What basketball reason helped PG Prentiss Hubb commit to Notre Dame?

Tom Noie
South Bend Tribune

For someone who often looks first to get others involved, Gonzaga College (D.C.) High School guard Prentiss Hubb embraces the value of an assist.

So chalk one of those up for the yet-to-be renovated basketball practice facility that the Notre Dame men’s basketball program hopes to have done in time to move into next summer — right around the time Hubb sets foot on campus as an Irish freshman.

Visiting Notre Dame for the first time following an AAU tournament in Indianapolis late last month, Hubb liked just about everything about the place. It reminded him of his high school campus back in D.C. And everywhere Hubb ventured over those two days, just about everyone was so friendly to him. It felt a lot like home.

But it was seeing plans for the practice facility that helped Hubb picture himself playing for coach Mike Brey. Late Wednesday, Hubb announced on social media his verbal commitment to Notre Dame over Maryland, Villanova and Virginia. He also considered Kansas and Syracuse before eliminating those schools earlier this year.

What was it about Notre Dame — the last school amongst his final four that he visited — that stayed with Hubb?

“It wasn’t just one thing, but, yeah, one thing that really stood out was the new practice facility and how it would be done by the time that I got there,” Hubb told the Tribune Thursday. “It’s going to be great. That was the main thing.”

Hubb envisioned himself working on his game at all hours in the building that currently is the Rolfs Sports Recreation Center. There's a lot for him to work on — his handles, his overall strength, being more consistent with his shooting stroke — but there’s already a lot to work with when it comes to the 6-foot-3, 170-pound left-hander.

Ranked a four-star recruit by the three major recruiting services, Hubb is a consensus top 60 prospect. He’s ranked as high as No. 27 for the Class of 2018 and is considered a big get for an Irish program coming off three-straight 20-plus win seasons where they’ve played for an ACC championship and advanced to the NCAA Tournament Elite Eight in two of the last three years.

Hubb can help the Irish take that next step — and beyond.

“I’m a really good player regardless of all the rankings and everything,” said Hubb, who averaged 13.9 points and was a first team all-league selection as a junior. “I think I’m a very versatile player being able to work off the ball and the ball and then, defensively, I like to key in and lock down on defense.”

Hubb’s ability to embrace defense and work with or without the ball may be a perfect fit for the Irish in 2018-19 after point guard Matt Farrell, again the main handler this coming season, graduates.

“He does so much that allows him not to be pigeon-holed into one position,” said Gonzaga coach Steve Turner. “He does a little bit of everything.”

Hubb will have a chance to play alongside point guard T.J. Gibbs, who will be a junior when Hubb arrives. Hubb also will have a chance to team with incoming Irish freshman D.J. Harvey, who finished his four-year career at DeMatha (Md.) Catholic High School, one of Gonzaga’s rivals in the ultra-competitive Washington Catholic Athletic Conference.

On Wednesday, Harvey was among the many on social media to congratulate Hubb on his Irish commitment. The former prep rivals eventually will be college teammates.

“He did a lot of damage against us,” Hubb said of Harvey. “It will be fun to play with him.”

Recruited mainly by Brey and Irish associate head coach Rod Balanis, both DeMatha alums, Hubb figured he might have what it takes to play big-time college basketball when he was a freshman. He came off the bench and delivered veteran-like minutes to help Gonzaga beat DeMatha for a conference championship.

That was the game where Hubb also locked down former Stags guard Markelle Fultz — expected to be the top pick in next month’s NBA draft.

“Ever since then, everybody has been telling me how good I can be,” Hubb said. “But I’ve got to keep working.”

Hubb is the first piece — a really important piece — in an Irish recruiting class that could go as many as seven deep before the early-signing period arrives in early November. Hubb was considered a gotta-get guy on the Irish recruiting board. As has often been the case the last few years, Brey and his staff made sure to get their guy.

Hubb is listed anywhere from 6-1 to 6-3 and classified as a shooting guard, point guard and combo guard on various recruiting sites. For the record, he’s 6-3 and around 170 and, when all is said and done, he’s a point guard. He will operate as such in helping a quality recruiting class fall into place. The Irish are still looking at a lot of options — and all positions — but got one guy they really needed.

“Every teams need a good point guard,” Hubb said. “Other kids in my class would enjoy playing with me because I’m more of a pass-first point guard.

“I want to get everybody involved.”

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