Chat Transcript: What's the future for Notre Dame basketball? For Mike Brey?
Tom Noie: Welcome to today's Notre Dame men's basketball. Usually, i don't set many ground rules, because there are none, but today will be an exception. Let's talk Irish hoops. The present (ugh). The future (bright, maybe?) What I hope not to do is turn this into a five-hour what-if session on who the next head coach should/will be. Nobody has any idea. Right now, Mike Brey is the head coach. When he isn't there will be plenty of time to ponder who might be next. So we'll save our wish lists for another day. And with that, let's light this chat candle.
Tom Noie: One more bit of housekeeping business...be sure to include your name and hometown with your question comment. It will have a way better chance of being addressed instead of coming from someone named GUEST....Thanks!
Mike,New Jersey: Hi Tom appreciate all your coverage......obviously very disappointed like many fans with this season but i do see potential for a great bounce back year next year with the yale transfer and two local freshmen......my one concern is can hubb actually run this offense efficiently? Raw Talent wise it sounds like an easy yes but it seems like the team needs a more team oriented point guard running the show....someone who can keep their dribble and actually set guys up for success with minimum turnovers....sorry for the rant but basically what are breys options? wertz and ryan are not full time pgs and it seems like hubb will never fully turn into one
Tom Noie: Mike: Good to hear from you. Every team needs a lightning rod for criticism and apparently Prentiss Hubb is that for this team. He's not your classic pass first and second and third point guard, but heading into the final week of the regular season, Hubb was first in the Atlantic Coast Conference and eighth in assist/turnover ratio. He was 15th in scoring with three other "point guards" above him in that category. Hubb's about as misunderstood as misunderstood goes. Does he take questionable shots or make questionable decisions? Yes. But there's a reason for that. Late clock situations often see him with the ball in his hands, in part because nobody is creating something for themselves. The feeling seems to be, let Prentiss figure it out. It's a tough situation. But when he stepped in the door three years ago, and I told you he'd lead the league in assists as a junior, your reaction probably would be, let's do it. Right?
Ian, Rockport IN: Do you think Brey makes any changes/upgrades to the staff? This year has been embarrassing and something has to change right?
Tom Noie: Ian: Great question, but maybe a day too late. Something has to change, maybe sweepingly, after last night's fourth straight loss where Notre Dame didn't bother to show up. The student body has since turned on Brey, which never is a good sign or look. The staff - from Brey on down - just hasn't been able to reach these guys. For myriad reasons.
P. Rose: What happened to Durham at the BC game? I couldn't watch or listen, but he had a good first half stat line, and then he was gone. Defensive issues?
Tom Noie: P: Same situation happened last night. Juwan Durham spent a long stretch on the bench and Tim O'Malley of Irish Illustrated looked over at me on press row at Purcell Pavilion and wondered why Brey was going with a lineup that featured five guards. The explanation was easy - Durham had two rebounds at that point in the second half. The marching orders for Durham has been simple - rebound and protect the rim or don't play. He didn't do either very well against Boston College or North Carolina State.
Dave P: Obviously these guys will never be all world defenders, but what can be done to make them better? Putting the ball in the basket is not the problem. KenPom has them like 16th in offense and I believe outside of the top 150 in defense
Tom Noie: Dave: Generating offense seldom has been the problem for this team. It's getting into a stance. No, defense might not be taught at the level it needs to be, but at some point, defense also is a lot about want-to. Do you want to guard your guy? Do you want to get a stop? Do you want to compete? That stop-score stat stuff worked for a while, but at the end of the day, it didn't much help. It also doesn't help that other teams have figured out Notre Dame - run the ball at the throat of the defense and get into the lane and make the Irish react. They haven't.
Matt from DC: Hey Tom, thanks for sticking with this miserable slog that is the ND men's basketball season. Three quick questions: (1) Do we have a decent shot to make the NIT (albeit with a reduced field) to get some semblance of postseason experience heading into next season, and what would we have to do to be in the mix? (2) Are you hearing anything around the program that the winds have shifted for Brey's retirement timetable, so he leaves the cupboard better stocked for his successor (with next year's senior class)? (3) Is Brey capable of a Brian Kelly-like soup-to-nuts program reboot, with a push from Jack Swarbrick? Thanks so much and we'll all keep slogging!
Tom Noie: Matt: Thanks for the note. And a note for those reading along ...a lot of these questions were submitted prior to Wednesday's game, so the questions/comments might seem outdated given what transpired at the end of the game. There's no way Notre Dame's going to the NIT and after what happened Wednesday, there might not be any way Mike Brey returns for his 22nd season. You'd think Brey would have the same chance as Brian Kelly to reboot everything and reinvent himself, but we might be beyond that point.
Christian, Chicago IL: Hi Tom. We are close to 30 consecutive losses against ranked teams, 4 years without a tournament berth, and some serious recruiting/roster management gaps that have unfolded in the same time span. This Hubb-centric approach has been a disaster on Brey’s part and gives you no hope for next tearWhat system changes should and can be made going into this offseason to get this program back on track?
Tom Noie: Christian: Short of tearing it down and starting over, this is not going to be a quick fix. Mike Brey has his faults as a coach, there's no debating that. But some of the fingers have to be pointed at the current roster. They've been given a lot. A lot has been expected. They haven't delivered anywhere near what was expected. The blame goes everywhere.
Pudge: Is Mike Brey aware that fans want him gone? Is he recruiting like his job is on the line? Is he coaching like his job is on the line? Does he care at all? It doesn’t seem like it. Does Swarbrick care at all? It doesn’t seem like it.
Tom Noie: Pudge: A lot of questions...not a lot of answers.
William: What does Notre Dame need to do to improve its hoops recruiting program?
Tom Noie: William: Recruit like the staff's coaching lives depend on it. There are enough prospects out there who fit the profile of a Notre Dame student-athlete. Find them.
Victor K.: Here in Salem, we’re just so disappointed in this season. I’m just wondering for a veteran observer like yourself, Tom, what has been the most disappointing aspect of this team to watch.
Tom Noie: Victor: My man! Great to hear from you. Most disappointing? The non-development/growth/leadership of the junior class. There's no alpha dog in this group, somebody who's going to lead with their words and their work. That's what's really torpedoed this season. Mike Brey doesn't do this and hasn't done that, and that's all true. Don't get me wrong. But he put his trust in guys to deliver and they haven't delivered.
Doug: it appears ND friendly Comcast is winning the standoff with Disney over carriage of the ACC Network. with Disney's stock price at an all-time high, they're unlikely to cave to Comcast..so stalemate continues...bad for the ND brand, no?
Tom Noie: Doug: Bad for the ACC, but at this point, what are you really missing? At least Saturday's game is on ESPN, as is the tournament. Maybe next year, right?
Ed, Belleville, IL: I blame Brey more than you do for the debacle at Syracuse. Watched Syracuse against Ga Tech which had no trouble against the press. You have to know what you’re doing against the press. You can’t “just play.” ND repeatedly got double-teamed in the corner w the inbounds pass. There have to be ways to prevent that. How do you coach a team to handle the press?
Tom Noie: Ed: First thing is you have to coach a team that understands how to beat a press. You said it yourself, they were repeatedly double-teamed in the corners. What's the first rule you learn in grade school about handling the press? Stay out of the corners.
Ed, Belleville, IL: Why does ND never use the full court press on defense? Why do they often not fill the lane when they are shooting free throws? They’ll never get a rebound if nobody’s there.
Tom Noie: Ed: Fullcourt press requires athletes, and sometimes a deeper bench. You use a lot of energy pressing and trapping and running all over the place. This team can't really afford to do that with seven guys. They've always been more about position defense. And getting your defense set, which is why nobody's in the lane on free throws.
Matt from MA: Tom, I'm tired of ND basketball. Seriously. We have reached the point that me, a sports and Irish fanatic, is not mad anymore, but simply disinterested. Good thing they let students in to watch that pathetic performance last night. Mike Brey needs to go. He has done great things for ND basketball, but he is running them into the ground now. They don't have enough players, the players they do have aren't good enough and he is too stubborn to change his ways.
Tom Noie: Matt: Seriously, I've got nothing for you on this. No debate. A short rotation is only as good as the short rotation. Everybody has, has to be on every single game. If they're not, there's no other option. That's where the Irish are.
Matt from MA: I also want to add context to the BC game. BC fired it's basketball coach, had a 2 week pause with no practice, and Mike Brey and co couldn't find a way to defend them and prevent 90 points?????? Are you kidding me??? Does he even coach anymore? If he does, it certainly isn't very good. That loss alone should get him fired. BC had 1 win, 2 week layoff, new coach, bad players and started a walk on. Brey's "stop and score" defense gave up 90....
Tyler: Tom, your both wise and honest. If I gave you 70/30- which side is Brey in or out? I’m leaning towards him returning. I feel like Brey gets a pass with the pandemic. It just feels that’s “owed” for some reason. It just feels like that might just be a Notre Dame thing too.
Tom Noie: Tyler: Think Wednesday was almost like the point of no return for Mike Brey with the students chanting for him to be fired. He talked in the presser about next year, but what does one more year do? What happens if they're not any better and the general seating population echoes the student body after home games? After every loss, the refrain will be the same - he should have left after last year. Now, if Mike Brey decides to overhaul everything about his program, maybe that works. But Brey's nothing if not loyal to his guys. His staff. I just can't see him sacrificing them to save himself.
Mike - Fort Worth, TX: Man - naturally endless thoughts after last night. I'm admittedly a big mike brey fan - arguably my fondest memory of college was going to every single game during the semesters in 14-15, and traveling to all 4 tournament games with my friends and soaking it all in. The UK loss hurts more than any FSU, Clemson or other football loss imaginable for me. But - students at ND today have never sniffed any of that excitement. I am not excusing their chants, but the entire student body basically has never experienced the magic of mike brey, so he's hardly their coach. Do we think the voices of a small handful of students (that have had a shell of an ND experience all year) should be having this much power in a sense? The games the last 3 years (obviously not including this year) have looked absolutely lifeless with the student section consistently half empty, and while I know people flock towards a good product, I am not sure listening to a student body that doesn't show up 95% of the time is the move here.
Tom Noie: Mike: The student body reaction is probably 20th or 21st on the list of what you can't have happen and expect to keep your job as the head coach. It's more piling on at this point than any deciding factor. Nobody's making a decision (nor should they) based on Timmy or Joey or Tyler in Section 115. If you don't have the support of the students, what's next?
Dave: Can you tell me why it seems that high ball screens give us trouble to defend but our ball screens are totally ineffective?
Tom Noie: Dave: Whoa, an actual basketball x and o question. Thank you! Similar to why Notre Dame doesn't defend very well. Ball screens is about want-to and execution. Know when to get to a certain spot and hold that spot, then let your basketball IQ take over. Stay with the screen or roll to the hoop? There's an unspoken communication needed between guard and big to complete the play - do A, B or C. These guys just don't have that. Do they practice it? Do they teach it? I don't know.
Pat from Bordentown, NJ: Hi Tom - thanks for the great coverage as always. After last night and the last few weeks - one simple (?) question - how does this end, in your opinion?
Tom Noie: Pat: It ends with Mike Brey announcing that he's decided to retire. He's not going to be fired, nor should he be. He has his coaching faults, as we all do, but the winningest coach in program history deserves to go out with some class. He'll say that this is his decision and it's time to decompress and lead the good life in Florida. But in the end, it won't be his decision. It will be window dressing of being told that this is the way this is going to go.
Paul (Annandale, VA): I would like to give Coach Brey a break since the COVID it all over the world. You?
Tom Noie: Paul: Absolutely. Think of everything that every college coach has had to maneuver through and around and across this season. It's been a year-long headache and hassle. But.....playing hard and playing together and playing connected but still coming up short these last four games would be one thing. The way Notre Dame has lost - and looked - speak to deeper issues than just the pandemic. This is a team that's simply playing out the string. It's too harsh to say they don't care, but they don't care enough. There's a difference.
Dylan from MN: Tom, thanks for the continued coverage.. what a crazy year it has been.
Dylan from MN: I am a mid 20’s die hard ND fan. Up until recently, I have had probably 5x more memorable ND hoops moments in my lifetime than football moments, all thanks to Mike Brey. It’s really tough to see it end like this. What happened to the home win streaks? College game day?? Ranked wins? Where do we go from here?
Tom Noie: Dylan: Good question. A Brey reboot/teardown or time to start over? One or the other. It might be the other.
Jeff, Fort Wayne: What happened?? Elite 8’s, then the best recruiting class in years, and now the program appears to be lost.
Tom Noie: Jeff: Not enough time in the day to unpack the reasons. Recruiting, player development, injuries, recruiting misses. Throw it all together and you're left with where and what this program is today.
Paul (Annandale, VA): Why would coach Brey get canned? I don’t think this should happen.
Tom Noie: Paul: He's probably not getting fired. Think of it more as a forced retirement. Thanks for the 21 years, but it's just time to go a different direction. Again, we're probably not having this conversation if the Irish looked and played differently against Louisville and Boston College and North Carolina State. But they've barely been competitive the last three games. Really, since the second half of the Syracuse game. That's on them, yes, but it's also on the head coach, who needs to know the next button to press.
Adam, Joliet: Where could we expect to see Blake Wesley and JR Konieczny fall into the rotation next year? Also what could Elijah Taylor bring to this group that this team might be lacking?
Tom Noie: Adam: Too early to tell on all three. All should be in the rotation, but a whole lot needs to be sorted out in the offseason. Who's the head coach? Does anyone transfer? All will factor into where those three fit. First thing's first - Wesley and Konieczny will need to devote themselves to some serious weight training to get their frames up to ACC standards. Taylor will need a big helping of pickup in the offseason to get back into game shape/conditioning/rhythm.
Ryan mars pa: Good day Tom any players coming back next year of Covid rule or is it not for basketball go Irish beat Florida state and the acc tournament
Tom Noie: Ryan: Notre Dame has two graduate students in Juwan Durham and Nik Djogo who will move on to the next phases of their basketball careers/lives next season. They will not return.
Tim from Chicago: Hi Tom, I just can't get over how the current junior class has under-achieved during their first three years under Brey. Know that Carmody never really got his start, but it feels ironic that one of Mike's best classes on paper might ultimately push him out of coaching at ND. What went wrong, things felt so hopeful three years ago?
Tom Noie: Tim: Great point, and an ignored issue in this whole equation. Maybe it was just too much too soon for them. I can't say. But they haven't developed in the ways the staff believed and the fans hoped. That's hurt, because there were no other options.
Justin, Columbia City: Coach deserved better than to be on the receiving end of cancel culture from Sec 115 in the first home game with even a hint of fans in the stands. There's no doubt, everyone expected better the last few years from a program that has made us accustomed to groups over achieving, but that was embarrassing. I wish there were easy answers, but I don't see any. How does one sell this program on the recruiting trail? Sure, it's the ACC, but miserable winters, high academic standards, three straight years of under performing teams, etc.
Tom Noie: Justin: All true, but also the chance to maybe play right away and play in the ACC. And then, there's the education, something those in Section 115 apparently are wasting given their decision to do what they did last night. It takes a different kind of kid to want to attend Notre Dame. The challenge is to find the right ones. For the most part, Brey and his staff have done that.
Danno, Manhattan Beach: Hey Tom. I have an interesting new coach idea. Let's say Rick Pitino goes to confession. We'd have to forgive him for all he's done if we're gonna call ourselves a Catholic school. Then we got a big time hire. "Forgive me father, for I have directed staff to buy prostitutes for my prospective players." How many Hail Marys for that?
Tom Noie: Danno: Too many to count. Or even consider. Besides, his asking price would be too high. Hard pass on that one.
Paul (Annandale, VA): ND men basketball did have a tough schedule since a few easy games got canceled so Coach Brey should be ok this season?
Tom Noie: Paul: This season has maybe two more games remaining, so, I'd say so. Beyond this season? Wouldn't say that.
Tim from Chicago: No doubt Brey has had success with transfer students in the past - danny miller, humphrey, scott martin, etc off the top of my head, but these guys came in one at a time and were spaced apart from what I recall. Is part of the recent problem bringing in such a large volume of transfer students during a short timeframe and expecting them to gel right away together- Durham, Wertz, Ryan, and now the guy from Yale next season?
Tom Noie: Tim: No, because that's the way of the college basketball world. Remember when Notre Dame landed Humphrey? Then Miller? Transfers back then were so rare. Now, it's almost an area of recruiting separate from recruiting. Some college coaches recruit transfers more than they recruit high school kids. Just wait if the one-time transfer rule goes through this offseason. It will be Thunderdome. The Wild West. A three-ring recruiting circus. More schools will recruit transfers than high school kids. Why? Get old, stay old and win faster. That's what college basketball has become.
joe from the south side: Tom: I think there are two separate questions at play. Should Mike Brey be gone? Yes. Will he? Not so sure. Depends on who decides and what are the provisions in his contract. Personally, I think he gets one more shot. COVID, abnormal circumstances, etc......remember Wertz was not supposed to play this year at all. It remains to be seen if the administration can turn their back on such a loyal employee. Where are you on this?
Tom Noie: Joe: It's hard to go the one-more-year route. Because what does that buy? What happens if it all goes sideways next season? And then, EARLY next season. It already seems like it's been a month since the game ended barely 12 hours ago. I can't imagine going through that for weeks on end. That one more year better carry with it a whole boatload of provisions to change up the program. It's something I don't see Mike Brey doing - these are my guys, this is how I roll. He'd rather walk away than cut those guys on the staff loose.
Chris, Virginia: Tom, Any chance Irish can beat FSU? I do not see ND firing Brey, if he wants to retire that is a different story do you agree? A challenging financial year is complicating things.
Tom Noie: Chris: There's always a chance, but a realistic one given what we've seen since the second half of the Syracuse game? I'm not counting on Saturday to be anywhere near competitive. And if it is, that just adds to the frustration - if you can get up for the No. 11 team in the country, why can't you truck the last-place team?
Gregg: Are we going to be a better team next year, or is going to be the same story with this group. Beat all of the average teams and not come up big against the good ones?
Tom Noie: Gregg: I'll have a better idea when we see how this offseason shakes out. For obvious reasons. Change is coming. How deeply does it cut at Notre Dame?
Brian Royal Oak MI: It’s time for Brey to move on. System does not work without NBA talent. John Beilein is looking for work and a perfect fit at ND. Get him now for 5 years.
Tom Noie: Brian: And do this whole dance five years from now? Another hard sell.
joe from the south side: Tom: A few chats ago I said this team lacked three things, an offensive identity, athleticism and heart. Clearly, they have quit on Brey. Do you find this shocking? I do. Remember he is the "loosest coach in America." I mean, if you buy into the whole ND experience, how could you not want to play for a guy who wants to win 88-80 every night. Is there some thing you can point to whereby this season when into meltdown mode?
Tom Noie: Joe: It's a systematic failure. From top to bottom and everywhere in between. Touching every aspect of the program. The head coach got complacent, but so did the junior class. They've never gotten any better. They were the No. 15 class in the country. That wasn't Brey saying that. That wasn't me saying that. That was the national recruiting consensus. It's stunning to see them and the total lack of want-to since the second half of the Syracuse game.
Paul (Annandale, VA): How many bids for March Madness are the ACC going to get this season? Go Irish!!! ❤️☘️
Tom Noie: Paul: Love your energy and enthusiasm, but when the team you cover for six, seven months out of the year isn't one of those bids, it really doesn't much matter.
Brian Royal Oak MI: What big time high school player would want to come sit on the bench for 2 years? NCST played 3 freshmen last night and they looked good, though 75% of time no one was guarding them.
Tom Noie: Brian: You have five seconds....maybe 10. Name me said "big-time" high school player who's sat on the bench at Notre Dame as a freshman. Go....
joe from the south side: Tom: For those of you who are addicted to hoops like me, (and ND hoops especially), subscribe to a VPN (virtual private network about $10/month). Then subscribe to ESPN Player. Theoretically, it should work and cost about $20/month.
Tom Noie: My man Joe coming through with the public service announcement....
Justin Ft Wayne: Many people say next year is going to be better for the junior class. What makes them believe that? They haven’t developed by now so what makes them think they will develop by next season?
Tom Noie: Justin: Don't count me among those "many people." No, they had a chance to make a big move this year. What changes after the six-month offseason? No, the pieces just don't fit. Maybe it's coaching. Maybe it's from within.
Adam from Tx: ND has transitioned into being a transfer school over the past 5 years. How do you think this effects team development?
Tom Noie: Adam: I've actually been a proponent of going more the transfer route - if you get the right transfer. Get old, stay old, get experienced, stay experienced. Especially in the Atlantic Coast Conference. Notre Dame's been hesitant to take transfers just to take transfers. And not every transfer is looking long and hard at Notre Dame. They've been rather selective. But I'd like to see them take a chance on a transfer. That's where everything started to turn for me. After going 3-15 and finishing last in the ACC two years ago, Notre Dame should've explored every single option to improve the roster. Get a transfer. Maybe a grad transfer. Notre Dame did next to nothing.
Adam from Tx: If you could insert a previous player on this team to lead them who would you choose and why?
Tom Noie: Adam: So many to choose from. Troy Murphy would go get these guys 20 and 10 and sometimes 30 and 20 every night. Ben Hansbrough would light guys up when they need to be lit up. With his words and his work. Bonzie Colson would just go and compete and hold it down in the post. Drag everyone along with them.
Adam from Tx: Do you think Mike should try to switch up his team dynamic and try to recruit more talent in the defense department?
Tom Noie: Adam: He's an offensive coach. And I don't know if anybody is being recruited these days exclusively because they can get in a stance and guard their guys.
Dan from Indy: Thanks Tom for all that you do on the ND beat! I know Brey signed a contract extension that keeps him here through the '24-'25 season, but what does buyout $, guaranteed $, look like if Swarbrick lets him go or if it's a mutual parting of ways?
Tom Noie: Dan: If this ends in the way everyone thinks it's going to end, there will be some sort of quiet financial settlement/buyout/parting gift with it being framed as Mike Brey's choice to retire. But it's out of his hands now. As I mentioned earlier, you can't fire him. Terrible optics. So they're not going down that road.
Bob from Chi: What do you think is a possible replacement? Porter Moser? Chris Quinn? A nova or Gonzaga lead assistant/great recruiter?
Tom Noie: Bob: Plenty of time to ponder all that down the road. Today's not that time.
Joe: You said: “There's an unspoken communication needed between guard and big to complete the play - do A, B or C. These guys just don't have that. Do they practice it? Do they teach it? I don't know.” Your job is covering this program. How do you not know?
Tom Noie: Joe: Easy....because we don't see anything in terms of what they practice or how they practice. What do they emphasize? What do they spend more time on? How do the players interact with one another on the practice floor? What do the players really think? We currently operate with zero face-to-face interact with anyone on the team or the staff. It's all done via Zoom and if you know anything about Zoom, you know that nobody's saying anything in that format. I don't know is a way better/honest answer than saying, well, Mike Brey says they do this and this and this.....I'm not taking that and running with it. Go in an interior room late at night and turn the lights out. That's what it's like trying to cover a basketball program during a pandemic. You're left in the dark 80 percent of the time.
Morgan Mac - DC: Hello Tom - thank you for the positive vibes groundrules. Start off with something easy. Who are the all time 3 best ND dunkers in your era, shooters and leaders.
Tom Noie: Morgan: Great question. Going off the top of my head, let's go dunkers - Austin Burgett, Zach Auguste, Ryan Humphrey; shooters; Kyle McAlarney, Colin Falls, Matt Carroll, leaders: Pat Connaughton, Bonzie Colson, Tory Jackson. That's it. That's the list.
Adam from Tx: All for Brey, but what do you think the odds are for Demetrius Jackson to become coach?
Tom Noie: Adam: Demetrius Jackson's my guy, but one question.....why?
Joey from Highland, IN: biggest disappointment....Goodwin or Ryan?
Tom Noie: Dane Goodwin. Give Cormac Ryan somewhat of a pass on adjusting to life in the ACC from the pac-12, but this was set up for Dane Goodwin to have a really good year. It hasn't happened.
Morgan Mac - DC: Tom - how good are the recruiting lists? ND has its best recruiting class but they just might not have it. Like DJ Harvey. He was a big recruit but fizzled. Maybe these guys are just soft. Ryan seems to be firey but the rest of the guys are the opposite of Ben H. Looks like Zona will mix it up. Do you see that too?
Tom Noie: Morgan: You've got to wonder. How can everyone have missed on this entire class? Harvey was a talent, but it was going to be a struggle in terms of buy-in.
joe from the south side: Tom: Since FSU is potentially Brey's last home game, if you are Jack S., do hold a meeting this week, players only, no coaches, and say, "Guys, air it out. What went wrong?" Then base your decision on that info.
Tom Noie: Joe: I think we're too far down that road. Mike Brey talked Wednesday like someone who knows where this is headed.
John from Connecticut: Tom, thanks for the therapy sessions. In regards recruiting, I feel it is not necessarily the level of talent ND has been securing but the mix of player types. You need some bangers and energy guys to mix with the finesse players. It seems the current squad is all finesse which leads to non competitive practices and the ensuing half hearted defensive efforts in games. Add to it the short roster and the players are too comfortable playing poor defense as they will not be benched. Basically if they do not make shots there is nothing to bring to the table. Do you agree that even at the current level of recruiting a better mix of skill sets recruited could greatly elevate the Irish?
Tom Noie: John: Great point. Get a couple guys who can make shots, a guy who can distribute, and get a few guys who can just go get the ball off the backboard, kick it out and recycle everything. It's about pieces. That's why they didn't fit this year. They were the wrong pieces.
Joey from Highland, IN: they don't seem to run any offense, i know Brey doesn't call sets, but, they usually pass it around the perimeter then shoot a 3. is he that stubborn that he just can't start calling sets?
Tom Noie: Joey: There are sets called when sets need to be called. But when it's flowing, Mike Brey is more apt to let it flow. Don't get in the way and screw it all up. Thing is, when it doesn't flow, that all-important basketball IQ doesn't kick in. That's what leads to the what-next looks.
Tim from Chicago: One of my theories is that Brey always relied on his upperclassmen to pass down the culture of the program to the younger guys. What could this year's Jr and Sr class possibly pass down to the freshmen and sophomores. The last link to the successful ND teams of the last 10 years left when Rex Pfleuger graduated, and that is even a bit of a stretch. Now you are mish mashing transfer student-athletes in. The program's identify is lost and probably needs a new vision and a reset. Great reporting this year, Tom, thanks for making us continue to feel engaged with the team. Love your reporting and your honesty to the fanbase and looking forward to your annual "where are they now" column on former Irish playing professionally around the globe.
Tom Noie: Tim: That's not a theory, that's truth, which is why it was important to bring back Nik Djogo this year, who has absolutely embraced his role as resident program sage. But in terms of not having those other guys who knew the success no longer here, that was something I felt could work in favor for this group. Like, there's no more cloud of the Elite Eights hovering over the program. These guys could build their own legacy on their terms and not worry about living up to the 2015 and 2016 teams. In a lot of ways, it was seen as a fresh start. Turns out everything remained stale.
Justin Ft Wayne: Can Paul Atkinson rebound? Nobody on this team seems to want to put a body on someone and box out and grab the rebound. The other team always seems to get easy offensive rebounds. Something has to chnage on the glass. and soon I hope.
Tom Noie: Justin: He can rebound in the Ivy League, but here comes one of the Joes favorite (least favorite responses). I don't know. Like how does something someone does in the Ivy League translate to the Atlantic Coast Conference? Can it? Will it? It's the same as not knowing about recruit A, B or C. They're great in high school, but the ACC's the big leagues. Paul Atkinson will have a chance to rebound, that's for sure.
Eggbert, Section 115: "And then, there's the education, something those in Section 115 apparently are wasting given their decision to do what they did last night." So we are supposed to sit quietly and not complain that our four years as students at ND saw ZERO NCAA tournament bids? Maybe we were speaking out to try to leave the place better for the students behind us -- to give them some hope.
Tom Noie: How about a letter to the editor in The Observer? I find it odd that you spend the whole game cheering and making noise and being into it....and giving the building some much-needed energy....and then at the decide, yeah, let's give 'em one final kick. That will show 'em. Speak out, by all means. Just wouldn't have gone about it in that way. Felt bush league, but you're young. You'll learn.
Joey from Highland, IN: I see a mass exodus after the season. Goodwin and Laszewski will leave. Goodwin can shoot 3-11 every game somewhere else.
Tom Noie: Joey: It wouldn't be a hoops chat or a hoops dialogue without you worrying about mass roster issues. Now it's official.
Joey from Highland, IN: Tom, if Mooney was on this team, are they any better in your opinion?
Tom Noie: Add a guy who's a walking double double and a consistent post threat? Yes, please.
Dan from Indy: Basketball wise, what happened to Nate's productivity and shot volume the second half of the conference season? He's only taken 10+ shots once in the last 9 games (27 point outburst against GT is the one game)
Tom Noie: Dan: And that's on who? The head coach who can't coach? The point guard who can't be the point guard? Some of it's on Nate Laszewski, who seems to play more to protect his shot percentages than offer something more to the team. He doesn't get many shots and doesn't do much, mainly because he chooses not to. He's one of those guys who seems to shoot only when he's open. WIDE open. Guy closing out on him? Not going up. And the book's out on Laszewski. Body him up. Be physical. Get into him. What's his counter? There is none. Why were his percentages so good for a chunk of the season? He'd rarely shoot. It's not just a Brey thing or a Hubb thing. It's a Laszewski thing. It's a Ryan thing. It's a Goodwin and a Durham and a Wertz thing.
Gary from Hamilton: I see the cancel culture references are even being applied to (a reasonable) reactions to coaching in sports now...PLEASE! As for five years of Beilein and going through this again, he coached at Canisius in Buffalo (just across the river from me) and was very supportive of developing players AND assistant coaches...why not have him coach for five years, and have a younger guy that can be developed into "the coach in waiting"?
Tom Noie: Gary: And that's worked...when?
Chet from Indiana: You say there are two options: a Brey tear down and revamped staff or start over with a new coach. I don’t disagree. But as someone who has stated they believe Brey still has the coaching itch, what are the odds we see him coaching somewhere else?
Tom Noie: Chet: Right now, today, at 11:45 a.m., hard to say. Think he takes a year off to recharge and reassess, but every coach believes they have one more move left in him. Whether that's at his current school or a new one that no one sees coming. The itch is too great not to scratch. Brey talked last offseason about finishing out his current deal and maybe even extending it, or going somewhere else. Every coach believes he can still do it, even after he's told he can't do it at said school. Want someone to run a clean program? Graduate his guys? Connect? He'd be the guy.
Mike from the Chicago Burbs: Tom: seems to me that even if Brey were to get another year, assuming the now-junior class starts leaving, the cupboard is really bare after 2021-22. Some young players here and there, but we'd probably need to recruit 2-3 more players AND hit the transfer portal in the next recruiting cycle. Seems like a tall order even for a new coach who is a talented recruiter much less one who doesn't really seem to get after it on the trail. With all the talk of football trying to improve its recruiting operation, what specifically does the basketball program need to do to similarly step their game up?
Tom Noie: Mike: A lot of it starts similarly to playing defense. You've got to WANT to go and recruit. Spend the hours on the wooden bleachers watching games. Going from school to school. Camp to camp. Tournament to tournament. Build a wish-list that runs really deep. Take some chances on some guys. That doesn't seem like it always was the case.
Mark Kruz from Mishawaka: Tom how does ND approach the offseason defensively? We know they don't have the athletes to play any 3/4 or half court pressure and it seems like playing zone defenses are more ineffective now since the 3pt stripe was moved back a few years ago. I'm hoping Atkinson will provide a certain toughness in the middle like Moses Wright has done this season for Georgia Tech. Hopefully with off season conditioning Hughes can also add some toughness inside which this team seriously lacked. Maybe the offseason should be spent on having the defense create some of your offense instead of getting into shootouts. Getting kids into buying in to play defense is tough for ANY coach! Hope you get your shot soon and back to playing pickup!
Tom Noie: Mark: They tried that whole defense creating offense earlier this season with the whole stop-score stat. There were those who rejoiced, like, finally, Notre Dame is going to play some defense. But that's not how this program was built. It was going to be a hard sell for these guys. We've seen how it's played out. it's back to indifference. Give up 94 at Boston College and 80 last night at home. What's the next solution?
Chris, virginia: Tom, Do you think of Brey does return could someone like Hubb transfer out?
Tom Noie: Chris: If the one-time transfer rule goes through and players are allowed to transfer once and play immediately, every possibility is on the table. For everyone.
Joey from Highland, IN: Also, i've been saying this...play Zona, he shows toughness, maybe more than anyone else. I was glad to see him get some time last night.
Tom Noie: Notre Dame basketball, where the freshmen at the end of the bench are the second comings of the backup quarterback and the belief is that they're ready and just as good as the guys out there. I'll never understand that. It happens every year. Find the one or two guys who don't play and pine for them. If only they played more, what a difference it would make.
Morgan Mac - DC: Tom - I do believe ND is without a PG and has been since Farrell. Brey was a PG and from Chris Thomas on we’ve had a solid PG (correct me if that’s wrong) and now without one (Hubb is not that’s clear) the team is without a leader and it shows. What are your thoughts on that?
Tom Noie: Morgan: Said it I think on the day's first question. Prentiss Hubb entered the week the league leader in assists (6.09) and 15th in scoring, where four other point guards were above him in that category. Hubb takes a lot of bullets from fans, and not all of it warranted. Wrote after the first game of the year that Hubb's not like any point guard the Irish have had. So don't get caught up in what he's not. Hasn't worked.
Morgan Mac - DC: Tom - no need to reply but no Pat for dunkers??
Tom Noie: Leader > dunker. As I said, off top of my head. Can't throw him in every category.
Joe, DC: So if Brey leaves, in this special year, ahead, people can transfer out and not have to sit out, right? ND can both gain and lose from that and the three incoming guys can go elsewhere right? I don't know about you but the screaming of a few entitled punks at last night's game is the call of the student body. That is an extreme. Let's face it, the ND students are very fickle. Was at a reception on campus a few years ago and ND great terry hanratty was there he talked how embarrassing it was that the students do not support the basketball team with the exception of a a few games.
Tom Noie: Joe: The fan thing first - it's the social media society. Fans, students, are going to read/hear something on a message board or a social media forum and run with it. Ah, let's yell Fire Brey....won't that be funny? Yeah, not so much. Voice your opinion, but as I wrote today, it was a whole lot uncomfortable to hear that. Thing is, put those same students in the room with Mike Brey and I can pretty well guess nobody's saying anything like that. It will be all back slaps and hand shakes. As for the sit-out, it's not a pandemic-related rule. And I believe it applies only to current college players. Not incoming freshmen.
Joey from Highland, IN: in your opinion, who are transfer candidates? Goodwin? Laszewski?
Tom Noie: Not even worth discussing. Same rules apply as the possible next head coach. There's time for that down the road. Breathe.
Wadelite: Tom, the efficient ND offense philosophy over a committed effort on defense has been flawed for years. Since 2010, ND has had 3 very good seasons with great shooters or more athleticism, but without either they are toast. Wisconsin is often a comparison used. They do not have a great team this season, but they are going to make the NCAAT. Their talent is not better than ND and their athleticism is about the same and they play 7 guys. The difference is defensive commitment. Also, is there a void on this coaching staff in recognizing under the radar talent aka RKG's. It seems apparent when you compare the 2018 class to former players who were not in top 100 lists.
Tom Noie: Wade: Agree. With everything.
IrishWay: Tom, thanks for your coverage. This past year has been a complete disappointment to say the least. Whether Brey stays or goes, I’m curious how many on the roster want to stick around? The body language on the floor is atrocious. How many are at risk of transferring with or without Brey?
Tom Noie: IW: Everyone will have that chance if the one-time transfer rule goes through. Same goes for every other team in college basketball. The most important recruit won't be the incoming freshman hotshot but the three-year veteran who's played his share of high-level games.
Tim from Chicago: Tom, over the years which chat of yours had the highest # of questions, curious what might have caused the spike, and wondering if Brey's reaction in the press conference last night has led to this being the busiest chat you've ever held?
Tom Noie: Tim: This one, and it's not even close. People want to talk about chaos. And drama. If there's none of that, people aren't taking time out of work. Too busy. When there's drama, people come out of the woodwork.
ND Harvey Philly: Fire Brey!!!
Tom Noie: Section 115 still shouting from the shadows!
Caleb from Charlotte: Hi Tom, I think it's fair to say that both the men's and women's team have had disappointing seasons. However, the women have young star players like Maddy Westbeld and Olivia Miles that give you optimism about the future. What player(s) that will be on next years team gives you hope that next year's team will be significantly better?
Tom Noie: Caleb: Paul Atkinson, who will bring something different to the equation. Old guy. Veteran. Experienced. Has done it at the collegiate level. Might be a good leader. Now, does he follow through with graduate school plan or go back to Yale after the Ivy League announced it would accept graduate students to play sports? So much drama....
Morgan Mac - DC: Tom - I’ll give my 2c surrounded by calls to can Brey. I do believe ND isn’t a WIN at all costs school like many are. Brey will get one more year, mainly from Covid, also respect and I do believe next year’s team could be like 2014-15 coming off a horrible year. Will the senior class, new guys, transfers, guys from IR, this team should be a NCAA lock and if they have chemistry they could go on a roll. It would also give Jack time to evaluate a replacement if Brey if given an ultimatum of success or you’re out. ND would rather do that then rush hire someone who won’t last. Unless they already know who they definitely can get. Otherwise it messes up recruiting and more as you know. The defense rests, your honor.
Tom Noie: Morgan: Duly noted. One more year certainly works from my end, but again, you open yourself up to a whole lot more of the foolishness we saw last night next year. Like after every loss, it will be the same refrain.
Mike from Charlotte: They can practice defense 3 hours a day if they want...but until they can practice against the types of athletes they're facing, it won't be good enough :(
Tom Noie: Mike: Preach! It's an adjustment nobody really understands. The length and athleticism they saw last night, from the guards to the forwards, yeah, they don't see that....only in games.
Lee from Lancaster: Tom, in my opinion this team is made up of a bunch of nice guys. They need a player or two with a little mean streak in him. Someone who will fight for every rebound, guard their man like he said your girlfriend was ugly, and hold teammates accountable. In other words, play hard and tough. Do you agree?
Tom Noie: Lee: No dawgs, no chance. You need at least a few. Notre Dame doesn't have any.
Chet from Indiana: I was going to ask how excited you are to cover good basketball and the ncaa tourney but then I realized there are only like 4 good teams. College b-ball right now is pretty bleh. Give me a team or 2 outside the top 20 that, given the right draw, you think has the makings of a deep run team
Tom Noie: Chet: Just get to the tournament with no major issues. Then we'll see what happens. But I'm still suspect it gets off the ground in a good way because of the league tournaments. Those really shouldn't be played.
Terry: it would appear that whatever message Brey had has gone terribly stale. It’s time for a young, up and coming coach to lead this team to a higher level with a significant improvement in recruiting and game energy!
Tom Noie: Terry: Can't say it any better.
joe from the south side: Tom: One other viewing option is Sling TV, as advertised by Megan Mulally and the incomparable NIck Offerman. Anyway, you would need to download the Sling TV App to your device of choice (this is where you will watch the game). You will need to subscribe to Sling via a monthly package $35. I think it is the Orange package that allows the addition of a sports package, which you will need. About another $10/month. Sling is affiliated with ESPN and the ACC Network, so hoops, hoops, hoops. To boot, you get storage capacity if you can't make the live stream.
Tom Noie: Joe: We interrupt this chat to bring you another infomercial from Joe on sports on TV...take it away!
Dwight from Arkansas: In a season that is going down the tubes I continue to be puzzled. Brey is always about 'getting older'. I guess that has worked for him in the past, but it's not working this year. Why not see what the young guys can offer? If they're going to lose, lose with players that can learn and get experience. Who knows what energy these young guys could bring that seems to be lacking in the veterans. How does it help these freshmen to gain valuable floor time if they won't see the floor until they are juniors. I think that especially holds true in a disappointing year like this one.
Tom Noie: Dwight: Yeah, I don't see it. Matt Zona and Tony Sanders aren't ready. How did that work out two years ago when Mike Brey had no choice but to play the freshmen? They went 3-15 and looks like they still haven't recovered. Not a good plan.
Lee from Lancaster: Is it productive for students to boo their own team? After all, the players are students also, not professionals being paid millions of dollars for playing a game.
Tom Noie: Lee: In fairness, they didn't boo their team as much as they called out the head coach.
Morgan Mac - DC: I’ll break from Brey speculation. Besides 15 & 16, what 3 teams would you choose as having had the best shot to make the Final Four in the Brey/Noie era?
Tom Noie: Morgan: Let's go with 2011 (Ben Hansbrough PoY year), the 2001 team (that one was LOADED) and 2003 though they were in WAY over their heads in the Sweet 16. Think 2011 is the one real bad miss with five seniors. They emptied the tank in the Big East tournament and had nothing really left. Also, I'd have liked to see what the 2018 team would've done with a healthy Colson and a healthy Farrell. They would've been a problem.
Mark Kruz from Mishawaka: Just one last comment from me this season I would like to commend coach Brey and the basketball staff for 0 positive Covid cases this past season and playing all 10 of their road games. For what has happened this past year on campus with Covid cases this had to be extremely difficult emotionally for everyone within the program
Tom Noie: Mark: Amen. Outside of earning an NCAA tournament bid, this is the ultimate win for this team this season. Nobody understands how demanding and difficult this has been from the players' side. Sequestered since Aug. 10. Not home to see loved ones in months. Testing constantly. So many road games stacked atop one another. Zero positives shows this team took this season seriously.
Joe, DC: There is a player who sat out this year, right. How good is he? Was Carmody on the bench last night?
Tom Noie: Joe: Robby Carmody sat out after a fractured kneecap in the late summer. He was in the bench area last night and has been all season.
Tom Noie: Three hours and the queue has finally been cleaned out....what else you got? Let's keep this train moving.
Morgan Mac - DC: Tom - let’s assume Brey is back and everyone is playing like Hansboro’s spirit has blessed everyone. I believe they have talent and need some moxie. If that’s the case, with the way the ACC & NCAA are, how good could they be? Top 20 and possibly Sweet 16? Ever the optimist, I say Final Four!!!
Tom Noie: Morgan: It's hard to see any of that. That ship might've sailed
Chris, virginia: Tom, We will see what happens on Saturday. However, given the seeding placement in the ACC tourney, it is not a bad path. However, the could lose 1st game as well, just like 2014. Maybe a slight run in ACC tourney?
Tom Noie: Chris: Hard to see it. This might just need to end.
Andrew, Mass: Wesley and Jr are players who are more then competent athletically(especially Wesley) Surely they can improve your defense next year ans should play right away as long as they get strong enough? No?
Tom Noie: Andrew: It's a big jump from the Northern Indiana Conference to the Atlantic Coast Conference.
Jim Berlin, CT: Tom, let's just get to the heart of things. Mike Brey has to either be fired or be convinced to retire. Notre Dame men's basketball has become irrelevant over the past few years, and it's not going to get any better if Brey stays through the length of his contract. We're not getting any prize recruits, and every season we're lucky to field seven guys who know what a basketball looks like. Brey was good in his day but his methods just don't work anymore. We never make it to the Big Dance and even the NIT is out of our range. He uses the same excuses after losses like "We've got to execute better" and "The guys know what they have to do and just have to go out and do it." Wow, really? When Covid is finally under control and fans are let back into our arena I'd be willing to bet every game will be sparsely attended. Brey should do the right thing for the Irish and step aside so a new coach can come in and try to build back the program.
Morgan Mac - DC: Last of the season. More Qs. Were you there when Brey was hired? If so, what was that and the first year like? If not, what was your first year and what was that like?
Tom Noie: Morgan: Right guy at the right time. Perfect attitude for the job. Kevin White hit it out of the park with the hire. Can Notre Dame do it again?
Lee from Lancaster: I've heard Coach Brey comment on his team's lack of athleticism as one of the reasons that they haven't been competitive in certain games. Are there not coaching strategies that can be implemented that can offset this somewhat? Can't a player effectively compete with a more athletic opponent by outworking him and playing smart basketball? There were 100 guys in the NBA more athletic than Larry Bird but few as good a basketball player.
Tom Noie: Lee: it's awfully hard when you've got guys coming downhill at you who can just get around you or by or or jump over you. That goes back to how everything needs to go right for this team to have a chance. When it doesn't, they don't have one.
John from Connecticut: In regards playing the younger kids, I understand they are not ready but it seems to me that a little bench time for the juniors/seniors would have done the juniors/seniors some good. There was only one upper classmen that regularly sat on the bench for performance. It is really hard to watch a team where on defense you can sense they are pacing themselves and obvious defensive lapses are excused. I saw more intensity when I played pickup games and had to win to keep the court. In coaching I have found the bench and not yelling and screaming (though Brey did not do this or anything it seems) is the only medicine for improvement. So, I guess I would disagree that the Freshmen should not have played more. The upperclassmen needed it for their own competitive development. Would rather see guys hustling without the skill sets than quite frankly the loafing in game after game.
Tom Noie: John: Good stuff, though I think some of that perceived loafing would be a lack of overall spirit, like they know what they're up against and don't know how to fight their way out.
joe from the south side: Tom: If offered, ( I doubt it) would they go to Texas for the NIT or is this "Just shut it down" like in 2014 when Wake beat them by double digits in the first round?
Tom Noie: Not a chance. This season ends next week. The sooner the better. It was hard to watch last night, and the last three games, really. Now, along comes the first-place team in the league. My job is to root for the story, but I don't want to write the kind of story Saturday might become.
Justin Ft Wayne: If Colson and Ferrell were healthy, that 2018 could’ve done some serious things. How far do you think they would’ve gone? Would have been fun to watch.
Tom Noie: Justin: When they were healthy, they won the Maui Invitational and got to what, No. 5 in the national rankings? Not saying that would've held, but you're probably looking at another Sweet 16 with that group. At the least.
Mike - Fort Worth: Tom - I appreciate your response. I just think it really took 10-15 sophomores from Knott Hall in a spaced out section to make an audible chant, which directly led you to ask a pretty serious question to address the thought of people wanting brey fired, which led to a remarkable response from Brey which is currently coloring his future to a great degree. I'm just surprised a dozen guys yelling "fire brey" has led to the crazy reaction that it has. For an administration that seems so set in one direction (i.e. not making any big moves), 12 guys in a section seemed to really speed up where we are in this process (at least publicly).
Tom Noie: Mike: I get it, but if there was nothing to the validity of my question last night, I'd think Mike Brey would've called me on it.
joe from the south side: Tom: Let's say the season ends next week. Were you intending to have a season ending session, maybe in April, as there may be more events off the court than on?
Tom Noie: Joe: We chat around these here parts at least once a month. Definitely plan on that through the offseason. It's good to talk hoops in the spring and summer and fall. Stay tuned.
JT: Sorry, the player continues to play. What happen to bench time being a motivator? I don't care if Brey thinks the player he gave a scholarship to has less talent. Send a message of expectations.
Tom Noie: JT: Guys know coming in how this system works and has worked. You wait your turn. You grow your game. I don't know if Matt Zona and Tony Snaders planned to play heavy minutes this year. Freshman and sophomore years, you wait and learn and work. Then you play.
Tom Noie: Still answering questions....just multi-tasking right now so bear with me. Thanks!
Mike - Fort Worth: I'm not complaining about your question! A totally fair one. Simply just surprised a few students chanting kind of snowballed to the current state of (public) affairs. No disrespect here.
Tom Noie: It's all good my man
joe from the south side: Tom: How desirable is the HC job at ND? While we all speculate as to who, would people be knocking on the door to fill the slot? Coaches talk. Surely they know the standards at ND are going to hamper rather than help. We've discussed the fact that of the top 100 HS SRs, ND an recruit, maybe a dozen of those kids. I would think it's the same with the coaching slot. Only so many guys are gong to check enough boxes.
Tom Noie: Joe: It's what the coach makes it, isn't it? Look, this job had issues when Mike Brey took it - no practice facility, the arena was a dump, the infrastructure needed serious work. But he made it all work. It's never going to be the way it is in football. If you want to grind it and get after it, you can. Top half of the league every single year is not a lot to ask. It really isn't.
Caleb from Charlotte: Tom, it's obvious the fans are very frustrated with the state of the men's basketball program. Do you think the ND administration is similarly frustrated? The lack of competitiveness in games makes this a hard team to root for. I could more easily accept the losing if the effort and spirit was there every game.
Tom Noie: Caleb: I do think there's frustration throughout, which is why we are where we are today and why this chat has revolved around one central theme. It's one thing to lose games in the ACC. It's another when you're not even competitive. That's where you get into the danger zone.
Tyler from Niles: If Brey gets forced to retire, how soon after the loss on Tuesday is he relieved of his duties? As unorthodox as ND tends to do things, I’d move quickly- like Wednesday morning quickly. Make it a point to be one of the 1st power 5 jobs open and get going aggressively. With that being said, and this is an honest question, do you think Brey will have any input on the next head coach? Doubt he would even want that but gosh darn it, he’s such a good guy. I want to say he deserves to mention at least a suggestion or two as a thank you.
Tom Noie: Tyler: Just as long as nothing happens one week from today, when I'm scheduled for my first coronavirus vaccine. Fingers crossed I get there before I get/stay busy with basketball stuff.
Wadelite: Tom, there appears to be a tremendous opportunity next season for Wesley and Taylor to be defensive catalysts. Brey or the head coach has to play these guys minutes to set an example to more experienced guys who lolly gag on defense.
Tom Noie: Wade: True, but again, I hesitate putting so much expectation on a freshman. Any freshman. It's an adjustment and will be for the guys coming in next year. We saw what happened the last time freshmen were forced to do a lot of the heavy lfiting.
Wadelite: Tom, Brey said he saw similarities with Wertz and Grant and Grant was a serviceable ball handler. Ryan played some point guard at Stanford. With this in mind, I find it astounding that Hubb and those two wilted to full court pressure applied in the games they coughed up to Georgia Tech and Syracuse. It is a clear indictment on the coaching staff that they were not prepared for pressure and that during the game (without fan noise as a factor) they did not adjust. Being prepared to break full court pressure and score off it should be college coaching 101.
Tom Noie: Wade: Shouldn't it also be college basketball 101? It's not rocket science or brain surgery and it doesn't take Will Hunting on the sideline to decipher the best way to break a press.
Jake: As somebody raised the question of how good they’d be with mooney.... we would’ve known if he was redshirted in 2016-17. Instead he was the 10th/11th man and played 46 minutes. Why?
Tom Noie: Jake: Nobody saw that John Mooney coming, and figured there'd be another one coming along if he was that good. Still, who's to say that his two really good years would've translated into three really good years?
Tyler from Niles: Dinosaurs became extinct animals because they couldn’t adapt to changes progressing through time. There’s no doubt, no matter what happens at the conclusion of this tenure, that Brey dug a hole far too deep to dig out of. Nice guys finishing last will never change. But hey, at least he’ll go down with dignity knowing he took the brunt publicly every time on behalf of his team & his coaching staff. It’s too easy to shovel the blame on somebody/thing else. Give me Mike Brey back in 2000 all over again. And again. And again. Put him at a Maryland or Providence, I think he would of had completely different final results. Until next time, Tom! Thanks for the chat.
Tom Noie: Tyler: Well said. Totally agree. Look at the overall body of work, not just the last four years which have been brutal. Who else does what Mike Brey did at Notre Dame? Who? Anyone? Any coach with an ego or an agenda is out the door the third or fourth time the Big East changed or the arena renovation was put on pause or the practice facility plans fell apart. Mike Brey stayed and put his mark on this program his way. The right way. People who want to dismiss that or forget that or diminish that, man, with fans like that....
Matt from Campus: Do you think this group having to play so much as freshman actually hurt them? I assumed at the time it would help them get acclimated faster, but would they have been better off not playing if the team had the choice? Also, what happened in Section 115 yesterday was ridiculous. Brey deserves criticism, but also deserves to be treated better than that after all he has done for this program. He is its all time winningest coach! Don't want everyone on here thinking all students are ok with it.
Tom Noie: Matt: My previous answer applies to your observation. Well said.
JT: Tough season Tom. Lack of accountability and the threat of bench time goes a long way. "We are losing with you, we can lose without you," can go a long way sometimes. How many times have we seen a player shoot a 3 and watch him stand and watch as the opponent goes down for a fast break score? How many times not matching up inside/out on transition defense? Not blocking out for a rebound? No accountability!
Tom Noie: JT: Sometimes some accountability has to come from within. That's the way Mike Brey treats his guys. He's not going to bench them for a missed assignment. He's going to get them to be accountable, and then be better the next time. That's where this has gone off the rails. The overall feeling is, eh, why bother?
Wadelite: Tom, I believe you are over rating how good the 17-18 team was. With the right draw they might have won 2 NCAAT games, but this team healthy lost at home to ball state and then blew a lead versus a mediocre Indiana team, largely due to Bonzie not blocking out a walk on. Oh yeah, that team had a freshman class of one. These zero or one man recruiting classes have contributed to this slide.
Tom Noie: Wade: You're overlooking one little point about everything. It won Maui. It was ranked No. 5 in the country. EVERYTHING changed about the direction of the season that early December night in Breslin Center when Bonzie Colson felt a lingering pain in his foot. He played through it against Ball State. He played through it against Indiana. Little did we know the foot would break in early January. It was headed that way right after Maui - except nobody really knew it. And that one-man recruiting class - D.J. Harvey - was headed for microfracture knee surgery.
Bill: I am torn because when I was student, the basketball team gave us way more memories than the football team and so when those students call for Brey's firing, my initial instinct is to tell them to shut up and Brey has been winning at ND since before they were born. On the other hand, there is not a student on campus that has a one positive memory of the basketball team. Even if ND hires the "right" guy as a replacement and he wins, it still won't be Brey because he won with such a loose style that was such a delightful juxtaposition to the curmudgeons he went against (Calhoun, Boeheim, Coack K, etc.)
Tom Noie: Bill: I have a weird relationship with the student body. Important for the program, but never got the sense the majority of them were in it for the long haul. Big games? Yeah, let's go Irish! Not a big game, meh, might hit the library and knock out a few chapters instead. If they feel that strongly about what they've been denied in basketball success, write a letter to the editor in The Observer.
JT: Not a Brey defender at all. However, ND lever players should know by now not to go to the corners and basic ways to break certain presses. My lord the coaches should know.
Tom Noie: JT: They ALL should know. Exactly.
JT: That is why he might be gone. He has failed to adjust with the kids he recruited. He needed to be their coach and a hard nosed coach with this JR class from day one. Now it is too late. As a teacher cannot be touch after Christmas, you have lost the class.
Tom Noie: JT: Not entirely true. Early in his career, Dane Goodwin felt he needed to be coached harder, said it made him a better player. Brey coached him harder from then on. Hasn't really worked. I don't know if you can be the hard-nosed coach with this group when they were freshmen. They were just trying to survive after losing Rex Pflueger. Now they've got Coach up their butts about boxing out??? This core won 10 league games last year - not all of it was because of Gibbs and Mooney and Pflueger.
Clint from Winnipeg: I don't have a question today. At this point it feels like there's nothing left to say. It's sad, really.
Tom Noie: Clint: Want to answer some of mine? LOL
Clint from Winnipeg: Okay, here's one thing I'm interested in. I know he's not going to play in a game this season, but have you heard anything positive about Carmody's rehab?
Tom Noie: Clint: You DO have a question. Nothing on Carmody, because his rehab was technically over in January. Brey chose not to play him the rest of the year, just get him back to practice at a slow pace and rebuild his confidence to where he can cut it all loose in the fall. Just the fact that he's still healthy is a plus. Small steps for him.
JT: Tom, maybe you just said it all, "I don't know if you can be the hard-nosed coach with this group when they were freshmen." Goes back to recruiting? Top 15 class on paper, but toughness, heart? Need athletic, tough, basketball players with a sprinkle of Brey types players?
Tom Noie: JT: He couldn't be tough on them because he needed them to produce. Worry about the tough love later. There was no time for any of that that year. It was more survival mode. Like I want to teach you guys and get you to understand how this all works, but I need you for heavy minutes against Duke. No-win situation.
Morgan Mac - DC: Need more questions? Ok. Who is your all time starting five guys to interview plus an assistant coach? Most interesting and open and personable?
Tom Noie: Morgan: Might be the last question to end the day on, so it's gotta be good one. And this one is. All-time starting five to interview, for myriad reasons - Pat Connaughton, Bonzie Colson, Troy Murphy, Ben Hansbrough and Tory Jackson off the top of my head. Ask me tomorrow and I might give you a different five. There have been so many good ones through the years, which is what has made covering this team such a great ride. Good dudes who knew the drill. They didn't pout when i might've written something they didn't like (even B-Hans). Always learned something new about the game talking with Rod Balanis. The guy's wealth of knowledge is staggering. I thought I had a pretty good memory. Rod's is ridiculous. Again, all good guys. It really starts at the top. If this is it for Mike Brey, he'll be unbelievably missed from a media standpoint. He just got it. Can't remember the number of times a beat writer in the Big East would say, I'll trade you my head coach for your head coach. Nope. Not ever trading.
Tom Noie: After covering two coaches and two coaching searches in my first two years, Mike Brey promised he'd give it at least five years before I had to do one of those again. It's not been the smoothest of rides for the fans, but these last 21 years have been really good from a media coverage standpoint. Mike Brey never got to a Final Four, but when it comes to media access, he was a No. 1 seed every single year. That's all a beat writer/turned columnist could ask for. It's been a great ride.
Maggie, Merrillville: Are there any rumblings on who might replace Jack Nolan? Will he be honored in any way on Saturday? I mean it's his senior day in a way also.
Tom Noie: Maggie: Kind of have to let this season end first, right? Same thing as who might be the next coach. Let it breathe. Everyone wants the next to happen now. Deep breaths.....
Tom Noie: That will do it for today. My keyboard's smoking. Solid effort. Let's do it again sometime later in the month. Or next. What will the Notre Dame men's basketball program look like? Stay tuned.