Notre Dame PF Ven-Allen Lubin goes in search of new basketball home

Tom Noie
South Bend Tribune
Notre Dame freshman Ven-Allen Lubin battled through various injuries during his only season with the Irish. Lubin became the fifth Irish Monday to enter the transfer portal this offseason.

SOUTH BEND − If there was a game tonight at Purcell Pavilion – and given Monday’s snow squalls that swept through town you’d think that it still was winter − the Notre Dame men’s basketball program wouldn’t have enough scholarship players to field a team. 


On Monday, freshman power forward Ven-Allen Lubin became the latest Irish to jump into the transfer portal. He’s the fifth to leave the program since the end of the season, and the third and final member of what was last season’s freshman class. 

Lubin made his transfer intentions public via social media around noon.  He closed his post by mentioning that he hopes to "strive for a winning season" at his next stop. Notre Dame finished 11-21 overall, 3-17 and second to last in the Atlantic Coast Conference last season.

Fellow freshmen Dom Campbell and J.J. Starling each entered the transfer portal six days after Notre Dame’s season ended with a first-round league tournament loss to Virginia Tech. Campbell resurfaced at Howard while Starling was basically signed – and sealed – to play for hometown Syracuse less than two days after entering the portal. 

All three were expected to explore the portal after each struggled to an extent last season. A native of Orlando, he’d never experienced snow until he saw it last fall on campus. Coming out of high school, Lubin selected Notre Dame over Clemson, Georgia Tech and Virginia Tech. He also considered Alabama, Auburn and Florida. 

Lubin was a consensus Top 100 recruit as a prep senior. He was ranked as high as No. 63. Notre Dame’s 2021 signing class was considered a top-15 class nationally. It was touted as one of the best under former coach Mike Brey. 

Now they’re all gone. 

So good so early last summer, Lubin was on track to become only the third true freshman since 2002 to start his first collegiate game at Notre Dame. That was before Lubin suffered two facial injuries – including a broken nose – during fall camp. The injuries forced him to slow-play his return to the lineup and to the rotation. 

Lubin appeared in 28 games with seven starts last season. He averaged 6.2 points and 4.4 rebounds in 17.5 minutes per game. He shot 58 percent from the field, nine percent (1-of-11) from 3 and 67.7 percent from the foul line. He led the Irish with 23 blocks. 

Recovered from his early-season facial injuries, which also required wearing a mask to protect his broken nose, Lubin missed four games late in the year after suffering an ankle injury in the opening two minutes of the Jan. 3 loss at Boston College. 

Lubin’s best night surfaced in the Feb. 25 loss at Wake Forest when he went for 19 points, eight rebounds and two steals in a season-high 33 minutes. 

Graduate student guard Robby Carmody also entered the portal and has since signed with Mercer. Another graduate student guard, three-time team captain Cormac Ryan, also is in the portal. Ryan, who already has played four collegiate seasons – three at Notre Dame, one at Stanford – will choose between entering his name in the NBA draft process or returning to college for his sixth (COVID-19) season. 

Lubin’s departure leaves Notre Dame with three returning scholarship players for 2023-24 – seniors-to-be Tony Sanders and Matt Zona and sophomore J.R. Konieczny, who sat out this past season to preserve a year of eligibility. Notre Dame has one incoming freshman – guard Markus Burton from Mishawaka Penn High School. 

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Two high school seniors who signed with Notre Dame last fall - Parker Friedrichsen (Bixby, Oklahoma) and Brady Dunlap (Studio City, California) - received releases from their letters of intent hours after Brey announced that he would not return for a 24th season. Friedrichsen eventually signed with Wake Forest while Dunlap is down to three schools – Nebraska, St. John’s and Villanova. He originally was open to returning to Notre Dame. 

The revolving roster door is expected to soon start spinning in the other direction for first-year Notre Dame head coach Micah Shrewsberry. His oldest son, Braeden, a high school senior combo guard is expected to enroll at Notre Dame. Braeden Shrewsberry was part of a Top 30 recruiting class at Penn State that also included guard Logan Imes (Zionsville, Indiana) and power forward Carey Booth (Wolfeboro, New Hampshire). Both players asked for and received releases from their letters of intent at Penn State. 

Imes and Booth both are interested in attending Notre Dame. Forward Kebba Njie, who played his final year of high school at La Lumiere School in nearby LaPorte, also is in the transfer portal. He reportedly was visiting Notre Dame on Monday. A native of Centerville, Ohio, the 6-foot-10, 237-pound Njie averaged 3.4 points and 3.5 rebounds in 14.3 minutes at Penn State his freshman year. He played in 37 games and made 26 starts. 

Micah Shrewsberry said during his introductory press conference on March 30 that he wouldn’t rush to reconstruct the Irish roster, and that all he needed was five guys to play. 

“We get five,” Shrewsberry joked, “and we’re good.” 

Notre Dame doesn’t even have five. It will have plenty more than that soon. 

Follow South Bend Tribune and NDInsider columnist Tom Noie on Twitter: @tnoieNDI. Contact: (574) 235-6153.