Chat Transcript: Talking late signees, lineups and more Notre Dame hoops with Tom Noie

Tom Noie
South Bend Tribune

Thomas Noie: Welcome to our second coronavirus pandemic Notre Dame hoops chat. Hope everyone is safe at home and more importantly, healthy. We'll be here as long as the questions keep coming. Just make sure to include your name and hometown. And with that, you know the drill....let's light this chat candle.

Jeff: My son is pretty talented in two sports, basketball and baseball. When Pat Connaughton was being recruited, was he recruited as a two sport athlete? If so what advice do you have for a high schooler? When it comes to summer It is impossible to balance a baseball and basketball travel season when tournaments are on the same weekends.

Thomas Noie: Jeff: Pat Connaughton was considered a basketball player who happened to also play baseball when he was identified at an AAU tournament in Orlando as a guy that Mike Brey should really look hard at. Once there was mutual interest, Mik Aoki got involved in the process, like, yeah, this will work. If Pat wants to play hoops, he can definitely play baseball. So the two-sport thing immediately became an option. But it was always hoops first, baseball second. Advice to a high schooler from a dope writer? Chase your dreams, but chase what you love to do. Don't choose one over the other for the wrong (financial reasons). Same goes for school. Hope it all works out!

Luke Hogan: Known transfers we have talked to? Update on Blake Wesley recruiting?

Thomas Noie: Luke: Good question, but a tricky one from this standpoint - names that get thrown out there as having talked to Notre Dame sometimes get misconstrued when said transfer chooses school. Like, OH, NO! LOOK AT MIKE BREY! HE LOST ANOTHER ONE. So I tend to stay way from who Notre Dame talks to. Just because they talk to somebody doesn't necessarily mean they're actively/seriously recruiting them. They stay selective and continue to do so this offseason. Everything's gotta fit. That's rare. For Wesley, Notre Dame continues to actively recruit him out of South Bend Riley. The Irish are there, but so are a lot of other schools.

Sean: Tom your stance seems to have changed on Brey. Just a few months ago it felt like you were wanting him out the door. How do you feel now that he landed a big time transfer and started to get the team to play better towards the end of the 2019 season?

Thomas Noie: Sean: Good give us media dopes way too much credit....I want him out the door? Makes me sound like some mafia godfather - I want that guy GONE! TODAY! lol. My view when they were 2-6 in the ACC was that there was little indication that this was going to end well. It had all the makings of another 2018-19 finish. Not 3-15 bad, but not good enough to where there was much reason to be optimistic. Brey himself looked worn out, disheartened, unsure of his future. But winning nine of the last 13 seems to have rejuvenated him. Is that enough to get back to the NCAA tournament? We'll see.

Dan: Are any big man recruits and/or transfers right now in play for Notre Dame?

Thomas Noie: Dan: Right now, no, but that means little in today's pandemic world. Notre Dame will be active in the transfer/grad transfer market all summer. Remember, the Irish didn't land Cormac Ryan until the former Stanford guard's name popped into the transfer portal in June. The transfer stuff will be ongoing through May and June and maybe even July. Notre Dame has two scholarships to give. It might give one; it might give two. It might give none. But the months matter little. There'll be no cut-off date. An ideal transfer could surface in mid-summer, and Notre Dame still would pursue.

Richard Hertz: Tom - Could you predict the 2020-21 starting lineup and who will get time off the bench?

Thomas Noie: Richard: The starting lineup is pretty much set with Prentiss Hubb, Dane Goodwin and Cormac Ryan on the perimeter, Nate Laszewski as the second big man and Juwan Durham taking over as the main big. What does the bench look like? It looked pretty thin during our last chat - maybe Robby Carmody or Nik Djogo or freshmen power forwards Elijah Taylor and Matt Zona and that was it. The Irish have since added Tony Sanders, a high school senior from Miami. How does he fit? He might not, but it gives the rotation another option, and you can never have too many options.

Richard Hertz: Tom - Thanks for addressing our questions, I have asked this but not as clearly but need it to defend ND & Brey. If ND had the same academic/recruiting standards as the rest of the country, do you think Brey would’ve shown the country he’s as elite a coach in the nation but is constantly on the hot seat??

Thomas Noie: Richard: Here's the rub on that - from a Notre Dame perspective, I don't know if he's ever, truly been on the hot seat. From a fan perspective? Totally different story. Some wanted him fired 10 years ago. Some want him gone yesterday. But coming from the people who Brey works for, the people who know exactly how difficult his job is in the ACC going against the schools he has to go against on the floor and in recruiting, the pressure to get back to the Elite Eight, or even the NCAA tournament, isn't anywhere close to the periphery. It just isn't. This job is hard. It takes a certain someone to embrace it. Don't know how many other coaches would have done what Brey's done.

Collin from Elkhart: Hey Tom, is ND still hitting the transfer market? Specially for a back up big. Thanks!

Thomas Noie: Collin: Always in the market and monitoring the transfer portal every day. As mentioned earlier, given today's world, there's not going to be any specific cut-off date in the transfer market. The way it looks in six weeks, even eight weeks, might be a lot different. Notre Dame might not be seriously involved in April, but that doesn't mean it won't be involved in May or June or even July. This might get a little wacky. Stay tuned.

Dascenzo: What’s your All-Brey starting five?

Thomas Noie: D: Gonna get me in trouble with some of the former players, huh? LOL. Kidding. Great question, but I always hesitate because somebody gets left out, even though there's no right or wrong answer. It's totally subjective, so there's no reason to shout about this guy or that guy or those guys. I didn't an all-time top 20 (four teams of five) for the Tribune recently. My top five were Jerian Grant and Ben Hansbrough at guard, Pat Connaughton on the wing and Luke Harangody and Troy Murphy on the front line. Murph doesn't seem to get as much love these days, but go back and look at some of his games, some of his stat lines. He was a monster and as NBA-ready as anybody that's been through the program the last 30 years. Guy was a beast. OK, off my hoops soapbox.

Joe (Scranton,Pa): Hey Tom, can’t believe we may go into next season with 11 scholarship players! What a luxury. Any chances they grab a traditional transfer big or do you think they’re done?

Thomas Noie: Joe: As long as there's a transfer portal and a stay-at-home order where everything about the offseason is out of whack, there's always a chance that Notre Dame adds another player. Remember, Cormac Ryan didn't surface until late June last year, and he's in line to be a three-year starter. Keep an eye on that kid. Finally, more than 10 scholarship guys. I understand Brey's short rotation philosophy, but also believe that the more guys you have, the more competition it creates daily in practice. It also gives you more rotation options. You can still go eight, maybe nine deep in the rotation, but who those eight or nine can change. That's good. That's healthy. For everyone.

Coach from Reading, PA.: Tom. Hope you are well. I’m not sold on Durham. Does ND have a backup plan? Thanks

Thomas Noie: Coach: Right now, it's sink or swim with Juwan Durham. There's no backup plan. Like, this is your shot, big man, grab it and run with it and let's see what you can do. I wasn't sold at all last season and think it was a misstep to pair Durham and Mooney together as starters. There were times when they were needed, but the deeper the Irish went in the season, the better they were with a four-around-one lineup. The Durham-Mooney pairing seemed too forced, like Mike Brey was giving Durham every chance to start, to play, to score, to everything. That might have been too much for him then. It can't be now. He's got everything he's wanted right in front of him. Time to go chase it. And be it.

Mark Kruz from Mishawaka: Tom thanks for having this chat during the time everyone is going thru. My question is which of these 2 freshmen coming in next season Matt Zona or Tony Sanders could possibly be red shirted? Also the 21-22 season will have quite a log jam at the #2 and #3 positions with transfer Trey Wertz becoming eligible and JR Konieczny coming in as a freshman. I'm thinking JR could possibly be red shirted for the 21-22 season??

Thomas Noie: Mark: Great to hear from you, and great question....But here comes the's too early to tell without seeing them play, something that I'm probably not going to do. Usually, I'm able to swing by Rolfs in the summer and watch the returning guys and newcomers play pickup. That's when you can really tell about a kid, especially a freshman. Like, yeah, the guy can play, or nope, he's got to take a year and learn the game. I have no idea about Taylor or Zona or Sanders and how they might fit. And neither might the staff. It'll be tricky. As for the following year, Konieczny's going to make a serious run at Indiana Mr. Basketball...that's not the kind of talent that goes on the five-year plan. He's going to play, and likely more as a 3-4 than a 2-3. He's got a chance to grow into a stretch-four shooter.

andrew: obviously great to add more talent with wertz to brey’s roster especially with what we’ve been dealing with past few years... wertz and hubbs seem to have identical games; love having ball in there hand and pick & rolls. my question is how will grey make them fit with each other on the floor

Thomas Noie: Andrew: That's a problem that's really not a problem. In this system, you can never have too many handlers. Chris Thomas and Chris Quinn played together. Ben Hansbrough and Tory Jackson played together. Jerian Grant and Demetrius Jackson played together. Then Jackson and Matt Farrell. Brey actually prefers to have two like guards on the floor so not everything falls on one guy. Watched the 2015 ACC tournament semifinal game against Duke last night and was surprised at how often it was Jackson initiating the offense for stretches (I was deep on deadline that night in Greensboro....). Wertz will sit in 2020-21 and will be eligible when Prentiss Hubb's a senior captain. He'll know where he falls in the pecking order for 2021-22.

JP, San Diego: Any chance Jaden Ivey can be a package deal with his mom coming back to be HC at ND?

Thomas Noie: JP: None. There were reasons he chose Purdue over Notre Dame, one of which was to get out of the shadow of the Golden Dome, where his father (Javin Hunter) went, where his mother (Niele Ivey) went and worked before leaving for the NBA. She may be back as women's coach, but her son's going to Purdue.

JP, San Diego: Any updates on Michigan big transfer Colin Castleton? The front court for 2021 season is quite thin, literally, and also thin from a depth perspective. He’d at least help out in the latter

Thomas Noie: JP: None as of yet, but who knows how that unfolds moving forward. The front court is thin, on paper, but again, we don't really know how think until we see how Elijah Taylor and Matt Zona fit. The Irish likely only need one of them to be ready. If both are, it's a bonus.

Micah S: Is there any push being made to get Trey Wertz eligible for 20/21 or is it 100% he will sit one year?

Thomas Noie: Micah: My understanding is Trey is good with sitting that first year, then having two years of eligibility. One of the selling points for him was that he'd get a chance to follow in the academic footsteps of Rex Pflueger last year and Nik Djogo this year in that he can also knock out a master's degree in business. See, that's how it's different at Notre Dame. Don't know many other schools in the ACC, or in the nation, where that's a factor.

Chris Scheiber: If the NCAA changes the rules and allows a one time immediate eligibility transfer, how would that impact the 2020 Irish. I'm inclined to think Brey would like Wertz to have 3 years available starting next year, but with the way the injury bug has bitten them the last two years, maybe it would be good for him to be available? It's important they get back to the tournament this year and don't have a third year of bad with Brey's most highly recruited class in their junior year.

Thomas Noie: Chris: Trey Wertz played two seasons at Santa Clara, so he has only two seasons left at Notre Dame. It's three if he sits this season, which he really should. And you're right, the NCAA tournament is the next step this season. It wasn't going to happen this season, not after going 3-15. You don't finish last in the ACC and then flip right back to the NCAA tournament the following year. Going 10-10 was indeed average, but it was an important step. Making a seven-win improvement in the ACC isn't easy. Now take it the next step and go to the NCAA. It's time for this group to do that. It wasn't going to happen with the Pflueger-Gibbs-Mooney group. That had kind of maxed out. The ceiling's higher with his core. Time to reach it.

Robb, Colorado: Hey Tom. Thanks for the chat. There seems to be some good momentum in recruiting from the past few weeks and I just wondered if Brey and his staff changed their process as they seemed to have a few swings and misses the past 12-18 months or is it just the fickle business of recruiting?

Thomas Noie: Robb: The swings and misses of the five-star guys was expected. They weren't bringing anybody in last year until they knew what they had in the now-junior class. Now they know, and they're adding guys. And recruiting? Fickle? Say it isn't

Ryan: What do you think the rotation will look like next season?

Thomas Noie: Ryan: The starting lineup is pretty much set with Prentiss Hubb, Dane Goodwin and Cormac Ryan, Nate Laszewski and Juwan Durham. How the bench looks is anyone's guess. What three guys will demand playing time? Too early to tell.

Joe from Scottsdale, Arizona: Tom - Hope you're staying safe.I honestly feel this team didn't get much better than last year. I know they won more games, especially more league games but to me - that was more of a product of the league not being very good this year. I was expecting a tourney team this year and I highly doubt they would have been that. This was supposed to be the year for the former big freshman class, and I don't think i saw them develop enough to have much hope for the future. Your thoughts?

Thomas Noie: Joe: Life's as good as can be expected up here....all is well. But man, tough, coronavirus crowd! Notre Dame a tournament team last year? After winning three league games the previous season? That was going to be a massive jump, one the program just couldn't make, down ACC or no down ACC. The Gibbs-Mooney-Pflueger troika was only good enough to be average in an average league. The Hubb-Goodwin-Laszewski-Carmody class are now juniors (except Carmody, of course). It's time they tap all that potential they had coming in. This is their time. I think they have it in them, have something more than last year's team. Let's see it.

Nick South Bend: Hope all is well Tom! 1st question of the session, do you see any of the incoming freshmen being redshirted? Twittersphere seems to label Zona as “raw”

Thomas Noie: Nick: I don't know. You don't know. Twitter? Definitely doesn't know. Yeah, there's high school film and all that, but you don't really know about this kid or that kid until you put them alongside guys who've been through the ACC battles. It's amazing what just seeing that does in terms of forming an opinion. Like, yeah, now I see it. Or, whoa, this kid's gotta hit the weights with Tony Rolinski. Just can't say where Taylor or Zona or Sanders might fit until they're on campus and competing. We might not see that until....I don't know when

joe from the south side: Tom:

Any chance we can flip Jaden Ivey?

Thomas Noie: Not a chance. Easiest question of the day.

Hugh J: One of the big challenges for ND the last few years (relative to the 15-16 teams) has been the inability of guards to attack and score at the rim. Even if Hubb improves, that's not really part of his game. Is that something Ryan can bring to the table or are we looking forward to another season of blocked shots and floaters in the lane?

Thomas Noie: Hugh: Yes, yes and yes. It's also something Trey Wertz can do when he gets eligible. Go get a bucket when this team needs a bucket. How many times could you count on T.J. Gibbs to do that? Not being critical (OK, maybe I am), but for all that nonsense about his 3-point field goal percentage, I want an off guard in the ACC who can live at the foul line. Drive, attack, finish, get fouled. Gibbs logged 1,116 minutes last year and averaged only 2.3 free throw attempts per game. What does that tell you? He hovered way too much. Can't hover in the ACC. Gotta get to the rim. Ryan will. Wertz will. Hubb has to do a better job of that. Drive with a purpose.

Hugh J: How much talk has there been around the program about Carmody changing his game when he comes back from injury? Playing at 150 mph is part of what makes him successful, but also seems like a surefire way to get hurt again.

Thomas Noie: Hugh: Don't know how much talk there has to be...just have to show Carmody the training room, where he's spent WAAAAY too much time the last two years. Love his aggressiveness and attack attitude, but that has to be dialed back a little in the ACC. He's always been one speed, but now will have to learn how to switch gears and pick his spots. Two season-ending injuries will do that for you. It's something I've wanted to talk with Robby about but haven't been able to. It's question No. 1 for him when I can.

Hugh J: Did Brey consider making any coaching staff changes this offseason? I know he loves his guys but after the last two years a shakeup on the bench may not be the worst idea.

Thomas Noie: We've entered the Hugh J question and answer part of the Brey kind of hired himself into a corner with his staff. He's got all Notre Dame guys (except for associate coach Rod Balanis, who's kind of the old sage at this point). Kind of hard to launch a guy who played for you and graduated from Notre Dame, no? Think of it as on-the-job training. Now go be better in all phases.

Justin: Hey Tom, what are your thoughts on the Wertz addition? Seems like he could be a really solid player for us down the road. Thanks!

Thomas Noie: Justin: Love it in this regard having not seen him in person - he can go get a bucket when you need a bucket. And he shoots a solid percentage. He'll be a good guard addition.

Luke Hogan: Do you think ND has any chance with Colin Castleton?

Thomas Noie: Let's go maybe. lol

joe from the south side: Tom: WIth all this talk about recruiting, you never hear the name William Jeffress surface. Lost cause?

Thomas Noie: When it does, the words, Pittsburgh and lock usually follow. But again, it's recruiting, so who really knows?

Bill: Will ND apply for a waiver for immediate eligibility for Wertz? Seems like the NCAA gives those out to everyone except those that transfer to ND bball and football.

Thomas Noie: No....discussed above....or below, however these chat questions appear

Mark: I see Dane Goodwin breaking out again this year and becoming a go to guy. What do you think. Also where does Wertz fit in if Carmody comes back healthy ?

Thomas Noie: Mark: It's next step time for Goodwin and Laszewski and to an extent, Hubb, who has to be more of an all-around solid guard than hit and miss and hit and hit then miss. Let's see what Carmody can offer and have him stay healthy) before wondering how the pieces fit in 2021-22. One year at a time, my man!

Hugh J: How has Brey's recruiting philosophy developed over the last five years or so? It seems like he tried to swing big after the Elite Eight runs (Maker, Stewart, Anthony) and missed on all of them. Do you think he's going back to the earlier philosophy of more developmental guys now? Did he learn his lesson from trying to go after one-and-done type guys?

Thomas Noie: Hugh: Not at all, it was more of a right place-right time kind of thinking with the five-star elite guys. He hasn't revisited since and don't expect him to. He tried it, it didn't work. Now let's get back to getting the kind of guys they can get. Program guys. Fit guys.

Dennis: Good morning Tom I have two questions and hopefully you can answer them. If the ncaa decides to let transfers play immediately will Wertz still sit out a year? I heard some speculation that he would.

Thomas Noie: Dennis: Most popular question of the would prefer to sit out and work toward a masters in business. Settle in, take his time, learn the system, get stronger, get older.

Dennis: Second question if the NCAA had decided to let the seniors have an additional year would Gibbs and Mooney have stayed? I'm sure they were probably leaning one way if this had happened.

Thomas Noie: No, no, no, a thousand times no. It was time, and Mike Brey has said it, for those guys to go and start the next chapter in their basketball lives. It wasn't ever going to be an option. As Mike Brey has said, he loves each of those three like sons, but it was time they leave. Hard to argue.

Brian (South Bend): Hey Tom, If more one and done type players start going to the G-League will that be a net positive or a net negative for the Irish when it comes to recruiting?Do you think ND will now be competing with Duke and North Carolina for players that those teams normally wouldn't prioritize as recruits?

Thomas Noie: Brian: It's going to make recruiting that much more difficult for Notre Dame if the potential one-and-done guys now make the jump to the G League.

Justin, Fort Wayne: Do you see Nik Djogo getting any minutes off the bench next year?

Thomas Noie: Justin: Nearly two hours in and finally, a Nik Djogo question. Mike Brey has said he doesn't see why Djogo can't be the sixth man this season. We'll see. I think the season starts with Djogo in the rotation, maybe even high up in the rotation, until we see what the other pieces look like.

IrishWay96 - Denver: Tom, thanks for hosting another chat during these fluid times. If the NCAA waives the transfer sit out rule next month, that would immediately impact Wertz and the rotation this season. If he was on campus this summer playing with the team, getting acclimated to the system, that would be a positive. However, as talented as he is, my preference would be to have him sit out this year and have 2 full years where he could hit the ground running in 2021-22 and we have better guard roster balance after Hubb, Goodwin, etc, graduate.

Thomas Noie: The plan is for him to sit

GQ: We we’re told we would be in midst of a coaching search, appears not?

Thomas Noie: We were?

Knights in South Bend: My son plays at Marian and has played alot against Jr in ICCL. I was not sold on him being D1 talent but after this season have changed my mind, especially after he dropped 40+ on us in sectional! Interested if you've seen him play much and your impression?

Thomas Noie: Knights: Great question. I've seen J.R. Konieczny play twice in person. First time, he played against Mishawaka and was, let's just say, OK. I expected him to take over the game, but he just kind of floated out there. I was a little skeptical of his game. I spent some time with him two days later, got to know him a little bit and then watched him put on that display against Marian in the Jimtown Sectional. It was like the proverbial light bulb had gone on - for the both of us. He was everything that night that he wasn't the previous week. You could see the skills and the potential and what Mike Brey saw in him. He's going to need to get a lot stronger to survive and eventually thrive in the ACC, and he knows that. But the skills are there. I'm interested to see what he does his senior season. There's a whole lot there.

Troy: With success in the 2 elite 8 runs, and an ACC title, why can't ND get any top players. While I like the grooming of players and watching them grow and get better, we still need a one and done or just a 2 year talent type guy.

Thomas Noie: Troy: Usually when I'm asked this question, I ask it back, and often never receive a response. Say you're a Top 20-30 kid. You've got people in your ear for years about going to the NBA. You're that good. What is it about Notre Dame that makes you choose that school over any of the bluebloods? Duke? Carolina? Kentucky? Even Gonzaga? Notre Dame's likely never going to get a one-and-done guy. A two-and-done guy? It would have to be someone along the likes of Obi Toppin, who was an unknown until blowing up to national player of the year. But the elite of the elite, why choose Notre Dame?

Dennis: Tom one of the things dislike about Brey is his strategy in the last minute of close games. Take the Elite 8 game against Kentucky as an example. Why does he continue to have one player hold the ball at the top of the key and then shoot a 25 footer at the end of the shot clock? Why not call time out and make a play so we get off a high percentage shot.

Thomas Noie: Dennis: I agree, but his thinking is this - recruit the proverbial High IQ guys who can think on their feet in close situations. Sometimes it works. Sometimes it doesn't. But there are times when Brey will eschew a timeout in favor of just playing, in part because he doesn't want to overthink the situation where it's paralysis by analysis. Understood, but there are times, like the Kentucky game, where he's got to be more assertive than putting it in the hands of his guys.

Joey from Highland, IN: Do you think Durham can be as good as Geben was his senior year? That would be amazing. Geben was nothing then turned into a nice player his senior year.

Thomas Noie: Joey: Whoa....think everybody would take that in a heartbeat. That's a great call, and maybe too big of a jump, yet one that probably has to be made. I'll still ride with the belief that Martin Geben was the team most valuable player his senior season. He was really good that year. Durham needs to do the same. Like, this is it, go be a player. Don't pout. Don't let anything hold you back. Go grab it.

Kevin: What's your early take on the ACC this coming season? Can't believe how weak it was last year and can't imagine it will be that way the coming season but with the transfer portal and such it's hard to know year to year who will be difficult to beat other than the usual blue bloods.

Thomas Noie: Kevin: Haven't dived too deeply into what the league will look like next year....we're just trying to get through the next week without any NBA playoffs or pickup hoops! I did see one early projection that had Notre Dame 11th. No way that happens. This team will be better than 11th. Maybe not better than the top four of usual suspects - Duke, Carolina, Louisville and Virginia. Think Duke and Virginia are both repeat opponents next season, so there's that. As down as the league was last year, it may not be THAT much better in 2020-21.

Todd: Hey Tom, thanks for the chats! With Cormac Ryan, what former Irish player can you compare him to and what can we expect from him next year? Also, what do you see out of Durham next year?

Thomas Noie: Todd: Cormac Ryan is Ben Hansbrough Lite. He's got some swagger to his game, which is something the program really needs. He tends to play too fast sometimes, but that will come. He's a main guy from the jump. And Juwan Durham? You're a fifth-year senior and main guy. Go play like one.

Kevin: Clearly Brey isn't going to be at ND much longer than 3 to 5 years depending on circumstances, if you had to put odds on the field in terms of replacements how would it look?

Thomas Noie: Kevin: No idea. No, really. What does college basketball, what does college athletics look like in five years? Who's the athletic director at Notre Dame? Is the program ascending or descending at that point? Too many unknowns to know.

Guest: Johnny from Dallas Tx. Would you bet, if you where a betting man and allowed to, on ND getting in the tournament next year? If so how long would they stay in it?

Thomas Noie: Yes, if I were a betting man (and for the record, not even close to one) I'd say they're going to the NCAA tournament next year. As I mentioned earlier, it's the next step - from 3-15 (bad) to 10-10 (average) and now it's time for an above-average year that includes the NCAA tournament. Let's go!

Todd: Feel bad for Rex, TJ and Mooney with how the season ended, especially how well the team was playing at the time. What have you heard about those 3 and their next steps?

Thomas Noie: All want to play professionally, but will go three different routes. Don't know how much Rex Pflueger has left. it was painful watching him at times late in the year. Everything looked like it creaked on him. Gibbs and Mooney were set to participate in the Portsmouth (Va.) Invitational pre-NBA draft showcase for college seniors. Not that it would lead to being selected in the draft (whenever that might be) but it might've opened up additional opportunities for them. Gibbs is a fringe guy (G league, Europe), while Mooney should at least get a look.

Joey from Highland, IN: With this transfer portal and grad transfers, let’s hope Ryan isn’t a play 2 good years at Notre Dame then grad at a powerhouse school.

Thomas Noie: Joey: At least it would be two "good" years, as opposed to two average years, right? Think Mike Brey would take that....the grad transfer is part of the college basketball landscape. It's going to be a factor both ways for schools. Just kinda gotta roll with it.

Kevin: As the ND beat writer do you prefer the ACC or BE days????

Thomas Noie: Kevin: Maybe the best question of the day to date. Been thinking about that a lot the last couple days as I do my retrospective Notre Dame hoops columns. I love the ACC and getting to some of the cities I'm able to get to in the league, but you almost forget about what the Big East was all about. Especially that 2010-11 season when 11 teams made the NCAA tournament and Notre Dame went 14-4 in the league. That was a heck of a ride. If I had to pick, I'd say Big East for this reason - there were more home games that mattered to this fan base than what they currently get. Georgetown was big. Syracuse was big. Villanova and UConn and Marquette and DePaul. Louisville had become a rival in those latter years. People knew about Providence and Seton Hall and St. John's. ACC? It's Duke and Carolina and Virginia and Louisville and the 'Cuse and then......not many others that move the fan meter. The ACC's been good to Notre Dame, but from a juice standpoint, the Big East might've been best.

Justin, Fort Wayne: It looks like Coach Humphrey does most of the recruiting from a coaching stand point, then Brey gets involved. Why doesn’t Ayres or Balanis do any recruiting?

Thomas Noie: Both's more of a team effort than what many realize.

Kevin: I'm an Upstate NY resident, how does Dinosaur compete with NC BBQ joints in your opinion? As a followup to the ACC/BE question would you prefer the ACC Tourny in Greensboro experience or the BE at The Garden??? I think I know the answer as there is nothing like The BE Tourny at The Garden in my opinion.

Thomas Noie: Kevin: Man, now I'm hungry. Dinosaur was a must-get every time in Syracuse. Manhattan" Virgil's and Might Quinn's. Greensboro is great, but if you've read my stuff, you know there's nothing like a Big East semifinal Friday night at the Garden.

Jake: If you had to guess the order of the bench next season, what would it be. I think Carmody has gotta be the 6th man, but beyond that, who knows? Not me for sure.

Thomas Noie: Jake: Too much too soon for Carmody....he's gotta take it slowly and, most importantly, get through a season without getting hurt. Mike Brey wants Nik Djogo to get the first chance as sixth man. We'll see where it goes from there.

Thomas Noie: Going to slide out for couple minutes to watch Niele Ivey press conference....keep the questions coming....we've got all afternoon to talk hoops!

Ryan, Alliance OH: With the recent hire of Coach Ivey, is there any possibility of her son, Jaden, coming with his mom back to ND. Not sure if that can even happen. Thanks for doing a great job keeping us informed.

Thomas Noie: Zero....almost as much chance as Notre Dame winning a national championship in football...whoops...did I say that?

Dennis: Tom why does Brey continue to schedule ample games against teams ranked 300+ each year? It kills our power rating and hurts our tournament chances when we are on the bubble. Even when we are clearly in the field it hurts our seed. Instead of playing teams ranked 300+ how about playing teams ranked #125-#225? There are plenty of poor teams that will not demand a home and home and also not kill our team ranking.

Thomas Noie: Dennis: Three words. North Dakota State. Two more words: Ball State. Here's the current scheduling philosophy of this staff - not saying it's right, not saying it's wrong, just what they believe is best. There's plenty of potential power numbers and games and chances within the league where you don't have to go out on a limb from a non-league standpoint. Some years, when you have a veteran team that can be challenged, Notre Dame might stretch it a bit in the non-league. But take last year - coming off 14-19, this team needed confidence. It needed to win. Thus, the non-league was weak, believing that the numbers would improve in league play. They didn't, because the league was so down. Scheduling like that is manageable, so as long as you get a few of those power wins in league play. When you get none of them, like last year, it magnifies the weak non-league. I don't see that changing all that much.

joe from the south side: Tom: Projected stat line for Durham.....20-25 mpg, 8-10 ppg, 5-6 rpg, 2.5 blocks. Is that about right and if you are Brey is that enough?

Thomas Noie: Yes, with the caveat that there will have to be nights when the points have to be around 12-15 and rebounds 8-10. He has to be more consistent game-in and game-out in his last season.

Jake: So djogo goes from the oddly used (59 ACC minutes iirc) 9th turned 8th man to 6th man and getting starter minutes? Can’t say I agree, I think Carmody is better. I’ll trust Brey though, but I don’t understand.

Thomas Noie: Jake: Whoaaaaa....easy there my man.... Look at it from this end - starting the season with a fifth-year senior as the sixth man or someone who's missed basically two years with season-ending injuries who's played in exactly one ACC game. The projection of Djogo as the sixth man is to START the season. That may change by Christmas. You think Carmody's better. What gives you that belief? He's got the potential to be better, and to be the sixth man, but man, let's make sure he gets healthy and stays healthy. Then build out his minutes and his role from there.

joe from the south side: Tom: In a recent podcast, Brey alluded to some late night shenanigans at the hotel bar when the BE had their annual meeting. Most notably, Huggins and Jay Wright were in the conversation. Anything you can add?

Thomas Noie: Joe: Ha! Would've liked to have been involved in those late nights in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., during those spring meetings. Let's just say there were a lot of late nights and early mornings and groggy head coaches. There were a lot of guys at that time who would've been fun to hang with and listen to their stories. Including Mike Brey.

joe from the south side: Tom: Quick take on Wertz. More of a penetrator and driver than Hubb. Better shooter, improving shooter. Not sure handed enough to be a 1. Needs to cut down on TOs with better decision making. Can find a shot for himself late in the shot clock. Played against some guys who looked like they should have worked the undercard for Vince McMahon as heels. He needs to sit a year to acclimate to the level of ACC competition. Best way to do that is practice against D1 talent.

Thomas Noie: Boom! There you go. Good stuff, which is why I don't don't really get the push of getting him to play right away. Let him learn the game, this system, before jumping right in. Patience.....

Bill: To continue with the ACC/BE comparisons...I have loved the ACC move and the marquee matchups, but this past year was the first time I felt ND basketball fit better with the new Big East. As you mentioned, Louisville became a rival in the latter days of the Big East and they have always had Marquette and DePaul, but games with Creighton, Xavier, and Butler would easily evolve into great rivalries. What's missing most from the ACC agreement is that two-rivalry...BC doesn't exaclty make the cut

Thomas Noie: Bill: Amen, same goes for Georgia Tech....but you take those two out, you have, have, have to add Lousiville. Think I'd go Louisville and Syracuse as permanent rivals instead of Georgia Tech and Boston College, though those two have been guaranteed wins the last few years.

joe from the south side: Tom: I'll lay off the graduated seniors going forward, but have you ever seen a more nondescript four year career (for a high end recruit) than Gibbs? He never elevated his game, never really had a defining moment (beating BC at the buzzer does not cut it for me), never showed any hop or bounce to his game. Had a nice perimeter game, could handle but with no aggressiveness, but what really stood out? In my mind, his four years........Meh. Also, keep in mind for all of Brey's recruiting (such as it is), he only recruited Gibbs of the three. Rex was a back end replacement for Coleman-Lands (in the transfer portal BTW) and Mooney was handed to him by Billy Donovan.

Thomas Noie: Joe: Couldn't agree more. Gibbs and I had our give and take and back and forth moments. Some warranted, some not. But one reason I was a little tougher on him than most is that I saw what other guards did during their careers. They got better. They expanded their games. Gibbs was .....just kind of there. He played a lot of minutes and made some shots now and then, but did he ever really get better? Did he become elite? Most telling was this past year, when he didn't receive a single league post-season recognition. Not even honorable mention. That said a lot about how others viewed his game, not just the mean guy from the SBT.

joe from the south side: Tom: Old Big East question. You could have dinner with Raff or Louie. Which one?

Thomas Noie: Joe: Bill Raftery, because it would be dinner, desert, drinks, late-night snack somewhere and maybe even breakfast before he was ready to call it a night. He's the best.

Paul R: If Brey does stay till the end of his contract, would Ingelsby be one of the front runners to take over assuming he's done alright at Delaware?

Thomas Noie: Paul: Jack Swarbrick may have tipped his hand Wednesday during the Muffet McGraw retirement press conference when he talked about how important continuity was in the transfer of head coaching power. My first thought? Will he feel that way (will he still be AD) when it's time for Brey to walk away. If he is, Ingelsby = continuity, right?

joe from the south side: Tom: I would take Louie. He could get you in to Rao's.

Thomas Noie: Raft gets you in everywhere....

joe from the south side: Tom: I said this before and you kind of pooh-poohed the idea. Watch out for Wojo. Brey thinks very very highly of him and he recruited Wojo to Duke.

Thomas Noie: Joe: I'll duck before I say, I won't. Is Notre Dame a better job than Marquette? Look at all factors....facilities, arena, league, only big sport on campus, urban setting, who you can recruit....I'm thinking Marquette's a better job. It just is.

Coach from Reading, PA: Hi Tom. The salary determines how good the job is when comparing ND vs Marquette

Thomas Noie: In that case, Marquette still a better job.

joe from the south side: Tom: Over all the years, recruit who was the biggest disappointment as a 3 or 4 year guy (no Cam Biedscheid), and biggest surprise. Like, "Damn he got game!"

Thomas Noie: Biggest surprise has to be Luke Harangody. Nobody saw that coming from him. Like, the second scorer/rebounder in school history from some region Rat. Disappointment? Wouldn't classify this guy as a disappointment, but it was disappointing that we were just starting to see the best of Demetrius Jackson, and how many tools he had in the tool box when it was over for him and he was off to the NBA. We could've used another year of all that, right?

joe from the south side: Tom: ND is a better job because of the league. The BE does not have CBB royalty like Duke and Carolina. You have (at least for now) a third HOF Coach at the 'Cuse. Louisville and Virginia are now in the national title conversation almost annually. Leonard Hamilton is doing a great job at FSU. No league can boast like that. As much as I like the BE, city Catholic schools are always going to be driven by the head coach, not national prominence, only NOVA maybe. Do you really think CREI,DEP and XAV are career defining jobs? Look, I love those schools and root for them thru and thru, but if, IF IF you want to play against the best and beat the's ACC BBL. Look at the NBA draft in 2019. Brey could make more money in the studio. He's giving Swarbrick and Jenkins a HUGE loyalty discount.

Thomas Noie: Nope....Marquette still a better job. I get it, but it just is. Every kid wants to play in the NBA. You play in a state-of-the-art NBA arena. You play your league tournament in the Garden. You have an urban campus. You're not the "other" sport on campus. Play Duke and Carolina in the NCAA tournament.

joe from the south side: Tom: My wife wants me to cut the grass. Should I: 1. Complain of a bad back, 2. Tell her I am saying a decade of the rosary for ND BBL, or 3. Just bite the bullet and make an afternoon of it?

Thomas Noie: Going No. 3 every time....can't wait to cut get to be outside, get a little workout (mine takes a little over an hour). Yeah, cutting grass, big fan!

joe from the south side: OK.. Stay safe and please let's go at it again in May. I am down to a few more of these for the time being (we aremoving to Europe God willing). I really look forward to these. All the Best! My backyard beckons.

Thomas Noie: Joe from the South Side becomes Joe from Europe....stay healthy my man!

Don - Cabo San Lucas: Yep, go with #3 if you wish to have a happy marriage. Me, nothing I hated more than yard work. You had a nice article recently regarding arenas and your bucket list. Any games on the horizon you are lucking forward to for that reason?

Thomas Noie: Don: Can we get a tourney in Cabo? No, really. None on the horizon, in part because our travel budget has fallen victim to the newspaper industry as a whole. Was looking forward to the football game at Lambeau Field (Packers season tickets have been in my family for 60 years)....but don't know if that's going to happen. And I LOVE yard work....all of it!

Paul R: Do you see Mooney getting drafted late 2nd round or undrafted with multiple summer (or whenever it happens this year) league invites?

Bill: Brey mentioned more home and homes and less buy games as a result of some budget changes because of the virus - what kind of opponents would fit that bill?

Thomas Noie: Paul: Not likely. He could've wedged his way into the two-round, 60-draft selection process with a good showing at Portsmouth and then again at combine in Chicago in June. He's a four-year college guy, and NBA types tend to look at that and say, there's something about that....they draft more on potential than production

Thomas Noie: This one's for Bill, out of sequence, so I apologize. Don't get hung up on less buy games. I've heard it's not as radical as it may seem. There are a couple non-league holes left on the schedule, but those would be home games.

Thomas Noie: That should do it for this month. Solid pandemic effort. Let's do it again in May (late May). If you have a question or comment that cannot wait, drop me a note at Thanks to all. And stay healthy!