Chat Transcript: Talk Notre Dame men's basketball with Tom Noie

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ND Insider

Notre Dame Insider Tom Noie hosted a live chat on June 11 to talk Notre Dame men's basketball. Following is a transcript of the discussion:

Tom Noie: Welcome back to another offseason edition of the Notre Dame men's basketball chat. June feels a lot like May and April and part of March in the coronavirus pandemic world, where the hours and days and weeks all seem to run together. Let's forget about that for a few hours and talk some hoops. Be sure to include your name and hometown with your question or comment. And with that, you know what's next...let's light this chat candle! Off we go....

Alex perry: What do you make out of Notre dames future with the addition of trey wertz for 2021 and will we see ND play on time ?

Tom Noie: Alex: A two-for-one to start, so let's do it. Love the addition of former Santa Clara guard Trey Wertz, who gives the Irish something - and someone - that they haven't had in far too long. He's a guard who can make shots from the perimeter, but also get to the basket. He doesn't just settle for a spot-up 3. Not afraid to get into the lane and get to the basket and get fouled. He's long. He's athletic. He's unafraid. Exactly what you want from a two guard. As for part two....

Tom Noie: ....Nobody really knows what's going to happen as far as an on-time start date for college basketball. A lot of that will have to do with what happens earlier in the fall. Does college football start on time? Are there underlying issues that nobody foresees? A second wave of coronavirus in September or October? Notre Dame will move forward as if everything will start on time and be business as usual with exhibition games in late October/early November, and then the regular season. December's loaded for this team this season, which includes a Dec. 12 trip to Rupp Arena to play Kentucky and two Atlantic Coast Conference games. Whether fans will be allowed in, whether media will be allowed in, will another hurdle cleared as we move forward through the college football season. What works? What doesn't? All remains to be seen at this point.

Lee from Lancaster,SC: Who will be the "go to" player that can get the Irish a bucket when they are down by 1 with twenty seconds to go in the game?

Tom Noie: Lee: Great question. Think the obvious answer right now is Nate Laszewski, who knocked down the game-tying 3 at the end of regulation against Toledo and the game-winning 3 against North Carolina. So he's been there and done that. But this may be a team that's ready to not rely on that one guy to make the big shot. I'd like to see an attacking Prentiss Hubb at the end of a clock or game situation with the ability to lob it to Juwan Durham for a dunk or kick it to any number of potential shooters like Laszewski. Or Dane Goodwin. Don't forget about Cormac Ryan, the Stanford transfer who will impress right from the jump. Focusing on one guy limits options and for this team to be better than last year, it has to have more options than just John Mooney going for another monster double double.

Lee from Lancaster,SC: For most of the past 20 years, the women's team has garnered more local support and national media attention than the men's team. Now that Muffet has retired and the women's team is rebuilding, will the men be the most popular basketball team on campus for the remainder of Mike Brey's tenure?

Tom Noie: Lee: Only if they win, and that's a big if. Don't get fooled into thinking that the women's team just became popular around South Bend because they happened to win more than the men. Remember the early years - and those years included building a Big East power - when tickets were routinely free, give-aways at local gas stations. The women's program needed to do that to build interest and did it by tapping into an older fan base. They kept ticket prices down, way, way down in relation to the men. In a city the size of South Bend, where discretionary income isn't at a surplus, fans had to choose - pay more $$$ for the men or less $$$ for the women. They chose door No. 2. Of course, getting the routine run of Final Fours and two national championships doesn't hurt as well.

Collin from Elkhart: You recently did a piece on former players playing professionally. Which current players are most likely to stick in the NBA and which ones are destined for overseas?

Tom Noie: Collin: Said piece appeared in Tuesday's South Bend Tribune. Here's a link: Notre Dame currently has only one former player in the NBA in Milwaukee Bucks guard Pat Connaughton, who's an unrestricted free agent. He'll get attention on the open market in the offseason, which is when, exactly, October?? Other than that, Notre Dame alums are fringe NBA guys (Matt Farrell, Demetrius Jackson) and overseas lifers (Tim Abromaitis, Torin Francis, Steve Vasturia). It's not the worst way in the world to make a living. And it beats a real job. A guy like Bonzie Colson, who played professionally in Turkey last season, may find his way onto an NBA roster given the right situation. Same goes for John Mooney. But no true summer league will be a big hurdle for both.

Matt from DC: Hey Tom. (1) What are the chances that the hoops teams (men and women) will be able to get on campus early to begin making up for lost time? And when? It would seem to be logistically a lot simpler than for the football team. (2) Why did Georgetown bow out of the series with ND? Any insight? Thanks as always!

Tom Noie: Matt: While members of the Notre Dame football team have started to make their way back to campus and the Morris Inn and started the coronavirus quarantine process, there's been no movement whatsoever for the Irish men's and women's basketball team to return anytime soon. Mike Brey indicated last week that he still expects not to see his guys until the days (and maybe hours) leading up to the start of the fall semester on Aug. 10. The first practice would then be Aug. 11. That's the mandate for the university, which wants to take this whole reintegration process s...l....o...w. Brey has already counseled his guys that he doesn't want them worrying about this school (Louisville) or that school (Clemson) already being back on campus. They're not going to use that as a crutch or a concern. The timetable is what it is, so go with it. Stay in shape the best they can, bang out a couple summer school classes (which start next week) on-line and then be ready to hit the ground running....

Tom Noie: ...As for part two of your question with Georgetown bowing out, don't get the feeling that Patrick Ewing was really in with both feet in getting something going. It all sounded well and good last offseason and even early last fall, then the Hoyas fell on rough times with losses, off-court issues, transfers and more losses. Think Ewing would rather have the guarantee 'W' game than rekindling the series. They pulled the plug on it in January, basically saying, yeah, we're not interested. Notre Dame filled that spot with Kentucky, will eventually restart the series with Marquette, still wants to do something with Villanova and wants to get back to the UCLA series sooner than later. So Georgetown goes to the back of the line, maybe for a long time.

Ray From Mishawaka: Hi Tom Long time follower and thanks for having the chat and for your columns thru this pandemic. I'm a long time season ticket holder since 1974 and just wondering if you have any idea how fans will be able to see games. Since I'm close to 70 years old even though my health is fine, I'm in a risk group because of my age. I want to continue to support the program with my season ticket purchase. Do you think this season will include fans on some level? Also, any word on any movement for ACC Network being picked up by Comcast.

Tom Noie: Ray: First off, glad you're healthy. Now stay that way so you can keep reading the Tribune! lol The most popular question for all of college basketball right now is....we don't know. A lot of what may or may not happen likely will be based on how the sports world responds to the NBA, the NHL and college football. Then the coronavirus numbers themselves. Will there be a spike? A second wave? Will schools want to play it safe. I've read a few stories where epidemiologists have been quoted as saying the last place they'd want to go until there's a vaccine is an indoor sporting event, or any sport event. The fact that it's indoors likely complicates matters. Even with the option of wearing masks and social distancing, think college basketball will start with no fans (and likely no media) in November and December and then reassess for conference play in January. But again, if a second wave arrives (as the experts believe), what happens then? So much unknown....

Tom Noie: ...And have heard zero movement on Comcast picking up the ACC Network. Wish they would. As the largest cable provider in the area, for Notre Dame fans not to be able to watch Notre Dame hoops (men and women) is ridiculous.

Liam from London: Tom: With Juwan Durham as the only true center on the roster with game experience, are the Irish looking to acquire another inside, post player? Zona and Laszewski have length, but will they mostly space the floor?

Tom Noie: Liam: Notre Dame's always going to be active in looking to add to its roster, but the later it goes, the more unlikely they can add a transfer (or in this case, a grad transfer) who can help for 2020-21. The low post now belongs to Juwan Durham. It's like the coaching staff is saying, hey, JD, this is your chance. Take it and run with it. No more playing second fiddle to John Mooney or worrying that you're not getting enough touches or minutes or chances. Time to step up and deliver, sort of like how Martinas Geben did his senior year when he went from bit player wanting to do more to arguably the team's most valuable player in 2017-18 (11.0 ppg., 8.0 rpg., 60.6 fg percentage). If Durham can give them 12 and eight, that will work. Don't yet know how Matt Zona will fit, but don't count out Nate Laszewski and his role as a second big. Yeah, he should be more of a floor spacer, but he was the team's second most consistent/productive rebounder last season behind John Mooney.

Liam from London: Provided Nik Djogo decides to return for one more year, the Irish have 12 players on the roster (amen!). However, Elijah Morgan is a walk-on, Trey Wertz has to sit one year, and Zona, Taylor and Sanders are freshmen. Are the Irish too thin to be competitive?

Tom Noie: Liam: Not at all. Most important in having 12 is the Irish finally get some wiggle room in terms of having enough guys to practice 5-on-5 without having to tape into the coaching staff (lace 'em up, Ryan Ayers) if a couple guys go down with injuries. Nik Djogo will be back as a graduate student to follow a similar academic path as Rex Pflueger in getting his master's. Mike Brey's always been a believer that he can do more with less. Maxing out the scholarships just to max them out is something he's never believed in. That's just more guys you have to try and keep happy, and less scholarship flexibility in the future. He's got 12 on the roster, but 12 guys aren't going to play. Even with Trey Wertz sitting out as a transfer and Elijah Morgan as a walk-on, Brey's not going to play all 10 guys. Who knows how the three freshmen (Elijah Taylor, Matt Zona, Tony Sanders) will fit. Maybe they will. Maybe they won't. Maybe one or two will. Maybe one goes on the five-year plan. Thin is OK, as long as they stay healthy.

Tyler: Tom- any local update on Blake Wesley?

Tom Noie: Tyler: That would be South Bend Riley High School guard Blake Wesley, who will start his senior year in the fall. All indications are that Wesley remains a viable options for the 2021 class that also includes South Bend Saint Joseph small forward J.R. Konieczny. Wesley's garnered a lot of attention from other schools, but the feeling is Notre Dame will be in it until the end (a road the Irish have traveled with many a prospect in recent recruiting classes). Stay tuned.

Victor K.: Tom...always enjoy our opportunities to chat. Sonny, Justin, Xander and I love to come from Salem once in a while and check out a game. Obviously, the Irish already have a recruit from South Bend in this J.R. Konieczny lad. How hot and heavy are they on Blake Wesley? I know Jackson and Torres were area players who were Irish teammates before. Do you recall any other times where more than one South Bend area player have had scholarships at the same time?

Tom Noie: Good to hear from you again Vic. You can scroll down to the previous question for more background info on Blake Wesley, who definitely will be on the short wish list moving forward. Been covering Notre Dame hoops since 1988 and this really is the first time that two local kids have had Notre Dame offers this early in the process. Remember, Austin Torres was committed to Central Michigan before being offered and accepting said offer from Mike Brey in basically the same night early in his senior year. There haven't been a pair of prospects like Wesley and Konieczny (both averaged better than 20 points per game as juniors) since I don't know when. Might have to defer to someone who's followed area high school hoops longer/closer. Think I know a guy! lol

Erik ‘04: Thanks for being here! Which Mike Brey *recruit* (ie not Troy Murphy) has had the most successful NBA career? Pat C.?

Tom Noie: Erik: No, no, no...thank YOU for being here....can't answer any questions if I don't have any questions. Yeah, going to have to go with Pat Connaughton, and it's probably not very close. He parlayed one of the greatest single seasons in recent memory (2-14-15) into an NBA combine invitation and a second-round draft selection, one that nobody saw coming. He's survived and at times thrived at the game's highest level. He signed a two-year deal with Milwaukee betting on himself and becomes a restricted free agent at season's end. He's going to draw interest. There have been others (Luke Harangody, Demetrius Jackson, Jerian Grant) who have been drafted but for one reason or another, just didn't work out. Connaughton was determined to stick and has. It's a great success story. As for Europe, gotta go with my guy Torin Francis, who's still getting it done at age 37. Never saw that coming when he had back surgery his sophomore year. They guy's unbelievable.

Matt from Granger: Any update on Rob Carmondy and when he will be back to play

Tom Noie: Matt: The Notre Dame medical staff is anxious to get Carmody back to campus to monitor his rehab from the knee injury/surgery, but all indications are that he's on track, he's healthy, getting better and will be in the rotation mix this season. Next step once he heals physically will be the psychological hurdle. What type of player is he coming off two serious/season-ending injuries. Does he dial it back just a little? Stay aggressive? Can he just stay healthy long enough to play in January? That would be a big step for him. This is a big stretch for him and his career.

Andrew from Plymouth, IN: According to 247 Sports, there are only 3 offers out there for next year's recruits; JR is committed, Blake Wesley seems to leaning toward IU at the moment, and Caleb Furst is committed to Purdue. Do you feel like the coaching staff is making a mistake putting all of their eggs in the Wesley basket and should have some more offers out there? They messed up with putting too much into Dickinson this cycle and had to send out late offers to fill out this incoming class. Compared to other schools, ND just hasn't offered many kids. We probably need to sign 3 kids in the next class, why haven't more offers been extended? Does Brey prefer the transfer portal to recruiting HS players?

Tom Noie: Andrew: Think this is where the Notre Dame FOOTBALL recruiting world collides with the Notre Dame BASKETBALL recruiting world. They're in different galaxies. Notre Dame football floods the recruiting class with offers. Notre Dame basketball simply can't do that from a fit/academic standpoint. They prefer a more measured approach. See what kids are like off the floor. How would they fit in the classroom? In the locker room? As for Blake Wesley, don't know if there's any indication whatsoever that he's leaning to any school. He's a kid that seems to like the attention he's getting as a high Division I recruit. And don't get caught up in the they "messed up" with Hunter Dickinson. Every indication is that he was coming. It was a done deal...and then it wasn't, for reasons beyond Notre Dame's doing. So there's that. And don't forget, they have Konieczny committed, but also get Trey Wertz eligible for two years in 2021-22 and will also have Cormac Ryan still trending as a college play.

Erik, Granger, IN: Any idea what Durham has been able to do this summer to take his game to the level needed by a #1 big is Brey’s system? We need him on the floor for 35 mins a game unless one of the freshman surprise, right? I love what he’s brought at times as a complimentary piece, but he hasn’t show any consistency yet. If you don’t know what he has been doing, what would you say he should have been doing to take that next step?

Tom Noie: Erik: Wait.....whoa......what??? Juwan Durham playing a combined 35 minutes over two games, right? Not 35 in one night. Durham played 17 minutes a game last season, and you expect him to double that? Those expectations are a big too inflated. Look at the recent run of main bigs in this system. John Mooney was a double double machine last season. He played 32.6. Same for Bonzie Colson...he played 32.4. I mentioned Martinas Geben as the team MVP his senior season in 2017-18....he played 24.8. Even Zach Auguste, who was as good of a pro prospect big man as the program's had in a decade logged only 29.6 and 24.4 his senior and junior seasons. So, no way does Durham play anywhere close to 35 this season. It's just not going to happen. The biggest item on his offseason agenda is to max out whatever minutes he's on the floor. He had a tendency to drift the last two seasons. He'd block a few shots or get a lob dunk and then disappear. Can he play 25? Can he get 12 points and eight rebounds and block a few shots?

Tom Noie: That would be a massive jump for him, even more so than maybe playing 35 minutes. With Durham, it's mainly above the shoulders. He's got to believe that he's a main guy, that he can be a game-changer, that he can be a low-post threat. Mike Brey's spent the last two-plus seasons trying to get Durham to believe he can be good. Even really good. It gets to the point where it has to be up to the player to believe in himself, like, yeah, I'm good. I'm going to show everyone. That's the next step Durham has to take this season. He's out of time, so make the most of it.

Carl: Which player(s) gets hurt the most by there not being summer organized workouts?

Tom Noie: Carl: Great question, and the most obvious is all of them, but on different levels. Let's start from the top - this was a key summer for the junior class of Prentiss Hubb, Dane Goodwin and Nate Laszewski. Like, it's their team now. No Rex. No T.J. No Mooney. It was the juniors' turn to run pickup games, be stronger voices/presence in the conditioning sessions. Kind of pull everyone into the group. Juwan Durham needed the summer to show his teammates that, yeah, you can trust me. Cormac Ryan needed it to get more comfortable playing with the main guys. He'll be one. Robby Carmody needed the summer to rebuild his confidence coming off the two injuries. The freshman needed it to see exactly what the level of competition/commitment it takes to be good. Trey Wertz needed it to ease into his Notre Dame career. Summer's big at Notre Dame. Not having it hurts. It was about more than just basketball.

Dave from Alpha, NJ: Hi Tom. Never a bad time to talk ND hoops. With basically no backup point guard currently on the roster, do you think that will make P Hubb more of a distributor or scorer? Plus his defense cannot be overlooked and will be much needed especially an ACC play. Thanks for these chats. They are always informative and keep up the good work!

Tom Noie: Dave: Good stuff. Prentiss Hubb is on track for an All-ACC type of season for sure, but I don't quite know what that season will look like. At 12.1 ppg., he's the team's leading returning scorer, but the Irish haven't had their point guard lead the team in scoring since Demetrius Jackson did it (15.8 ppg.) in 2015-16. Is Hubb cut from the same cloth? Does he need to be? Having a year older Dane Goodwin and adding Cormac Ryan will help in the handling department. But as far as Hubb as a distributor/scorer, think he's just going to be a really good basketball player. Like, let's see where that takes him. Might be pretty far.

Brian from Bloomington, IL: Hi Tom! Any insight into when the schedule might be released? Who the ACC/Big10 Challenge opponent might be? Thanks for the discussion today!

Tom Noie: Brian: Not soon enough. Even the best of times, where there's no pandemic, the schedule likely is released around (r.e. after) Labor Day Weekend. It might be later this year given all the moving parts around the sports world in September and October and beyond. But every indication, and granted it's only June, is that the season is expected to start on time. That may change as we move deeper through the summer, so we'll see. As for an ACC/Big Ten Challenge opponent, still TBD. Lasts year's challenge matchups were announced June 6. That date's come and gone. Notre Dame expects to get a home game. Given the way of the world, I'd expect the Big 10 opponent would be within driving distance (teams will want to fly only if needed). Given that, you can eliminate Purdue, Indiana, Michigan State and Illinois. So say, maybe Michigan or Northwestern or Ohio State or Wisconsin? It's anyone's guess how it all might shake out.

Andrew from Plymouth, IN: Since Matt Carroll wasn't a Brey recruit, the only other guy I can think of in recent memory to make any kind of NBA impact was Chris Quinn. He had a pretty good run, it was short, but he played really well at times. Jerian Grant didn't play as well as we thought he would and Jack Cooley probably should've gotten more run, he always delivered when he got an opportunity. I think Ben Hansbrough could've carved out a role on the end of the bench but I don't think he was interested in that.

Tom Noie: Andrew: Good call on CQ, who maxed it out that one year (2007-08) with the Miami Heat. An undrafted free agent, Quinn appeared in 60 games and made 25 starts. He averaged 7.8 points, 2.0 rebounds and 3.0 assists in 22.3 minutes per game. He played 66 games for the Heat, all off the bench, the following year then bounced around. Best part of his time with the Heat was cementing a bond with the team's video guy, then player development coach, Erik Spoelstra. He's now one of Spoelstra's main assistants. One reason he didn't jump at chance to return to Notre Dame as an assistant couple years ago was he sees himself as a future NBA head coach. One of the best guys to come through Notre Dame - and he was Mike Brey's first true recruit.

Mark Kruz from Mishawaka: Tom thanks for having this chat and hope you're staying safe. This season's non-conference schedule is shaping up to be a nice test before ACC play with Kentucky,Purdue,the Legends Classic in Brooklyn and the Big 10/ACC challenge. Also 2 really good mid-majors in Liberty and Eastern Washington. Any word on other teams filling out the non-conference schedule and is it possible some games could be cancelled due to the pandemic? Hope you get to start your pick up games soon!

Tom Noie: Mark: Hitting me where it hurts there at the rims on the playgrounds means no summer pickup for us church-league guys. I get why, but man, days like today, there's no better place to be than getting up and down on the blacktop with the fellas. Maybe soon....good to see Mike Brey ready to challenge his guys a little more in the non-conference. He wouldn't have played this slate the last two years, but maybe knows/think something about his guys that the rest of us don't. Honestly, it's time for them to collectively make a move and be better. Howard also will play a non-league game at Notre Dame in late December. There's a couple other spots open but Brey didn't seem concerned about filling them. And there's no word or worry about canceling games. We'll get a clearer idea on that as October arrives. Where are we in the world? Then the sports world? College football? That will be an indication as to how college hoops will move forward.

toledojohnny from Ga.: Hi Tom - Nick Djogo has great elevation and movement. I just want so badly for him to put it all together. Is it a confidence thing? Can he put it all together this year?

Tom Noie: TJ: It might just be a maxed out player potential/production thing. Every player has a ceiling. We certainly saw it last year with John Mooney and Rex Pflueger and T.J. Gibbs. That's why when there was all the talk about, ooohh, maybe the seniors will get another shot at this college basketball thing, Mike Brey was adamant that they didn't. Like, nothing against those guys, but it's time they move on, time for the program to move on? Why? Myriad reasons, but man, it's one hard sell to have to watch them again. The Irish were going to be only so good (not good enough) with them. It's just the way it is. Same with Nik. He's a good locker room guy who preaches the message and works. He's had chances, but just hasn't delivered. Every program has those kind of guys. They tried, it didn't work. It may all come together this year. It might not. Why? Ceiling's been reached.

Victor K.: Who would be your next selection for the ring of honor?

Tom Noie: Vic's back for more! And with the heat, too. Well played. This one's always a tricky one because there's really no right or wrong answer. Purely subjective. With that in mind, also remember that this is a Mike Brey baby. The head coach has the ultimate say on who should go in and when. Brey wanted Bob Whitmore (rest in peace) before he could no longer battle pancreatic cancer. So Whitmore went in. Brey wanted Kelly Tripucka, so Tripucka went in last winter. Who's next? Let's look at the Top 10 scorers in school history. Six of the 10 are in...the four not? Chris Thomas (2,195), Pat Garrity (2,085), Matt Carroll (1,850) and David Graves (1,746). All-time greats? Think John Shumate, LaPhonso Ellis, John Paxson among those on the short list. But if the last two have been "old guard" guys in Whitmore and Tripucka, have to think the next guy in is more recent. In that case, it would be Garrity or Thomas. Take your pick...

Tom Noie: You also then have to wonder how long is long enough to wait on guys that keyed the 2014-15 run in Pat Connaughton and Jerian Grant? Both should go in together, something Brey might want to make happen before he coaches his last game....whenever that may be.

Justin, Fort Wayne: Tom, do you see Nate improving his post game and down low game a little more so he can be more of a true big man or do you see him just continuing to knock down threes and be a nice floor spacer?

Tom Noie: Justin: Not necessarily his post-up game, but maybe just his feel closer to the basket. As a freshman, he was a spot-up and shoot guy. A spacer. He started to trend away from that last season, when he finished with the second most rebounds on the team and second most defensive rebounds (124). He developed a better base where he wasn't tossed around as easily as he was when he was a freshman. Of his 195 shot attempts, 129 came from 3. He's not going to be a traditional back-to-the-basket/jump hook guy, but maybe mix in a little more mid-range. Linger down the baseline and go up for a dunk/finish/get fouled. We might see more of an all-around game from him this season.

IrishWay - Denver: Tom, thanks for the chat. What’s the word on Robby Carmody and expectation for this season? Was his injury worse than Rex’s? We he be full strength in October? Love the energy he brings and pulling for him. Does he technically have 4 years of eligibility left after back to back seasons cut short?

Tom Noie: Irish: Touched a lot on Carmody scroll up...or down, depending on how this chat flows. Think the first expectation for him is to make to January healthy. Then start to knock some of the rust off his game. He's been with the program for two full years and has played in one ACC game (last year's opener at North Carolina). And he does have four full years of eligibility remaining, which means he'd be a six-year guy. All indications are that he's on track to be on track when October arrives.

toledojohnny from Ga.: How does Hubb, Ryan, Goodwin, Laszewski and Durham sound for a starting 5?

Tom Noie: TJ: Sounds good to me...and it Mike Brey. That would be the starting five if the season opened tonight. What the rotation looks like behind them? To be determined. And what it looks like in November and December might be different for how it will look in January and February. What this roster allows are more potential options than running the same six or seven out there like last year.

Mark Kruz from Mishawaka: Tom who do you see as the vocal leader for the upcoming season? I can see coach Brey handing the keys over to Prentice Hubb. Also do you see assistant coach Rod Balanis looking to interview for another head coaching job if one would happen to be open?

Tom Noie: Mark: Prentiss Hubb already has the keys to the car and the car and the designated sweet parking spot. He had them last year, when Mike Brey often referred to Hubb as his Patrick Mahomes. Like, this is your team. Run with it. But vocally? All the juniors are a little on the quiet side, so it remains to be seen how that vocal leadership unfolds. Would say that Cormac Ryan would be the most natural vocal leader, but guy's gotta at least play in a game first. That's why summer was so critical for these guys. Those roles would be established in the evening pickup sessions.

JT Abilene TX: Will Carmody add much that the team doesn’t already have? Sounds like a similar player to much of the existing roster.

Tom Noie: JT: Honestly, nobody really knows. Carmody's a tough kid who's not afraid to stick his nose into other people's business on the basketball court. The Irish can never have enough of that. Thing is, he's played so sparingly the first two years (187 total minutes in 16 games) that he remains a blank slate to just about everybody.

Mike from Chicago: Tom, what are the expectations for Cormac Ryan? Any analysis of his playing style or who he reminds you of? His shooting splits were horrendous at Stanford but played through injury and is seen as a good shooter

Tom Noie: Mike: Think Ben Hansbrough 2.0. He's got that in his game. He's got some Pat Connaughton in him. Some Chris Quinn. I know it's June and it's a pandemic, but I'm all in on Cormac Ryan being a key guy for the next three seasons. He just seems to have "it" whatever "it" is. Guys responded to him last year when he was on the bench and in practice situations. He'll make a lot of shots. He was hurt that year at Stanford but tried to play through it. Can't wait to see him on the floor.

James from NJ: Hi Tom - what happened to Jerian Grant? Shocked he's out of the league already. Any news on if he will be back in NBA next year?

Tom Noie: James: Great question, and Jerian's situation, career arc isn't all that uncommon. He parlayed one really good/All-American year (2014-15) into a first-round draft pick and guaranteed three-year deal. Instant millionaire. But bad fit in New York and in Chicago in his first two stops. A lot of stuff that can mess with a young guy's head. Orlando gave him every chance to have that starting job. It didn't work out for him. It just happens. It was good to see him put up solid numbers in the G League with Washington's affiliate - 16.3 points, 4.3 rebounds, 5.9 assists. Like, that was the guy he was his final season at Notre Dame. Hopefully that earns him another chance. You only get so many in that league before teams move on to the next college senior to hit it big his final college year....

David from WI: Hey Tom - are you surprised Demetrius Jackson only had 1 year in the NBA? Surprised he left school early? What was coaching staff's reaction to it? Seems silly he left early only to be a mid 2nd round pick and then spend 1 yr in BOS mostly in G league, especially with his elite athleticism

Tom Noie: David: Demetrius Jackson's draft stock never was going to be any higher than it was in 2016. He was the team's leading scorer. He was coming off back to back Elite Eights. He had no choice. If he was going to try and be an NBA guy, that was the time to go. Everyone knew it. The window would've closed had he stayed. At the time, there were some respected mock drafts that had Jackson a Top 20 pick. But he was too small for a lot of teams' liking. Boston took him middle of the second round and gave him a lot of upfront money. But he never could take his game from college to the pros. Tried in Houston. Tried in Philadelphia. Tried this year with Los Angeles Lakers' G League team. He tried. Thing is, the next wave of NBA guys arrives and he gets bumped down the league ladder. Then the next guys. Then the next. He's basically maxed out the G League thing. If Europe's not an option, maybe going back to school and getting the degree is. He gave it a shot. It didn't work. He's been good with his money. It happens.

Joe from the south side: Carmody is Ben hansborough from the neck up. 8 points 3 assists one night, three steals three rebounds the next. He’s a utility infielder with a big motor. His game will be rusty. His motor will not. I expect him to dive into the stands to save a loose ball his first practice!

Tom Noie: Joe: Got that Carmody scouting report down! Expect him to do the same, but two years of season-ending injury, don't know how he'll respond.

Justin, Fort Wayne: Do you see Elijah Taylor making an impact this season and if so where do you see him making the biggest impact?

Tom Noie: Justin: Answering anything about the freshman trio of Elijah Taylor, Matt Zona and Tony Sanders is like asking questions about what the college football/basketball seasons will look like during a pandemic. I don't know. Wrote earlier this month in the Tribune (shameless plug/link: about how important summer was for the freshmen. It's the first chance you can see exactly how they may fit. Like, this kid can play, or man, that guy's gotta get in the weightroom lab. Going off high school stats/film isn't enough. No idea on any of the three. If I had to choose one, I'd say Taylor with his body type/skills will get the first chance. We'll see.

Joe from the south side: you can usually read Brey based on his non-league schedule. With the way he is loaded up in November and December he must have a great deal of confidence in this squad. That said I can’t imagine this team is brimming with confidence after the last few seasons. There are a lot of questions about JD, the bench, consistent scoring......what if they get thumped at Rupp? Some Big 10 team beats them in south bend? For a guy who schedules conservatively isn’t Brey pushing the chips all in pretty early?

Tom Noie: Joe: Yep...and it's time. That's the message to Durham and the juniors. Let's go. No tiptoeing around. You go from three wins in the league as freshmen to 10 as sophomores. Now play this non-league schedule to prepare you to get 12-13 ACC wins. Everyone gets thumped at Rupp....the Sweet 16 team of 2003 got pounded worked out well enough for them. Big Ten team wins in South Bend? Might happen, especially if there are no fans. That gives Irish hope to be better on the road in league play. We're about to enter a college basketball season like no other. What's it all going to look like? Will be fascinating to see it unfold. Same goes for the Irish.

Illinois Fool: Late to the Chat so sorry if this has been asked, how has recruiting and assessment of players changed due to the pandemic? With no summer tourneys I'd imagine many have to go by game tape and word of mouth. Also thanks for all of the articles you've been writing since the shutdown. The rankings of arenas was my favorite thus far.

Tom Noie: IF: All on videotape, Zoom and phone calls with coaches. ...totally old school. Might be one of the reasons why the recruiting class may be Konieczny, Wesley and a possible transfer.

John from Connecticut: How do you think the 2017-2018 season would have unfolded if Bonzie and others didn’t get hurt?

Tom Noie: John: Bonzie Colson becomes the first Notre Dame player to earn Atlantic Coast Conference player of the year. He and Matt Farrell are first team all-league guys. The Irish challenge for one of the four double-byes in the league tournament, get back to the NCAA tournament a fourth-straight season and get to at least the Sweet 16. Colson would've been a March Madness media star who eventually gets drafted that summer. D.J. Harvey finds his niche and doesn't transfer. The Irish lost a lot when that 2017-18 season turned on Colson's broken foot.

toledojohnny from Ga.: Tom - How is Mike Brey? He looked a little over weight and disheveled last. I was starting to worry about depression or something. Hope he's better. I think he will be a good game analyst for television when the time comes.

Tom Noie: TJ: Recently spent about 90 minutes with Brey as his custom for our offseason routine. He boasted that he had the best tan he'd had since he was 12 years old and swimming in outdoor pools back in his native Maryland. The last few years have been hard for him, basketball-wise and personally. The Irish were awful two years ago and good but never good enough last year. He lost both his mentor, Morgan Wootten, and fellow DeMatha alum Bob Whitmore within five months. Brey's in a better space mentally. Like, the pandemic helped him get in shape, get his juice back and rekindle his passion for coaching. He almost seems recharged to chase fixing this thing. Sooner than later.

John from Connecticut: I think I they had what it takes to make the sweet sixteen, but they were a little overrated in my opinion. They lost at home to Ball State, lost to a bad Indiana team, and lost by 18 to Michigan State.

Tom Noie: True, but all before mid-December....would've been nice to see how they bounced back/figured it out fully healthy in league play. Sometimes, it's good for teams who think they're really good (they were ranked No. 5 at one point) to get their lunch handed to them. Makes them better come February and March. But the Michigan State loss was really the beginning of the end.

Tom Noie: Thanks to everyone who joined today....gotta cut it a little short to jump on sports department Zoom conference call. We'll circle back around to hoops sometime in July. Until then, take care and stay healthy!