Everything about Notre Dame men's basketball program fits for Robby Carmody commitment

Tom Noie
South Bend Tribune

Drifting toward the left corner in transition during Tuesday’s pickup game with members of the Notre Dame men’s basketball team, college prospect Robby Carmody positioned himself for a clean look at a spot-up 3-pointer.

But he felt he could do a little more.

Instead of squeezing off an open shot once the ball rotated his way, Carmody head-faked his defender which cleared a path right to the rim. He drove it hard down the baseline and delivered a one-handed dunk. He then offered a hand slap to guard Rex Pflueger, one of his pickup teammates, on the way back down the floor.

All the pieces to Carmody’s three-day visit to Notre Dame, like that pickup sequence, fell neatly into place. Prior to hopping back in the car with his family for the five-plus hour trip home to Western Pennsylvania on Thursday afternoon, the 6-foot-4, 175-pound shooting guard offered his verbal commitment to Irish coach Mike Brey.

Carmody wasn’t looking to commit before the start of his senior year at Mars (Pa.) High School. If he felt the need, he certainly could wait. But he just couldn’t leave campus without providing a promise that he’ll be back in a year for four more.

“There was nothing that I didn’t like about Notre Dame and I just couldn’t get away from it,” Carmody told the Tribune early Thursday afternoon. “Coach Brey and his staff are just unbelievable people. I’m happy I get a chance to play for them.”

Only hours after arriving Tuesday from Purdue, where he opened the week with an official visit, Carmody was on the court at the Rolfs Sports Recreation Center – which eventually will transition into the team’s practice facility – for an hour of pickup games with members of the returning team. He ran through some of the team’s pre-game halfcourt sets. Then when the games started, he made shots. He defended. He rebounded. He stood his ground against the older guys.

Everything about the session just went so smoothly. It was like he had been a part of the group for years, not minutes.

Carmody felt a certain vibe being around the Irish. He liked it. He wanted to be a part of it.

“I fit in really well with everything that they did,” he said. “I feel like I’m going to be able to contribute and play my role really well there.”

Considered a four-star prospect by the three major recruiting services, Carmody is ranked as high as No. 98 by Rivals.com. He averaged 26 points and 12 rebounds as a junior for Mars, where he’s coached by his father, Rob.

Carmody also carried offers from Butler, Michigan, Northwestern, Purdue and Stanford before choosing Notre Dame, a school that started recruiting him early during his sophomore season.

Carmody was in the Petersen Events Center stands on New Year’s Eve when former Irish guard Steve Vasturia connect on a game-winning corner 3-pointer in the closing seconds of overtime to help Notre Dame beat Pittsburgh.

As for not giving more of a look to the hometown Panthers? Carmody’s not worried about what folks back home in Cranberry Township might think.

“Not too many people will be on me about it,” he said. “If they are, it’s easy to explain why I picked Notre Dame. It’s unbelievable.

“I fell in love right away.”

Carmody is the third commitment to what has the makings of one solid Irish recruiting class. Notre Dame already carried commitments from prep point guard Prentiss Hubb (Washington) and Connecticut power forward transfer Juwan Durham.

Carmody played pickup Tuesday with Durham, now enrolled in summer school but scheduled under NCAA transfer regulations to sit out 2017-18. Carmody already knew of Hubb, ranked as high as No. 27 nationally in the spring, and his commitment.

“It’s awesome,” he said. “He’s going to do amazing things at Notre Dame. So is Juwan. Coming in, we’re going to have a great shot to do some really good things.”

Carmody, Durham and Hubb all were Irish recruiting priorities. Their commitments are all in place before summer.

Notre Dame has four additional scholarships to offer. Guards Noah Locke (Washington) and Luther Muhammad (Irvington, N.J.) have made unofficial visits and likely will remain on the Irish recruiting big board. Notre Dame also may look to potentially add another wing and possibly a big man.

If the pickup session and the three days on campus weren’t enough to convince Carmody to attend Notre Dame, swinging through the Irish basketball offices Wednesday clinched it. When he walked through the doors, Brey greeted him while wearing an official black and gold home jersey of the Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins. It was on loan from the Irish hockey program. The No. 28 sweater belongs to defenseman Ian Cole, a former Notre Dame standout.

Carmody was ready to sign his national letter of intent – which he’ll officially do in early November – right then and there.

“That,” Carmody said, ‘was one of the coolest things that ever happened to me.”

tnoie@ndinsider.com

(574) 235-6153

@tnoieNDI