Notre Dame ventures to unfamiliar territory to land guard Parker Friedrichsen
When it comes to the construction of its 2023 recruiting class, one old adage seems apropos for the Notre Dame men’s basketball team.
Better late than never.
For the second straight week, and for the third time in this recruiting cycle, Notre Dame secured a commitment from a high school senior who wasn’t necessarily in the program’s plans as the 2022 calendar hit the midway point in summer.
On Tuesday afternoon, in a high school media room in Bixby, Oklahoma, shooting guard Parker Friedrichsen made official his plans to play for Notre Dame. Considered a three-star prospect by Rivals.com and four stars by 247Sports (102nd overall), Friedrichsen chose Notre Dame from a final three that included Davidson and Nebraska. He also considered Northwestern and Rice.
"It felt right for me," Friedrichsen said during his announcement. It was like, this is home for me. It's Notre Dame."
He made his choice during a live press conference on YouTube.
Friedrichsen joins an Irish recruiting class that includes Mishawaka (Ind.) Penn guard Markus Burton (5-foot-10, 170 pounds) and Harvard-Westlake (Calif.) swingman Brady Dunlap (6-7, 180). All three players were nowhere near the top of the Irish wish list as the 2021-22 season ended or when spring arrived. All three will sign their national letters of intent when the early signing period commences in November.
"I actually know the guys that are committed and they're super cool," Friedrichsen said. "I'm close with them. Really, what draws me there is the type of program they have. Coach Brey is a guards guy. He lets you go."
Rivals.com has Notre Dame's current three-man class ranked No. 20 nationally. Last fall, it also had Notre Dame slotted at No. 20 nationally after Brey landed current freshmen Dom Campbell, Ven-Allen Lubin and J.J. Starling.
Friedrichsen, who becomes the first player from Oklahoma to commit to Irish coach Mike Brey and the first who will eventually play for the Irish since power forward Ryan Humphrey, a first team All-Big East selection in 2002 and first round NBA draft pick, was not offered a scholarship by the Irish until Aug. 8. He made an official visit to Notre Dame on Aug. 26 — his first official college visit.
"The timing's perfect," Friedrichsen said. "Everything just kind of fell into place. I get to go play for a great program."
The 6-3, 165-pound Friedrichsen averaged 27.8 points, 5.0 rebounds, 4.0 assists and 3.3 steals for Bixby as a junior, a year that also saw him score at least 30 points 11 times and twice hit for 40. Friedrichsen has been ranked as high as the No. 2 prospect in Oklahoma. He committed to Oklahoma State in March, a commitment that lasted three months.
"Ultimately, I made the decision a little too early," he said. "It wasn't best for me. I had the whole summer to prove myself."
Friedrichsen caught the eye of Brey during the July evaluation period when he averaged 19.3 points and 2.9 assists for the KC Run GMC on the AAU/Under Armour circuit. He also shot 43.6 percent from 3.
"He's not just a catch and shoot guy," 247Sports director of basketball analyst Eric Bossi said prior to Friedrichsen's announcement. "He's a high-energy guy. I think he's just scratching the surface of what he can be down the road."
Friedrichsen also had scholarship offers from Illinois, Memphis, Missouri, Oklahoma and SMU. He had 19 offers prior to his junior year at Bixby. Friedrichsen had long insisted that location doesn’t matter. Bixby is 760 miles and an 11½ —hour drive from South Bend.
Burton and Dunlap also were late additions to the Irish recruiting wish lists, but, like Friedrichsen, also became high-priority prospects. Offered only in late August, Dunlap committed to Notre Dame late last week days after his official visit the weekend of Sept. 17. Burton, who plays eight miles from campus, was the first member of the 2023 Irish recruiting class after committing in late July, only three days after a scholarship offer was extended.
Burton and Dunlap are also considered three-/four-star prospects by recruiting services.
Notre Dame needs to replace at least five players — all fifth-year seniors — off the 2022-23 team. Going the traditional transfer/graduate transfer route or waiting for the 2024 recruiting cycle are the options for a power forward.
The Irish remain involved with four-star/top-100 point guard Elmarko Jackson from South Kent (Conn.). Notre Dame is one of Jackson’s seven finalists. He’s scheduled to make an official visit to South Bend the weekend of Oct. 30.
Follow South Bend Tribune and NDInsider columnist Tom Noie on Twitter: @tnoieNDI. Contact: (574) 235-6153.