Analysis: D.J. Harvey commitment right on schedule for Brey, Notre Dame

Tom Noie
South Bend Tribune

Summer’s come and almost gone.

The all-important July evaluation period is a memory.

Two key on-campus recruiting weekends that coincide with home football games also have faded in the rearview mirror.

Through it all, the Notre Dame men’s basketball recruiting train remained parked at the commitment station. Fans waited and wondered with each recruiting weekend having come and quietly gone.

When would Notre Dame get a verbal commitment?

That train finally pulled out of Washington late Tuesday. It may be primed to pick up some serious steam as October nears.

Right. On. Schedule.

Four-star combo guard D.J. Harvey of DeMatha (Md.) Catholic High School is the first piece to the 2017 Notre Dame recruiting puzzle. Though Harvey’s recruitment basically ended the previous night when he was visited in his home by Irish coach Mike Brey and his staff, the 6-foot-6, 205-pounder who averaged 15 points, seven rebounds and four assists as a junior waited over 24 hours to officially announce his college choice during Comcast Mid-Atlantic’s SportsTalk show.

Getting a commitment is key, but for Brey, getting the right commitment at the right time is critical. Getting THE guy can set the stage for how the rest of the recruiting class unfolds.

That stage is set.

Notre Dame was a heavy favorite to land Harvey. He also visited Alabama last week and had fall tours scheduled to see Connecticut and Texas. Still, it led to some anxious moments. For many, a commitment seemingly was way overdue for a team coming off a second straight trip to the NCAA Tournament’s Elite Eight.

One concerned fan in an e-mail Tuesday afternoon to the Tribune felt pretty confident that Harvey would be Irish by night’s end. Somewhat. To ease his anxiety, he promised to say an extra Hail Mary. Just in case.

But this typically is the time that Brey kicks his recruiting game into another gear.

History says so.

The first recruits from each of the last two Irish classes — freshman guard T.J. Gibbs and sophomore swingman Matt Ryan — were earlier-than-normal gets on Brey’s preferred recruiting calendar. Gibbs committed in the spring of 2015 while Ryan arrived hours before the July 2014 evaluation period commenced. That has not been Brey’s recruiting norm

Junior power forward Martinas Geben, the first recruit in the 2014 class, didn’t commit until early September 2013. Senior captain V.J. Beachem, one of the cornerstones of the 2016-17 team, was the first to commit in the class of 2013. He did so on a Sunday afternoon in early October 2011 as a junior. That class wasn’t complete until Austin Torres committed in October 2012. Even when Notre Dame signed only one guy – albeit a really good one in Pat Connaughton, who owns the school record for career games played (139) – he wasn’t a done deal until late September 2010.

College football, this isn’t.

Though the hoops signing period (November) is three months earlier than for football (February), college prospects in one sport continue to take their commitment time. College football is seemingly a 40-yard dash. College basketball is a 10K that sometimes stretches into a half-marathon. Or longer.

At the start of this week, only six of the Top 25 college basketball prospects according to were committed. Only seven of Rivals’ Top 25 were off the board. In’s Top 25, only five offered verbals.

Not in football. Ten of’s Top 25 were committed. Of Rivals’ Top 25, 11 are finished. And 16 of’s Top 25 have announced.

Harvey is ranked No. 43 by, No. 47 by and No. 51 by He is the highest-ranked prospect to commit to Notre Dame since former point guard Demetrius Jackson. The eventual McDonald’s All-American and current Boston Celtics rookie was ranked No. 24 nationally by, 29th by Scout and 38th by Rivals.

Harvey may be as good as advertised.

He is one of only two players in DeMatha’s storied hoops history to start his first varsity game as a true freshman. The other? Notre Dame ring of honor member and Basketball Hall of Famer Adrian Dantley.

He’s been on Brey’s radar since his freshman year, but it wasn’t going to happen any earlier just because of that. It wasn’t going to happen earlier because the Irish have won more games (56) the last two years than any team in program history. It wasn’t going to happen with a revamped coaching staff, and likely wouldn’t have happened any earlier had former assistants Martin Ingelsby and Anthony Solomon stayed on.

There’s a reason and a rhythm to Brey’s recruiting — take time, develop relationships, deepen trust and let an oft-wacky process play out.

Notre Dame has two scholarships still to offer current high school seniors. With Harvey aboard, attention turns to guard Darryl Morsell from Mount St. Joseph High School in Baltimore. Morsell (6-4, 200) made his official visit to Notre Dame last weekend. He is expected to see Villanova this weekend.

Morsell attends the same high school as former Irish guard and current video coordinator Eric Atkins. After Brey signed Atkins and Grant in the 2010 recruiting class, he often referred to the pair as his Baltimore-Washington Parkway guards. One (Atkins) was the program’s only three-year captain. The other (Grant) was a first team All-American and first-round NBA draft pick.

Together, these B-W Parkway guards could be just as good. Maybe better.

They are the only two high school seniors to make official visits to date.

One down. One to go.

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Notre Dame coach Mike Brey picked up his first verbal commitment for the Class of 2017 on Tuesday with the addition of four-star prospect D.J. harvey of DeMatha (Md.) Catholic High School.Tribune Photo/MICHAEL CATERINA