Blue and Gold Illustrated

August 2017

Blue & Gold Illustrated: America's Foremost Authority on Notre Dame Football

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Page 46 of 63 AUGUST 2017 47 MEN'S BASKETBALL storyline for head coach Mike Brey af- ter the graduation of V.J. Beachem and Steve Vasturia, who averaged a com- bined 27.6 points per contest last year. Junior wing Rex Pflueger and sophomore guard T.J. Gibbs are pro- jected as the next options, although both are more noted for their defense and not necessarily pure shooting skills. Both averaged 4.7 points per game last season. "Then you look at what does D.J. Harvey do as a young guy, because he has ability to score," Brey said. "… [Sophomore forward] Johnny Mooney is a guy on my mind be- cause he can make a shot and stretch the floor and score for us, and he's really an active rebounder. "We have to get D.J. Harvey going. He has a knack for scoring, and I think playing off some veteran guys and maybe being that fifth option, people will forget about him and he can maybe capitalize for us." SOPHOMORE SURGE Although head coach Mike Brey's preference is to "stay old" with a lineup that heavily relies on seniors and ju- niors, the three-man sophomore class could figure more into the mix because wing Rex Pflueger is the lone junior. Both sophomore guard T.J. Gibbs and sophomore forward John Mooney slimmed down appreciably, especially Gibbs who lost 15 pounds to 190 to im- prove his quickness and stamina after faltering some at the end of last year. Mooney also has streamlined his body after a year in the program, dropping his body fat from 13 per- cent to eight percent while shedding about 10 pounds. Redshirted as a freshman last year, 6-7 wing Nikola Djogo will vie for minutes this year. The southpaw displays a smooth shot and good ball-handling skills (he was a point guard in high school), but his play- ing time will be dictated by limiting turnovers, rebounding and defense. "He's really athletic," Brey said. "He plays better defense than we realized. He's learning how to get an edge play- ing around a bunch of edgy guys." RECRUITING OPTIONS Notre Dame has six scholarships for the 2018 cycle, and three of them have been filled with backcourt prospects Prentiss Hubb of Washington (D.C.) Gonzaga, Robby Carmody of Mars (Pa.) High and Dane Goodwin of Upper Arlington (Ohio) High. Landing 6-11, 218-pound UConn transfer Juwan Durham, who has three years of eligibility after this year, also allays concerns about pressing to sign a big man this year, where the outlook is not as promising. Head coach Mike Brey has never signed more than four players in one class to keep good roster management, and said he could live with staying with the three in this class. "My thing is we don't need to force anything — because we've got good young big guys: [Elijah] Burns, [John] Mooney and Juwan," he said. "We don't need to force a big if it's not a good fit for us." The transfer wire could always be looked at again next year, and he's also been able to get a head start this month on 2019 evaluations. "I will get to know them better this summer than I did the '18 class last summer because of what we already have on the board," Brey said. ✦ 2017-18 Non-Conference Schedule Released Notre Dame's 13-game non-conference slate features seven games on the road — three of them on a third trip to the Maui Invitational — and six at home. Tip-off times will be de- termined later: Nov. 11 — at DePaul This will be the dedication game of the Win- trust Arena at McCormick Square, and it will mark the first time in head coach Mike Brey's 18 seasons the Irish will open a new campaign on the road. Nov. 13 — Mount St. Mary's Nov. 16 — Chicago State Nov. 20-22 — Maui Jim Maui Invitational, Lahaina Civic Center The eight-team field for the 34th annual event will feature Notre Dame-Chaminade on one side of the bracket with LSU-Michigan. The other half has California, Marquette, Vir- ginia Commonwealth and Wichita State. Three games will be played in three days. Nov. 30 — at Michigan State The November slate concludes in East Lan- sing with the final contest of the 2017 ACC-Big Ten Challenge. The Irish are 3-1 in the event, including an overtime win over the Spartans in 2014 en route to their first Elite Eight in 36 years. Dec. 3 — St. Francis Brooklyn Dec. 5 — Ball State Dec. 9 — at Delaware Brey was 99-52 as the head coach at Del- aware from 1995-2000, earning two NCAA Tournament bids along the way, before ac- cepting the Notre Dame position. The Blue Hens are now led by longtime Irish assistant Martin Ingelsby, who faces a rebuild- ing job after a 13-20 ledger (5-13 in the Colo- nial Athletic Association). He is assisted by for- mer Irish teammate Torrian Jones (2001-04). Dec. 16 — Indiana at Crossroads Classic at Indianapolis' Bankers Life Fieldhouse The event is now in its seventh season, and Notre Dame is 3-3 after losing to Purdue last year. Dec. 19 — Dartmouth Dec. 21 — Southeastern Louisiana The 18-game ACC schedule, with dates and times, is usually announced in September, but here is the home/road breakdown: Home and road: Boston College, Georgia Tech, North Carolina and North Carolina State. Home: Florida State, Miami, Virginia Tech, Louisville and Pittsburgh. Road: Clemson, Duke, Wake Forest, Virginia and Syracuse. Junior Rex Pflueger (right) and sophomore Nikola Djogo (left) are expected to be part of the rotation at the wing position, and could both be called upon to serve as ball handlers if needed. PHOTO BY COREY BODDEN

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