Notre Dame men's basketball roster roster now at five with addition of Julian Roper II

Tom Noie
South Bend Tribune

Building back from nearly the ground up, reconstruction of the Notre Dame men’s basketball roster had to start with someone at some time. 

It started Tuesday evening with the commitment of former Northwestern guard Julian Roper II, who visited campus over the weekend.

A native of Detroit who averaged 20.2 points and 10.3 rebounds his senior year at St. Mary’s High School, Roper announced via social media his commitment to play for Notre Dame starting next season. His verbal commitment gives the Irish five players on the roster for 2023-24. 

Former Northwestern guard Julian Roper is the first transfer to pledge to play for Notre Dame and new coach Micah Shrewsberry.

He’s the first addition — transfer or otherwise — to publicly pledge to play for new Irish coach Micah Shrewsberry, who was officially hired March 24. 

A backup guard on a Northwestern team that finished 22-12 overall, 12-8 in the Big Ten before making its second-ever NCAA tournament appearance, Roper averaged 4.4 points, 3.7 rebounds and 1.0 assists in 21.4 minutes per game over 15 games with no starts for coach Chris Collins. Roper shot 45.3 percent from the field, 42.1 percent from 3 and 45.5 percent from the foul line. 

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He scored six points with five rebounds and four assists in a November win at Georgetown and had eight points and five rebounds late in the year against Rutgers. 

“He’s as competitive of a kid as I’ve seen in his class,” Northwestern coach Chris Collins said of Roper on “He’s the definition of a two-way player, really takes a lot of pride on both ends of the floor. He’s a lockdown defender, a guy who can get to the rim, an aggressive scorer and a strong, powerful athlete as a wing player.” 

A former three-star recruit, Roper committed to Northwestern over the likes of Alabama, DePaul, Ohio State and Wisconsin. 

Immediately eligible, Roper has two years of eligibility remaining. He is the first non-graduate transfer to commit to Notre Dame since former Irish guard Trey Wertz arrived in 2020 after two seasons at Santa Clara and since the transfer portal became the transfer portal. 

Jan 11, 2023; Evanston, Illinois, USA; Northwestern Wildcats guard Julian Roper II (5) gestures after making a three-point basket against the Rutgers Scarlet Knights during the second half at Welsh-Ryan Arena. Mandatory Credit: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

Roper will be the first non-graduate transfer immediately eligible at Notre Dame since the NCAA eliminated the one-year sit-out rule. Wertz was expected to sit out the 2020-21 season before becoming eligible in mid-December during the COVID-19 season. 

Roper’s father played football at Grand Valley State. His mother played basketball at Central State in Ohio. 

Notre Dame has had five players leave the program via the transfer portal since the 2022-23 season ended with an 11-21 record, 3-17 in the Atlantic Coast Conference. On Monday, former Irish freshman power forward Ven-Allen Lubin announced his transfer plans, which left Notre Dame with three returning experienced players and incoming freshman Markus Burton. 

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With Roper’s addition, the Irish roster consists of two guards (Burton, Roper), wings J.R. Konieczny and Tony Sanders and power forward Matt Zona. Another guard, Shrewsberry’s oldest son, Braeden, a former Penn State commit, is expected to join the program. 

Micah Shrewsberry would have seven scholarships still to offer transfers, graduate transfers or high school seniors. Roper is the first addition. He won’t be the last. 

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