Chris Doherty decides to transfer from Notre Dame

Tom Noie
South Bend Tribune

He tried to make it work, tried to stay patient with the plan and the process, tried to convince himself that sticking it out would be to his benefit long after graduation.

In the end, Notre Dame sophomore power forward Chris Doherty couldn’t make it work. On Tuesday, Irish coach Mike Brey announced that Doherty has left the program. Doherty met with Brey recently to inform him that he’s finished.

“I fully understand the way this climate in college basketball is as far as playing time,” Brey said. “It’s been hard to get to him (in the rotation). We’ll help him find the next place.”

Phone and text messages left for Doherty early Tuesday evening were not immediately returned.

A native of Marlborough, Mass., Doherty committed to Notre Dame over Boston College, Central Connecticut State, Florida Gulf Coast and Manhattan. He averaged 19.7 points, 12.3 rebounds, 4.5 blocks and 3.1 assists as a prep senior at Marlborough High School.

Often the last scholarship player off the bench in games this season, the 6-foot-8, 235-pound Doherty averaged 1.0 points and 0.7 rebounds in 2.5 minutes per game. He played in 17 career games with 15 points and 14 rebounds. Doherty scored his career high (four points) in what turned out to be his final game Nov. 26 against Fairleigh Dickinson.

The blueprint for Doherty last season was to redshirt and go on a five-year plan, something that was scrapped in late January. The Irish ran short on available bodies, so he burned a year of eligibility while playing 42 total minutes over 11 games.

Doherty missed the summer before his freshman season because of homesickness. He arrived in time for the fall semester and insisted he’d be good for the next four years. He missed a week of preseason practice this year to return home and have his wisdom teeth removed.

Prospects at additional playing time likely weren’t going to improve for Doherty. Power forwards Juwan Durham and Nate Laszewski are expected to be key pieces next season. Notre Dame also signed a pair of high school seniors — Elijah Taylor and Matt Zona — who both play power forward. Brey believes both could contribute as freshmen. The Irish also are recruiting center Hunter Dickinson, who also could be an immediate impact guy.

Doherty is the third Irish player to leave the program in just over a year and the fourth since the spring of 2017. Former swingman Matt Ryan is averaging a team-high 14.3 points with 3.6 rebounds in 31.4 minutes as a graduate transfer at Chattanooga. He previously spent two years at Vanderbilt after two years at Notre Dame. Former Irish power forward Elijah Burns left a few games into the 2018-19 season. He’s averaging a team-high 16.3 points and 5.3 rebounds in 29.2 minutes as a graduate transfer at Siena. Former Irish swingman D.J. Harvey left after the 2018-19 season. He’s sitting out this season at Vanderbilt under NCAA transfer regulations and will have two years of eligibility. Doherty will have two and a half.

Doherty’s departure shaves an already-thin active roster. Notre Dame will work the rest of this season with nine available scholarship players. The 10th, guard Cormac Ryan, is sitting out this season after transferring from Stanford. Brey’s not worried about playing a possible limited numbers game the rest of the way.

“We’ll figure it out,” Brey said with a smile. “We’ll practice 30 minutes instead of 45 the rest of the season.”

Notre Dame sophomore power forward Chris Doherty has left the program with plans to transfer.