND team of the last 30 years. I'll take more guys like him. If only the South Bend area would grow more like him.
If you are as good a "taxman"as you are a hoops analyst, you can do my taxes anytime.
There's a difference between "we need McDonald's AA's like Duke Brey sucks !!!1!" and "recruiting is not where it needs to be"
Recruiting is not where it needs to be.
I completely agree that recruiting 5 stars is not a good idea, both out of ability to recruit them and out of system fit. Chris Thomas is a fine data point for that.
Sure, we can develop 3-stars into great players. But it's hit or miss. We need a half-notch better recruiting -- more 4's than 3's is not a trivial point, it's a necessary component of system success. It's not an accident that Brey's had players the last three years who are pro-caliber (NBA or Europe) as seniors and that we've done well overall in those years. You've said yourself that Brey has needed athletes who can generate plays for a long time and now finally has them. Well, those guys are disproportionately four star kinds of guys. And there's enough of them that are academically interested that we should be able to recruit them.
That's a program issue, not necessarily a Brey issue. We need better facilities, we need better academic support, we need the University to give a damn about the program. And we need program consistency and public regard. We may play like a mid-major, but we can't be thought of as one. We can get to Virginia or Louisville's level of regard. Brey's on the right track. But it's not a knock on Brey, or on your excellent eye for the program, to think that recruiting needs to improve.
Although I would not categorically exclude 5 stars even though it is unlikely that any would attend. There's a reason why Brey tried to recruit Thon Maker last year. If a big time recruit shows an interest, then I think we would be foolish not to pursue him vigorously.
I also think the point below about Huggins going to Columbus after a NCAA Tournament game is valid. I'm not sure that our coaches put the same effort into recruiting as some of the other elite programs.
The nonconference schedule includes road games at Delaware, DePaul, and the Big 10/ACC challenge (my uneducated guess is OSU), three neutral site games in Maui, and the crossroads against Indiana. That should give Brey plenty of opportunities to tinker with the rotation prior to the conference slate in more difficult situations than our typically heavy home cupcake schedule allows. An added bonus should be a higher RPI with more road games and less home dregs.
I agree with your point that Geben isn't exactly the best fit along side Colson. If any of the Burns/Mooney/Ryan are able to take on that role, Colson becomes almost impossible to defend. Conversely, I actually think Geben could be a solid player in the right situation, I just don't see any minutes for him especially with Torres returning. I'm curious whether Brey will consider red shirting him to preserve a year of eligibility and have him available in 2018/2019 when the roster really looks devoid of front line depth.
Always look forward to Random Thoughts. Look forward to them next year.
and reach his great potential and for the team to be competitive ND must get physical, shot blocking and rebounding production from the unnamed fifth man/position. In other words, a Shumate for A.D.