Chat Transcript: What will be different about Notre Dame men's hoops in 2021-22?
NDInsider Tom Noie held a Notre Dame men's basketball chat on April Fools' Day (no joke). Following is a transcript of the five-plus hour discussion:
Tom Noie: The calendar says it's Opening Day for baseball, but Mother Nature in Northern Indiana says its still college basketball weather. It's snowing. The wind's blowing. Wind chill is in the teens. A great day to talk some Notre Dame basketball - and there's a lot to talk about after a season like no other ended with a resounding thud three weeks ago with a loss to North Carolina in the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament, a game where the Irish once trailed by 50. How's that even possible? To join today's chat, make sure to include your name and hometown. Can we go five hours? Let's give it the old college try and light this chat candle...
Andrew from Plymouth, IN: I know you said you didn't expect anyone to leave via the transfer portal but with ND making contact with several different kids in the portal, there must be some inkling that a guy or two could still leave, right? There isn't enough playing time to go around to bring someone in without someone else leaving. Transfers are looking for playing time and how could Brey and company convince players in the portal that playing time will be available if everyone is back?
Tom Noie: Andrew: The way the transfer portal has blown up every single day - there's currently what, over 1,000 players in the portal - the status of the 2021-22 Notre Dame men's basketball roster could change not only day to day but hour to hour. The latest intel has it that Notre Dame does not expect anyone to enter the portal. Not a starter or projected starter or a freshman who didn't see much playing time. The roster, again, as of April 1 at 9:52 a.m., is expected to remain status quo with the only addition as of today being former Yale power forward Paul Atkinson. Notre Dame has one scholarship to offer a potential transfer or late-rising high school senior if desired. The Irish coaching staff has reached out to a handful of transfer portal guys, but are expected to be very particular about adding anyone. Again, a disclaimer, that stance may change by the end of the chat, or the end of the hour. As they like to say, it's a fluid situation all around college basketball. Welcome to Thunderdome.
William / michigan: what does Jack swarbricks AD involvement compare like to some of his predecessors? We all know football comes first, second and third but I’m curious why there’s no emphasis put on Brey to make some adjustments like Kelly did. Also why (this year excluded) a team in the ACC can’t get people in the seats etc.
Tom Noie: William: Thanks for the note. Yes, football comes first and second and third at Notre Dame, and men's basketball should be on that priority list as well, but remember, it's not just about football and men's hoops. Jack Swarbrick has a lot of other sports and coaches to focus on. His interest/visibility in the men's program is no different than Kevin White. As for the no emphasis part you mention, do we know that there's none? We're not privy to those conversations, and Jack certainly isn't the type of AD who's going to publicly proclaim, yeah, I dropped the expectation hammer on Mike Brey. Think Brey's dropped that one on himself.
Bob Dee: Is there a long term game plan in place to get Notre Dame's men's basketball program back to relevancy?
Tom Noie: Bob: Good question, but not sure what "relevancy" means. Going back to the NCAA Tournament? Yeah, gotta do that. Getting back to the Elite Eight? I don't know if that's the overriding goal every season. And look around at college basketball. It's really hard to think long-term when the short-term is such a circus. Transfer portal issues. Recruiting issues. Pandemic issues. NLI issues. Can we say what the long-term prognosis of the game even is in five years? Ten? Hard to say, even harder to predict where the program is headed. That's just not Notre Dame. It's everywhere.
Robb, Edwardsburg, MI: Hey Tom. Coach Brey has seemingly said all of the right things since the season ended in terms of looking at changes for next year, etc. Will he actually follow through on those things or was it just job-saving jargon? Part 2, if allowed, will there be a turnover in the rest of the coaching staff that is not of their own choosing?
Tom Noie: Robb: I think everyone over at Notre Dame was more in season-saving mode than job-saving mode this year, for the obvious reasons. Everything about this season was done with one goal in mind - playing the season. It wasn't about getting into the top third of the ACC or getting back to the NCAA Tournament. It was about allowing that team to enjoy the year, however long the season would last. Remember back in October, the goal at Notre Dame was to play 15 games. Max. There was zero confidence the season would get to the finish line, let alone get through an NCAA Tournament. As for turnover on the coaching staff, I do expect the staff to look a little different next season. What that means remains to be seen.
Tony: Tom: What transfers has Coach Brey contacted? Also, how convincing can he be to 2022 recruits that he will be back after next year? If they commit and we miss the tourney, he is pretty much gone.
Tom Noie: Tony: Notre Dame has reached out to former Indiana guard Armaan Franklin, Miami forward Earl Timberlake and former East Carolina power forward Jayden Gardner. There might be one or two more, but the staff has been very selective in that transfer portal department. They have only one scholarship to offer. As for 2022 recruits, time for Mike Brey to sell, sell, sell his program. Help be the guy that gets them back to the NCAA Tournament.
Tony: Any news on the opening for the asst coaching job?
Tom Noie: None, yet, but there will be some movement in that area in the offseason.
Erik (Granger, IN): Thanks for being here! In past years we seemed to have at least one player who could lock (or at least slow) down the opponent’s best player. Vasturia, Pfleuger in his prime, etc. I know the team overall struggled with defense this year, but did we have that one guy on this squad? If so, who? If not, who was the best defender anyway? And who will be next year?
Tom Noie: Erik: Thinking....thinking.....thinking....if there was one guy who was somewhat consistent on the defensive end, it would be a combination Cormac Ryan and Nate Laszewski. Both had their moments. If someone was drawing a charge, it was one of those two. Expect more of the same from both in 21-22, only this time, more consistently over the long haul.
Erik (Granger, IN): How would you describe what Goodwin brings to the game? He reminds me of when people bring their little brother to the park, where he’ll flash periodically but more often I seem to notice him getting shot over, rebounded over, missing layups, and other inauspicious results. Am I being too critical?
Tom Noie: Erik: Probably, but that's what happens when the Irish go 11-15...everyone's game has holes and those holes look a whole lot wider. Goodwin did boost his scoring numbers (from 10.8 ppg., to 11.8) but also finished third in overall rebounding (5.2 per game) and second in defensive rebounds. That part of the game is a little overlooked and underrated. He has to be a better shooter. How many times did he have an open, clean look from 3 but didn't make it? That's got to be a staple in his game. Goodwin isn't close to being Steve Vasturia like, but it's obvious Mike Brey breathes easier when No. 23 is on the floor (33.4 mpg). Now he has to figure out how to better max out those minutes.
joe from the south side: Tom: Are you surprised that, as far as I can tell, no ND BBL player has entered the Transfer Portal?
Tom Noie: Joe: I am, given how everything seemed to unravel at the end with the way everybody just kind of folded. And given that the portal is THE lifeline for players today. Memphis won the freaking NIT (hooray, I know) and had like three players hit the portal 48 hours later. Syracuse went to the Sweet 16, then had how many players, four??? jump into the portal. From the outside, and we were waaaaay on the outside this year for COVID reasons, it looked like there'd be multiple Irish looking for a fresh start. Looks like it wasn't as bad as we seemed to think. Again, that could change and three key guys could decide to test the portal waters by lunch, but the feeling around the program is that nobody's leaving.
joe from the south side: Tom: Kudos to you for asking Hubb the tough question, "Why is Mike Brey the man to bring the program back?" Seemingly, with Hubb's answer, and no transfers, can we conclude that maybe it isn't Brey, but that the players just aren't that good. My knock on them was no heart and no athleticism. Maybe it is just no talent as well.
Tom Noie: Joe: There have been Notre Dame teams that have been fun to cover and teams that haven't been fun to cover. This has been one of those, really for the last few years. It was hard early because everyone was so young and seemingly trying to figure it out. So you figure it's going to swing back around they were going to collectively get it. Then they lose five of seven after having a very real chance of climbing back over .500 for the first time in seemingly forever. Maybe there was a collective feeling that this season was just a freebie, that whatever happened happened. But man, this group is really going to have to show something they haven't shown - really in their careers - to get everyone to believe that next year is going to be different. It's going to be a hard sell.
joe from the south side: Tom: As crazy as the world was, is, and will be, please share your thoughts and feelings as to what it is like covering the NCAA tourney. Weird because of small crowds and COVID protocol, or feels like we are creeping toward spring and normal and the tourney is an old friend who was sorely missed?
Tom Noie: Joe: Covering the tournament as part of the Gannett team in Indy was amazing. Refreshing. Sorely needed. College hoops felt normal again. More normal than the regular season, where there were what, fewer than 100 fans in the Purcell Pavilion stands? You want to say the games mattered and everything, but it was hard even from a media standpoint to be locked in during the season. It all felt like practice games that shouldn't count, but did. Still, spending those five days in Indy was tough. You got to see some high-level basketball, but it also underscored how far away Notre Dame seems to be from it all. I had a front-row seat for the Baylor-Wisconsin game at Hinkle and watched how the Bears moved the ball, almost collectively thinking one play ahead as one. My thought was, man, that's how Notre Dame used to play. It was beautiful to watch. Then and now.
Mike, Rockaway NY: How would you rate the team chemistry on the court this season ?
Tom Noie: Mike: Great question, but to rate chemistry you actually had to see it. Was there really any of it? Sure, they were collectively tied together in the road win against Pittsburgh and and Duke, but where did it go late in the year when they lost five of seven? When they let the 20-point lead get away at Syracuse? When they had the no-shows against Boston College and North Carolina State and North Carolina? It too often seemed like five guys just kind of thrown together doing their own thing.
Tom Noie: Which brings to mind - who's this team's Alpha dog? The guy that's going to be like Ben Hansbrough or Jerian Grant or Pat Connaughton or Bonzie Colson and hold everyone to a higher standard? Say this $%#& has to stop in those games mentioned above? This group doesn't have one, which means the issues we saw at the end of this year might carry over into next season.
SB Jimbo: Maryland's Mark Turgeon is the favorite to get the Oklahoma job. Before he went to Maryland Brey was a serious contender for the Terps job. I know Brey said he's coming back, but that doesn't mean his seat isn't warm. Seems to me this would be the perfect storm for Brey to leave without damaging his legacy, as well as leaving an experienced roster for the new guy. So if Turgeon leaves, what's the likelihood Brey would make a run at the Maryland job?
Tom Noie: Less than zero. I thought Mike Brey was close to leaving after this team 3-15. It only strengthened his resolve. I thought he was closer to leave after going 10-10 in 2019-20. Nope. Thought for sure he was done this year after the late-season fold. Again, it only reinforced that he feels he owes it to this junior class to see this through - wherever this leads. Like every head coach, Mike Brey has an escape plan for the next phase of his career...I'm not sure coaching Maryland is part of it.
Christian, Chicago IL: Hi Tom. All teams in the NCAA tournament handle the press with relative ease and seem to utilize a big man for the initial pass and break things down. We panicked against Kentucky, GA Tech, and Syracuse and led major leads slip away due to our inability to handle pressure. I am shocked more teams didn’t press us considering the game plan was to throw it in dead mans corner and just pray. Do you think Brey will develop a better strategy on this for next year? Maybe one of the assistants can be Press Break Coordinator?
Tom Noie: Christian: Seriously, part of the practice plan for the spring and summer should be nothing but press break. It's not that hard, and you know every team can and will press you. That this team struggled with it so much was borderline baffling. They did everything you shouldn't do against the press. Yes, that's coaching, but at some point, it's also on the players to realize not to do the stuff they did. That goes back to ownership and overall IQ for this group, both areas that lacked this season.
Nick South Bend: Tom a few questions, not sure if ill be able to join in on the chat tomorrow. 1. Do you see Blake and/or JR getting minutes next season? 2. Way too early starting lineup and rotation prediction? 3. Out of the names you've seen ND reach out to transfer wise, who is most realistic at landing? Have a great chat and Go Irish.
Tom Noie: Nick: Great stuff, my man....let's take a run at next season. J.R. Konieczny and Blake Wesley will get a chance at earning rotation minutes next season. What that means depends a lot on them. And, really, the pandemic. One reason it was hard to get to Matt Zona and Tony Sanders for extended periods this season was lack of practice time. They didn't have the summer to play pickup or practice. Fall was a circus for myriad reasons. There was no time where either could earn the trust of the staff. Then the regular season arrived, when it's unfair to throw guys in there and say, yeah, now go play. Way too early starting lineup? In April, that just means going with the four remaining guys from last year - Hubb and Laszewski are locks, then any two of the three from Dane Goodwin, Trey Wertz and Cormac Ryan. The fifth starter will be Paul Atkinson. That's as much of a lock as Hubb or Laszewski. bench rotation guys will be the sixths tarter (Goodwin, Wertz or Ryan), Zona, the two freshmen.
Tom Noie: Then let's see what Elijah Taylor and Robby Carmody can offer. Too early to write their names in ink because we haven't seen anything/enough from either. Same with Tony Sanders. As for grad transfers, I'd like to see someone like Jayden Gardner from East Carolina. He's 6-7, 235. Says he just wants to win. Period. Might be guy that's worried about minutes or shots or starts. Just a really good piece. Exactly what this team needs. Armaan Franklin could also be a guy, but man, that would be A LOT of guards in the rotation. Gets to the points where there's too many.
Peach, Staten Island: Is there any reason to suggest that Brey will be hitting the recruiting trail with extra vigor moving forward? The cupboard seems bare after this year and he hasn’t recruited beyond a 15 mile radius in sometime. Seems like he focuses on one transfer to fix all his troubles and that hasn’t panned out
Tom Noie: peach: Wheelhouse question coming here, so buckle up. Let's first assume that there will be a trail to hit. All college coaches have been prohibited from recruiting ANYBODY off campus for now more than a year. No home visits. No gym visits. No getting to know kids face-to-face on an individual level. For a school like Notre Dame and for a guy like Mike Brey who really has to connect with a kid on a personal basis, that's been a massive challenge. And I just don't get the 15-mile recruiting radius crack. Seriously? If I had a dime for every time that somebody lit into Mike Brey and his staff for not getting Jaden Ivey this year, I could retire. HOW COULD HE NOT RECRUIT THE LOCAL GUY!!!!!????? was the standard snark. So now, he recruits TWO local guys (and legit college prospects) and the knock becomes, Pff, Mike Brey won't recruit outside Saint Joseph County. It's dizzying. As for transfers, he has two on the roster, both of whom played major minutes this year.
Tom Noie: The one transfer he has coming next year, Paul Atkinson, was considered by many as the No. 1 transfer in the portal. And he chose Notre Dame.
Joe /Granger: Any chance Djogo returns... and where does Carmondy, JR, and Wesley fit in next year???
Tom Noie: Joe: In today's portal madness of a college basketball world, you never say never, but after five years, it really is time everyone moves on. Would you want Nik Djogo back for a sixth year or take a chance on a one-year possible quick fix? I'd go with Door No. 2. J.R. Konieczny and Blake Wesley will have chances to earn rotation minutes next season. Robby Carmody will have a chance to prove he can stay healthy.
Jason R: What do you expect from Robby Carmody next season? Where do you think he’ll be at after all these injuries?
Tom Noie: Just asked and answered, my man
Matt from MA: Tom, if there was ever a D1 team in need of a shakeup with transfer portal—coming and going—it's ND... please tell me Brey and company have some guys they are going to bring in. If they simply "run it back" with these underachieving players plus an Ivy league transfer they are going to be terrible again.
Tom Noie: Matt: Thing is, I've been pounding that transfer portal drum since the core of this program went 3-15. Something had to chance after that train-wreck, if only to shake up the status quo in the locker room. The coaching staff stood pat. No grad transfers. Something had to be done after they went 10-10 in the ACC the following year. Again, nothing. Figure this HAS to be a season/reason to get more than just Paul Atkinson, but with only one scholarship to give, the staff will be very selective moving forward. They don't subscribe to the theory of adding guys just to add guys, to shake the status quo, to make everything more of a competition. There is the belief within the walls of Rolfs Hall that the addition of Atkinson and Wesley and Konieczny, the return of Carmody and Elijah Taylor and the experience of that core that getting back to the NCAA Tournament is the least these guys can do. Let's see it.
dennis: Hi Tom. IMO Brey needs to retire now. Having him stay another year or two will do severe damage to our program and it will lessen the chance that we hire a good coach when he finally retires. Since he's coming back does he have any plans of hiring an assistance coach that can teach our team to play tough defense and rebounding fundamentals? Since we currently have only 1 scholarship left he won't be able to improve his team much in the transfer portal.
Tom Noie: Dennis: The thinking outside the program is polar opposite than inside. Mike Brey believes he can still effectively reach this group. So does his boss, Jack Swarbrick. So does his boss, Father John Jenkins. Those three are all in this together and are determined to see this out. Together.
Dan - Chicago: Is a transfer for next season in play for Notre Dame? It would be great to get an athletic small forward like Timberlake...
Tom Noie: Dan: Notre Dame already has one in Paul Atkinson set to arrive in June. I'd love to see them add Earl Timberlake. He'd likely be a one-and-done, which would make it a tough sell.
Ed, Greensboro, NC: Tom, just a thought, but is Brey being kept because Jack Swarbrick is about to retire, and feels the new A.D. should make that decision. Also, will Brey name his own replacement?
Tom Noie: Ed: Great to hear from you. As mentioned earlier, I think all three - Mike Brey, Jack Swarbrick, Father Jenkins - are kind of aligned together through 2024-25. As of last summer, there was zero talk/planning/aligning with any sort of succession plan. Mike Brey is not handing this job to someone the way Muffet McGraw did. At least, not as it stands now.
Mike from The Land of Cheese: Any sense of how the staff really views Carmody's prospects for returning to what he was? Is this a situation like your tavern league competitor, Matawan, New Jersey's own Keith Kurowski, where a very talented but snakebitten ND hoopster just will never be able to recover what he was?
Tom Noie: Mike: Openly optimistic that Robby Carmody can give them something. What that is, nobody knows until Carmody can cut it all loose for an entire basketball season and still remain standing without a catastrophic injury. We might not see that next season, just because I don't know if the staff or this program can afford to wait on Carmody. The train's too far down the track. He just needs next year and maybe the next year to catch up - a few spot minutes here, a few more there - to kind of get back in a rhythm, which he hasn't been in since high school. J.R. Konieczny and Blake Wesley were recruited with the thought that the door had closed on Carmody. Now? Think it's still open a bit, but he's got to show something moving forward. And keep moving.
Erik (Granger, IN): If you were to evaluate Nic Djogo’s ND career based entirely on his performance this year, did he exceed expectations, meet expectations, or be a bust?
Tom Noie: Erik: Based solely on this season where he averaged 5.0 points and 3.0 rebounds in 19.2 minutes over 24 games with six starts, I'd say he met expectations. He was a zero star recruit with limited offers coming out of high school in Canada. He was a project guy who'd be given five years to figure out where/how he fit. He was the perfect program guy this year - move the ball, cut, defend, rebound, score a little, be good in the locker room. He did all that.
Tom Noie: Two big breaking news stories in college hoops - Roy Williams has retired at North Carolina and Texas has hired Chris Beard. Neither, a surprise, but both kind of.
joe from the south side: Tom: Long one. The following have ties to ND BBL either because they were recruited in HS, or they have been contacted as a result of the transfer portal. In some cases, there was genuine interest, in other cases ND just kicked the tires. Can you give a status update as to interest level by either party in 2021. Chris Lykes, Earl Timberlake, Pat Tape, Jabri Abdur -Rahim, Tre Mitchell, Jayden Gardner, Nate Reuvers, Armaan Franklin, Tyler Kolek
Tom Noie: Joe: Slim to none with just about everybody outside of Franklin and maybe Gardner. Notre Dame is going to explore and will continue to explore the transfer portal, but with one scholarship to offer, will be very selective in bringing somebody in. My guess, they bring nobody in.
P. Rose: I can see a jump in productivity for Trey Wertz and Cormac Ryan, but the rest of that core group has had three years of playing together. How much growth can we reasonably expect from them? How different can next year be from this past year?
Tom Noie: P. Rose: Wanna bet? Sorry, too easy. No, you're 110 percent right on that. I'm right there with you when it comes to this junior class. It hasn't happened really at all for the first three years. I don't have any trust it's going to happen next year. Like, something about this core group just doesn't have it. Something's missing.
Joe from St. Petersburg: Tom, thanks for doing this as always. I would have moved on from Brey after this season but that is just me. Do you believe next year is a make it or break it year for Brey? I mean, how long can this go on?
Tom Noie: Joe: Doesn't matter what I think. Mike Brey believes it's a make or break year for him and his program. That's a start, right?
Mark Metzler, Rochester NY: Tom, how can next year be different with Paul Atkinson? Same core group that can’t get over the hump. Are we heading toward the definition of insanity? Is .500 in ACC play achievable?
Tom Noie: Mark: Something's got to change, doesn't it? Even with the addition of Atkinson, there's still something about this core, about this team, that just doesn't do it. I'm not all in at all. Need to see it to believe it.
HvG - Chicago: Which is greater over the last two weeks? A) Players Brey has contacted in the transfer portal / B) Mai Tai's consumed by Brey.
Tom Noie: Think he's more of a Cabernet guy.
Zach: If you had to guess one transfer who winds up in blue and gold next season, who is most likely?
Tom Noie: Zach: Easy answer - Paul Atkinson. Does the roster need someone else? Yes, but there's no evidence that this staff is going to go and add a guy just to add a guy. Mike Brey's a big believer in trusting the guys he has. That gets you - and your program - to where it is today.
Jake: Will the non-conference schedule go back to one like we’re used to seeing in 2021?
Tom Noie: Jake: This year's non-league schedule was sort of like the Atlantic Coast Conference opening with league games to start the season in 2019-20 - it's a one-shot deal. Mike Brey scheduled the way he did this season because he wasn't convinced there would be a season. So go play as many power games as possible. No, this year's schedule will be constructed with building early confidence and wins. Gotta get back to the NCAA Tournament.
Chris, Dallas, TX: Tom: In one of your year-end articles, it felt like Brey knows he needs to make the NCAA tourney or be gone after next season. If he's a lame duck this year, could you see a scenario where a new coach takes over this time next year with just five kids on scholarship and seven departing (including Ryan, Wertz, Carmody)? Second, I would think Porter Moser's Chicago ties and Majerus background of coaching D and ball movement would be a distinct differentiator for a team looking for relevance in ACC long term. Thanks for all you do!
Tom Noie: Chris: There's the big unknown - you have seven departing, but the only one next season out of college eligibility will be Paul Atkinson, which means there could be six returning. Think Porter Moser's waiting on a bigger job/payday than what Notre Dame might offer.
Jake: If notre dame is bringing in another assistant, will it be a former player or might it be an outside addition?
Tom Noie: Jake: No, this hire has to come from outside that circle. Need someone like Michigan has in Phil Martelli, a veteran who's been around the college basketball block. And might be in a position to offer a little push-back on the head coach when needed.
joe from the south side: Tom: Each year, prior to the start of the Tourney, I watch the 2015 ND-KY game in its entirety. Kind of like a tradition to whet my appetite. My God, this program is light years away from that team. Essentially, 5 of the top 7 guys had a taste of the NBA. Hell, Bonzie was the 7th man. The only way anybody on today's roster could have contact with the NBA is to buy tickets. They aren't even Developmental League talented. I think that's the size of the mountain that must be climbed. Not insurmountable, but not probable either.
Tom Noie: Joe: Agree and disagree. I don't know if it's the goal of anyone at Notre Dame - head coach, administrators, etc. - to cultivate NBA-level talent. Or even G-League talent. It's always, always, always been about more than just the athletic experience. I get when fans get all worked up about no NCAA Tournament or the talent level isn't where it should be, but do they get how that place operates? Like, really, get it? Notre Dame's playing the same game as the sport's blue bloods - with a ball and five guys and a 3-point line, but the real game, yeah, Notre Dame's not ever playing that one.
Andrew from Plymouth, IN: With Roy Williams announcing his retirement, is it wrong of me that the first thing I think of is that I'd actually be happy this time around if UNC stole ND's coach? I know it won't happen but that's the first thought that popped into my head.
Tom Noie: Andrew: And I'm immediately transported to that July day in 2000 when Matt Doherty is on the phone with the SBT beat guy sobbing as he's headed to South Bend Airport and the flight back to Carolina. And be careful what/who you wish for.
Dave from Alpha, NJ: Hi Tom. I saw foreign-born players scattered throughout the NCAA tournament on some higher seeded teams. Do you think ND will ever dabble back into that market?
Thanks for doing these chats.
Tom Noie: Dave: Rarely. Never say never, but recruiting the foreign prospects is something Notre Dame won't invest the time or money or effort into unless that player is 130 percent set on getting the full Notre Dame experience. Foreign-born players usually want something that's going to get them to the NBA quickly. They're not looking at anything Notre Dame might offer.
Justin Ft Wayne: Tom, assuming Brey hung it up after the season. Do you think many of the players would of hit the portal? Have to think Brey coming back is a big reason why no one has entered or will enter the transfer portal.
Tom Noie: Justin: Not necessarily. Lot of coaches going nowhere this year and that hasn't stopped players from scrambling to find new homes. Penny Hardaway's still at Memphis. Boeheim still at the 'Cuse. Steve Forbes at Wake and he had how many, seven guys, in portal? That only Nik Djogo is in the portal (mainly because he's earned two degrees) might be a sign that it's not all the doom and gloom that people think Irish hoops currently is.
Mike from Rochester: Tom- if Brey is serious about making things right, then it seems to me that he needs to make a number of significant changes, starting with staff overhaul. I know he's loyal (I would say to a fault) to his guys, but is there any chance that he'll bring in a new assistant or two, preferably with an eye on improving the defensive performance?
Tom Noie: Mike: I'd be stunned if there wasn't at least one new assistant coach and/or some major restructuring within the staff. Let's see how it plays out.
Phil (Chicago): Some of Mike Brey's better recruiting classes are currently on the roster, yet this team plays like one of his worst. What went wrong: player development, recruiting experts got it wrong, coaching decline, all of the above?
Tom Noie: Phil: A collective and complete collapse to date. There's little evidence that says next year is going to be any better. Individually, that junior class was really good - all within the Top 100. But collectively, perfect strangers. Mike Brey's going to sink or swim with them. Think right now it's more sink. Can't wait to be wrong, because that means this team's actually going places. Still seems too much stuck in neutral.
Joey ,westernport md: Tom. What do the think the Irish record would have been if Hunter Dickinson would have have signed with the Irish?
Tom Noie: Joey: Oooooof! A gut punch. Here's the thing with Dickinson - Mike Brey had a commitment from him. Had it. Locked it down. Then Michigan happened. Yeah, they'd have been way better than 11-15 with Dickinson. But then again, would they?
Erik (Granger, IN): Thank you for taking all my questions! When Mike Brey finally does retire, I do think he'll be a good color commentator. His personality seems well suited to such a role, and he'll bring a combination of humor and deep basketball knowledge. But has he ever had the chance to try it out before? For example, has there been some sort of off-season olympics where he was involved in the commentary? Or would he be going in cold like Drew Brees is this year for ND football?
Tom Noie: Erik: He's done studio work for CBS/Turner during the NCAA Tournament. He also did color commentary for one of the Notre Dame alumni teams in The Basketball Tournament (which, by the way, could be in play for ND alums this offseason). Whenever it ends, he'll go sit on a beach for a year then parachute into television. He'll crush it there. He's a natural.
joe from the south side: Tom: Roy Williams just retired. Going to be a lot of changes in D1 coaching this off season. That's a big domino to fall.
Tom Noie: Joe: But is it? Or is it a domino to fall within the Carolina family? Is it Hubert Davis' job? Does Bubba Cunningham make a run at Porter Moser? Chris Holtmann? You know how Carolina is with that family thing? LOL
Tom (Chicago): I try to be an optimist, but is there actually any reason to look forward to the upcoming season? I just don't see a path for a path to the NCAA tournament for this team. If that is the case why delay the inevitable, and stick with status quo for another year? Changes to the program need to start being made now.
Tom Noie: Tom: That's what makes it so interesting. We all know WHERE this program needs to go. Question is, HOW does it get there. And the status quo will be shaken next year with the addition of Paul Atkinson and Blake Wesley and J.R. Konieczny. What does Elijah Taylor offer? Can Robby Carmody salvage his college career? How will a "normal" spring and summer benefit them come fall. What does the staff look like? It might not be a seismic change in terms of the head coach, but there might be enough subtle ones to pique your interest.
joe from the south side: Tom: I don't think Brey has all that much recruiting to do. First, it is the wild wild west out there. You have bodies flying all over the place. Hell, Walker Kessler is in the portal. My point is, if things return to normal (or close) he will likely lose Hubb, Atkinson and Nate. I believe Carmody stays due to his injury riddled career and his brother. Goodwin already said he is a 5 year guy. That covers 9 spots. Let's say he bags a transfer. Not unlikely. He probably is only recruiting one or two more guys since he never gets to 13 anyway. Assuming, as you say, no ND player enters the portal as we are chatting.
Tom Noie: Joe: This goes more toward the "Brey never leaves the state or bothers to recruit HS seniors" crowd, but if - and it's still an IF - the one-time transfer rule passes, it's going to really impact high school seniors. Coaches are going to realize, hell, why should I go chase a kid through the summer when all I have to do is click open the portal. Teams are going to be built more from that than they are the traditional high school recruits. It will be a circus. Already is.
John from Somers, CT: Don't you think it is a problem when the guy who took more shots than any other player on the team has the 2nd worst shooting percentage? Hubb shot a horrendous 38% from the field. Only Ryan had a percentage that was worse. I believe N.D. has lost more than they have won over the last 3 years and are much worse in ACC games over that span. Hubb is a decent player and I know he gets little help from his teammates, but Brey needs to redefine Hubb's role. Can it be that one reason the players love Brey is that he gives them too much freedom?
Tom Noie: John: man, it took only two hours to get to the Prentiss Hubb is the issue question. Can't disagree enough on that. Hubb led the team ins coring (14.6), was first in the ACC in asissts (5.85), third in the league in 3-point percentage (.342) and 3s made (65) and 10th in A/T ratio (1.83). And that's not good enough, how? Yeah, he takes the occasional questionable shot and raises the occasional questionable middle finger, but a big part of that is that guys who don't want the ball give him the ball. Like, here, you go figure it out. Sometimes, that's at the end of a clock where he's got nothing left to do but hoist it. Get a few more guys like him and we're not wondering why it's been four years with no NCAAs.
Ed, Greensboro: Tom, hit wrong button.Alarming to hear that Brey is pretty safe through the 2024/2025 season.Does Jack really want part of his legacy to be the collapse of the men’s basketball program? I see no hope for the future.thanks
Tom Noie: Ed: Might be a good time to trot out this little stat. Should Notre Dame ever go four years between NCAA Tournament trips? Nope. Never. Not acceptable. But for the crowd that likes to bang the drum of, man, it feels like it's been forever since Notre Dame went to an Elite Eight - here's this. Take the group that went to the Elite Eight this year - USC, Arkansas, UCLA, Gonzaga, Michigan, Baylor, Houston and Oregon State. Add up collectively how long its been since any of those program have been to the Elite Eight. You know what the AVERAGE number of years those teams went between Elite Eight appearances? 19.5. Winning's hard in college basketball, a lot harder than a lot of people realize.
Ethan (Clifton Park, NY): If Brey does not turn it around and we miss the tourney again, I would assume he would retire or leave for a different job. Are there any hints or clues on who ND would turn to to take over? Maybe the Delaware route again and bring back Ingelsby?
Tom Noie: Ethan: Nope. Notre Dame's probably not going the Martin Ingelsby route. Or the John Beilein route. Or Nick Saban or Urban Meyer or Jon Gruden....sorry, I digress.
Ed, Greensboro: Tom, regarding Zach’s question. I think that is the problem -Brey is not going to change his staff or his ways like Brian Kelly did.
Tom Noie: Ed: Wait and see
joe from the south side: Tom: In your opinion, has Brey failed to adapt and does he need to? You have stated many times, "Brey is a big believer in trusting the guys he has." And, "Get old and stay old." But has the game changed to much for that? Can you even get old, let alone stay old? Who stays in school 4 and 5 years anymore? Look at the defections from the women's team. With the transfer rules now in place, and the immediate gratification required by our youth, (Wesley included), maybe Mike needs to alter his approach to 2021-22 and beyond, and not dwell on past successes. Your thoughts?
Tom Noie: Joe: I'd be curious who's living on the past successes of which you speak? Brey? Notre Dame? That's certainly not the case. And Mike Brey might be building/constructing his program in a way that fits the university. Think about that.
Mike McFadden, Williamsport, PA: Hi Tom, Thanks for today's rundowns/briefing as I learned more about ND & overall b-ball then the last 99 years and that is not an April Fools joke, believe me, great job !!! I thought after ND hired Davie and Weis that they would never hire a coach without HC experience again for a major sport. But they did. God bless Ms. Ivey, but she has no HC experience and definitely showed. ND had Beth Cunningham already on staff with head coaching experience as she completely rebuilt a Virginia college team into a 3 year winner. The first thing coach Ivey does, again God bless her, she fires coach Cunningham and hires a losing fired head coach as a replacement. Tom, your thoughts? Thanks. And last week a 5 star player, Alli Campbell transfers to the college of that fired coach.
Tom Noie: paging Anthony Anderson, our Notre Dame women's beat writer. He'd be better versed to answer that one. From a columnist's point of view, Niele Ivey simply put her stamp on her staff. We saw how that worked out. It didn't.
joe from the south side: Tom: No I fully get what you are saying. I know ND is not playing the "real game'. I just think expectations for next year need to be tempered. I would take .500 or better in conference, 1 or two wins in the ACC Tourney, and a 7 or 8 seed in the NCAA. I am not sure that's achievable. That is why I watch that 2015 game so intently. I don't think the magic is coming back any time soon.
Tom Noie: Joe: Just when you think it's darkest. I'll roll back to the 2013-14 offseason when Notre Dame had six guys back for spring workouts. An Elite Eight also was a pipe dream. Not saying this program's anywhere close to making a run like 2015-16, but it's not always as bad/dire as it seems.
joe from the south side: Tom: What is JD's next stop? Europe?
Tom Noie: Joe: Probably. Time to go make a little money, then put that Notre Dame degree to use.
Mike from The Land of Cheese: I think a major problem is the sense that some players know they will be starting/getting major minutes because of seniority. Hubb, for example, makes some fine plays, but he makes too many poor decisions to be the starting point guard on a successful ACC team.
Tom Noie: Mike: He led the ACC in assists and was 10th in assist/turnover ratio. Some poor decisions in there? Absolutely. "Too many?" Uh.....no.
joe from the south side: Tom: As to finger pointing at Hubb, yeah he leaves a lot to be desired, ugly shot, sometimes sloppy with his handle, not a true point guard, bothered by the press, but he has the one thing nobody else on the team has. A pair of stones. So, you live with the other stuff.
Tom Noie: Joe: This, times 10.
Jim: You frequently write that big time players have no interest in ND, that big time coaches are looking for something better, that ND is not playing the same game, so to speak, that other teams are. That being the case, is the ACC really where they belong, or even I A for that matter?
Tom Noie: Jim: Again, we want to make this entirely about football or men's basketball, but when Notre Dame joined the Atlantic Coast Conference in 2013, it did so with the entire athletic department in mind. Would it have been better from a men's basketball standpoint to remain in what eventually became the Big East as it is today? Yes, but from a standpoint of all the other sports, that wasn't challenging Notre Dame, which cleaned up. No, the ACC is where Notre Dame belongs. For its entire athletic program. But it will be interesting - with the transfer portal and the Name, Image Likeness issues, wouldn't surprise me if Notre Dame looked at athletics as whole and said, is this really what we want to be?
joe from the south side: Tom: No, what I mean was "get old and stay old" may have worked 5 years ago, but this is a new world. We are forever changed. I am not saying living on past successes, but what may have worked before is different now. And you can still do it within the ND parameters. More than one way to skin a cat. He may have to adapt. I hope he does.
Tom Noie: Joe: Totally disagree. You bring in four, five transfers and rely almost exclusively on the portal and the Notre Dame fan base won't be happy at all with how the basketball program sold its soul. That might bring success, but it will be a yeah, but scenario. Watch.
Justin Ft Wayne: Could next year be the year Brey goes 9 maybe even 10 deep at times? We’re used to seeing them only play 7 guys but next years team has some real depth to it baring any injuries. You got one of the three guards coming off the bench. 2 good incoming freshman. Zona and Sanders. Taylor and Carmody back from injury. A potential transfer. Gonna be a dog fight for minutes and makes me wonder if Brey plays an extra man or two next year.
Tom Noie: Justin: It still will be a seven- or eight-man rotation. What will change will be who the seven or eight will be. I'm more interested in getting a core group of guys that work together as one than having two or three pieces to plug and play as needed, yet the effort and energy doesn't drop. Florida State is a classic example of having so many pieces, but what's that puzzle eventually look like? Yeah, they're good in January and February, but then disappear in March.
Brian - Batavia, IL: The basketball program remains as is with Brey at the helm. The offense looks lost and there is no defense. The last four years under Brey mirror what happened at IU in Bloomington, and their AD makes the tough decision. Swarbrick sits on his hands coasting into retirement. Very sad state of affairs for a once proud basketball program.This mess resides on the shoulders of Swarbrick, but he won’t pull the trigger. Brey had his time at ND - time to move on with another staff to lead this program.
Tom Noie: Brian: Understand the frustration, but apples to oranges. Notre Dame getting someone to cut a $10 million check? Burning how many more millions to hire a new staff? Easy comparison, but a tough sell.
Jim Tal, Valley Center, CA.: Tom, does Nate L. have it within him to significantly up his game and be much more impactful than what he showed, particularly late in the season? Simply stated, the guy has to be more assertive and actively hunt more shots even it that means he has to force things on occasion. And gaining a little bit of a mean streak wouldn't hurt either. It just seems that his want-to sometimes leaves a lot to be desired. I am off base with any of these evaluations? Thanks.
Tom Noie: Jim: Nope, right down the middle. And accurate. Nate Laszewski made it look easy when opponents didn't see or expect to see him coming. Then when he moved to the top of the scouting report, the book was out on him. He never had a counter. He also needs to be a little more selfish with his shot. The perfect shot isn't always an open shot. Force a few. They'll still go.
joe from the south side: Tom: I am not sure how some folks are counting playing time. Brey uses 7 or 8 max. Maybe early on he tinkers with lineups, but come ACC time, half the guys are riding the pines. Hubb, Goodwin, Nate, Atkinson, Ryan, Wertz. That's 6. He needs front. Likely "Big Zone" since Taylor is behind schedule. Guaranteed Wesley play. Guaranteed. Ain't no spots left. Sanders, Carmody, JR, Taylor, these guys are left out in the cold.
Tom Noie: Joe: I'll take left out in the cold if they can push the main guys in practice. Make it hard for them. It's been too easy. Then games are like, whoa, we don't see that in Rolfs during the week.
joe from the south side: Tom: So the fan base won't be happy that the program sold out AND they are not happy with losing? Which one is it?
Tom Noie: Good question - fan bases aren't ever happy. There's always something wrong. It's always somebody's fault. You know that.
Tom Noie: Again, I'm going to post this - the eight teams in this year's Elite Eight went an average of 19.5 seasons between Elite Eight appearances. Notre Dame hasn't been to an Elite Eight since 2016. Winning at that level is hard. It's not just because of the coach or the players or recruiting. It's everything that has to fall into place at the exact moment to enjoy it.
Mark - Oil City, Pa.: Hi Tom, I'm just jumping in here so I'm not sure if this has been asked and answered, but what's the latest on Carmody moving forward and how many years might he keep trying to play. And what does your gut tell you about whether the Hubb-Nate-Goodwin core can put things together with Ryan and Wertz and the others for a good run next year. Thanks for all the great coverage.
Tom Noie: Mark: Better later than never! We'll be here all day talking hoops if you need. Robby Carmody has been in school for three years, and he has four years of eligibility - really, five - remaining. This coming season will be like a freshman year - just get a little taste, see how your game fits and stay healthy. Then maybe do a little more. But I have a hard time seeing him staying for five more years. And my gut tells me it's going to be tough go of it next year. It hasn't happened yet for this core - and there have been way too many red flags at the end of last season. Was that a sign or an outlier of where this is going?
joe from the south side: Tom: But what fan base? The most enthusiastic fans are here in your chat. Unless it's Duke or NC, nobody attends games. As to Nate, he's a dead nuts spot up shooter. All you have to do is run him off his shot and he has no counter punch. You do not need a 6'10" guy to guard him. Anybody who can stay with him on the perimeter will discourage his shot.
Tom Noie: Joe: Funny, you mention the fan base. Have to share this story from someone at Notre Dame who has seen it first-hand. There was so much juice about Notre Dame going to New Orleans to open the 2010 NCAA Tournament against Old Dominion. The hoops program head what a great Notre Dame town New Orleans was and how they'd have such fan support. Then first game of the day at Smoothie King Arena, and almost zero Notre Dame fans. Six years later, same scenario in Philadelphia for the East Regional final. Notre Dame was told it would have overwhelming fan support that Easter Sunday against North Carolina. Tip time comes, and it's all UNC fans. Tough times hit the program like the last four years, and the prevailing thought from inside is that it's 12 fans sitting at their computer complaining about ND hoops. THAT'S the fan base. The rest, they're still living in the 1970s wondering why they can't play a national schedule like Digger.
Ed, Greensboro: Tom , how is ND going to sell basketball next year to fans and season ticket holders? In other words, why should I waste my time and money on this team?
Tom Noie: Ed: Has it ever? Not to be a smart guy, but has Notre Dame ever sold hoops to its fans? Waste your money because you like hoops, and want to be there when the turnaround happens....lol
Mike McFadden, Williamsport, PA: Hi Tom, Do I rcall you may have recently answered this question? Regardless, ND does not have the personnel to full court press plus they only play 6-7 (tired) players? But I will never understand that Tom. In HS we did not have the juice or exceptional players either but our full-court press always earned us numerous turnovers in steals, throw away passes, walking, double dribbles, etc. I have never ever seen a Brey team press in 19 years. I can count many close games ND would have won with just an occasional defensive press. Your thoughts changed Tom? Thanks.
Tom Noie: Strictly coaching philosophy on that - the times that Notre Dame has pressed has been more token than turn-you-over. Would you trade better defense for poorer offense? Mike Brey wouldn't. So here we are.
Mike from The Land of Cheese: Decision-making with the ball involves more than turnovers. It involves when those poor decisions are made during a game and shot selection, among other things. Lykes from Miami had a significantly higher ratio of turnovers to assists the year before, but no one would prefer to have the ball in Hubb's hands overs Lykes' in important situations.
Tom Noie: Mike: It goes back to the quarterback issue in football. It's always about who MIGHT be next instead of who is.
Mike from The Land of Cheese: Laszewski is who he is. Some of the things people are wishing for are probably not going to change as a rising senior in college. He's a second or third option on this team and he seems to be comfortable with that.
Tom Noie: Mike: Imagine how many looks he'd have gotten playing on those 2015-16 teams as a corner spot-up man...even as a third option on the Colson-Farrell teams.
Ed, Greensboro: Too bad that by the time the turnaround happens, I hope to be watching from a much higher seat! Lol!
Tom Noie: Ed: No deal. I have to watch this....you have to watch it! LOL
Caleb from Charlotte: Hi Tom, for much of the past 15 years the ND women's basketball team received more national attention than the men because they consistently made the NCAA tournament, won a championship, and had a hall of fame coach. But with their recent struggles and a new coach, this seems like a great opportunity for the men to become the best team on campus and regain the national spotlight. Do you think that will happen this upcoming season?
Tom Noie: Caleb: Learned looooooong ago never ever to compare the women's program with the men's program. It's the same game, but it's totally different. Until recently, it also was easier to win consistently in women's hoops. Let's just look at the men's basketball program. You play in a league that has North Carolina and Duke and Virginia and Florida State and Louisville. So right away, you might at best be the sixth-best team in your own league. Has anyone ever stopped and really thought about this - is Notre Dame closer to being Wake Forest or Virginia in men's hoops. I'd lean toward Wake. The fan base won't want to hear it, but that just may be a harsh truth. Like, the 2015-16 seasons were the exceptions, and not the norm. Not for this program. Not for this league. Not for this institution. Notre Dame hoops fans may just want this program to be something that it just can't. And it has nothing to do with the coach or the league.
Ed, Greensboro: I will save you a seat.
Tom Noie: Deal my man!
Mike from The Land of Cheese: Tom, in your time covering the program, have there ever been any guys who left ND but then regretted it afterwards? I was just thinking of that with the explosion of transfers these days.
Tom Noie: Mike: Matt Ryan comes immediately to mind. He had one foot out the door at the end of the 2016-17 season, to the point where by the time he decided to leave it came as a surprise to nobody. He was going to Vanderbilt, but he made that decision more with his heart (he didn't want to come off the bench behind D.J. Harvey) than his head. Weeks later, he was back in the Irish basketball offices in tears believing he had made a mistake. He wanted to come back. The answer was nope. So he left. Imagine if Matt Ryan had stayed. He'd have owned every 3-point record in the program. Instead, he goes to Vanderbilt, he's OK. He then goes to Tennessee-Chattanooga. Never should have left South Bend.
Lee from Lancaster: Hi Tom, if by some minor miracle a really outstanding "one and done" freshman recruit wanted to come to ND, should Mike Brey accept him or would this a player who is planning to leave after one year upset team chemistry to much?
Tom Noie: Lee: Should Brey accept him? Absolutely. Would he? There we get into a murky area. After missing the NCAA Tournament for four years, I'm all for upsetting any chemistry concerns.
Mike from The Land of Cheese: Two shooters during my time watching ND basketball had flawless jump shot mechanics: Ryan Hoover and Matt Ryan.
Tom Noie: Mike: Amen....it was stunning when a Matt Ryan shot didn't go in. Flawless. Effortless.
joe from the south side: Tom: Speaking of bad moves, I see DJ Harvey ended up at Detroit Mercy. I thought he went to Vandy so that Stackhouse could get him to the NBA.
Tom Noie: Joe: As they so often say, the grass isn't always greener...and to get to the NBA, you have to first be open to being coached and adapting your game. Two areas that Harvey has had trouble doing. Thus, a third school in his college odyssey.
HvG - Chicago: You've watched Blake Wesley - I haven't. How is he defensively?
Tom Noie: Decent, but it's so hard to really analyze when he's guarding guys who are 5-10, 5-11 and have zero Division I ability. He's got the length and the basketball smarts to play passing lanes, or dig down and get steals. It will be interesting to see how his game translates to the next level.
Chris, Dallas, TX: Tom: Thanks for your energy and wisdom in putting up with all this. What do you think the profile of the eventual new coach looks like? Someone like Brian Kelly, who's experience and won at a level down? Also, do you sense any momentum yet with high school juniors given the potential number of spots to fill in that class? Which brings to another question -- why not a more balanced class approach? Thank you.
Tom Noie: Chris: Notre Dame has about 20 names of 2022 guys on its big board. Guys like Rodney Rice and Donovan Clingan are no-brainers to target, but the rest, it's more of needing to actually get out and see some of these kids in person, which the staff hopes it can do in July.
joe from the south side: Tom: In all your years covering ND, who is the one opposing player, after watching him play, you thought, "Boy, this guy would have been a great fit at ND. We sure could have used him." Mine. Easy. Gerry McNamara. Irish Catholic kid from central PA. Even his family thought he was going to ND. Always liked his game.
Tom Noie: Joe: Too easy a call. McNamara was always going to Syracuse. I can't think of one guy right off the top of my head, but may think of four or five as this chat continues.
Jim Tal, Valley Center, CA.: Tom, I understand why Nik D. felt his time had run its course at ND and he wanted to move on and yet, I was somewhat surprised that got involved with the portal and expressed a desire to keep playing somewhere else. If his role with the Irish had been more extensive, do you think he might have contemplated returning to South Bend for a sixth year?
Tom Noie: Jim: Probably not. Even had T.J. Gibbs and Rex Pflueger and John Mooney been somehow granted an additional year of eligibility when the pandemic first hit in March 2020, none would've returned. It was time to move on, and it's time for Nik to do the same. Heck, he's leaving with two degrees, so he definitely maxed out the opportunity he was given.
Ed, Greensboro: What would really help Nate L would be a little time with Christian Laettner. You know, a little attitude to add to his game.
Tom Noie: Step on the occasional fallen player's chest, give him a little nastiness.
dennis- Orange County, CA: With Brey returning and let's assume he makes no changes with his assistant coaches why should one Notre Dame fan have any confidence about our program? We are currently on our longest consecutive year stretch, 4 years, without making the dance since the 1990's. Brey MUST make changes now. Will he and if not I can't understand why he keeps his job.
Tom Noie: Dennis: How about the law of averages finally swinging back Notre Dame's way. Look at the years the Irish have missed the tournament. How many of those seasons would be classified as "normal?" One? Give this program a non-pandemic year and a year where it doesn't lose a key contributor to a season-ending injury, then has to piece-mail a lineup together and let's see what happens. It's absolutely fair to expect at the least a trip to the NCAA Tournament, but how about under somewhat sane circumstances as well. Right?
Matt from NC: How does Blake Wesley compare to Jaden Ivey? Ivey looked like a borderline future star in the first round NCAA tourney game so just wanted to see how you gauge the two. Thanks!
Tom Noie: Jaden Ivey had the advantage going into his freshman year at Purdue in that he played against better competition his senior year at LaLumiere. That prepared him for what he was going to see in the Big Ten. Wesley will have to make that adjustment - guys he's going to see in terms of athleticism and length in the Atlantic Coast Conference he hasn't seen a lot of played against often in high school. And for comparison's sake, given how much flak Prentiss Hubb gets, Hubb shot .392 percent from the field, .342 percent from 3. Ivey shot .399 percent from the field, .258 from 3. Had Ivey gone to Notre Dame, the narrative might have been, he shoots and misses too much.
Terry: This is a Women’s BB question: How can a team with this much talent continue to have played so poorly this past season? Then 3 of that great freshman class takes a hike!! Something is wrong somewhere!!
Tom Noie: Three freshmen decided to leave and something's wrong? Yeah, it's called college basketball, Terry. There are over 1,000 players in the transfer portal in the men's game. The women's game isn't that severe, but if you don't like something about your situation, you just leave, Also, wasn't each of those players who left the women's program recruited by Muffet McGraw or Beth Cunningham?
Terry: You didn’t answer the primary question about poor play!
Tom Noie: Simple answer - it takes more than talent. Is that group connected? All pulling in the same direction? Being coached properly? There you go. We now return to the men's basketball chat.
Mike McFadden, Williamsport, PA: Hi Tom, Very sorry Tom but I could disagree with you more. Look at this real life example. Alli Campbell lives in Bellwood, PA, less than 15 minute drive to State College. She gets recruited for 3 long years to go to psU coach. psU fires the coach that ND hires, Ivey doesn't play her and Alli transfer to psU. I 100% agree with Terry. Something is wrong.
Tom Noie: Again, too easy. Don't play? Find a place you can play. Not always a right/wrong question. It's a play/sit question.
Mike from The Land of Cheese: Blast from the past opposing players who should've ended up at ND: Jason Collier, Carson Cunningham (now coaches Incarnate Word; has a PhD), Bobby Hurley.
John from Somers, CT: I hope you were joking about "step on the occasional fallen player's chest, give him a little nastiness".
Tom Noie: You mean the tap to Aminu Timberlake's chest? Seriously? Come on, my man.
David, Auburn, IN: When did you become the women's basketball beat writer? Seriously, though, do you think it might be good for one or two of the juniors to transfer and get some fresh blood in the program?
Tom Noie: Had to branch out a little bit with a lull in the queue. Now back to the men's program. Sorry.
joe from the south side: Tom: Not necessarily ND, but did you see the run coming out of UCLA? Boy was I wrong about Michael Walter Cronin. Never thought his style of play would sell outside of the midwest, especially not in LA.
Tom Noie: Joe: You get that one team every year that comes from completely nowhere and plays way above its heads. Thought it would be Oregon State after watching them few times in Indy. But when you get someone like Johnny Juzang catching fire the way he has, you go to the Final Four. They completely made Michigan look so un-Michigan. Mick's a good guy. Happy for him. Never got the credit he deserved at Cincinnati.
joe from the south side: Tom: Speaking of style of play, I always try to watch Iowa. I thought Fran had arguably his best team with Garza, Wieskamp, his kids......And then Oregon. It made me think of ND in many ways. Talented offense, great shooters, would like to win games 88-80, and then you saw Oregon's athleticism just dismantle Iowa. Similarly, for Brey, that was always another issue. His style of play doesn't translate to long post season runs.
Tom Noie: Neither does his stop-score style...lol
Ed, Greensboro: Tom, will you have the chance to do a one on one interview with Brey in the off season? I would be interested to hear what changes he is making to make things better next year
Tom Noie: Absolutely...hope when June rolls around, life will be somewhat back to normal to where Notre Dame can have summer school and I can watch the 2021-22 play pickup, which usually gives you the best indication on how the next season will be different from the previous one. We already know a lot of what's coming - Paul Atkinson will be an addition. The staff is expected to look different. There may or may not be one more addition via the transfer portal. The core will be a year older. Time to deliver.
Jim Tal, Valley Center, CA.: Man Tom, I'm impressed with this lengthy and informative chat. This is like to going to quadruple overtime. Shades of ND versus Louisville. In your opinion, what is the ceiling for both Cormac and Trey? Do either one of these players have the wherewithal to become true difference-makers or is it a case of what you currently see is what you'll get. I feel at least one of these guys has to make a quantum leap in impact for ND to have a resurgence in 2021-22. What say you?
Tom Noie: Jim: Heck, we're not even at the end of regulation right now. As long as the questions keep coming, I keep answering. That's the deal. Both should be better next season - remember both were transfers in their first years. Lot to ask of them to become main guys from the jump, but that's the deal in the ACC. Difference-makers? Probably too much to ask. But solid guys who can be part of something better? No reason not to expect that.
joe from the south side: Tom: Many years ago, ESPN used Digger AND Bobby Knight as color commentators on the same game. Must watch TV. Anyway, Digger said something about the style of play and Knight said to him, "Richard, how many championships have you won with the style of BBL that you teach?" I get that was Knight being cocky, but there is an element of truth. Where are the slap the floor defenders? The guys who demand rebounds? The guy who, late in the game can block a jump shot or steal an inbounds pass? I don't see it.
Tom Noie: Joe: You lost me at Bob Knight and Digger Phelps. My ears might still be bleeding from those two. Ugh
dennis- Orange County, CA: Defense wins championships. The teams that are still playing have solid defending teams and all 4 are rated in the top 45. Not once in Brey's history of coaching has his team finished in the top #45 for defensive efficiency (Pomeroy). The last four years we have finished #203, #100, #107, and #68. If I'm in charge of Notre Dame basketball this would be the first thing I fixed. Obviously Brey can't teach defense so why not bring in an assistant who can? If we want Notre Dame to make consistent tournament runs over an extended period of time we must improve our defense. It makes me sick to watch teams play us and have wide open shot after wide open shot. Please explain why this continues year after year?
Tom Noie: Easy. It's not in the head coach's DNA. Never has been. Too late to expect it now. It's entertaining to see that Houston is making its first Final Four in 37 years and Baylor in 50 and UCLA in what, 13, but all of a sudden, everyone believes that that's the way Notre Dame has to play.
Wadelite: Serious question: if you had to bet your house next season on who has a better season would you go with "motivated" Brey with the coldest coaching seat in the country or IU with the coaching hire you were critical of. For IU, let's go with the assumption Jackson-Davis returns.
Tom Noie: Wade: Notre Dame. Because this class eventually has to show why it was Top 15 nationally, right? Right???
dennis- Orange County, CA: Not playing even average defense makes zero sense. Any coach who can't or refuses to coach offense or defense does not deserve to be given a long leash after 4 consecutive failed seasons. If Brey does not bring in an assistant in the next couple of months who can improve our defense he will continue to fail our program.
Tom Noie: Don't hold your breath, my man. Don't see it happening.
Ed, Greensboro: Tom, and using Brey’s style of play, how many final fours have we been to? Lol-sorry, but I could not resist.
Tom Noie: Ed: Really, how many other teams annually say the same? More are in Notre Dame's non-Final Four boat than the other one.
Wadelite: I know you defend Hubb a ton and I get it, because he has a pulse. But swagger is not the same as leadership. His numbers are good because he plays the most minutes and takes the most shot. Let's look at the key plays he has made in 3 seasons to win a game versus NCAAT caliber teams. There are not many. But he will raise a middle finger after a come back versus an awful team they previously beat by 20. I'd rather have the cerebral consistency of Eric Atkins leading a team than a shoot first point guard who shoots poorly. ND will never make the NCAAT with him as the lead guard. He's at best a 3rd option on a good team.
Tom Noie: NOW it's a Notre Dame hoops chat! Prentiss Hubb can't play comment. We're limping toward the finish line in this one. Thing is, I think you've written that same post three or four times this year. Yeah, we get it. But he's the guy, so you have no other choice.
Mike from The Land of Cheese: I'm not saying he will ever get significant minutes, but it appears to these eyes that Alex Wade will be the quickest player on the team. Definitely could start at the low D-1 level, possibly even mid if he adjusts.
Tom Noie: Sigh...
Ed, Greensboro: Tom, Williams is retiring, Coach K and The Syracuse coach cannot be far behind.If I am Swarbrick, I am thinking this league is having a changing of the guard. Time to make a move, open up the checkbook, and find a guy like Tony Bennett at UVA. Thoughts?
Tom Noie: You've won a national championship at Virginia. Why would you take a pay cut and the job at Notre Dame? It's the question I always ask when someone floats Coach A, B or C to Notre Dame. There's never an answer....
joe from the south side: Tom: Chatters: So if not Hubb then who? Wertz? Please. That's as loose a handle as I've seen in a while. Maybe he adjusts to the ACC, maybe not. If you are from Charlotte NC and you are playing for Santa Clara, that tells me something. Actually, a lot. Hubb is what you have to work with. Is he a classic PG? No. But he has guts, unlike the rest of the team, and is probably the best athlete, which isn't saying much. Is he good enough to get to the NCAA? Yes. Barely. But it also takes a supporting cast. One that rebounds. One that hustles,. One that has heart. One that plays D. That's not all on Hubb.
Tom Noie: Joe: Voice of reason speaks yet again. Thanks my man. Hubb's this and Hubb's that and he's not this and he's not that. We've been down this road too many times. Eric Atkins isn't walking through the door. Neither is Chris Thomas or Tory Jackson. Or David Rivers. (insert palm to face emoji here)....lol
Tom Noie: Prentiss Hubb = Ian Book. Never good enough and someone else somewhere should be better. Fans....sigh
Ed, Greensboro: Tom, did not mean hire the UVA coach, but when Brey leaves find a young talented guy like Bennet. Thanks for the long chat, and putting up with all of us.With you till the finish.
Tom Noie: We're limping to the end with Alex Wade references....but I'll power through. I know there's still another good question or comment out there lurking. Gotta end on a strong note. Somebody will deliver.
Wadelite: So that behavior by Hubb at the end of the Wake Forest game was not a concern to you? Did exhibit great leadership traits? Yes, I have lamented about on Hubb on past chats, but that incident just happened. Bit unfair to lump that in as part of previous comments? Please tell me what was untrue about Hubb seldom ever making a play to beat an NCAAT caliber team. ND is 20 and 36 in ACC regular season games with him as the point guard with 5 of those wins versus BC.
Tom Noie: Wade: Does he play 1-on-5. Does he taked every shot? Grab every rebound. Have to initiate every play. It's not just Hubb, but when it's time to dump on one guy, it's all on him. Funny, no mention of Laszewski or Goodwin or Durham. Just Hubb No, the middle finger is in no way defensible. Or excusable. But the kid did take it upon himself to write/post an apology on his own before the head coach suggested it. Yeah, I know, Eric Atkins would've done it better or wouldn't have done it. I get that.
Mike McFadden, Williamsport, PA: I did not see the annual awards come out yet? Will there be an annual banquet and ceremony?
Tom Noie: Probably only virtual like last year.
Wadelite: Come on Tom. Book was 30 and 5 as a starter with 3 of the losses to Clenson and Bama. Hubb 20 and 36 in ACC regular season games.
Tom Noie: Come on, Wade. Did you follow football coverage much last year? 30-5 might as well have been 20-36. The stuff Book had to put up with was beyond what Hubb has had to deal with. Can't throw deep. Can't beat a good team. Can't do this. Can't do that. All he did was win. In the end, that wasn't good enough. I watched it for the last three years. It's so often about who/what is next instead of what's now.
Jim Tal, Valley Center, CA.: Tom, if Mike Brey could go back in time over the last four years, what do you think he feels he could have done differently that might have prevented or at least mitigated against the disappointing slippage that has taken place. And in your opinion, does Brey have it within himself to do real serious self-evaluation and make some hard decisions the way that Kelly did when forced to do so. Admire your stamina!
Tom Noie: Jim: He wouldn't have recruited that big of a junior class. It messed everything up in terms of recruiting flow. Taken a transfer or two to get a better mix. Not put so much stock that the guys expected to deliver actually would. I don't know if he has it in him to change. We'll find out this year, right?
Wadelite: Yes all Book did was win, hence the comparison to Hubb is not your best analogy.
Tom Noie: it sure as heck is. In the end, that wasn't good enough. For anyone. Like I said, I watched it and lived it for three years. I banged the 30-5 drum harder and louder than anyone. In the end, it was nothing but....yeah, but....Analogy fits like a glove.
joe from the south side: Tom: Wade: And what has anyone else done? Dane Goodwin can score. That's it. He doesn't rebound and is clumsy on DEF. Cormac Ryan proved he has a long way to go in the ACC. Completely inconsistent. JD developed about as nicely as you could expect, but is not an OFF threat. Wertz? Backup ACC at best. Nate? I am 60 years old and I could defend him. He's an open book. Matchup at the three point line and he has no answer. He can't dribble. God forbid he could beat a defender while handling the ball. Hubb did as much as he could with a LIMITED supporting cast. Won't change next year either. Insanity---Doing the same thing over nd over and expecting different results.
Tom Noie: Rinse and repeat. Rinse and repeat.
Tom Noie: And....we're about done. Five-plus hours of hoops talk. I knew you had it in you. Thanks for hanging with us on a winter-like day in Northern Indiana. We'll circle back and talk hoops at least once a month during the offseason. If your question or comment can't wait, drop me a note at firstname.lastname@example.org. Take care and stay healthy!