A lot happened almost immediately after my last update, so here is a look at how hoops recruiting has taken shape over the last month.
|Notre Dame Scholarship Chart & Eligibility
The Irish still appear to be on track for three scholarships in the recruiting class of 2015, but that may change depending on their continued exploration of the transfer market, the health of their current roster, and, of course, any unforeseen attrition from the program.
Of note, Notre Dame is making a play for Kansas transfer Andrew White and Loyola Marymount transfer Gabe Levin, although they are only likely major players for the latter, who is apparently visiting this month. It at least suggests that the Irish are still monitoring and active on the transfer market, which has been and continues to be an absolute whirlwind this offseason.
Also worth monitoring is the health status of forward Eric Katenda, who just has never been able to catch a break. An extra scholarship may be available in this class if Katenda moves to a medical scholarship, which I am not predicting by any means, but seems to remain a possibility.
Below are the 2015 recruits offered thus far and, following those names, some others that Notre Dame is watching and may make a move on during the summer evaluation period:
An offer to Philadelphia combo guard Levan Alston seemed imminent in my last update, and sure enough, the Irish decided to offer the following day. Notre Dame is one of his biggest offers at this point, but that is likely to change with an outstanding EYBL season thus far. He has said that he wants to visit this summer and is developing a great relationship with Mike Brey.
It seems as though many expect Jalen Coleman to be on track for one of the Michigan schools, but there are reportedly some whispers around some AAU events indicating that the Irish are in very strong position for the star Indiana guard. Pairing him up with Demetrius Jackson would give the Irish one of the most athletic backcourts they have ever had.
There are some very different types of players in this category, but I will continue to classify them all here in a general "Forwards" category.
Elijah Burns, a very athletic hybrid SF/PF, has himself reported that he will officially visit Notre Dame in the fall, his only such official set up at this point in time. He has a lot of interest from some high major programs, and Notre Dame may have positioned itself very well here with a relatively early offer.
Notre Dame still looks like very much the favorite to land Matt Ryan, for whom Mike Brey is taking personal responsibility. A Marquette offer does not look as though it has shaken things up too much, but it might be interesting to see some former (Brey and Marquette head coach Steve Wojciechowski) and current (Jon Scheyer) Duke assistants battle it out for Ryan. His official visit is on the books for the September 6th football weekend along with Elijah Burns.
New offer Luke Maye fits the stretch 4 role that Mike Brey has talked about in the past as crucial in the ACC. Maye has been hugely productive thus far this EYBL season as a threat both inside and out and stood along with some much higher profile recruits as one of the best big men in Dallas. Not much word yet on where Notre Dame may stand in his recruitment, which may be on the verge of blowing up.
Rex Pflueger has had a very quiet recruitment, so I am putting him at "cold" until he sets up a visit for South Bend. He has had good things to say about Notre Dame, even recently, but it would be nice to see that turn into some action if we are going to consider the Irish major players.
Speaking of a quiet recruitment, there is not much to add with Texas forward DJ Hogg. The staff isn't known to waste too much time with lost causes, and they have spent time watching Hogg on the AAU circuit thus far this summer, but it is hard to see the Irish as too much of a player here without a visit lined up.
Two big news items at for the Irish recruiting efforts at the center position. First, they finally offered Jessie Govan, but he has since committed to Georgetown, something most thought was going to happen eventually anyway.
The second item is the offer to Fort Wayne product Caleb Swanigan (no relation to Notre Dame Head of Basketball Operations Harold Swanagan), who also reclassified from the 2016 class to 2015. His recruitment has been pretty national already but is likely to gain a little more urgency. Michigan State has been on him a long time already and is the odds-on favorite, but Notre Dame is going to give it a shot with the local kid.
The battle for one of the top centers in the country, Stephen Zimmerman, who has a top 8 excluding the Irish, looks to be between Arizona and UNLV.
The last viewing period saw Notre Dame extend 4 new scholarship offers, which was a bit of a surprise for a team that does not offer many. This summer is the time to really turn up the heat on recruiting, so I would expect most of the staff's focus to be on the current offers above rather than extending any new ones. If they do, however, the ten names listed below might be some to watch:
|10 to watch|
|.970||PF Esa Ahmad||OH||6-7/210||Cold|
|.897||PF Evan Boudreaux||IL||6-7/225||Cold|
|NR||PG Devin Cannady||IN||5-11/165||Mild|
|NR||SG Connor Cashaw||IL||6-5/185||Cold|
||PF Henry Ellenson||WI
|NR||SF Matt Holba||IN||6-6/185||Cold|
|.972||CG Soso Jamabo||TX||6-3/210||Cold|
|.984||C Georgios Pappagiannis||NC||7-1/235||Cold|
|NR||C Derrik Smits||IN||6-11/215||Mild|
|.894||SF Tres Tinkle||MT||6-6/180||Cold|
is off the board, having committed to Iowa last month, as the Irish apparently chose not to throw their hat into that ring. Given their position with both Alston and Coleman, I am not entirely surprised with that decision. Ohio product Esa Ahmad looks to be trending in other directions and might be off the board this summer, as Ohio State looks to have all the momentum given their recent offer on a campus visit. Same goes for Wisconsin forward Henry Ellenson, who has Wisconsin written all over him.
I am still betting against Devin Cannady ever getting his offer, but he will likely be visiting plenty in the next year and will always remain an option for the staff.
It looks more and more as though the football team has a legitimate shot with Texas running back Soso Jamabo, and I am sure the hoops staff will be monitoring that situation and lobbying for a crossover into basketball after football season. He would be a free player for Mike Brey, as per NCAA rules, he would need to take a football scholarship.
Illinois forward Evan Boudreaux seems to be cut from a similar cloth to that of recent offer Luke Maye, so the staff may want to see that one through before moving onto Boudreaux. He may be Iowa-bound before they get there, though.
Greek 7-footer Georgios Papagiannis has only recently burst onto the scene as a big-named recruit, but Mike Brey has reportedly been monitoring this AAU season. Expect a ton of offers to pour in for Papagiannis this summer.
Indiana's Matt Holba is a pretty athletic small forward prospect who has mostly local mid-major interest at this point. He may be a prospect Notre Dame turns to if things go south with players like Burns and Ryan, although they are in great shape for those two.
Tres Tinkle is another small forward prospect the staff has checked out, but with the Irish in great shape at the position and Tinkle's father's recent hire at Oregon State, this does not look like a match that will materialize into much.
Same goes for Illinois guard Connor Cashaw, who may be a bit more likely as an option. The Irish are in good but not great shape for Alston and Coleman as of now, so they may turn the heat up on Cashaw as the summer progresses if they feel themselves slipping with those names higher on their board. Cashaw is being overshadowed by prep teammate Jalen Brunson but is a good player in his own right and would be a fit as a combo guard. I actually like his game quite a bit, especially as a player who is used to the big stage already playing for one of the top programs in Illinois.
A potential big man came off the board when Nate Fowler committed to Butler last week, but that likely takes away the biggest competition for Indiana center Derrik Smits, if the Irish choose to offer down the road. That looks less and less likely with each passing day, however, especially as the board is taking shape for the Irish and numbers are likely to be tight.
The recruiting board has really come together for Notre Dame in the past month or so, as they sit in great shape with two prospects (Burns and Ryan) and have made themselves firm contenders for a few others (Alston, Coleman, Maye, Pflueger). Given their activity (including some sporadic plays for transfers - there are still plenty to be had), I would not dismiss the possibility that 4 scholarships are in play, likely in light of the health situation surrounding Eric Katenda. I'm not betting on it yet, but I think it is certainly in the back of Mike Brey's mind as he continues to recruit this summer.
My early prediction for the 2015 class, unchanged and still likely to be wrong: Levan Alston, Elijah Burns, Matt Ryan