A whole lot of Notre Dame men's basketball to dissect and discuss - and we did
Tom Noie: It still doesn't seem real, the events of the past week. Here we are in late January, a time when we should be talking/plotting/dreaming about what Notre Dame needs to do the rest of the way to get back to the NCAA tournament. Instead, the Irish season has gone off the rails, the head coach has decided (likely with a nudge) that this season will be his last, and the program is staring at a future that is, at best, uncertain. Mike Brey was right - this whole college basketball thing really is fragile. We're about to find out just how much. Anyway, how's your month been? Probably better than Brey, who's set to leave after season No. 23. He'll be the first to admit that it's time, and it is. It's also time to talk Notre Dame men's basketball, which we'll do today forever however long you want to ask, vent, etc. Just make sure to include your name and hometown. And with that, you know how this goes. Let's light this chat candle...
Guest: I congratulate Tom for his fair & balanced critique of ND b-ball over these past years. I thought his article Sunday highlighting the top 23 games under Coach Brey was particularly effective to remind us all of the skill & leadership Coach has given the players & fans over his 23 seasons.
Tom Noie: Skill and leadership and, oh, by the way, a heck of a lot of memories and games and wins that nobody thought possible back in 2000. Should this program have won more? Yes. Should it have been better in the NCAA tournament? Absolutely. But rewind back to July 2000 when Mike Brey walked in the door of the Joyce Center. How many fans of a program that was dying a slow death would've taken nearly 500 wins? Three Sweet 16s? Two Elite Eights? A freaking ACC tournament championship after beating Duke and North Carolina? How many would've taken that? How about everybody. This isn't ending the way anyone imagined, but it was one hell of a ride. That you can't argue. Roll through the 23 memories of Brey's 23 seasons for evidence.
Mike, Nyona lake: Recruiting question. Keep hearing N.D. can't recruit because of standards. Just can not believe there are not three or four kids in the whole USA that are not smart enough to go to N.D. and still play ball. Maybe not top ten guys but 15 thru 80. Maybe not get the one or two to make you a national champ every year but good enough to be in the top twenty and at least compete for the top half in the ACC. You can not tell me that none of the teams that do compete every year don't have some standards also.
Tom Noie: Mike: Two questions in and and we've already reached the non-believer section. That's OK. I get it. One former Irish assistant coach said years ago - a decade or so back - that even back then, in the mid-2000s, out of the top 100 high school seniors maybe 10 - maybe - would have the grades to get into Notre Dame for basketball. Of those 10, maybe two, sometimes three would actually have a passing interest in the program. That was then. Now? Maybe one or two top 100 would be seriously interested in Notre Dame. The admission standard remains the standard. I can't tell you that "none of the teams that do compete every year don't have some standards," but I will. Notre Dame often can't touch the prospects that go to Duke or Carolina or Kansas or UCLA or even Virginia. It's a harder job than anyone wants to admit, which is why it's a lot closer to Boston College and Georgia Tech than anyone wants to admit.
Steve McTigue: Tom, what do you think the Irish are looking for in a new head coach?? Don’t you think they should secure that position fairly soon to avoid to many portal transfers, and to bring in new talent?
Tom Noie: Steve: A coach with a plan would be a good start. Notre Dame is going to be this kind of a team on offense, and be that kind of a team on defense. There seemed no plan the last couple of years, just kind of roll the ball out. When you watch how other teams run offense, with different actions and sets you're struck by how Notre Dame doesn't nothing like that. Same goes for defense. And then there's the overall structure of the roster. I'm all for rolling more guys through and being multiple - not the same stuff from the same five guys. So you need a little of everything from someone who's got endless energy, someone who's going to sell his program, and the sell the fans the product is worth watching... Tom Noie: ...As for the second part of your question, I'd be surprised (stunned) if this was a quick hire. Now, if you believe Chris Quinn or Sean Sweeney (both NBA assistants) are the answer, and you can get them out of their current jobs today, you do it. But no sitting college coach is going to leave in the middle of the season for another job. I expect this process to be more exploratory for the next six, seven weeks where Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick does his due diligence, narrows his list to a select few in early March, then zeroes in on a candidate as that coach's season comes to an end. Everyone wants a timeline and wants it to be sooner than later, but it wouldn't surprise me if this pushes closer to April. And it's Jan. 25. Buckle up. This is going to be a loooooooooong haul.
Terry: How is it that the ND Women’s BB program can continually recruit the top players in the country and the men’s team can’t even sniff a top recruit?
Tom Noie: Terry: Let's start with this - it's comparing apples to oranges. Yes, the game is the same - they play on rims that are 10 feet and courts that are 94 feet long and all that, but comparing what the Notre Dame men's program can't do compared to the Notre Dame women's program is downright silly. The Notre Dame women's program is one of the sport's bluebloods - Connecticut, Tennessee, Stanford, etc. It SHOULD recruit the elite of the elite. Asking why the men's program can't do what the women's program can do is like asking why the Notre Dame men's program can't be like Duke or North Carolina. The men's program and the women's program couldn't be more different.
Paul R: If you were Jack Swarbrick, who would be your pick for next head coach and who do you think is most likely/realistic?
Tom Noie: Paul: I'm glad I'm not Jack Swarbrick having to figure this out, because, as has been mentioned, this is not going to be a quick-hire situation, as it was when he needed a football coach (Marcus Freeman) and women's basketball coach (Niele Ivey). It's hard to say who is likely/realistic because we have no idea what Notre Dame wants from its next head coach. Dynamic young guy? Established older guy? Someone in between. If he were to speak to the media, which he likely won't until the process ends, Jack Swarbrick would say he wants the best possible coach to lead Notre Dame. Who is that? I'll go, in no particular order, with Darian DeVries (Drake), Micah Shrewsberry (Penn State) and Pat Kelsey (Charleston) with wild cards being Chris Quinn and Sean Sweeney. But again, a disclaimer...nobody has ANY idea what direction this is going to go. None.
Matt from Aldie, VA: Thanks, Tom. Quick two-parter: Bottom line, was Brey forced out against his will, or did he come to the realization before it got to that point? And are you hearing anything specific about what his role could be at ND in the future? He's a class act and it would be great to keep him on campus in some capacity, when he's ready. Bonus question: Since Brey has nothing to lose, do you foresee any dramatic lineup or strategic changes between now and the end of his tenure? Thanks again!
Tom Noie: Matt: Quick two-parter that doesn't have a quick answer. Last week's decision that this is it was a combination of factors. Jack Swarbrick is on record with the South Bend Tribune as saying that Mike Brey could coach at Notre Dame for as long as he wants. As December became January, that want-to waned. He just didn't feel like he could reach his guys and do the job the way the job needs to be done. I'm sure he went to Jack and Jim Fraleigh, the administrator in charge of men's basketball and they agreed. Some sort of separation agreement was reached and here we are. Tom Noie: As for a future role for Mike Brey at Notre Dame, that was more feel-good/wishful thinking than anything. When this season ends, he can't put Michiana in his rearview mirror fast enough. Save for returning for some reunion doings during football weekends, I don't expect Mike Brey to have any future reason to return. And if the first two games since his I'm-outta-here presser is any indication, he's going to ride into the college basketball sunset his way. The rotation hasn't changed much. I don't see that changing.
Mike, New Jersey: Hey Tom, Do you have any sense of direction Notre Dame will be going to in looking for the next Head Coach? Personally I’d love someone with Midwest ties who builds the roster with size, physicality, and athleticism.
Tom Noie: Mike: Zero. Maybe less than zero. As mentioned earlier, Jack Swarbrick, should he choose to speak with the media, would hit all the high points on what he wants from the next men's basketball coach, but does he? An elite coach, a coach who's going to make this an elite program, may be too expensive. Does Notre Dame want to pay north of $3 million for an elite coach? My guess is no.
Guest: monte williams or marty inglesby??
Tom Noie: Monty Williams. But again, you have to ask yourself - why would someone who has one of the best 30 jobs in the basketball coaching world where you have the best of everything at your fingertips while coaching the best of the best decide yeah, I'm done with this lifestyle of private planes and five-star hotels and sold-out arenas and international attention to go back to college and recruit high school kids? It's a tough sell. Maybe Monty Williams or Chris Quinn or Sean Sweeney, the three possible candidates with NBA ties are looking for a career change, but that's a big jump. The NBA is the great known. College basketball in 2023 and beyond is the great unknown.
joe from the south side: Tom, Before we get to the back and forth of this, I want to make one comment. Prior to Brey's announcement of stepping down, you were writing about the failures of this season's team. You pulled no punches. You were exceptionally critical, but truthful to a fault. You must have a great deal of clout at SBT to take on a Notre Dame sports program like that. In any event, I admired and appreciated your accurate assessment of where this season was going. Tip of the cap to you.
Tom Noie: Thanks my man...say it louder for the people in the back...you know, the ones who shout from the shadows about how the beat guy should be more cheerleader and less critical. I'm glad someone understands that it just doesn't work that way. It can't. Not for the team you cover or the person covering it. The beat writer has to take the good and the bad and the ups and the downs and continue to tell the story. I hope I've done that. It's not easy, but that's our job. We have to do it whether the team we cover is 15-5 in the ACC or headed toward 5-15. Now....back to our discussion...😀
joe from the south side: Tom, This team collapsed for many reasons. From the outside, I see 3 big ones. 1. Poorly coached. Go back to SYR at ND. I think Goodwin said, "We didn't know what to do against the zone." WHAT? You've played in more games than anyone in ND history. You played against SYR 1,000 times. Edwards played the entire 2nd half 15 ft from the bucket. That's how far Boeheim extended. How hard is it to put LAZ or Ven under the hoop and force Edwards out of the middle of the zone? Then, Dane goes back to working the spot at the FT line. No ability to adapt. 2./3. No athleticism. On D, they play matador style. Wave the cape and let the bull go by. Hell, they escort opposing guards to the hoop. On O, they have no ability to beat anyone off the bounce. LY, you polled us about the MVP of the team. I said Wesley because you can't teach his athleticism and instinct for the game on O or D. But, I also said Paul A. was a close 2nd because his post play created space for the jump shooters. Now you see that 1st hand.
Tom Noie: Joe: All true. All of it. But here's the thing too about Notre Dame being poorly coached. This team, and teams before it, knew what they signed up for in playing for Mike Brey. He's not going to browbeat you into figuring out the zone. He's going to trust that your proverbial basketball IQ will see it and allow you to say, yeah, I get it. I know what to do. Brey's at fault for the collapse of this season, but is it his fault that he draws up the perfect baseline out of bounds play at the end of the Florida State game, only to have a super senior throw away what would've been a game-winning layup? Is it Brey's fault that a super senior can't effectively inbound the ball late in the game at 'Cuse? Or that another super senior can't make a critical WIDE OPEN 3-pointer in that game? Brey's at fault, but the guys he trusted to deliver didn't deliver. Tom Noie: Notre Dame misses Blake Wesley terribly and misses Paul Atkinson terribly, but don't dismiss what Prentiss Hubb brought to that group. Yeah, he took the occasional bad shot, but he brought a certain swagger a certain middle-finger to you attitude on the road that the rest of his teammates fed off and followed. Notre Dame won seven games away from home last year, and was 6-4 on the road in league play. The Irish are 0-5 on the ACC road this year and 0-7 overall. Ask yourself why, then remember P-Hubb.
joe from the south side: Tom, In your opinion, is the new coach, whiever it is, capable of "patching this together" or are we in a complete overhaul/rebuilding mode? Part 2 is I doubt ND will ever go for wholesale transfers to restock the program immediately. Do you feel the same way and if so, how does that impact the next coach's success?
Tom Noie: Joe: This is headed toward a complete teardown/overhaul/rebuild. On Tuesday, about an hour before the Notre Dame-North Carolina State game tipped, news broke that Brady Dunlap, one of the three recruits signed for next season, had asked for his release from Notre Dame. Had Dunlap remained in the fold, and if (massive if) Cormac Ryan decides to return for a sixth year, Notre Dame would have only 10 players on scholarship - and that's with nobody leaving. Dunlap's departure drops that number to nine. If Ryan decides it's time for a change, that number falls to eight. Dunlap probably won't be the only guy who decides to seek something else besides Notre Dame. That's the way of the college basketball world. Notre Dame has not been hit hard by the transfer portal, but I don't expect that to be the case. New coach wants a new direction. Somebody else is going to leave. Next year will suffer with a patchwork roster. Tom Noie: And Notre Dame won't stabilize through the transfer portal. While it's true that Notre Dame basketball has taken transfers in the past dating all the way back to Ryan Humphrey in 1999 and Dan Miller in 2001, the game has changed. Notre Dame could afford to take a Humphrey or a Miller or a Ben Hansbrough or a Scott Martin with a promise (and a wink) that though their transcripts might not mirror Notre Dame, they could get on the Notre Dame academic track during their sit-out seasons. There's no longer a sit-out season - kids are immediately eligible. It's not a coincidence that since the sit-out season went away, the only transfers to choose Notre Dame - Paul Atkinson and Marcus Hammond - are GRADUATE TRANSFERS. Now, the new coach may get a transfer break or two next season, but the portal is more myth than reality for Notre Dame. It just is.
joe from the south side: Tom, You, and others, have speculated about the next coach. I think you even mentioned Beilein and Pitino, both of whom are 70ish. If you really want to hire a 70 year old coaching legend, go after Coach K. While at Duke he repeatedly stated that the only place that could make him leave Duke was ND. Admitedly, that was some time ago, but "ya never know until you ask."
Tom Noie: Joe: You know you're my guy, but that might be the silliest idea around. Beyond silly. Here's why - yes, John Beilein and Rick Pitino are both in their 70s, like Mike Krzyzewski. But they couldn't be more different. Here's why - Beilein and Pitino may both feel like they have something still to prove at the highest college level. Beilein for his epic failure in the NBA, Pitino for his epic exit from Louisville. It's no secret that Pitino wants back in to the white-hot spotlight of a major college job. If you know him, Iona's a stopover. A stop-gap. Beilein has long dreamed of coaching at Notre Dame. K? He's got too many NCAA championship and Olympic rings on his fingers to answer the phone.
Guest: Play the bench already
Tom Noie: I don't see it happening. Mike Brey's going to do it his way. That's how Notre Dame got to where it is now - he's going to play the guys he trusts. He doesn't trust the bench. Not saying he's right, just saying Brey's going to Brey the rest of the way. As wrong as that might be.
Bill Milford ct.: hey Tom — your the man to trust on who’s coaching in 23 season -so my question is regarding the current commits. Give us a break down on each one’s strengths & weakness AND will they stay committed - can any expect to contribute right away ? thanks
Tom Noie: Bill: Notre Dame's incoming recruiting class slipped from three players to two following Tuesday's news that swingman Brady Dunlap from Harvard-Westlake High School in California has asked to be released from his letter of intent. Of the three - Markus Burton and Parker Friedrichsen - Dunlap might've been most ready to play given his size (6-foot-7). Burton and Friedrichsen are skilled guys, but also guys who look like they've never set foot in the weight room. It's so hard to say, even the in the best of years, how a prospect's going to carry over from high school to high Division I. No idea if they'll stay committed. It all depends on what the new coach wants, though it would be hard to see Burton going elsewhere. The last thing the new coach wants to do is run off the local kid. Both may HAVE to contribute next season given the uncertainty of the rest of the roster. We can't sit here on Jan. 25 as the snow falls outside and say we have ANY idea what Notre Dame's roster will look like next season.
Matt: Tom, what do you think the time line will be on getting a new coach. Late March early April until they get the list and then interviews. The first recruits are the underclass men, 2023 class and then he can hit the portal.
Tom Noie: Matt: Late March at the earliest if everything falls into place. Mike Brey announcing when he did that this is it for him allows for everyone who might be interested in the job to really take a long look at it, and vice versa in terms of vetting candidates, but how much can you do with a sitting head coach in the middle of his season? Little. Next to nothing. So the timeline is going to be an extended one, unless there's a stealth candidate that Jack Swarbrick has identified who can be hired on say, Selection Sunday. Otherwise, pack your patience. This is going to take some time.
Mike,: Tom, do you think a few from the staff will stay to help smooth over the transition?
Tom Noie: Mike: I don't know how their contracts are structured - say, they're obligated to work through a certain date every year before it rolls over - but I can't see anyone from the current coaching or support staff saying, yeah, you know what, I'll help without any assurances that they're going to be retained. Mike Brey knows what he's going to be doing next year (hint: sitting on a beach in Florida) but his staff and support members are likely worried as much or more right now about where life is going to take them than what kind of defense Louisville might throw at them Saturday. It's human nature - you want to finish this out and do what's best for Notre Dame if you're an assistant coach, but you're also worried about where you're going to land in this profession. It's hard.
Mike, Nyona lake: Another question about recruiting. Just read your story in Monday paper about the five things a new coach should ask. If everything in that story is true then I guess that answers the question why there are no fans at the games. Been a season ticket holder for over 35 years. Give me one reason after reading this story I should renew next year.
Tom Noie: Mike the non-believer returns....what do you mean "if everything in that story is true..." Seriously? Come on, my man. I'd give you a reason why you should renew your tickets for next season, but you probably wouldn't believe it. Sorry.😄
guest: Any thoughts on who you think will get the coaching job? Brad Stevens ?
Tom Noie: You're Brad Stevens, president of the Boston Celtics. You make close to $4 million a year. Why are you going back to college? Hard pass.
Joe: My dream candidates that you throw a blank check are Billy Donovan, Tony Bennet and Dana Altman. Any of those above a 0% chance?
Tom Noie: Less than zero.
Joe: I feel what made Brey’s offenses excel through the years was a floor general point guard. I know Hubb was better than perceived, but do you think that was the biggest issue the last 5 years. I’m confident we have more wins if Matt Farrell is on the team
Tom Noie: Joe: Here's what I don't get about the whole notion of this program has stunk for five seasons. Did last year NOT happen? Did Notre Dame not go 24-11 and win a school record 15 Atlantic Coast Conference games? Did it not have the school's only one-and-done in Blake Wesley? Was it not two minutes from getting to a Sweet 16? Please eliminate last season from the other four, where you do have a point. The pieces didn't fit those seasons. Brey hitched his coaching wagon to guys who didn't deliver, who should've been better than what they were - save for John Mooney who was left a bag of spare parts during his best seasons. Prentiss Hubb was really good for this program - trouble is, he was too inconsistent, which blinded fans' perspective of him.
Joe: Obviously the program needs a breath of fresh air and reboot, but I can’t help but think they are such a better fit in today’s big east than the acc. I know men’s bball will never be the driver of nd’s conference alignment and I think the acc move was great at the time, but do you think there are any administrators in the athletic department that regret that move?
Tom Noie: Joe: Did you see the Dec. 11 game against Marquette? Not only was the first sign that this run was over for Mike Brey, it was a sign that Notre Dame (as it's currently constructed) has no business being in the Big East. Notre Dame used to play like that. Notre Dame used to win like that. But the move to the ACC was done for more than just men's basketball. If Notre Dame were to be part of a conference on a sport by sport basis, the Big Ten and the Big East would fit better - but it would take time to overhaul the roster to fit those leagues. That's not how college athletics works. Jack Swarbrick had to take a big-picture 35,000-foot view of what league best served his entire athletic department. That's the ACC.
Joe: It shocked me that Brey’s first game was a sellout. His engagement and personality could not have been more conducive to garnering fan support. I get that the losing the last few years is going to drive fans away (I was looking for Wake Forest tickets and it’s incredible that the cheapest ticket is $35), but what do you think the new coach has to do to re-energize the fan base?
Tom Noie: Joe: Win, but even that's hard and not the only answer. Fans are hard to figure out. Notre Dame won last year - won in the ACC like it's never before won - and it had exactly one sellout (Duke). Fans today are beyond fickle. Even when you win, you sometimes lose. I can't imagine that had Brey played more than seven guys, the fan base would be like, whoa, gotta go out and see the Irish. Fans today are different. They'd rather stay home and watch it on their TVs. New coach isn't changing that.
Joe: Correlation or coincidence that the program finally got it’s sought after practice facility and then went into a terrible tailspin?
Tom Noie: Joe: I'd say correlation. Notre Dame without a practice facility was a program with a certain underdog edge. Like, we practice in the basement of an old arena that has seats held together with Duct tape. We don't get any bells and whistles but you know what, we're still going to win. It got way more country club when Rolfs opened. It just did.
Joe: Do you think there’s a difference between how the job is perceived nationally compared to how you perceive it up close and personal? I was particularly struck by Pat Forde’s column about the success of other catholic schools in college basketball and how strange that ND doesn’t match their consistent success.
Tom Noie: Joe: No, because what's the separator when you look at other Catholic schools. Let's take Gonzaga and Villanova for their previous sustained successes and Marquette and Xavier right now. All private schools, but all schools that don't play football. Basketball is the sole focus, it's where every single one of those schools' resources go toward. They better be good in men's basketball because that's what's going to make the most money. That's never going to be the case at Notre Dame, where it's football first and second and third and sometimes fourth and fifth. Pump the powers that be with truth serum and they'd probably admit - and maybe even without serum - that's it's critically important for Notre Dame football to be good for myriad reasons. Notre Dame basketball? Yeah, that matters and they want to get to the NCAA tournament, but if they don't, hey it's almost time for spring football. And who's the quarterback?
Jimmy D: Who realistically are the top 2-3 options to replace Brey? How soon after March madness can we expect an announcement?
Tom Noie: Jimmy: Realistically, there's no realistic top options because as was mentioned earlier, nobody knows what Jack Swarbrick wants out of this job. If you're realistically serious about winning national championships and going to Final Fours, then you hire Rick Pitino. He'll win. Maybe not the way anyone in the university would want, but he would. The next hire will tell us a lot of how men's basketball is viewed by the university. Timetable? Don't expect anything to happen before April. This is a long haul process.
Mark from Rochester, NY: Tom, I know there are games left in this lost season, but what are your thoughts on Starling? Does he stay for a new coach? Transfer? Professional? Thanks for all you do.
Tom Noie: Mark: He's played/developed like someone who knows he needs another year in college, whether that's at Notre Dame or elsewhere, we don't know. He was as tied to Mike Brey as any recruit in recent memory. He wanted to go to Notre Dame, but he also wanted to play for Brey. It's hard to see him going the NBA route based solely on his stats - 12.0 ppg., 2.9 rpg., 1.3 apg., .425 FG, .311 #-point, .640 FT. He needs at least another year to show what he can do well. What is that? I don't know, and I don't know if he knows. Blake Wesley set such a high bar that everyone expected the same (and more) from Starling. He's not built that way. Does he come back? That's a question you can ask for every single player on the roster and the two incoming recruits. Until a new coach is in place and every player sees how they fit, there's no real answer.
Mark from Rochester, NY: Tom, with how bad this season has been, I feel like the next 2-3 seasons could be more of the same. Talk me off the ledge
Tom Noie: Mark: Nope. You're on that ledge and have to decide for yourself if you want to slide back toward terra firma before that ledge snaps. When Mike Brey arrived, he had Troy Murphy and David Graves and a young Matt Carroll and an old Martin Ingelsby and Ryan Humphrey in a sit-out season. That program was built to win from the jump. This one's not. He's not leaving the cupboard completely bare, but there's a chance for it. Yeah, next year is going to brutal unless Jack Swarbrick nails this hire. He has to.
Andrew from Mass: How many games do you project they win in conference this year? Not that I still think the season can be saved or anything but I am very curious
Tom Noie: Andrew: Notre Dame is staring down the barrel of 3-17 in the Atlantic Coast Conference. Tuesday's loss at North Carolina State marked the unofficial halfway point - 10 games down, 10 to go. Notre Dame is 1-9 in the league. When you look at what's coming on the back half, you understand how desperate everything felt when Notre Dame lost its first two home games and lost getable games on the road against Florida State and Boston College. That was against the bottom half of the league. Look at February. Where do you see wins? You want to say Saturday at home against Louisville and maybe the following Saturday at home against Wake Forest. But those aren't guarantees. December and January were times for this program to stack a few wins. February was going to be brutal regardless. Even more so now that you have a lame-duck coach and a lame-duck roster in a lame-duck season. As bad as it's been to date, it might get worse.
Pat H. Springfield Illinois: Can’t disagree with any of your reporting and analyses. You did an exceptional and, most important, extremely fair job. What you are doing is what journalism is about - reporting history as it happens in a thorough and objective manner.
Tom Noie: Pat: Many thanks. When you've covered Notre Dame men's basketball for 25 seasons, you just want to be prepared for when something like this to max it all out and give readers they best sense and understanding of what it all means. I hope I've done that.
Pat H. Springfield Illinois: Forgot to ask my question: When can we expect Mike Bret to be inducted into the Ring of Honor?
Tom Noie: Pat: The Ring of Honor was Brey's baby. He chose the guys to go up. Somebody has to choose him. If I were the new coach, I'd wait a year or two before (if) everything gets back on track to where fans care and the wins are there and then give Brey his proper day.
EM: Echoing Muffet McGraw’s comments in the immediate aftermath of Brey’s announcement, how can any N.D. men’s b-ball coach hope to compete and win in today’s environment - including, e.g., the transfer portal, NIL rules, and the general sense that every sport at N.D. takes a back seat to football? Having said that, how did McGraw manage to succeed where Brey didn’t?
Tom Noie: EM: You can't. Oh, you can try and do and say all the right things, but even then, it's only going to get you to the occasional Sweet 16 or Elite Eight. Notre Dame men's basketball is about players/prospects choosing Notre Dame for more than just basketball. Pat Connaughton is one of only two former Irish in the NBA, but he didn't seriously dream of being an NBA player when he was at Notre Dame. Now, when that dream materialized, Connaughton chased it and made himself an NBA player. Blake Wesley as well. But they're exceptions, not the rule. How did Notre Dame do it with Muffet McGraw? How many women's basketball players leave after one year for the WNBA? Apples to oranges again. Same sport, way different success models.
Tom from Sister Lakes MI: Hi Tom, Great coverage of Brey's retirement and the aftermath. Play along with me. Based on your many years of being around the program, Jack Swarbrick asks for your opinion on the new hire. JS has two questions for you: Should I hire a former ND player? If yes, who should it be? What are your answers?
Tom Noie: Tom: Still waiting for the phone to ring with Jack Swarbrick on the other end. Don't think he's going to do that anytime soon - OK, never - but I'll play along. I'd say, why, yes, you need to do whatever's needed to hire Monty Williams. He'd be more than a basketball coach at Notre Dame. And it's about way more than basketball there. It's a sense of spirituality, and Williams would definitely fit. He's won, he's as class as they come and he could relate to today's college athlete. He'd be perfect for the job, given nothing else than his life experiences. But again, if you're an NBA coach, at the peak of your profession, why college? Tom Noie: Do I get to keep my press pass?😃
Guest: Tom, thanks for your terrific reporting. Given its many constraints, is it even possible that Notre Dame men’s basketball could ever be an elite program for an extended period, for example on a part with women’s program? Thanks for your consideration. From John, Leonardtown, MD
Tom Noie: John: Mike Brey was quick to say in his walking-away presser last week that the Notre Dame men's basketball job is a great job, but what he didn't say is it's a really hard job. For myriad reasons. I don't ever see it being elite - like Jay Wright made Villanova. It's a good program, that's expected to be great. If that's the case, the university needs to do everything in its power to make it great. They don't do that. They won't do that. That's what made Brey so unique - he accepted all of it and said, yeah, fine, I'm going to win anyway. Eventually, that fight wears on you, and wears you down. It did to Brey. Notre Dame is different in so many ways. Not always for the best when it comes to sustained basketball success.
Joe C: Hi Tom. I just read your listing of 15 possible candidates to replace Coach Brey, who did a remarkable job during his tenure at ND. One coach I'm thinking you may have overlooked is Matt Langel from Colgate. Coach Langel checks all the boxes but one, that being no previous connection to ND. But he's the winningest coach in Colgate history, Patriot League Coach of the Year three straight years, and resurrected a program that has now been to the dance 3 of the last 4 years. He's young, graduates his players, and is accustomed to recruiting kids who need to meet rigorous academic standards. Plus he's used to living in snowy, cold-weather towns. And he's Catholic!! Your take, please, and thanks for hosting the forum.
Tom Noie: Joe: Matt was No. 16 on my list, so he definitely was on my radar. I had to trim it somewhere, so I went with 15. Matt Langel fits.
Scottie: Tom, you made history Sunday for the first time ever the SB tribune had more ND bball articles than ND football congrats and thoroughly enjoyed it
Tom Noie: Scottie: There's more where that came from. Keep reading!😃
Ed,Greensboro: Belated Happy New Year Help me understand how a group of players can find out their coach is leaving, and the go out and lay an egg against B.C.. Have they no. grit or pride? This is how we will remember this group.
Tom Noie: Ed: Good call. Mike Brey has done nothing but own where this season has gone. Notre Dame stinks, and he has said it's his fault. At what point do we point to the players. At what point does pride kick in? If you're ever going to win one league game, wouldn't you think Boston College would be it? How do you not win that game? Brey put all his trust in guys who've done nothing to reciprocate. Yeah, Notre Dame's a player or two short in the big picture, but where's the pride? The want-to? Don't know.
Guest: With 6 more weeks in the regular season, what must happen so the Titanic does not completely sink?
Tom Noie: The violinists already are playing, the lifeboats are being lowered, there are people running from stern to bow and bow to stern. It's only a matter of time. Notre Dame is 1-9 in the league with a mind-numbing February still to come. If you can get off the boat now and get to dry land, do it. Don't hang around to see if Jack can get out of the makeshift brig. 😃
Guest: Do you think it might be time to give VanLuben more court time? The same for Zona? They both appear to be active inside when given a few minutes. It is something that has been missing in most games.
Tom Noie: More Ven-Allen Lubin, still not sure on Matt Zona, but that's another conversation. Mike Brey admitted (yet again) that he erred in Saturday's loss to Boston College after he decided not to play Lubin more than six minutes in the second half after he was pretty good in the first. Best scenario for Notre Dame on Tuesday was Nate Laszewski picking up three really early fouls. Lubin had to play, and finished with 10 points, five rebounds and two blocks in 22 minutes. Notre Dame's best lineup might be Laszewski and Lubin with Cormac Ryan, Marcus Hammond and J.J. Starling. Let that group get loose. We've seldom seen it. One of the many missteps in recent weeks.
Jim from California: Why is the ND woman’s basketball team able to recruit the elite high school prospects in the nation and Canada, and the men’s team can’t?
Tom Noie: Jim: If you're an elite high school prospect and can go anywhere to play men's college basketball, why would you go to Notre Dame? You can go to Duke. You can go to Kansas. You can go to Kentucky. You can go to UCLA. Why would you ever pick Notre Dame? You wouldn't. The answer's obvious.
George Bernard: I heard Bill Walton this morning say that 25% of NBA players were international. When I went to check the internet I could only find a hit from 2020. Why is there not information from 2023? Surely it is known.
Tom Noie: George: Think you've been hanging around a bit too much with Bill Walton while listening to the Grateful Dead, if you catch my, um, drift. Thanks for the insight. I think. 😃
Brian Batavia, IL: Hi Tom: The b-ball program went sideways after the 2017 Maui Invitational. I am surprised Brey lasted this long. His successor will not find a bed of roses when he arrives full time. There will be no allowance for one and done players. No throwing NIL money at recruits. The transfer portal will be curtailed by university brass. The only way this program can reach an Elite 8 presence on occasion is for the new coach to get lucky with recruits and be able to coach them up. The new coach will need to have more than 7 scholarships on his squad. The 7-man rotation beats the crap out of the players. Do you have a long term solution for the program with these constraints? If you do I’ll drive to South Bend and buy you drinks and dinner.
Tom Noie: Brian: A complete tear-down and overhaul of the Notre Dame men's basketball program as we know it would be a start. New head coach. New assistants. New voice. All needed. But a new direction. More support staff. Admissions restrictions relaxed. It wasn't a coincidence that Notre Dame rarely carried the maximum number of scholarship players allowed (13). Mike Brey's marching orders from the university was this - less is better. If you can get by with 10 or 11, we'd really appreciate it. Long-term? Many dark days are ahead. Can this program sidestep them? Good luck
Dave: Hi Tom for the next coach will they focus on a young uand coming guy with recruiting experience
Tom Noie: Dave: Only Jack Swarbrick knows, and he's not telling.
Dan - Chicago: I think we all overrated this team's talent before the year. I think especially in terms of Starling and Ryan and their expected contributions But yet, with even that said, I think this is the most disappointing team I have watched in terms of results vs talent on paper. Where does it rank for Tom?
Tom Noie: Dan: Somewhere beyond the bottom, and even then it might be too generous. A lot of this is on Brey, but a lot of it is on the players. They knew the drill. They knew what the roster was going to look like. Why, then, did Dane Goodwin and Nate Laszewski and Cormac Ryan decide to come back if they knew the pieces wouldn't fit or that they were a player or two short? They believed they could make another run. Maybe they fooled themselves. But this season was off the tracks almost from the start. We just didn't see it, or just figured once they get it figured it, they'd be fine. They never did figure it out. It's a complete collapse in every sense. Put it on Brey, but put it on a group that was given so much, but delivered so little.
Dan - Chicago: For the obvious question, who is your money on?
Tom Noie: Dan - Nobody, because I don't know what this program wants to be. Maybe when there's a no coach in place and it's five years down the road (and I'm hopefully still employed) we can say then, ahhhhhh, it all makes sense. We see why Notre Dame went the route it went. But now? It's had to point to one guy, one clear-cut guy and say, he's the slam-dunk hire who's going to make this all better.
Dan - Chicago: I know when you have a 7 man rotation it is hard to shake things up. But I think the one thing last thing that hasn't been tried is starting Lubin and giving him more minutes. Seems worth a shot. I hate to say it, but I might sit the 5 star recruit more in lieu of extra minutes for Lubin. Starling has been the least effective of the five guards.
Tom Noie: Mike Brey admitted he made a mistake against Boston College by not playing Ven-Allen Lubin more. Lubin played more Tuesday and was really good. Why not play Lubin and Starling and heck, Dom Campbell and Tony Sanders and Matt Zona more moving forward? Brey will never do it. He really should. It's time.
Donny: Obviously this season is not over yet, but I am extremely scared of what this roster is going to look like next season. Do you expect most of the non seniors/graduates to come back? Even if they do, there is so much inexperience everywhere.
Tom Noie: Donny: Be scared. Very scared. I drew the comparison of LSU when it fired Will Wade last year. There was a point where the Tigers didn't have a single scholarship player on the roster. It might not get that drastic for Notre Dame, but the new coach isn't exactly walking into a situation where he has a roster ready-made to even compete, let alone win.
Dan - Chicago: Is Markus Burton the starting pg next year? Is he tall enough to be effective in the ACC?
Tom Noie: Dan: Markus Burton is really good right now at the high school level, but he has to get bigger and stronger to survive college basketball life in the real world. We need to see the next coach before figuring out the next starting point guard.
Chris from Albany: Tom thanks for the chat. In reading your article about the hurdles to overcome at ND what do you think the realistic expectations of the basketball head coach is at ND? My own expectation is to make the big dance 2 out of 3 years which Brey did through his first 17 years.
Tom Noie: Chris: Here's my expectation for Notre Dame men's basketball - stop expecting the NCAA tournament. Here's what I mean - run a program that doesn't worry about getting to the NCAA tournament. Does Tom Izzo worry about getting to March? Does BIll Self? Does Mick Cronin? No. Build a program that might not win NCAA championships, but is respected enough and good enough to be competitive enough where you're not sweating out Selection Sunday every single year. Market your program better. Promote it better. Get the national media to understand that even if you lose a game, you're good. I don't get this NCAA tournament scorecard nonsense. Welp, made it two of the last three years. We're good. Nah, forget that. Just be good enough and respected enough and sustained enough where Selection Sunday doesn't matter. Get to the point where the only question is where you're going, not if you're going. That's reasonable, isn't it?
Chris from Albany: Is Virginia the blueprint that ND should reach for? I assume they have some of the same issues as ND but they seem to overcome. Why? Is it simply Bennett is that good?
Tom Noie: In theory, but be Notre Dame. Do it your way, but be 1,000 percent committed to doing it your way. The commitment level, not sure if it's always there. Notre Dame talks so much about being elite, but it's really not, not the way it could and should and has to be in men's basketball.
Jim Tal Valley Center, CA: Morning Tom, Great work on all the latest doings involving the ND hoop program. In your estimation, what would be a reasonable timeline by which the Irish should have a new coach in place? Unless it's someone that isn't currently coaching it's hard to imagine anything getting done before mid-to-late March at the earliest. Also, do you have any preferred candidates for the job as of now? Thanks for all you do.
Tom Noie: Jim: First week of April would fit. And look back in the chat for our poll - the top six possibilities are in the poll. But I'll let you in on a secret. Just between you and me, OK? Nobody knows who the next coach will be. Not the beat writer. Not the athletic director. Maybe not even the next coach.
Chris, DC: Tom, Do you think ND can keep Starling, Lubin and Campbell?
Tom Noie: Chris: All depends on the next coach. Do those players fit his style? Do they meet the next coach and think immediately, yeah, I can play for this guy. I WANT to play for this guy. Nobody knows.
Chris, DC: Tom, How big of a difference would Basile at VTech have made ?
Tom Noie: Chris: Perhaps he'd have helped, but it never got to that point where they wondered how he'd fit. His visit was more courtesy than reality.
Jack: In his retirement presser, Brey made it seem like he will be very much involved in the coaching selection. Do you think he should be, and could this tilt things toward Inglesby?
Tom Noie: Jack: That was a fun line, but absolutely not. Mike Brey can offer his opinion to Jack Swarbrick, but this is Jack Swarbrick's hire based on who he best fits for his vision of the program and for the university. At some point, he'll have to say, if he hasn't already, Mike, I love you and love what you've done for our school, but I need to go this alone. Thanks.
Ed Zagorski, Irving, TX: Your article on the challenges for the next coach was really interesting. Using your crystal ball, how long (or can) will it take the program overcome the issues that have mounted and do you believe the University will invest in support staff to help the new coach? I was there as a student in the late 70s during the ‘glory days’ and am concerned that the school won’t invest as it will never make the kind of money that the football program does.
Tom Noie: Ed: The issues are too great to overcome to get this program to the point where Mike Brey couldn't get it - to a Final Four. This is not a Final Four program. That comes from deep within the university. Look, there's care there. People care about the program, but not enough to help get it where it should be. You think this year or the last couple years (minus 2021-22) were bad. Might have to get used to it.
Claire M: Tom, appreciate your coverage of ND hoops. Amongst other issues with this team this year, the inability to guard or win the close games they did last year is there is no Blake Wesley to get a steal and dunk to put a game away as he did last season in numerous game situations. With that, while Starling is a gifted guy and will become a good player at some point (somewhere), there is a big gap between where he is and the impact Wesley had on a team as a freshman. We were lead to believe that Starling was the guy with “it”, that he got itwas so mature and we have not seen that from him.
Tom Noie: Claire: good stuff. What we've seen from Starling this season is a lot of what we saw from him last season at LaLu. He was OK with being the fit-in, third guard. When the time came for him to step into more of a role, he did. He was that gifted. That's different at the college level. Again, he was OK with being the fit-in freshman surrounded by old guys. Whereas Blake Wesley was like, yeah, I'm playing and I don't care who cares, Starling's a different kind of kid. He may be more talented in a raw sense than Wesley, but Wesley was, for a lack of a better term, a killer. Like, I'm coming after you and you have no choice. Starling's not there yet. Wesley raised the bar so high, a bar that Starling hasn't been able to reach. I believe Notre Dame missed its chance when it started 0-2. It should've given the ball then and there to Starling and said, run with it. We've not seen Starling's true skills. We might never see them.
Willie from Mishawaka: I recently read an article written by Brett Friedlander about how Pat Kelsey would be a perfect fit to replace Mike Brey. Young, energetic, and a catholic school product who learned from Skip Prosser. What do you think about this possibility?
Tom Noie: Willie: There's a reason why he's in the SBT's top three possible candidates. He fits for a lot of reasons. Not the least of which was this - he took over a Charleston program last year - his first year - and the roster had .... two players. He still had a winning season. He's got the juice for a program that lacks it.
Harold C.: I think that LaPhonso Ellis would be a great fit for ND BB Coach! What’s your opinion?
Tom Noie: Harold: If there's a person in the world better than Phonz, show me. Phonz is a friend, but he has zero coaching experience. He could reach guys and teach guys but in this day and age, you better know exactly what you're signing up for and, in the case of Notre Dame, what you're walking into. For someone who's never been the lion cage at this level, that's a tough ask. I can't do that to my man.
Ed,Greensboro: Tom, same old story last night in Raleigh.How much damage is this season's death march doing to the program?
Tom Noie: Ever seen the GIF of the child swinging innocently on a swing while a structure fire rages behind him? It's like that. This program is headed for 3-17 in the league. When it ends, there will be nothing remaining but ash.
Steve Duff: You deserve hazard pay for covering this team Tom - ooof. Any chance Brey will start lengthening the rotation now that the season is effectively over? I believe JR is a redshirt but it would be nice to see what Zona and Dom in particular can do. That cupboard is gonna be pretty bare for whoever replaces him. Thanks Tom and hang in there!
Tom Noie: Steve: Thanks, but I didn't sign up for this job with the stipulation that it would be all sunshine and balloons. It comes with the job, and I owe it the readers and the people who care about Notre Dame men's basketball to paint a fair and accurate picture, regardless of how awful it might look. Lengthen the rotation? If Mike Brey was going to do that, he could've started two games ago. Why would he start now? He's nothing if not loyal, and his loyalty to Trey Wertz and Dane Goodwin and Nate Laszewski goes beyond anyone's comprehension.
Ryan mars pa: Tom what is going on with this team lost some close games will miss coach brey after this season
Tom Noie: Ryan: A complete collapse in confidence from a group that was supposed to carry a boatload of it through this season. And that's just for starters. I'd say keep the faith with the hope that it gets better, but I'm not sure it will. At least, not anytime soon.
Guest: I would also love to see the men’s basketball program get the talent and also support from local fans as the women’s program has. But we need to win first…
Tom Noie: Great. I'd love to see local fans be expected to play the same prices for women's basketball tickets as they do for the men. Then we're having a totally different conversation. There's a reason why the women's program has built a stronger following. It's all about 💰
John, Orlando: Hi Tom, where does Notre Dame’s winning percentage over the past 23 years under Coach Brey rank nationally among division 1 schools over the same period? I realize that this data may be difficult to find / access but to paraphrase Coach Brey this is the ultimate measurement.
Tom Noie: John: Interesting, but impossible to find on the fly. My apologies. Answered a similar question earlier. I'm not about this program getting to the NCAA tournament X number of times in Y amount of years. This should be a program that should annually be good enough to where it shouldn't sweat Selection Sunday. The NCAA tournament is an absolute crapshoot (coming from someone who doesn't gamble). Just get in and then you go from there.
Jack: Hey Tom, do you expect buy-in from Notre Dame to actually go out and get a coach with a chance to be successful and provide him with the resources to succeed? Or do you expect them to got the traditional route of finding the cheap option and putting him on an island with no resources? Maybe they can find a few extra dollars in the football team's Gug couch cushions?
Tom Noie: Jack: Start shaking those couch cushions. Resources? That's a four-letter word around Notre Dame when it comes to the basketball program. Taboo. Off limits. It's not something anyone wants to talk about.
Chris, DC: Do Lubin and Starling return?
Tom Noie: Hire a head coach first. Then salvage the roster.
Brian: Real question, who is in the starting lineup next year? Starling possible transfer or NBA, VAL could leave. Zona, JR, Sanders who else?
Tom Noie: A great unanswerable question. Nowhere close to being answered.
EM, South Bend: I know it’s comparing apples to oranges, but why has the women’s program under both Coach McGraw and Coach Ivey been able to be so successful for longer and the men’s program has not?
Tom Noie: EM: It's like asking why Duke and North Carolina has been able to sustain success. Look at the women's game as the women's game. Look at the men's game as the men's game. Comparing it is beyond silly. Are we then going to ask why Notre Dame men have had a one-and-done but the Notre Dame women haven't? See? Silly.
EM, South Bend: Endorsing comment by Joe from South Side!
Tom Noie: Amen brother!
Phil: Do you expect to see a transfer portal exodus among the younger guys (and maybe even older guys that have sat at the end of the bench their whole career)? Maybe a change will be good for some of these guys as they might get a coach that goes more than 6 deep?
Tom Noie: Phil: Mike Brey's rotation now goes only six deep? In another week, it will have gone only five deep. But I get it. Don't know how many times this has to be said to understand - it's beyond impossible to say for sure what's going to happen with the roster until there's a new coach in place. Matt Zona may look at the new coach and say, yeah, my kind of guy. J.J. Starling may look at the new coach and say, nah, I'm out. We. Don't. Know. They. Don't. Know. Nobody. Knows.
joe from the south side: Tom, Absolutely true. There is CLEARLY enough blame to go around. I am just saying, he let Boeheim sit in his comfort zone for the entire 2nd half. TAKE HIM OUT OF IT! Force Boeheim to counter your move. Make him collapse the zone and maybe you can get off a decent shot or two. Part 2 is I always supported PHUBB. Last chat, I brought up the A/TO ratio. Last night, 11 Assists to 15 TOs. 15! NCST, not an overly impressive OFF team, 13 to 2. Poorly coached, no ability to defend.
Tom Noie: No want-to. No care. No nothing.
Mike in PA: Tom - thanks for this much needed therapy session. This is more of a comment than a question, but the folks who say good riddance to Brey, or say 3 sweet 16's in 23 years is underachieving or mediocre, must not have been alive for most of the 80's or 90's, right? ND Basketball was simply non-competitive for a decade. Brey comes in and immediately gives them a shot of life, and he goes on to have some of the highest highs in program history. He should be celebrated at all costs. Put him in the ring of honor now. Those who mock him, pun intended, will likely never be happy with any coach, in any sport.
Tom Noie: Mike: Thank you, a voice of reason. Look what Mike Brey did in establishing a culture/identity in the Big East as it changed. Look at what Mike Brey did in starting over, then establishing a culture/identity in the Atlantic Coast Conference. There may have been two or three, OK, maybe four coaches in the country who would've enjoyed similar success. Do others see that? Nah, they whine about the NCAA tournaments and the losing seasons. Think back to where Notre Dame was in 2000 when Brey arrived. You'd have been laughed out of Rocco's if you said the new guy was going to go to a couple Elite Eights. They would've locked you up and thrown the key in Saint Mary's Lake if you said the new guy would beat Duke and North Carolina on back-to-back nights to win an ACC tournament. Brey fell short in a few areas, yes, but he far exceeded expectations in many more. And he did it all under the guidelines set forth by his bosses.
joe from the south side: Tom, I think Parker F. walks as well. Remember, he and Dunlap had already reneged on scholarships prior to ND calling. In your opinion, where do they stand with Burton? Is he committed to ND or Brey. I was kind of surprised he said he would decide after the season. I just thought he was locked in with ND.
Tom Noie: Joe: Yeah, I'm not sure that's not Markus Burton just being a 17-year-old kid who's head is still swimming. It's not like he had a lot of high major offers when Notre Dame came calling. Is he suddenly an option for Indiana or Purdue or someone else close to home? Not really sure. If any recruit should feel safe - way safer than Brady Dunlap (see ya!) or Parker Friedrichsen - it's Markus Burton. The last thing the new coach is going to do is to cut ties with the local guy. Not exactly the way to build interest/equity with your fan base, is it? I'd be surprised if Markus Burton isn't at Notre Dame next season, no matter the coach.
joe from the south side: Tom, I would like to comment on your hiring timeline. First, the only guys who leave the NBA for college ball are guys who have exhausted their chances in the NBA. There are exceptions, but Quinn, Williams.....No Chance. Sweeney maybe just because of his attraction to ND. Also, a lot of the names mentioned are likely taking their teams to the Big Dance. They are not going to disrupt their seasons with an announcement like that. Finally, Jack S. has made a lot of hires in his time. I am sure he has a replacement planning chart on his computer somewhere. Let's let this play out and put some faith in his track record.
Tom Noie: Joe: Agree with that 1,000 percent. Our timelines line up. Jack Swarbrick needed four days to hire Marcus Freeman. He didn't even need four hours to hire Niele Ivey. This will not be a quick hire, nor should anyone expect it to be. This will be an extended timeframe. We're not talking days or weeks. We're talking months. Jack Swarbrick has nailed a lot of the big issues (football coach, women's basketball, ACC membership, football independence). I expect him to nail this one as well. He's said on multiple occasions that it's the big-picture/high profile issues that drive him. Here comes another.
joe from the south side: Tom, Cannot hire any coach in his 70s. Too old. Everyone opposing coach will tell recruits "that guy will die before you graduate." That includes Mike K. They need 40ish like Brey was when he was hired. Pitino is a much larger longshot than Mike K. based on the fact that his background isn't as clean as ND would require. No chance for him. Wouldn't want him anyway.
Tom Noie: Want to win today? No, really win. Seriously win. Gotta get dirty. Got to.
joe from the south side: Tom, sincere question. Why aren't we hearing Mike White as a possible hire? 45 years old. Wildly successful at every stop. And certainly strong ties to South Bend. The guy's childhood dream was to play QB at ND.
Tom Noie: Joe: How do you convince anyone you're the right hire if you're on your third head coaching job in three years? A lot of anything that happens moving forward with the job is based on timing. It has to fit. If Mike White still was at Florida and ready for a reset, yeah, he might be the clubhouse leader.
Dave: Does the football team have the same admission requirement as the basketball team? How is it that only 10 of the top 100 hoops recruits can get into ND, but we can get top 150 football recruits?
Tom Noie: Dave: You do follow Notre Dame football. You know of the Four Horsemen and Rockne and Holtz and everything else. If you do, you don't have to ask the question. It's Notre Dame football.
Tom: Tom can you please provide a public service announcement to all of the delusional Irish fans that Mark Few, Brad Stevens, Monty Williams, and all these other pipe dream candidates are not walking through that door. Some of the names I have seen tossed around are absurd. Notre Dame Basketball does not equal Notre Dame football. Why would any of these guys take a job at an ACC bottom feeder that could care less about their basketball program?
Tom Noie: Tom: They wouldn't. There's a faction of the fan base that doesn't operate in reality. They believe what they want to believe and nothing - and nobody - is going to convince them any differently. The elite of the elite college coach looks at Notre Dame and say, no freaking way. They know. They know not only how the sport operates but how Notre Dame operates. Mike Brey did a whole lot for that program, and it's still in the coaching stone age.
Mark: Has the name Bryce Drew came up at all?
Tom Noie: Why would it? What's he done? He's OK at a mid-major right now. He went 0-18 in the SEC. That's the hardest of sells at Notre Dame, regardless of his feel-good storybook career at Valpo, which, in today's world of college basketball, may as well happened in the 1960s. This has to be as close to a home-run hire as it can get. Bryce Drew's a leg-it-out close call at second base double.
Mike in PA: Tom - I saw someone mention Coach K as a replacement. Obviously, that's just crazy and will never happen in a million years. If on a crazy scale of 1 to 100, and Coach K is a 150, where does Jay Wright stand? I know I know, probably 149. But I would love it.
Tom Noie: Mike: Honestly, if the scale is 1 to 100, both are about a 2,500. And that might be too low.
Chris, DC: Tom, your thoughts on Cormac Ryan coming back for a sixth year. I say slim to none
Tom Noie: Chris: Same stance as J.J. Starling and Ven-Allen Lubin returning. No thoughts until a head coach is in place. Ryan, though, may decide it's time to start his next chapter, though his return would work for various reasons.
Ray: Hi Tom. During your last chat in November you ended the chat claiming I was pretty much crazy in my opinion of Brey. I said if I knew today what Brey's record would have been after 23 years that I would not have hired him. You called my drunk and dismissed my opinion as silly. I completely disagree. College hoops for the last couple of decades is all about NCAA tournament success. The regular season is meaningless. This is not an opinion Tom. Look at the TV ratings for games in November- early March and compare it to the tournament. Power programs fire coaches who don't perform well in the dance. Brey has failed in the dance. In 23 years he made the second weekend of the tournament only three times. He made zero final fours and lost as a favorite to the following teams - Mississippi, Winthrop, Washington State, Xavier, Old Dominion, Florida State, Old Dominion, and Iowa State. In 23 years he only defeated two teams that were seeded higher - Illinois and Alabama.
Tom Noie: Ray: Still silly, and still wondering if you're at the bar at 9:36 a.m. California time. If you need to be walked through where this program was when Mike Brey arrived and where he took it, NCAA tournament flameout aside, we'll just have to agree to disagree. Have another one on me, though 😃
Jim Tal Valley Center, CA: Tom, I have great admiration for Mike Brey but one of the true testaments of a successful coach is the condition that he leaves the program in when he departs. And from that standpoint, given all the uncertainty concerning the Irish as to the incoming freshman class and the potentially dubious makeup of next year's roster, there's no way anyone can say he succeeded on that front. Your thoughts?
Tom Noie: Jim: Agree. Epic failure, a failure that is totally unacceptable. Brey will long be remembered for what he did with this program in the Big East, then in the ACC, but the shape in which he leaves it, yeah, that's in the second paragraph as well.
Chris, DC: Tom, if somehow this team made the NIT they will not go correct? Again a long shot. I understand.
Tom Noie: Chris: It depends. Do they stagger across the finish line to get to NIT territory or do they beat Duke or Virginia on the road. Right now, this can't end soon enough. It's hard to see that sentiment changing.
Bonkers in Yonkers: Tom, it's been awhile. I'm sure you've answered this but bear with me and anyone that's joined in the last 10 minutes. Rank the Top 3 coaching candidates, if you'd be so kind, that are your most likely to be interviewed and offered the job. #KeepGrindin
Tom Noie: Bonkers: It's been about four hours, so I might be a little punchy. But the top three, in any order, would be Darian DeVries from Drake, Micah Shrewsberry from Penn State and Pat Kelsey from Charleston. NBA guys? Chris Quinn and Sean Sweeney. That's a pretty good starting five. Let's see where it goes.
Ray: Ray from Southern California - Tom I don't personally know one ND fan that agrees with what you wrote below in BOLD: How many fans of a program that was dying a slow death would've taken nearly 500 wins? Three Sweet 16s? Two Elite Eights? A freaking ACC tournament championship after beating Duke and North Carolina? How many would've taken that? How about everybody. These numbers would be good if Brey coached 10-12 years and decent if he coached 13-15 years but three Sweet 16's and zero final fours in 23 years is not good Tom. I don't know one ND fan that thinks it is. I will stop commenting on this now. I think you understand my position and its a position of many Notre Dame fans.
Tom Noie: Ray: Just stop while you're way behind. You cull this information because as you've said, you know ..... 25 Notre Dame fans? Whoa, a whole 25. Not exactly a good cross section of the fan base, or maybe it is. Let me put this as delicately as possible - wake up. This program has gone to one Final Four in its history, and wandered through the college basketball desert for 10 years before Brey. But it's suddenly Final Four or bust? Couldn't be more wrong. You and your "many Notre Dame fans." When the new gets to multiple Final Fours in his 10 seasons - that's the timeframe, right? - I'll buy you and your 25 fellow fans dinner.
James - Indiana: Micah Shrewsberry as next HC? Brad Stevens lead assistant at Butler and then Celtics and then went to learn under Painter and now at PSU. Seems like a home run hire
Tom Noie: James: Almost too good to be true, right? He fits for many reasons.
Dave Y - St Louis: Based on what you know about coaching hoops at ND, what kind of style of play do you think fits them best for ACC play and what new coach can provide that style?
Tom Noie: Dave: Look at what wins in the Atlantic Coast Conference. You better run some offense that's difficult to defend. Multiple actions. Multiple options. Have skilled guys who can go off the dribble. Have versatile wings who can shoot it and rebound. Defend. You better have at least one pro every season. Two? Even better. Three? Now you have the makings of a team that can make a deep NCAA run. A team that's unafraid on the road. What coach fits that criteria? That's the job of Jack Swarbrick.
Mike - NC: Any chance Chris Quinn comes back? I know he's Spo's top assistant and likely wants to stay in NBA but think he could be convinced to come back?
Tom Noie: Mike: Chris Quinn had the chance to come back a couple years ago and learn the college game, where he'd likely have been Brey's successor. He chose to stay in the NBA, where he believes he has a future as a head coach. Has that changed? If it has, and has drastically, then yeah, he's on the short list. But I don't know any NBA coach who's in a hurry to go back to college.
John: Cupboard looking awfully bare next year lol, especially if Ryan leaves. Assuming Burton and Parker stay in class, you're looking at Starling, JR, Sanders, Zona, and Lubin as starters?
Tom Noie: John: That's best-case scenario, which everyone would sign up for right now. Will it stick? We'll see...
Dave - NY: I think this is a worse job than people think. AD and President rumored to leave in 2-3 years right? The talent on this roster that is coming back is bad for even a mid major team. Do you think Burton and Parker will stay?
Tom Noie: Dave: I wouldn't go as far as classifying it as a "worse job" but it's a difficult job. Way harder than an outsider would admit it to being. It's only going to get more difficult with NIL and the transfer portal (i.e. free agency). Notre Dame's academics-first model doesn't cut it.
LInas from Orange County,CA: Hi Tom, Really tough season. Thanks for letting us vent. Here's my take on what went wrong with the Irish this year: No really good passer (never thought I'd miss Prentiss:) and no "bangers" under the boards (think Harangody/Geben/Mooney/Cooley). Thoughts?
Tom Noie: Linas: Fair on all levels, and that the returning guys didn't get any better, didn't add a new dimension to their games, Fellow ACC opponents have to be looking at Dane Goodwin and Nate Laszewski and saying, I guarded this four years ago...you're still doing all the same stuff?
Dan - Chicago: I'm surprised that Ryan coming back for a 6th college year is still a possibility in your eyes. Which way do you think he is leaning?
Tom Noie: Dan: He's not, and it's not, but it's there. You have to leave that door open since it is an option. He won't close it until this season ends. Never thought Nate Laszewski was coming back...every indication was that he was ready to move on. Then he returns. Just when you think you know, you don't.
Jim Tal Valley Center, CA: Tom, though there are many reasons why this season went down the drain, I believe one thing stands out. This team and these players were lost when it came to being clutch. A number of games were there for the taking, but this group shrunk big time when it mattered most. It was simply beyond them to deliver at critical times and without a go-to guy to rely on, they had nowhere to turn. No question, this team goes down as the epitome of a club that didn't measure up when push came to shove!
Tom Noie: Jim: True, but how do we explain what Cormac Ryan did in the NCAA tournament last March? Every indication was that it was the beginning of him making that his team. That he would pick up where he left off. Man, talk about a big swing and a miss on that one.
Dave - NY: Does Jack make major changes to this program and give them the support it needs or do he and the administration not care enough about the success of basketball? Even though ND is a "football school", why can't they pour resources and money into it in a way we see many other schools do for their "Second sport"? Hell, Michigan did it for basketball. Why can't ND?
Tom Noie: Dave: If there's one thing that Notre Dame has more of than almost every other private school, it's money. And if there's one thing that Notre Dame doesn't want to spend, it's, yep, money. If it was THAT serious about having the elite of the elite athletic programs across the board, money is no issue. At Notre Dame, it's a HUGE issue. They have it, and they're not spending it .... on athletics?? No way.
Mike from San Diego: It’s not feasible we have a head coach before end of march correct? Anyone worth getting probably won’t confirm to ND until their respective season is over with- am I correct in that assumption? That being said does Mike stepping down so early give the incoming freshman and current players (ie Starling and Lubin) too much time to look elsewhere??
Tom Noie: Mike: Agree on the first part, don't agree as strongly on the second. Mike Brey saying he's leaving or not saying he's leaving, kids (especially freshmen) all spend time about looking elsewhere. Should they transfer? Should they try and make it in the league? Brey leaving doesn't change that. Or accelerate it. When it goes as sideways as this has gone, everybody's looking with the side eye at something that could be better for them.
James - CA: It's odd how this program always used to have really good guard play and what seems like the last 5 years haven't had a single guy who could consistently get downhill. Hubb at least took care of the ball but why did Brey think Wertz could run this offense when he's arguably the worst of the 7 guys?
Tom Noie: James: One of the greatest unanswerable questions about this season and about this team. Trey Wertz by all accounts is a great kid, but he's simply not a frontline Atlantic Coast Conference caliber guard. He's just not.
Peter, VA: Tom, what are your thoughts on goodwin’s career? Having played the most games in school history, this year he has looked slower and less consistent.
Tom Noie: Peter: He's played in a lot of games, but never really added to his. He's got the flat-footed 3 and the low-post game and that's about it. Limited. It's hard watching him try to figure it out, when there are no answers. Maybe that's him. Maybe that's lack of development.
Guest: Any word of Bobby Hurley or Chris Collins being considered??Both Duke guys that kno ACC n east coast recruiting!I think could be nice fits but my list is like most ND fans 1-Monty2-Quinn then Kelsey!!
Tom Noie: Quick, easy passes on both. Notre Dame isn't Duke Midwest. Time for a new direction.
Justin Ft. Wayne: Hey Tom! I saw earlier you said a new coach is going to change putting butts in the seats and selling the place out. You don’t think the right hire could bring juice to this program and sell the place out and get students back to the games. Not every game sure but half the games? Maybe it’s wishful thinking on my part!
Tom Noie: Nail the hire first and get the roster figured out. If you win, the fans, even the Notre Dame fans, will find their way back. Maybe. Until there's something else to complain about. Or if it's snowing outside. Truth.
Bonkers in Yonkers: Tom, any early indication of who will be coming back for Brey's final home game? Coach Brey was instrumental in creating the Ring of Honor. Hopefully ND gives him something big after the game so the former players that are able to come back and the fans in attendance can give him the ovation he deserves. Think we'll see him inducted into the Ring of Honor on that night?
Tom Noie: Bonkers: Still a ways out from that final home game against Pittsburgh, but it being a midweek game instead of the weekend kind of curbs the enthusiasm if you will. Ring of Honor that night? Not seeing it. Yes, Mike Brey did a lot for this program since he arrived, but this season has been the greatest of failures. Hard to look past that - at least, at this point. Let a few years pass so the good times can better be remembered. It's too soon now to point to 2015 and 2016 and everything else and say, hey, thanks MB
James - CA: The 5 man class in 2017 did Brey in. Not only did they not live up to their rankings, it made it so Brey couldn't recruit over them and then couldn't recruit behind and develop the typical 4 stars he used to. Instead, tried to go for a 5 star to get immediate playing time or low 3 stars and this is the result. It's baffling how these 6th year seniors are playing like freshman
Tom Noie: James: So true. The loyalty for his guys that long sustained Mike Brey wound up doing him in. He just couldn't bring himself to consider there might be better players out there than Dane Goodwin and Nate Laszewski. That's an aspect that has to change - you have to earn your spot every single season. If there's someone out there who's an upgrade, don't be afraid to upgrade. But that 2017 class ran its course a year and a half ago. You saw it. Others saw it. Brey never saw it.
Tom D.: My biggest fear is ND hiring "Mike Lite." Any chance we will get an aggressive coach who recruits at a high level and plays more than seven guys?
Tom Noie: Tom D: Yes, yes, yes. I'm confident Jack Swarbrick will land this hiring plane. It's a little rocky coming down out of the clouds now, but it will be OK. Watch.
Chad ,Toledo: Any mention of Bobby Hurley or Chris Collins ??Both Duke guys that know the ACC and east coast recruiting!!Maybe nice fit imo!!
Tom Noie: Second time around for these guys today. Answer's still the same - absolutely not.
James - CA: What's the excuse for ND to not be like Michigan in basketball? Both are football schools but the difference is Michigan seems to actually care about pouring money and resources into bball program to be good, while Jack is fine with just sniffing the NCAA tournament
Tom Noie: James: You answered your own question. Notre Dame is not Michigan because Michigan does something for basketball that Notre Dame doesn't do and likely will never do - pours money into the program. Also, Michigan and Notre Dame being even, the cost of attendance is more attractive at Michigan than at Notre Dame. (see, Dickinson, Hunter)
Robert from Mishawaka: Your recent articles have given the average fan some very interesting insight as to what the Notre Dame administration does for the program. From the support staff, to the admissions office. Thank you for blunt answers, and continue being you. I hear you all the way from the back row.
Tom Noie: Robert: I'll keep shouting if you promise to keep reading. Deal?.
Guest: Except for last year's success, I think one of the amazing things about the struggles over the last five years, is that the ACC has been so down. Even this year, ND's conference schedule has been incredibly manageable. I know there has been coaching turnover at UNC, Duke, and Louisville, but what are some other factors you can point to that has contributed to the ACC's decline?
Tom Noie: How about this one - let's go with arrogance. For the longest time, the Atlantic Coast Conference was seen as the best college basketball conference in the country. Everybody wrote it. Everybody believed it. To the point where the league didn't believe it needed anyone selling its product to the nation. And then everything changed. The SEC got better and stronger. Same for the Big 12. And the Big Ten. Now, turn on any game from those conferences on a given night, and listen to the commentators and the studio talent talk up those leagues. The SEC. The Big 12. The Big Ten. How this league or that league is so deep. Just recently, there was talk of how every single Big 12 team could - and maybe should - make the NCAA tournament. Who's carrying the torch nationally for the ACC? Nobody. It's just kind of stepped back into the shadows, where everybody else talks up those other leagues, and rarely talks about the ACC. Tom Noie: More proof? Look at last year, when Notre Dame won a school record 15 league games and finished second - one win away from sharing the regular-season title with Duke. What was the national narrative? That the ACC was down and that Notre Dame didn't deserve an NCAA bid. At 15-5. Who went to bat for Notre Dame? For the league? Nobody, to the point that if the regular season had lasted another week, Notre Dame wouldn't have made the Field of 68. The reaction of the ACC was like, meh, who cares, we're the ACC. The league's become an afterthought, because the league's allowed it to become one. That's wrong, and that should never happen.
MikeMcFadden, Williamsport, PA: What advantage did coach Brey think he had by playing ONLY 7 players for 23 years? I cannot think of one thing, only disadvantages like no player development, lost recruits, etc.
Tom Noie: Mike: Easy. Seven personalities are easier to manage than seven, eight or nine. Play seven, and get those seven to act/work/think like one to the point where they just know how to play a d know what the other guys are doing. You take care of the ball better, you play better. Now, for that to work, it has to be the right seven guys. Think back to 2014-15 and those seven - Pat Connaughton, Jerian Grant, Zach Auguste, Steve Vasturia, Demetrius Jackson, Bonzie Colson and V.J. Beachem. You can win with those seven. You can go far with those seven. Why? Because it was the right seven. That's when it works.
Guest: Hey Tom - here are some names I thought of potential replacements that I havent seen much of.. Ed Cooley, Anthony Grant, Earl Grant, Valentine from Loyola (although this year has been gross).. any thoughts on those 4?
Tom Noie: Absolutely. For starters, Providence and Dayton (heck, yeah) are better jobs than Notre Dame. In addition, Ed Cooley and Anthony Grant are alums of those schools. Earl Grant hasn't exactly done enough at Boston College to warrant a lateral move - and it is lateral. Drew Valentine went from 25-8 in the Missouri Valley Conference to 6-12 in the Atlantic-10. And the ACC is probably two steps up from that. Tough sell on him.
Mike from San Diego: I'm just curious, does your criticism of the team cause any bad blood between you and the players / coaches?
Tom Noie: Mike: Bad blood? No, for the most part, the players and the coaches get it. A lot of that came from Mike Brey, like this is what we signed up for. It's part of the deal. The one area where it has caused friction is when it gets really bad (2018-19, this season) where the core guys get a little salty. Guys that don't really get what we do (I'll refrain from names) who truly believe I should be more of a champion/cheerleader of the program. I've had former players unfollow me on Twitter, and also confront me on why I was negative toward them. I explain to them that I didn't go 3-15. Sometimes they don't get it. Brey and I have had our moments and our battles, but that's normal. He gets what our job is.
Chris, DC: Tom, I was wondering if ND can have a tickets policy of kids get in free for certain games. At least there is someone in the seat who may occasionally yell and stand.
Tom Noie: Chris: You'd think they'd have adopted that long ago, or especially when there were maybe 4,000 total for the Dec. 11 game against Marquette. Get it that you don't like the coach, but you've got to be better than that.
Ray from Southern California - Thank you Tom. You do a great job and I have enjoyed your articles for many years. I respect your opinion even when I disagree with you.
Tom Noie: We can agree to disagree. It might be difficult to see all the way out there, but if you sat in my seat, it all makes a whole lot more sense. Trust me.
Mike from San Diego: Do we look to hire a guy that could (potentially) bring over some good players for next years roster (I'm totally kidding.. but kind of not)
Tom Noie: Mike: Next season has to be a wash. Now, I know the new guy will get here and insist that they can win and win now, but this has to be more of a big picture hire. If you have to sacrifice next year and the roster makeup to get the right guy, it's more important to nail the hire than salvage the roster.
Mike in PA: Ray - You now know me, and I could not possibly disagree with you more. I also know TWENTY SIX ND fans that also disagree with you. So there's that.
Tom Noie: Mike: You go to the right coast, Ray will go to the left. Somebody's gotta keep the peace.
Ray from Southern California - When did I say final four or Bust? My position is only making 3 Sweet 16's in 23 years. I never said final four or bust. If Brey never made a final four but made the Sweet 16 say 5-6 times then you would be correct. Nobody is expecting final fours. We were expecting Brey to win some of the games against Old Dominion, Winthrop, Iowa State, Ole Miss, Florida State, Xavier, and Washington State. Brey laid a huge egg many times in the dance. That's the issue. Like you said we agree to disagree. Robert from Mishawaka: I can't believe Ray thinks ND is a power hoops program and should fire a coach based on NCAA tourney results. Matt Painter would be nervous if Ray were his boss.
Tom Noie: Robert: As would a lot of other coaches. Getting to a Final Four, getting to a Sweet 16 isn't as easy as filling out a bracket every Monday in March.
Justin Ft. Wayne: Your telling me every football player goes to class and has good grades? I surely hope they loosen up the policies so basketball can get to the national stage it should be at.
Tom Noie: Justin: Don't hold your breath. 😃
Joe from Chicago: How would you assess the comradery of this group? They've seemingly been around forever, but I never got the sense that there was a ton of chemistry
Tom Noie: Joe: Seven guys in the rotation, seven Ubers to the arena. Not a whole lot of togetherness there. Or if it is, it's so understated that it's barely noticeable.
Wadelite: Is it a bit disingenuous to even suggest Brey inherited a dumpster fire job. He inherited 2 first round draft picks plus a top 40 recruit in Carroll who would become a 10 year nba vet. Also a 1500 point scorer in Graves and a verbal from Chris Thomas. Yes he secured his verbal, but would he have landed it from the beginning. In 22 years Brey has recruited 2 first round draft picks. One from his high school and one from South Bend. Just 3 second round picks, 2 from northern Indiana. In terms of roster talent he is leaving his successor a lot less than what he inherited. There are many coaches who could have taken ND to the NCAAT in Brey's first 2 seasons.
Tom Noie: Wade: Nobody's saying it was a Dumpster fire when Mike Brey walked in the door, but it was a Dumpster fire of a decade. It remained Independent way too long, then wandered around aimlessly in the Big East wilderness for five, six years. And that core that Brey inherited of which you speak? The Troy Murphys and the Matt Carrolls? That core lost 17 games the year before Brey got here. The ground on which he walked in on as the third coach in three years was a whole lot shakier than you might want to believe. Tom Noie: This is what set Brey apart - how many times did the Big East change during his tenure? Going division? OK, you better win. he won. Going one division? Better win. He won. Then expansion, how many times? Three? Four? Better win. He won. He also did it with little backing from the administration in terms of arena renovation and practice facility. He barely cared. Notre Dame won. Notre Dame established an identity in arguably the country's toughest league. It stood toe to toe with Connecticut and Georgetown. It beat Villanova and Marquette. That matters. Tom Noie: Then just when everything seemed in place, they up and moved leagues. Brey had to start over. Two years later, Notre Dame is cutting down nets in Greensboro. From no direction, no culture, no anything to something. Even the most ardent Brey basher has to see that. Acknowledge that. When people don't, or won't, that's just crazy talk,
Mike from San Diego: To the poll question.. could that someone else be Chris Mack? Is he just out of the question bc of a couple bad years? Andy Kennedy? I'm going w/ a bald theme here
Tom Noie: Mike: Given my current hairline, I admire the flex, but given how it ended with Chris Mack at Louisville, with him secretly taping a conversation with Dino Gaudio to save his own backside, that's too much to look past. Andy Kennedy? Think Notre Dame can do better.
Wadelite: Have to disagree with Bill on Brady Dunlap. He is the least ready to play. No defined skill. The Oklahoma guard can at least shoot and he will put on some muscle. Burton is not scrawny, but of course will need more strength.
Tom Noie: They're both too little to withstand the ACC. Burton can get to the basket as easily as anyone right now, but that's not the case when it's Armando Bacot lurking. At best, even with Mike Brey back next season, I couldn't see any of those three being must-play pieces.
Wadelite: I believe early on we wanted to believe the too close early season games were because of experienced mid major teams with some quick guards and physical big men, but for me the nathan Jessup code red was saint bonaventure. They returned no one from last season. It was a patch work group of unheralded transfers and frosh that manhandled ND'S super seniors and top 50 frosh. Embarrassing, because that team had no continuity in playing together. The msu game was a mirage. A team on fumes from 2 cross country trips missing 2 of their top 5 guys. They were like an nba load management team on a back to back. This team was doomed when Brey thought he could get by Lasz at center for 30 mpg and Hammond being hurt and losing his opportunity to stake out the lead guard spot to start the season.
Tom Noie: Amen, but I wrote part of the Saint Bonaventure disaster on playing away from home for the first time. Like, it had to get better. It never got any better. Still hasn't, to the point where you wonder if they're going to win even once away from home. Speaks to the "road dawg" mentality of good Irish teams of seasons past.
Mike from San Diego: It can’t be understated that I think we had the coolest coaching duo in D1 w/ Brey and Freeman... at lot of our reputation is at risk w/ the new hire. We need somebody funny and charming like MB or I am out. Those r my only reqs
Tom Noie: Mike: Regardless of who is hired, he's not going to come anywhere close to Mike Brey. We all were spoiled for 23 seasons. He was the best to cover because he got it. He got all of it. He never closed down his locker room after even the toughest nights. He never made his guys unavailable. He never declined to answer a question, and there were plenty of tough ones. I'll miss covering him every day for six months out of the year, but intrigued as hell about where all this might go.
Wadelite: I have an interesting darkhorse coaching candidate: Ryan Odom. His father has big time ACC roots and Ryan was the head coach for a 16 seed that beat Virginia by 20 points. Doing alright at Utah State, a sneaky very good mid major program. Oh and regarding Bryce Drew. He does not go 0-18 if Darius Garland is healthy for his entire frosh season. His value to that team was comparable to Troy Murphy as a soph at ND. Also recruited Nesmith, a future 1st round pick. A promising wing for the Pacers.
Tom Noie: Ryan Odom, yes. Bryce Drew. Nope. Don't see it.
Robert from Mishawaka: I’ll keep listening my man!
Tom Noie: You better!
Joe from Chicago: As far as names being thrown out. I hear Porter Moser a lot and while he had success at Loyola, I think is OU stint has not been anything to elevate his profile. TJ Oltzenberger from Iowa State and John Beilein would be my home run hires. Never knew Belein had said that Notre Dame was his dream school Tom Noie: Joe: Timing with Porter Moser. Had he still been at Loyola, maybe the frontrunner. Now? Don't see it. And Oklahoma has more resources/money than Notre Dame. You also could argue that Iowa State and the Big 12 (Otzenberger) is a better situation. Not everybody is looking at Notre Dame job and thinking, that could be mine. Might be the opposite.
Wadelite: How about Scott Drew?
Tom Noie: Why? He's built Baylor into his own, and can get anybody he wants into school. He gets here and learns how it works and thinks, yeah, Waco ain't that bad.
Bobby: Steve Pikiell?
Tom Noie: I'd look hard at him. You win at Rutgers the way he's won at Rutgers, it's impressive. So is he. Has been since his days at Stony Brook.
Wadelite: Based on what you noted on transfers, is it likely ND will only be able to look at freshman transfers besides graduate transfers. FWIW I can come with at least 4 that ND recruited who are buried at better programs and will be recruited over. There are also at least 2 ivy league potential transfers who have a 5th year option. Last seasons poty and the second leading scorer this season.
Tom Noie: That's great, but from what I understand, getting a freshman out of the portal today is akin to Mike Brey playing 12 guys - impossible. The portal the way it's currently constructed works against Notre Dame. A freshman's transcript better look almost identical to that of a freshman at Notre Dame. The chances of that happening? Good luck.
Wadelite: On Scott Drew, at ND he would just have to play second fiddle to Marcus Freeman. In Waco he has to play second fiddle to Chip and Joanna Gaines.
Tom Noie: Or he can have them refurbish a farmhouse for him out on Mayflower Road...IYKYK 😃
Wadelite: If Darian Devries were hired at his coach, do you really think his sophomore son averaging 19 ppg at Drake is not admitted as a transfer? The PTB would find a way.
Tom Noie: Little different deal there, my man.
Mike in PA: Tom - what do you think Mike Brey's next move is? He said he wouldn't rule out coaching again. Everyone, and I agree, says he would be great on TV. Do you get the sense that is something he would want to do? If he did coach again, do you see it at a Power 5? Or would he go somewhere like, Iona?
Tom Noie: Mike: Mike Brey's answer the other day for what's next was along the lines of being at a party/gathering for an extended time, enjoying the hell of out of it, but then ducking out to take care of something and promising to return. Everyone at the party is telling you/begging you not to leave the party yet. It's still a good time. But you leave anyway and when you return, the vibe's different. Nothing is the same. You kick yourself for not just going home. That's what it is with Brey right now - just go home. The thought right now about coaching sounds like a good time, but get him away from the grind, and then have him jump back into it at some other school. He'll realize it's just not the same. He says he wants to coach, but I don't see it. The time and the effort and the energy that it takes, yeah, he's a competitive SOB, but he's also someone who had looked forward to unplugging from coaching and all that it entails. Don't know if TV is the next move. Can see him in more of an advisory/consultant role.
Paul R: What do you think about John Becker from Vermont? Consistent winner, teams play hard and come close to big upsets in the NCAA tourney almost every year
Tom Noie: Paul: Solid coach, along the lines of Matt Langel from Colgate. Would be on my second Top 15 list. Might be someone to at least effort.
Matt from St. Louis: Think any of the current super seniors continue to play after this year? Nate and/or Dane good enough to play some overseas? Do you think any of them have interest in that?
Tom Noie: Matt: Yes, especially given how their last seasons at Notre Dame went, they won't/don't want that to be their last organized basketball experience. They'll find a place to play overseas for a few years, then fall back on those MBAs. It's a nice option to have.
joe from the south side: Tom, I don't see Brey coaching college ball again. He never embraced the changes that we now have to live with and he never showed the hunger necessary on the recruiting trail. As much as he sees himself as a teacher, and I think he is, I just don't think he is willing to put up with all of the "distractions" that prevent him from teaching. And they are hear to stay.
Tom Noie: Joe: Agreed. It's more difficult to win these days, let alone getting out of it for a year or two, then trying to get back up to speed. Like, wait, THIS is what I came back for? Forget that. He's run his race. It's time to live a good life, a better life.
Craig in NJ: The coach who will take this job is a young guy at a smaller school like Digger (Fordham) or Mike (Delaware). ND may provide job secuirty but it is not one of the top twenty jobs in the country. Well, top 30. Okay, maybe top 50
Tom Noie: Craig: Are you sure it's Top 50? Now, it can be if there's a buy-in from the university. Jack Swarbrick comes to the new guy and says, we've decided to do it the way Duke and Villanova and Gonzaga do it. Then everything's there - the national name, the facilities, the league, everything. If nothing changes, or very little changes, it remains a really difficult job. Even worse for a young guy who doesn't know any better and won't push for any additional support.
joe from the south side: Tom, The Parker, Brady, Markus recruiting class was never meant to be a "Homerun" class. Brey's poor roster management backed him into a corner. That class was intended to lend stability to the program so that it didn't become an annual revolving door. Those 3 were likely multi-year guys. BTW, what is your read on JRK? I would think the local boy sticks it out. Yes?
Tom Noie: Joe: J.R. Konieczny strikes me as someone who will wait and see how all this shakes out. He has to get this next move right - stay or go? He can't afford to be like, ah, it's never going to happen here, so I'm out, when it MIGHT happen here. See Matt Ryan. He was soooooo anxious to go and start his clock that he missed out on a potential gold-mine of an opportunity at Notre Dame. You know what they say - grass ain't always greener.
Jim from Charlottesville VA: Hello Tom & All. I observe a lightness about the Coach retiring—both here and throughout college basketball— that does not extend to the players in this disastrous season. There’s something misguided about that. The Irish roster proved in over its head in November. In the flow of play this year, they too often get beaten by better players (who are better coached) to be pinned with beating themselves. Brey particularly should not throw them under that bus.
Tom Noie: Jim: Lightness? Around these parts? Not feeling that. If anything, I've been told I'm too hard on the coach and the players and the program. Gotta pat 'em on the back for giving it the old college try. As has been mentioned, Brey owns everything about this tire fire, but the players don't skate. Look at some of the end-of-game/close-game decisions they've made. That's not a coach thing. It's a player thing. Brey has talked a lot about this team taking ownership of itself, but no player has said, hey, this one's on us. We've failed Coach.
Matt: I really hope Brey just empties what bench he has and let them all play at this point. Give the incoming coach some game film on them. They can't do any worse.
Tom Noie: Wanna bet...we crossed the "this can't get any worse" the afternoon of the North Carolina loss. My response to Dane Goodwin when he said it was, really? Sure it can get worse. Remember the core of this team was on the court when it trailed North Carolina by 52 in an ACC tournament game. Just when you think it can't get worse, it gets worse.
Craig in NJ: Sorry Tom. I need a sarcasm font. The primary appeal of this position is job security.
Tom Noie: True, but if you get a coach worth anything, he'll be like, forget job security and no pressure. I want to freakin win.
Matt: For the last game, if Brey isn't wearing a mock turtleneck underneath a Hawaiian shirt, I will be upset.
Tom Noie: Please, only in your dream. Or nightmare. Let's not make this more of a clown show than it already has been. Please. 😃
Wadelite: Tom, I am still mystified on the parent of a former player taking a cheap shot at you on Twitter. Garbage about you "not being supportive". What a crock as you have considerably more grief about being the opposite.
Tom Noie: It's all good. Just consider the source. Some people get it, some don't.
Tom D.: Does anyone ever confront Jack Swarbrick about ND's lack of commitment to basketball success. If so, what is his reply? Thanks!
Tom Noie: Tom: Confront probably not the right word to use. We're not in the confronting business (seriously). I've had plenty of talks with Jack Swarbrick, particularly about the basketball program. He'll give the standard middle of the road all is well AD kind of answer. Even though you both know that's not true. It's not in his nature, or job description, to ever admit that, yeah, we need to be better in that area. That's media relations 101.
Craig in NJ: BTW I think Mike Brey did a good job with what he had to work with through out the years. I hope someone whispers to him that loyalty is a two way street. Play the kids so your successors knows what he has to work with.
Tom Noie: Craig: Mike Brey's thinking probably runs along the lines of, haven't done it, why start now?
Tom D.: By the way, Tom, one of the reasons I have followed you for years and occasionally exchanged emails with you is your forthright and honest reporting of ND sports. If I wanted a commercial I would just go to the ND website. Most of us trust appreciate your honesty and frankness.
Tom Noie: Tom: You know that that means a lot. I don't care about being first or being this or being that. I care about being honest, about not telling what you WANT to hear, but what you HAVE to hear. Some people get it, some people don't. Thanks my man!
Jeff from Schererville, IN: Tom, thanks for hosting this marathon chat. I'll start by saying I'm an alum and season ticket holder, and when I got the chance to meet the team after an open practice this year, they could not have been nicer or more sincere about my support and driving 90 minutes each way to see them play, and I don't think that was an act. That kindness and sincerity hasn't always translated to wins, but I think it deserves a mention. As individuals, they seem to me to be a good group of guys regardless of basketball skills. My first question is would we be in this situation right now had Wesley decided to return? I'm not blaming him for doing what's best for him and his family, but I think Hubb and Atkinson couldn't come back and Wesley could have. I know you're a Hubb fan, but the team dearly misses Atkinson's inside presence too. Laszewski just isn't built to bang inside with Bacot and other taller and bulkier players.
Tom Noie: Jeff: Honestly, I don't know if it's any better with Blake Wesley back, because, well, he wasn't ever coming back. He's said it himself, so it's not news, but he basically quit going to class second semester because he knew he was a one-and-done. So what would have his buy in been at he returned? Say he had a Starling kind of season where he HAD to come back. That means Wertz wouldn't have returned and Hammond wouldn't have transferred in. Maybe they'd have been better, but still, too many guards and not enough dudes.
Jeff from Schererville, IN: My second question would be why do you think Shrewsberry would make what some might consider to be a lateral move from PSU to ND. Maybe because he has strong ties to Indiana and even IUSB? He does seem to check all the boxes. Thanks!
Tom Noie: Micah Shrewsberry is a basketball coach, but he also is a black basketball coach. It's been known that Jack Swarbrick will look hard at a black basketball coach, which would give Notre Dame three black head coaches in its three biggest sports. That matters to the university. To paraphrase the late John Thompson, I don't care if Micah Shrewsberry is black or white or yellow or whatever color, I think he's a heck of a coach.
Wadelite: Tom, I don't get the players "we failed coach" perspective. Have they, yes they have...but Brey has failed them some. His indifference on changing some of his long time philosophies. Hitting the offensive boards. I about puked when ND missed a late game trey versus Cuse and Lasz is running back while the ball is in flight. Zero attempt. That has to be coaching. Afraid to give up run outs. How about putting in some fresh guys just to go balls to walls on defense and try to score off turnovers. Instead doesn't want to tire out the core guys for the sake of offensive flow and allows them to play rec league defense. The irony the flow is mediocre with just lollygaging passing around the 3 point line. Guard play and efficiency took a huge hit when Ingelsby left and I also believe big man coaching was not suitably replaced when Humphrey left. Instead just hire some younger guys who just parrot we need to score 80 to 85 points to win.
Tom Noie: Go back and watch the end of the Florida State game. Player failure, not coach failure. Watch the end of the Syracuse game from the Dome. Player failure. Look, I get your Brey doesn't do this and doesn't do that and should've done this when he didn't do this, but at some point, the players gotta play despite what the coach does or doesn't do. Where the attitude of, to hell with it, we'll win despite you? These are old guys who don't need hand holding to figure out. They should've figured it out. Like Coach isn't doing this or doing that, let's just do it ourselves. That's not that hard. But as been mentioned probably hundreds of times over the last seven-plus hours, Brey has owned it. All of it. He's said this is all on him. He's right, but the players can't skate and be like, eh, Coach's fault. Not ours.
Bonkers in Yonkers: Tom, marathon effort today. You're channeling your inner Coach Brey and playing 40+ minutes! Looking back at Coach Brey's tenure, what player or players do you think he did his best job coaching with? I'd like to say Jerian Grant simply because of some ups and downs with Jerian and where those highs ended up. But your McAlarney reflection in a recent article reminded me of how great a coaching and mentoring job he did with McAlarney.
Tom Noie: Bonkers: Probably so many examples. He saved Jerian Grant's career. He brought Kyle McAlarney back from the abyss. He did the same in different ways for Tory Jackson and Demetrius Jackson. He viewed his job as more than just a coach, more about just winning and losing. In that way, he won.
Wadelite: Please note I am not putting it all on Brey. Imo it's 50/50 because of the experience on the roster. I get it a sloppy pass like late in the cuse or fsu game I'd on the players, but consistent minimal effort defense with no repercussions is on the players. ND faces teams that go after offensive rebounds like their lives depend on it. With ND its maybe one guy with Lubin who is never in at crunch time. The guys who are: better run back once the shot is taken
Tom Noie: At some point, it becomes about the care factor. Where is it?
Tom: Any chance Dunlap takes a look at the new coach, or is he "gone" gone?
Tom Noie: He was coming all the way from across the country to play for Mike Brey. That connection would have to be really solid, and really quick.
The Jet from Evansville: I’ve joined late but I want to add my name to the list of readers that appreciate your candor.
Tom Noie: You the Jet! 😃
Tom D.: Changing the topic slightly. I think a case can be made that a contemporary of mine at Notre Dame, Austin Carr, is the greatest athlete in Notre Dame's history regardless of sport. Averaging 36 points a game, BEFORE the three point shot, for his last two years. Incomparable!
Tom Noie: There were few better.
Wadelite: FWIW Dunlap prediction: San Diego state.
Tom Noie: Makes sense. Was second to Notre Dame when he committed.
Wadelite: Something no one mentions about the 3 current frosh on the roster. There is no guarantee they would come back next season if Brey stayed on. I don't believe any signed up for this cbb experience and what are the chances it would improve next season with the same coaching philosophy.
Tom Noie: True, there's nothing holding them back from just being like, time to hit the reset button and see if this is better. Look around. That wouldn't be unique to Notre Dame. That's college basketball free agency. Don't like your one year? Find something better for another year.
Wadelite: The right coach will add 3 transfers, be it graduate ot traditional who will be core players with the returnees and 2023 freshman. I believe Burton can be a solid point guard, but he needs to be a back up for one season behind a veteran. I'd be shocked in 23-24 if they are as bad as this seasons team. Pitt looked like a 12th-15th place team coming into this season and they have been very solid despite their best returning guy (Hughey) missing several acc games.
Tom Noie: It's also been a long, slow, frustrating build for Jeff Capel, who was said to be on really think ice before this season, his fifth. Previous four seasons, Pittsburgh never won more than six conference games. Those days are closer than anyone wants to admit. Watch.
Joe from Chicago: Anthony Solomon's influence on the defense last year was undeniable, but there has been a clear regression. Could you make the argument that Brey didn't make the right hires with his assistants?
Tom Noie: Joe: Yes, particularly the associate head coach, who was really good last season, but seems to have fallen in line with Mike Brey this season in just deciding to ride it out. We sung the praises of Anthony Solomon last season in what he was able to do (and the wonders he worked) defensively. It's been the total opposite this year. The young guys on staff don't know any better - they take their cues from the veteran on staff. Don't know what kind of example he set for them. The looks from the Notre Dame bench mirrored those of 2019-20 and 2020-21 where there was too much uncertainty. Anthony Solomon was brought back specifically to help the defense. He helped for one year and after that, he was of little help. Expected him to set a better example. Didn't happen.
Terry: Why can’t men’s team recruit 5 star players like the women’s team?
Tom Noie: Terry: Let me turn the question on you. Say you're a five-star prospect. That means the likes of Duke and Kentucky and Kansas and North Carolina and UCLA all want you. Your family is telling you to do college for a one year and then you're going to the NBA. Why would you - why would any five-star - choose Notre Dame? Give me your best reason.
Rick in Manhasset: You touched on this earlier but it seems the team had more cohesion last year. Winning helps create that too, but just looking at social media coverage they seem more to themselves this year. For all the criticism he got on the message boards, I think Hubb was the big difference. He seemed to have everyone's ear and everyone's back. There does not seem to be consistency in on-court leadership.
Tom Noie: Rick: Great point, which goes toward Mike Brey's constant comment about misreading this team. He thought the old guys would find their voices. He thought they would lead. He thought a lot about this team. Most of it was wrong.
Wadelite: Wesley and Atkinson were more the reasons behind better defense than Solomon and Atkinson was just serviceable. It's hard to even pin point one serviceable defender on this team. Ryan gets beat a lot but seems to try. Hammond? Lasz will take some charges, but beyond that...woof.
Tom Noie: Wade: A lot of defense is want to. Guard your guy. Don't ferry him to the basket. Don't give up and drives. And last week against Florida State, maybe stop the ball from going from one end of the floor to the other as Matthew Cleveland did for a dunk. Notre Dame was never going to be a grind you up/suffocate you defense, but it had to be better than this, regardless of who's on the roster.
Terry: Ladies also have very tough competition in recruiting!
Tom Noie: Doesn't answer the question. Why would you choose to play for Notre Dame if you were a five-star with every blueblood wanting you and the NBA knocking....I'll hang (on) and wait....😃
Wadelite: You can win games with the right 3 stars and talented 4 stars. See Kansas last season.
Tom Noie: See Notre Dame in 2015 and 2016. Brey thought he could recreate that roster magic. Nope.
Wadelite: I get the want to on defense, but when there are no repercussions for don't want to that's not just the players.
Tom Noie: Totally disagree with repercussions. Mike Brey never believed in punishing guys, at least during games. I don't get how that would work. Ohhhh, Coach just sat me for not boxing out Armando Bacot. I'll sit and think about it and do it the next time. That's a bunch of baloney. It goes back to the trust he put in his players. Treated them like he wanted to be treated. Didn't mean making them go sit in a corner during timeout because they picked up some crayons.
Craig in NJ: Who knew that last year’s swagger and toughness that is missing this year came from a Harvard grad, a kid and a player some thought sucked. Nice guys finish last in the ACC
Tom Noie: Amen.
Wadelite: I know Campbell will at least bang. As far as Zona or Sanders, hard to say as they never play.
Tom Noie: There's a reason why they never play. That's obvious. I never looked at a game this season and thought, wow, if they only had player QA, B or C they'd win. That's not how this program has run.
Terry: All 5 star and 4 star athletes don’t jump to the NBA after 1st year! There must a few of those who be recruited by ND
Tom Noie: Again, a non-answer. You want an answer as to why a five-star doesn't go to Notre Dame. Look at where five-stars sign. Just answer the question - why sign with Notre Dame if your options are so many other established basketball schools. Not that hard. 😃
Rick in Manhasset: Even if I am not a 5-star player, but a 5-star student, I have to really want to go to Notre Dame to be in South Bend vs. Charlottesville or Palo Alto or the Philly burbs or on some other campus. A lot of critics seem to forget these players have to not only want to over-winter in South Bend, but get into Notre Dame first, and then do enough to stay in Notre Dame.
Tom Noie: Rick: THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU! See....it's not that hard. Too many people seem to think that a five-star prospect will see a Notre Dame coach at his game and think, Oh, yeah, I'm going there. It's the exact opposite. Notre Dame? Why would I go to Notre Dame? Kentucky wants me. Duke wants me. And where is Notre Dame, anyway? A Notre Dame men's basketball recruit chooses Notre Dame for the overall experience. That includes academics and life after basketball. Blake Wesley and his one semester of classwork? That's a once-in-a-lifetime situation. Might not see it again.
The Jet from Evansville: I’m in between you and Ray from SC but closer to Ray. I’m his 26th.
Tom Noie: I still like you, though! Even though you guys need a serious sit-down and explanation of Mike Brey squeezing a whole lot out of a whole less. Maybe one day, we'll do the chat in person. Even Ray can attend!
Mike in PA: I don't understand why it's so hard to grasp why men's and women's basketball are different. Yes, the court, hoop, and most rules are the same. But they couldn't be in more different universes right now. There are NO one and dones in the women's game. Make everyone go to school for 3-4 years and go to class, it levels the playing field. A school like Notre Dame CAN be the blue blood, and kinda are. The same rules don't apply to the men's game. It isn't complicated!
Tom Noie: Mike: Again, the later we get, the more voices of reasons that surface. It's the same game, but really, it's not. Not even close. Stop comparing what happens in the women's game to the men's game. Treat them separately and you get it.
Wadelite: Armando Bacot is an all American level player. The problem is the defense makes guys like Craig Corhen or Quinten Post look like all Americans. I'm not saying going all purple face Brian Kelly and bench them for the entire game, but let sit for 3-4 minutes and try someone else. My gosh if Brey judges everything by players he trusts in practice and it doesn't translate to the games, how competive was it in practice? The answer seems evident.
Tom Noie: Not competitive at all, which is why Notre Dame's core believed it could get to a Final Four. And, don't knock them. Notre Dame could use Corhen and Post tomorrow
Craig in NJ: To answer the question you asked, Tom, your family needs to be telling you that not all 5 star prospects are can’t miss NBA ready but you have holes in your game that you need to fix whether it takes one year or two years. Otherwise there is a chance you won’t get the big time money of a second contract in the NBA.
Tom Noie: Craig: In what universe do families of five-star prospects do THAT? They're busy planning for their gifted son to get to the league to start their clocks and get to that second contract. Five-stars have rarely been told at any point in their careers that they have holes in their games. Have you seen some of the first-round draft picks? The league drafts strictly on potential. Who's really ready to be a pro? Too few, but that doesn't stop them from trying.
Craig in NJ: I think Coach Ivey may have told her son that so he stayed at Purdue for another year. Someone should have told Blake that last year. Stay at ND for another year and work on your outside shot, ball handling and finishing after you get to the rim.
Tom Noie: Craig: Nope. He was done February 1. Come back? Academically that was going to be an issue. Guys make up their minds that they've done enough, there's no stopping them. That train's pulled out of the station. That was the case with Wesley. It was right around this time when he took over the game at Louisville. Afterward, the thinking was, he's gone. No way he's coming back.
The Jet from Evansville: I totally agree with you about “We should only have to worry about where we are going. We should not have to worry about if”.
Tom Noie: Preach!
Rick in Manhasset: Per the short rotation, the majority of coaches today seem to be able to rotate eight to ten players. It is practically College Coaching 101. It is hands-on and situational coaching. Brey has seemed incapable of the mixing and juggling and adjusting more than philosophically disinterested.
Tom Noie: It's not about playing only seven guys, if it's the right seven. These haven't been the right seven, and not just because they don't defend or make shots. The chemistry that we were led to believe was so right and so pure hasn't been.
Wadelite: At MSU, Jaxson Kohler was a 2022 high school player with a ranking not that much different than Campbell's. The other frosh big Cooper was not even a top 500 player. IIRC he was on the img b team or practice team. He actually has them playing in non garbage timevgame situations. They must practice well as freshmen.
Tom Noie: Also has a lot to do with who's running the practice. Don't have any first-hand knowledge, but a Tom Izzo practice just might be a bit more demanding from an effort standpoint than a Brey practice. One program competes, another doesn't overanalyze. Guess which is which...
Wadelite: If Post and Corhen were at ND they probably would be just shooting treys with an allergy to the paint. Is it that difficult to find or develop a big that can play like Geben did as a senior? Oh wait, it might help to have had an actual big man coach on this year's staff.
Tom Noie: Don't agree. Post had 14 rebounds against Notre Dame. Nate Laszewski's career high for rebounds? Sixteen. T
Craig in NJ: SBT probably has inferential proof that ND is a football school. Number of out of state accounts on its website during football season and for the rest of the year.
Tom Noie: Absolutely it's a football school...no Subway Alums clamoring for tickets on Tobacco Road.
Craig in NJ: Well, I go back to Johnny Dee coaching in the old field house.
Tom Noie: With dirt along the baselines/sidelines...wish I could've seen a game there. Sounds like it was a wild ride.
Rick in Manhasset: What is the over and under for current roster players eligible next year coming back? The commits are a somewhat different category.
Tom Noie: Rick: They told me that there would be no math in this job. Here's the breakdown - with everyone who COULD return regardless of how remote the chances plus the three incoming recruits, Notre Dame was at 10 players for 2023-24. No more Dunlap makes that nine. Cormac Ryan decides time to fly, that leaves them with eight
Craig in NJ: The floor was about 2 feet above the dirt floor; it held maybe 3,500; mostly students; one end was open to the rest of the field house. it could rock.
Tom Noie: That sounds awesome.
Wadelite: If Shrewsberry is determined to be the best fit, I will be 100% in his corner and supportive. With that said, I am a bit concerned about a reference that Swarbrick wants a 3 for 3 scenario with fb and bb x 2. Great work today, but no kudos for me using "woof" earlier?
Tom Noie: When the expectation level from me for you is high, it's met with a simple nod. Well done young man! 😃
Tom from Amber, PA: Tom, I just joined the chat so my comments may have already been made. ND needs to make a bigger commitment to basketball. They should pursue a quality coach and offer him a HUGE contract. They need someone like Gonzaga's coach, Jay Wright, or Virginia's Bennett. They also need to upgrade staff and facilities. The recruiting budget needs increasing, and undergraduate transfers need to be welcomed. If they want to pack the stands and increase revenue, they need to have a consistent winner like Muffet McGraw did with the woman's program. I've reached the conclusion that the administration doesn't care.
Tom Noie: Tom: Better late to the party than never. Glad to have you aboard. Right on all accounts, except the coaching wish list. Fans of their favorite basketball programs tend to have higher opinions of who should take that job when it opens. The aim there might be a little high. We'll see.
Mike from San Diego: Do you need an intern?
Tom Noie: Do you like Purcell Pavilion hot dogs, bad basketball and short rotations? You're hired! 😃
Tom Noie: And with that, I feel like Forrest Gump when he finally stops running. Don't have the beard or the bad hair, but think we've reached the end of the line. Hope this was therapeutic for everyone. Got it out of your systems and we can move forward, wherever this leads. We'll circle back around maybe after a hiring has been made. Until then, there's nothing really to discuss/dissect. More bad basketball. More short rotations. More of the same. Take care everyone and thanks for participating in the longest chat in South Bend Tribune history. Unofficially.