Chat Transcript: Talking lineups, coaching and what this season looks like for Notre Dame

Tom Noie
South Bend Tribune

Following is a complete transcript of Thursday's Notre Dame men's basketball chat.

Tom Noie: We made it....for's unofficially/officially college basketball season. There will be no exhibitions. No open practices. No nothing before we just start playing real games that matter. For Notre Dame, that's T-minus 16 days before meeting No. 13 Michigan State. Plenty to discuss in today's chat. Can we go three hours? Four? As long as the questions keep coming, I'll keep typing. Be sure to include your name and hometown with any question/comment. With that, you know the rest...let's light this chat candle.

Dave from Washington, DC: Hey Tom! Can’t believe hoops season is upon us. On a scale of 1 to 10 - 1 being ‘no shot’ and 10 being ‘it’s gonna happen’ - what are the chances we’ll see Trey Wertz play for the Irish this year?

Tom Noie: Dave: Great to hear from you, and about hoops. I'd say right now, let's put it at a 5 for Trey Wertz being eligible to play for Notre Dame (yet still retaining two additional years after his transfer from Santa Clara). This is a Mike Brey-led charge through the NABC to the NCAA to allow all transfers immediate eligibility to help with roster management when teams get hit with COVID-19 issues. Brey believes the roster thing will be an issue if guys go down. It should be an all-hands-on-deck scenario. Wertz gives them extra insurance. Brey said this week he's going to need a max of seven guys to play a given game. Oh, and Wertz can help in what already is a crowded perimeter. We'll see, but I have a hard time seeing the NCAA rule on something like this in anything close to a timely manner.

Anthony: Any word on what happened with Ryan Ayers? And we’re you surprised with the promotion of Scott Martin

Tom Noie: Anthony: No word on what happened, which says a lot. I'll leave it open to interpretation but a former Notre Dame player and Mike Brey's hand-picked choice to serve as an assistant just doesn't leave unless he has to leave. What's the saying, You think you know someone, and then realize you don't know anything about them?

Tom Noie: Continuing with the AC role, wasn't surprised that Scott martin was elevated because of the time frame. The team already was into preseason work. You can'

Tom Noie: Darn return can't properly work through the hiring process at that point, let alone during a pandemic. So it was an emergency fill situation, which also leaves open Scott martin's role as video coordinator likely until the spring. Harold Swanagan's been on staff longer as the Director of Basketball Operations, but I think he's more comfortable in that role - he gets to lead somewhat of a normal family life with his wife and three kids. Not everyone wants to be a coach. Swan seems like one of those guys.

Tom from Gary, Ind.: Will the challenging early-season schedule benefit ND instead of mostly cream puffs to gain experience?

Tom Noie: Tom: That early-season schedule is something. I've seen some non-league slates that are challenging, but Mike Brey outdid himself. I don't know that he did it more to gain experience for this team (the core has gotten a lot of it taking their lumps the last two years) as he did for this reason - nobody has any idea what this season will look like. Will the Irish play all 27 games? Will they play half of those? Brey's thinking was that his players have gone through so much with the virus that he wanted to reward them by playing as many marquee games as possible. Winning record? Tournament resume? ALL that is out the window this season. If they can just play 27 games, that might mean more than locking down an NCAA tournament seed.

Jack McGowan from Indy: Hey Tom, excited for ND hoops to be back in business! I have a couple questions, if you don’t mind answering them. Out of Wertz (if he is eligible) Zona, and Sanders, who do you think makes the biggest impact on the team? Do you think they all play, or could Zona or Sanders have to wait a year? Also, do you think Robby Caromody might transfer? I know his brother is in the football team and was sought after recruit, but I feel like a mid major school might fit him better. Lastly, is the starting lineup of Hubb, Ryan, Goodwin, Laz, and Durham set in stone, or could there be a surprise guy that could maybe start over Goodwin (I feel like he does better of the bench). Thanks for your time and Go Irish

Tom Noie: Whew, good to hear from you Jack, and a lot to unpack. Here it goes - Wertz was mentioned first question out of the gate. Refer to that answer. It's still wait and see with him. Listening to Mike Brey talk through Zoom earlier this week, Matt Zona's going to have a role. Maybe a big one. Brey loves his work ethic and toughness. So count him in. I wanted to ask about Tony Sanders, but we ran out of time. I think if this were a normal season, and Elijah Taylor and Robby Carmody weren't hurt to start, Sanders would be a five-year guy. But with Taylor out for the year and Carmody a question until Christmas, and every player getting an automatic extra year of eligibility, you give Sanders a long look. There's nothing to lose...

Tom Noie: As for Robby Carmody, don't see what transferring would do - at this point. Playing time hasn't been the problem. He's had chances. Heck, he was the first true freshman to start the first game of his collegiate career since Torin Francis did it in 2002. He's had chances. He has to stay healthy. Now down the road, that may have to be something he explores. That's three major injuries he's had. He's got to first show that he can stay healthy before anyone figures out where he fits. Is there a role and a future for him? Nobody knows. That starting line is in stone. For now. What happens down the road with Trey Wertz? That would be the only flip - Wertz for Goodwin.

Matt, Rocket City, AL: Why was Brey unable to generate any bounce on the recruiting trail from the back to back great 8 runs?

Tom Noie: Matt: It wasn't from a lack of effort. Seriously. After those two Elite Eight runs, he landed the one guy he wanted in D.J. Harvey. He was supposed to be big-time, remember? But injury and ineffectiveness and an unwillingness to change his game over those two years led to a transfer. Brey then brought in what everyone pegged as a Top 15 class in the current junior class. It was a whopper class of five guys (way too big for the way ND likes to play). So the year after that, he decides to take a run at the five-star guys (Cole Anthony, Isaiah Stewart, Jeremiah Robinson-Earl) and strikes out. Why? Because anyone else he tried to recruit that year asked him point blank about the one thing all prospects covet - playing time. At that time, Brey couldn't promise as much as a minute because he had no idea what he had in the five then-freshmen. Then recruiting looks like it slides....

Tom Noie: I like to flip the question when it always turns to recruiting - if you're a five-star guy, or a Top 100 guy and have a who's-who of schools chasing you, and believe (as so many do) that you're a one-and-done guy, why would you go to Notre Dame? Kids that go to Notre Dame are just different. They're looking for the total college experience. Not just to play basketball, but to get an education. That's not happening at Duke or Louisville or Carolina or pick your perennial Top 25 team. it just isn't. Fans have this belief that Top 50 or Top 100 guys should be lined up outside Notre Dame's front door to get in. That just doesn't happen.

Andrew City of Champions, PA: Is there a more appropriate choice than Martin Ingelsby to replace Brey when he retires?

Tom Noie: Andrew: Does Martin Ingelsby know that? At one time, maybe he was. The longer Mike Brey goes, the less I'm sure that Martin Ingelsby is the clear-cut successor. I'd look hard at Chris Quinn. Really hard. Concern there is he's being tailored for a future NBA job than college. Next coach after Mike Brey? Firmly a TBD situation.

Adam: Any more information on why Ryan Ayers left the program? I was surprised that nobody brought it up at Mike’s Media Day Press Conference the other day.

Tom Noie: Adam: Asked an answered. Why would anyone bring it up? It's been made crystal clear to me (and likely other media outlets) that Notre Dame will have no comment whatsoever on Ryan Ayers. That includes Brey. Would be waste of valuable Zoom time.

Doug: Roster run down? Who’s healthy, who’s available?

Tom Noie: Doug: Let's start with who's NOT healthy. Elijah Taylor is out for the season. He'll undergo ankle tendon surgery in December. It's an injury that has lingered since high school, and blame the pandemic on the timetable. Had Taylor been on campus for summer school, the issue would've been evaluated and addressed in June. Instead, it was September (at the earliest) that it was determined surgery was necessary. Robby Carmody is out until Christmas while recovering from a broken kneecap, which he suffered after recovering from a torn ACL. Brey mentioned this week that the team also has had to juggle COVID contact tracing/quarantine issues. They have nine available players to play in a game, 10 to practice.

Matt from DC: Hey Tom, couple questions: (1) Any updates on the Ryan Ayers situation? I’m sure our intrepid reporter can get to the bottom of it! If he resurfaces at another program, won’t he be asked about it too? Gotta think the truth will see the light of day eventually. (2) I don’t get Brey‘s scheduling a murderer’s row of opponents out of the gate this year. I get that the season is uncertain with COVID, and I get that the guys are ready for a challenge. But we NEED to make the tournament (or make a serious run at it) this year, and this schedule doesn’t set us up well for that goal, IMO. This is still a youngish team who hasn’t tasted success. Couldn’t the non-conference schedule crush their confidence (and give them an ugly W-L record) early on? If this is a savvy move, I can’t understand how. What am I missing? Thanks as always!

Tom Noie: Matt: Ryan Ayers isn't coaching at another college program anytime soon. Let's just leave it at that. As for the schedule, nobody can say for sure that there will be an NCAA tournament, or that all 27 games will be played. We're headed into such an unknown that Brey just wanted games. Big games. Attractive games. Plan for a tournament in a pandemic? Impossible. I get the scheduling and tend to agree. Just getting through one week without an issues is going to be a win. This will be a season that will look like no other. And that field of 68 come March, good luck trying to pick the teams for that.

Frank from sunny outhern indiana: Love your chats! I always look for to your amazing insighfulness! So what are the Irish looking at for a center to replace Durham? Late high school bloomer or transfer in someone? Thanks!

Tom Noie: Frank: Hey, hey, hey, it's sunny in Northern Indiana right now, too. LOL. How about a late-blooming high school senior or a college transfer to replace Juwan Durham? Might finally be time to roll the dice on a grad transfer as well. But something tells me that going with a look of Nate Laszewski/Matt Zona/Elijah Taylor next season intrigues the coaching staff.

Tyler: Blake Wesley told WNDU last night that he knows where is he going and that he is going to announce it in mid-December. Assuming it’s Notre Dame, why do you think he is waiting to announce his commitment? How well do you know him and his family? I’m surprised he isn’t committed publicly already.

Tom Noie: We had the Wesley timetable on Tuesday, so that's not exactly breaking news, my I don't think there's any question where Blake Wesley's going. He's not showing up at J.R. Konieczny's signing-day ceremony if he's going to Kansas State. Or Xavier. Why is he waiting? Good question. Kids wait for any number of reasons. The mid-December timeline falls in line with the end of the semester or quarter or whatever at Riley, so perhaps that's a factor.

Tyler: Tom, do you think the logic behind the tough schedule is that this season, given the circumstances and unknown of a postseason tournament, is just more for playing experience than going for a .600 winning record to gear up for 2021 in a more normal season with that 2018 core?

Tom Noie: EXACTLY! The feeling over at Notre Dame from those connected to Irish hoops is that they'll feel fortunate to get 15 games in this season. Another prediction was 20. There's not anybody who thinks Notre Dame is going to play a full 27, then go to the ACC tournament, then the postseason. Look, Notre Dame HAS, HAS, HAS to be get back to the NCAA tournament ASAP. Like, yesterday. But how do you plan for it during a pandemic where everything about your sport is hanging literally by a thread? You just can't. You can play for it, but in the end, you're really just hoping and praying that the sport can get to March, whatever March will look like.

Greg from Maplewood NJ: Blake Wesley being at JR's signing event must be a good sign, right? Prediction on Blake signing with the Irish soon?

Tom Noie: Greg: We're supposed to hear something in the middle of December. But yeah, too weird to think he's going to make a cameo there and then pick Kansas State. Wesley hasn't publicly announced, but kind of sort of did by going to Konieczny's signing.

Tyler: Do you know if the Tennessee game will be an immediate 2 game home & home series? Also, any update on the return Delaware game?

Tom Noie: Tyler: I don't know if it's an immediate as in 2021-22 return to Knoxville, but there will be a return game after the Volunteers head here Dec. 4. As for Delaware, that return game just sort of fizzled. Brey wasn't too thrilled to play it. Neither was Ingelsby. Maybe they revisit it in the future, but the main goal of the matchup - get a home game with Notre Dame and get Brey back to Newark - was achieved. Everybody's moved on.

Nick - South Bend: Tom, good to have ND basketball upon us. My biggest question is your thoughts about the bench? With the loss of Elijah Taylor the bench is looking a little suspect. Carmody will be back in December. I love the way he plays, but he hasn’t been able to stay on the court long enough yet, so hard to count on him right away at least. Getting Wertz for this year would be huge. I’ve seen that Zona has been a nice surprise. Then that leaves fan fav Djojo and walk on Morgan. How we feeling? A lot of 38/39 min games incoming from Hubb, Ryan and Dane?

Tom Noie: Nick: Heavy, heavy minutes for the perimeter. Again, in a normal season, that might mean a recipe for disaster (could already see the fatigue e-mails gathering in the inbox). But it might (stress might) work this season, especially if the season gets shut down for a week or two at a time. The bench is really, really thin, which is why Zona and Sanders will have to play. Maybe a lot. Which this year is OK.

joe from the south side: Tom: During Brey's presser, he committed to having you guys watch a practice. Would you commit to giving us an update if that happens? Of particular interest is...1. Cormac Ryan, 2. Matt Zona, 3. The off-season weight lifting program. Curious to see if they pass the eye test.

Tom Noie: Joe: Absolutely. By the time a normal season has started, I've seen these guys play pickup. We've seen them in practice. We've talked to them. We get a sense of how the pieces might fit. We know nothing about anything, which some would say is par for the course. I'm most interested in how much bigger Durham and Laszewski are now, Ryan's transition to main guy and Zona's feel for the game. There's a lot of unknown now, but also a lot to possibly like. If we do get in, it would be next week (when, naturally, I'm on vacation).

Nick - South Bend: Notre Dame was 12th in the ACC pre season rankings, do you think that’s writing on the wall or does this team have something to them? I’d like to believe the latter.

Tom Noie: Nick: Nobody knows, and honestly, it's typical ACC bias/BS. Just look at North Carolina, which finished LAST last season. What were they picked in preseason (fourth? With seven first-place votes). Um.....why? And people say I'm too much of a homer for this Notre Dame program? Man, take those tar Heel blue glasses off, people. But I digress. I don't think anyone knows what Notre Dame has, which is the reason for the No. 12 slot. They see John Mooney and his double doubles have left and no T.J. Gibbs or Rex Pflueger and think, yeah, no shot. Some preseason projections didn't even mention Cormac Ryan. Man, do a little homework. The loss of Mooney is big, but the other two guys? Might be addition by subtraction in terms of talent abilities/ceilings.

joe from the south side: Tom: With only 9 scholarships taken after this year, this looks to be a MUST recruiting yeaar. That said, what is taking so long with Wesley? Is he coming or not? Down to 6 schools? He can sit his freshman year then play 3 straight. Sounds like a good deal to me. Have you heard anything?

Tom Noie: Joe: There may be other factors at play with Wesley - personal preference, wanting to build the anticipation, something totally unrelated, who knows? We'll see how it works out.

Bobby - Washington, DC: Some pre-season rankings have ND picked to finish 12th to as low as last in the conference. Understanding that there are more unknowns this year than others, do you agree that this team should be ranked that low? My take - I think those preseason rankings are overvaluing what was lost (particularly in the back court) and the potential is there for this team to finish as high as 6th-8th in the conference.

Tom Noie: Bobby: Agree, and just addressed the preseason issue a few questions earlier. I voted in the preseason poll and had Notre Dame eighth. Just think it's time for this junior class and Ryan to really show something.

joe from the south side: Tom: Brey is lucky Chambers quit at Penn St. Now he won't have any competition competing for Philly kids in the Top 300 who are injured before they even put on a uniform.

Tom Noie: Ouch. Shot across the bow there. I was intrigued by what Elijah Taylor might offer. Now we'll have to wait on that.

Joey from westernport md: Tom, Do you think LaPhonso Ellis would be considered to replace Mike Brey after Brey's retirement?

Tom Noie: Joey: Easiest question of the day to date. Unequivocally and a thousand

Nick - South Bend: Does this extra year of eligibility mean that Hubb, Goodwin and Laz have 3 more years counting this year? Or am I not understanding it haha

Tom Noie: Yep...everybody gets an extra year. Now, not everyone is going to want an extra year (seems I had this conversation with someone earlier this week). At some point, college kids, even college kids at Notre Dame, are ready to move on with their lives. And so is the program. That's why there was no way the three guys who left the program had zero chance of returning this year. It's just time for the next chapter to be written away from South Bend. That's life.

Nick - South Bend: Let’s say Wesley commits to ND. How would you envision he and JR’s careers playing out? Also any other 2021 prospects we are in play for ?

Tom Noie: Nick: It would be a slow-play thing, maybe with both but Wesley more so than Konieczny, who's listed as a shooting guard but he's not playing shooting guard at the next level. He's a legit 6-7 right now, which means he might be 6-8, 6-9 by the time he arrives on campus in June. He's also going to get stronger. Maybe 6-8, 200 by his sophomore year? That's a small forward, especially in this offense. He has a need and a skill that's needed early. Wesley? Maybe not so much when you have Hubb, Goodwin and Ryan each for as many as three more years and then Wertz for two. Carmody? Can't write him off, but that door's closer to being closed than open. So the core perimeter next year will be Hubb, Goodwin, Ryan and Wertz. Can it go a legit five deep? Probably not. And Brey will be tied really tightly with all four of those guys. That means Wesley's going to have to be really good when he arrives. Or put him on a five-year plan to adjust to college life as a student first. assuming he commits....

joe from the south side: Tom: We've had this discussion before. My choices for Brey's replacement were Hurley and Wojo. I'll add a third. Willard at Seton Hall. If you get him you get his dad, who knows more BBL than all of us put together on this chat. Now let's focus on 2020-21 as Brey ain't leavin' anytime soon.

Tom Noie: Joe: If it isn't going to be Chris Quinn, and there's a really good chance there won't be since he had a chance to come here as an assistant but chose to stay in the NBA, I'd say the next Notre Dame coach is someone nobody sees coming. Like, wait, THAT guy? He might not even be a college coach right now. It's all a moot point until Brey decides he's done. The pandemic had the opposite affect on Brey as it did Muffet McGraw. Pandemic hit and McGraw felt she could get used to the retirement thing. Pandemic hit and it re-energized Brey's drive to coach deeper into his 60s....maybe into his 70s.

joe from the south side: Tom: One more knock on Brey's recruiting. None other than a Mabrey boy at La Lu. Can Brey be the only coach in D1 who could miss that kick-in birdie?

Tom Noie: Joe: OK, I'll bite, um.....why? We've already covered what the perimeter will look like in the coming seasons. Do they really need another guard?

Tim from Chicago: Hi Tom, thanks for your coverage of the team. 2 Q's if you don't mind. (1) I believe you started covering ND back in the late 90's/early 2000's - do you have a favorite season/team that sticks out in your mind? (2) Is this the year Prentice Hubb breaks out and really takes over? Have seen flashes the past couple years and I really want to see this guy become the man.

Tom Noie: Tim: Good stuff, and good to hear from you. I've got to go with the 2014-15 team because of that three-week ride through March. it was equally exhausting and exhilarating. Beating Duke and Carolina on consecutive nights in Greensboro? No one would've predicted that. The NCAA run, where the SBT crew made two drives across Ohio on the Turnpike to Pittsburgh and Cleveland? Always remember the locker room after the Kentucky game. No tears. No emotion. Everyone just empty of everything. Close second season would be 2010-11 when Ben Hansbrough (still one of the best dudes to cover) just kind of carried them. They 2002-03 Sweet 16 is there because it also came from nowhere. ...

Tom Noie: Prentiss Hubb absolutely has the keys to this car and he's going to drive it. Where to? Remains to be seen. He's still an acquired taste for some (I've been in the P-Hubb corner from the start) in that he shoots too much for some people's liking. I'm OK with that. I want to see him become more of a orchestrator on the floor - finding this guy or that one or making a play for someone else. He's the best guard in the league that nobody talks about. I'm looking at you, Tobacco Road.

joe from the south side: Tom: How are you guys covering the games this year? What restrictions are in place?

Tom Noie: Joe: Still remains to be seen. Notre Dame hasn't committed to what Purcell Pavilion will look like in terms of fan attendance, but the Irish hockey team opens the season Friday (tomorrow) and will not have anyone outside player families in the Compton Ice Arena stands. We (the media) have been told that we'll be able to cover games as close to normal as possible. We'll be wearing masks and be spaced out around the inner concourse of Purcell Pavilion. I'm planning on same situation on the road, which is one reason I traded the football trip to North Carolina on Black Friday so as to cover the season opener the next day (likely night) at Breslin Center.

Jake: What have you heard about tony sanders jr so far, what do you think his role could look like this season?

Tom Noie: Jake: Very little. He was on the list of working/running/growing questions I had for Mike Brey during our Monday Zoom media call, but we ran out of time and opportunity to ask. Typically, Sanders would be a lock as a fifth-year guy, especially because Brey recruited him having never seen him play or meet him in person. This year, though, think he's in the minutes mix. He has to be.

joe from the south side: Tom: On Ryan Mabrey, he is not going to contribute so much on the floor as he will in the classroom. I just think he fits the description of "Brey recruits a certain type of player." Look Austin Torres had to know he was a 4 year role player. Sometimes you take a good kid because he is a good kid. Besides, Brey can't get to 13 scholarships if his life depended on it.

Tom Noie: Joe: Does Ryan Mabrey have a certain McDonald's All-American guard that he brings with him like Torres did? Hey, just being honest there my Demetrius Jackson, no Austin Torres. As for the get to 13 scholarships shot, understood, but maybe unfair. Brey hates, hates, hates, the 13 scholarship thing. Max out at 13 and those are too many guys to try and keep happy, and a lot more phone calls from disgruntled moms and dads about why their son is at the end of the bench. Give me 10 guys who can play (and most importantly, stay healthy) over the 13-man option.

Justin, Ft Wayne: Hey tom, i feel like Juwan isn’t talked about enough. Mike Brey continuously brought him up during the zoom. What do you see from him this season?

Tom Noie: Justin: Here's your chance, JD....go do it. He wasn't always happy having to take a backseat to John Mooney last season and felt he should play/do more. Now he gets his chance. Be a difference-maker other than blocking shots. Grab some rebounds. Score in the post, not just on that baseline jumper. He had a tendency to slip into the shadows at times last season. Can't do that now. Deliver.

Tim from Chicago: Hi Tom - thank you for the more Q if you are able to squeeze it in this morning....I love that ND guys usually stay four years, feel like you get to know them a bit more than one and dones. Is there a particular player or two from the past whose storyline you continued to follow after graduation from ND that impresses you the most, either on or off the court?

Tom Noie: Tim: Great question, and really, so many to choose from. I follow/track/keep in touch with a lot of the guys after they leave Notre Dame. Few stories come to mind - Torin Francis willing himself to play professionally for like 13 years after some thought he might not ever play again when he had back surgery. Pat Connaughton just flat-out believing he had a place in the NBA and then proving it. Dennis Latimore becoming a teacher/educator/coach in Los Angeles area. Talked with principal of high school where he worked couple years ago and she just raved about what a role model he was. Here, he was kind of aloof. Different. Thoughtful. Introspective. In my job, you don't root for guys when they're here, but I root for a lot of them after they leave. I'll hit send on this response and think of five more guys that should be included. That's the kind of person you get to know on this beat. It's about more than just basketball for them.

Jake: So, with what you mentioned about there being more room for less rotation with inevitable cancellations, And with what we’ve heard about zona, if wertz gets eligibility, could the bench end up being a strength this season? I could see 2020 wertz and zona being better than 2019 goodwin and laszewksi. And then add in any bonus we get from Carmody (the thought of 6th man not too long ago), djogo (brey’s 6th man pick at one point) and even sanders, (maybe even Morgan, though I’ll see it when I believe it with a walk on playing, even him) and I think the bench, what many have thought would be our biggest weakness could end up a strength.

Tom Noie: In a season set up for strangeness all around, I can see it happening. The Irish suddenly go from maybe not having enough guys to almost having too many. It would be a good problem to have if Zona is as good as we've heard and Wertz gets eligible and Carmody stay healthy and offers something. This program's overdue for a season like that, right?

Tim from Chicago: Can the current Junior class which was supposed to be a breakthrough recruiting class (Hubb, Laz, Carmody, Goodwin) still go down in ND history as one of the best?

Tom Noie: Tim: Still to be determined. They have to start winning and beating ranked teams and getting to the NCAA tournament before they're in any conversations.

joe from the south side: Tom: Point taken. However, what we have seen over the last few years is a bit embarrassing. Injuries, defections and now a pandemic, all the more reason to get at least close to 13. Reminds me of some of the leagues I've played in. Sam had to work late. Bill is at his daughter's soccer game. Tom hurt his back cutting grass. Joe does not feel like playing.......Maybe it's time to rethink running that lean.

Tom Noie: Joe: I'd ALWAYS be available for a run....and would stay until the last game of the night. It's one of the aspects of this pandemic that's hit me in the gut. My wife's in the high-risk category which means no pickup for me for the last eight months and counting. God, do I miss it. Even if we had too many guys. I subscribe the Brey philosophy for pickup - less is more. Give me 10 core guys instead of another 10 waiting to play. Throw the ball up on a high humidity, no wind summer night and let's go! Sorry, I digress.

Wadelite: Tom, I thought it was a done deal that every 20-21 college will receive an extra year to play if they want it. Since the NCAA is giving waivers to essentially everyone, should it not be a deal that Wertz plays this season and two more? It seems this supercedes Brey's hands on deck proposal. Curious is it possible ND may be hosed on the Wertz immediate eligibility request because they opted not to pursue it before this extra season was approved? Also, what are the odds ND brings in an immediate eligible big man transfer for 21-22. They need to more than ever before.

Tom Noie: Wade: When it comes to the NCAA and red tape involving transfers, anything's possible. Notre Dame originally chose not to pursue immediately eligibility for Wertz, who was set on sitting out and then playing two years. Then Carmody happened. Then Taylor happened and Brey started thinking, man, we're one more injury away from having to rely heavily on walk-on Elijah Morgan. Thus, the proposal sent through the NABC to have all transfers eligible for roster management. As for the odds Notre Dame brings in an immediate transfer? I've been wrong (and a lot) about bringing in immediate help right away. I said all options had to be on the table after this team went 3-15 in the league couple years ago and they did....nothing. True, that us media dopes really don't know much.

Tim from Chicago: In your opinion, who has been the most impactful assistant coach during your tenure covering the team?

Tom Noie: Tim: There's one guy and it's not even close for second or third or fourth. It's Anthony Solomon, who was able to squeeze everything out of guys in terms of talent and toughness. This program's not been the same without him. And this program hasn't gone to a Sweet 16 without him. He was able to reach guys that other assistants haven't. Slo's the man.

Wadelite: One of the Brey roster issues is he often does not have enough to have a 5 on 5 practice. It ends up an assistant such as Martin or Ayers having to play. How about having 11 SS players every season who could play. You can hold one or two out unless absolutely needed later. Perhaps a sit out transfer for practice and wait for it...two walkons.

Tom Noie: Wait, you can have TWO walk-ons? Seriously? lol

Wadelite: If the ncaa rule is accurate about everyone gaining an extra season, is it possible Durham playing at ND for a 4th season? He would essentially be on a college path similar to Scott Martin, except he has a lot less minutes played in the 4 years he was eligible to play.

Tom Noie: Possible, but not probable. See above, or below however the questions/answers roll through. I can't seen Durham or Djogo sticking around for 2021-22. Sometimes, it's time for the next chapter in life. Would be surprised if either of them decided that next chapter included another year of college.

Tom Noie: Quick side not - keep the questions and comments coming. I'll get to them, but I have to break away for about 10-15 minutes at noon for a Brian Kelly Zoom call. Then it's all hoops the rest of the afternoon. Who's with me????

joe from the south side: Tom: I am jealous of you (for many reasons) but at 60+ with multiple back and shoulder surgeries (too many curveballs as a young guy) my BBL playing days are over. My love for the game, however, will never be diminished. That said, I preferred creaky old gyms that had bad lighting, dead spots on the floor and tight rims. It's all about character man!

Tom Noie: Joe: Amen my man, knocking on wood but at 52, I've never had so much as a tweaked hamstring. No surgeries. No breakdowns. No injuries. Run about 25 miles a week, and usually play pickup (outdoor blacktop courts) twice a week in the summer, twice a week indoors when it's not a pandemic. Once hung 27 on Keith Kurowski in a church-league game. Could dunk with relative ease during my college days. And tight (double rims) don't matter to shooters!

Roy Mabrey: Hi Tom . First timer . Keith Kurowski there’s a name a haven’t heard of in ages . Tremendous talent out of CBA , Jersey Shore . I think he ultimately had a heart problem. His sister was a player too .

Tom Noie: Roy: Keith had a little of everything during his time here. Knee, back, heart. Still is out there running around with us other clowns on a routine basis. His son's a senior in high school and has a lot of his dad's pure skills. Good dude. Good family.

Dan - Chicago: With Carmody having missed the majority of his first two years and with no one losing any eligibility this year, will he still have four years to play after this year? Can he surpass Martin for years in college?

Tom Noie: Dan: He's currently on the six-year clock, but probably not going to be a six-year guy.

Justin, Ft Wayne: Any word on when maybe the tip times will be announced or first couple games like Michigan St. and Tennessee? Also would have to think ND will heavily be on national TV this year, you think?

Tom Noie: Justin: Tick, tick, tick....clock's ticking, right? Think the Notre Dame plan for Michigan State was to go up and back with no overnight stay - pre-game meal on campus, bus up, step off the bus and go warm up and play, which leads me to think that's a 7 p.m. tip. Same with the Tennessee game, which is a Friday night (Dec. 4). Believe that Tennessee is playing two nights earlier in Indianapolis against Gonzaga, so it'd be a tough sell (though great for us) if it was an afternoon tip. And the Kentucky game is trending toward either a noon or 2:30 tip at Rupp Arena. The others? Let's get on it already!

Wadelite: Fyi on keith kurkowski. His son plays for sturgis high school. Averaged 28 ppg as a junior. Ranked #11 in Michigan 2021 class. 6'4 combo guard with ivy league interest.

Tom Noie: And more....Thomas Kurowski plays at Sturgis because that's where Keith teaches and coaches. Word is Thomas is going Division III and playing at the University of Chicago. Only other school he visited was Princeton. And he's about 6-6 now. Kid can really play, especially when he's around guys twice his age.

Wadelite: FWIW with the perimeter players nd will have next season it would be pointless for Djogo to pursue a 6th year at nd. The big man roster situation in 20-21 is much different. Fyi I have no doubts you are a very good hoop player, but dont sell it like dan Patrick did with his stint on the eastern Kentucky jv team. You'd think from his comments dan Patrick was the ohio version of kyle macy.

Tom Noie: Oh, I'm selling it my man. Hard. You not buying? lol Honestly, it's church-league hoops. Not a D-II game somewhere, so there's that.

Michael from Chicago: Hi Tom, great to be back. Thanks for spending time with these. Found your answer about the departures of Gibbs and Rex and introduction of Ryan possibly increasing the ceiling for this team incredibly interesting, as that is a (perhaps pie in the sky) thought I’ve had about this year’s roster, especially if Wertz is available too. Though Mooney was productive, I also can’t help but be excited that ND will be using less lineups with 2 traditional bigs and have 2 stretch four types in Laszewski and Zona soaking up more minutes. What are the chances we see a return to the more free flowing and better shooting 14-16 offenses?

Tom Noie: Michael: I'd contend that Gibbs and Pflueger never really got any better. We never saw, and the staff never saw, what they needed to offer to get this team back to the NCAA tournament. Look at Gibbs. A lot of numbers, yeah, but not even a single postseason all-league spot. Or even a vote. That says a lot. And Notre Dame's best lineup this year may well be going four perimeter players around one big and just moving and cutting and running. Just open the floor and go with Hubb and Ryan tag-teaming as handlers and other guys running to spots.

joe from the south side: Tom: Voting is in. All-time Dayton Flyer Basketball greats: 1. Rosey Chapman, 2. Jim Paxson, 3. Obi Toppin, 4. Tom Noie, 5. Scoochie Smith (just for the name)

Tom Noie: Joe: Don't forget my man Negele Knight. You think Ben Hansbrough drove this team to 27-7 in 2010-11 was something? Knight did it my senior year at Dayton, which won the old Midwestern Collegiate Conference tournament championship (take that, Tyrone Hill and Pete Gillen!) and should've beaten Arkansas in the second round in Austin, Texas. Ahhhh....memories

Dan - Chicago: Do you envision an often used Wertz, Goodwin, Hubb, Ryan, & Lazewski lineup next year?

Tom Noie: A whole bunch. Maybe not start that way....or maybe yeah, start that way and finish that way. Forget all this two bigs stuff. Open the floor and open it all up.

Mike McFadden, Williamsport, PA: Hi Tom. First timer coming on heels of first timer with Eric. Please once and for all explain something to me. It is both a b-ball and f-ball question. Twice in the last few days I read this. The media has ND f-ball playing a home-and-home with Ohio St. even though Ohio St first game ia AWAY. You have us playing Howard U in a home-and-home which again, the first game is at Howard. Other media have us at OSU as home-and-away. What is the difference between a home-and-home and home-and-wawy (oe away-and-home) ??? Thanks dude. And I really enjoyed your current playing days remarks. :)

Tom Noie: Mike: It's really the same thing. A home-and-home means, one game at one team's home, the other game at the other team's home. So Notre Dame hoops last season just wrapped a two-year home-and-home agreement with UCLA. They played at Pauley in 2018-19, then at Purcell in 2019-20. And, for the record, just to confuse you even more, the Howard game was a two-for-one (two home games for Notre Dame, one of which was played last year) and one game at Howard. Guess you could say it was a home-and-home-and-home. Or home-and-away-and-home. Hope that helps. And don't be a stranger around these parts!

Wadelite: Could this starting line up have 5 double figure scorers. IIRC that happened in 14-15. Does Cormac average what Ben Hansbrough did his junior season and is Ben the best case comparison to Cormac? For ND to have a very good season who needs to be the leading scorer?. IMO Hubb is with zero doubt, the wrong answer.

Tom Noie: Wade: It absolutely could - COULD - have five double-digit scorers. Really, it should. Hubb and Goodwin were DF guys last year. It would be the natural progression for Durham and Laszewski. Ryan only unknown. How big of a jump does he make? Think B-Hans his junior year of Ryan. And hold on to your hat, but totally agree with the leading scorer question. It CANNOT and SHOULD NOT be Prentiss Hubb. He's not the probing, attacking, finishing guard as a Jerian Grant or a Demetrius Jackson. It has to be Goodwin or Laszewski or Ryan. Not Hubb. He has to run the team, take care of the ball and shoot a high percentage. He'll get his chances, and have his chances, but be a point guard first and second. He's going to score. Just not more than anyone else.

Jim Tal, Valley Center, CA.: Tom, to my mind there are just too many variables that will prevent the Irish from having a solid enough season to make the NCAA tourney. I mean Durham is going to have to take a huge step up, Laszewski must elevate to go-to status, Ryan needs to be the second coming of Ben H., Zona has got to be a force off the bench and Hubb must become the man. It will be remarkable if all those things happen to fall into place. Your thoughts, please. Also, could you give an update on what's going on with Mooney, Gibbs and Pflueger as it relates to playing at the next level. Thanks much and keep up the good work.

Tom Noie: Jim: Totally agree, but the biggest variable (unknown) remains the season itself. I mentioned earlier that those inside the program are hoping to get 15 games in. Maybe even 20. But how in the world will you and can you evaluate tournament resumes given the way this season might unfold? Notre Dame scheduled as if it will be an incomplete season. If it's not, how do you evaluate that? You can't.

Tom Noie: John Mooney is playing professionally in Australia. Rex Pflueger is playing professionally in England with the same team that Scott Martin played on. All indications are that T.J. Gibbs is waiting out options closer to home, whatever that may mean.

Wadelite: As far as all time great Dayton players, can't forget Hank Finkel. However he is often mixed up with Einhorn.

Tom Noie: He's way before my time, my man!

joe from the south side: Tom and Wade: Not sure you can get 5 double digit scorers. Brey won't run the OFF thru JD enough. He can't shoot all that well, so his 10 points would have to be essentially on the OFF rebound end. Since he hasn't been a true force on the boards to this point and the quality of opposition is strong, I think he is more 7-8 points per game. Hopefully 7-8 rebounds as well.

Tom Noie: Joe: One might argue that the reason he hasn't a true force on the boards was that a certain No. 33 monopolized all of them last season. They usually like to establish Durham early, so he has a quick chance to do work. Then flush a few lobs and a few free throws. He averaged 7.8 points last season alongside Mooney, whose 16.2 points are now gone. Durham believes he should get a bigger bite of the scoring apple. Now's the chance.

joe from the south side: Tom: Mooney was a "write it down" 15 -16 a night. Especially with his nose for the boards. JD does not have his offensive skill set or rebounding instinct. Most importantly, however, this is a perimeter offense. I am not sold the 5 spot will be much more than flush a few, hit the boards, and don't drag defenders to the shooters. Nothing against JD, I just think Brey covets his shooters and has pretty much said he just hopes to outscore teams in order to win. That being the case, I think it's a bombs away offense rather than toss it into the paint and let JD work.

Tom Noie: Joe: Agree. Nothing will be run through Juwan Durham, nor should it. But I think any legit ACC front-line guy can tumble out of bed into at least 10 points, be it an occasional post-up or rim run or lob or the baseline jumper he so prefers. Brey covets his shooters, true, but he also has a soft spot for transfers and allowing them to max it out. I'd be more apt to say Durham can increase his point total by three than his rebound total by three.

Tom Noie: Chat participation just sort of fizzled as of 1 p.m...note to self: always check the Masters TV schedule before scheduling a

Jake: How much will notre dame miss what Elijah Taylor might’ve brought to the table this season?

Tom Noie: Jake: They won't, because nobody really saw what he might offer. He could be good in a few years when he grows into a college body That was one of the drawbacks of not having them on campus this summer. You couldn't watch them play and picture how they fit. I have no idea what Matt Zona will do or what Tony Sanders will do. It's like everything this season - one great big, massive unknown.

Wadelite: I want to be optimistic on Durham. He certainly has a more promising track record than Geben had before his final season.

Tom Noie: When Geben really should've been the most valuable player on that team. Can't convince me otherwise. He was a revelation that year.

Justin, Ft Wayne: Do you see Cormac ever bringing the ball up and maybe them running a play for Hubb. Kinda would think that’s something they would do when they need a spark.

Tom Noie: Justin: Absolutely. Cormac Ryan will be the second handler, and not Dane Goodwin. Not necessarily to run a play for Hubb, because he's shown he can get his shot - his perimeter shot. I'd like to see him get to the rim more and pressure the defense that way, then either finish or kick it to an open look. That's when this offense is at its efficient best.

Mike McFadden, Williamsport, PA: Hi again Tom, Just to square this question "away" and thank you, much appreciated, sorry. What is a new series called that is truly only a two game series with both games played at home? What would it be called? Home-and-home? Do you see it does not differentiate from the Ohio St series which is really a home-and-away but called a home--and-home. Do you see what I mean here Tom?

Tom Noie: Mike: That's a home-and-home....honestly, I've never heard anyone say that Notre Dame just finalized a deal for a home-and-away for Team A, B or C.

Dennis: Hi Tom thanks for the chat. When will we most likely hear if Wertz will be playing this year? Obviously this is huge for our success this year so hopefully we find out soon.

Tom Noie: Dennis: Not soon enough. The NCAA doesn't look like it's in any hurry to rule on having all players eligible immediately to help roster management in case of COIVD-19 issues.

Wadelite: Having two capable ball handlers is huge. Gibbs was serviceable and Rex had great instincts, but they were not naturals handling the ball and could easily be pressured. Could Hubb and Ryan be the best ball handling tandem since Grant and DJ?

Tom Noie: Yep, but that doesn't seem like all that long ago, does it?

Dennis: I was discussing this topic with a couple of my Notre Dame friends and I'm curious for your opinion on the top #5 most heartbreaking ND loses in the NCAA tournament. Here's what we came up with:

Dennis: #1 1981 BYU

Dennis: #2 1978 Duke, #3 2015 Kentucky, #4 1974 Michigan, 1977 North Carolina

Justin, Ft Wayne: Who would you guess would be the next Ring of Honor inductee may be?

Tom Noie: Easy answer....Pat Garrity

Dennis: Also mentioned 1985 north carolina, 1986 Arkansas Little-Rock, 1980 Missouri, 1976 Michigan, 2012 Xavier, 2001 Mississippi, and 2002 Duke. Bottom Line - Notre Dame has lost ample close heartbreaking games in the tournament.

Walter from Indy: If both were real options, would you take Chris Quinn or Monty as next head coach.

Tom Noie: Monty Williams, because he's been a head coach....I don't know if you can jump into this job and all it entails without knowing how to be a head coach. That said, I think Chris Quinn is a future star as a head coach.

Walter from Indy: side note, it’s been covered before...people may WANT wojo but he’s never coming lol. You’re not leaving Marquette for ND

Tom Noie: Not even an option. Nor should he be.

Tom Noie: Aaaaannd....we passed the four-hour mark. Solid effort all the way around. That will do it for today. We'll be back sometime in December to talk more hoops and, hopefully, actually be talking games at that point. Take care and stay healthy!