Though completely expected for awhile now, Notre Dame received some good news as senior and likely captain Jerian Grant has re-enrolled in the university and is back with the team in time for summer school and their August trip to Italy.
|Notre Dame Scholarship Chart & Eligibility
The Irish received some additional good news as returning captain Pat Connaughton was drafted in the fourth round of the MLB first-year player draft by the Baltimore Orioles. Connaughton signed with the Orioles, is currently playing for one of their minor league affiliates, and will return to Notre Dame in time to join his teammates on their Italian summer trip as well. Like with Grant, this has been Connaughton's plan all along, but it is comforting to see those plans become official without any hiccups.
In the bad news department, Notre Dame missed out on Loyola Marymount transfer Gabe Levin, who committed to Marquette instead. Only Kansas transfer Andrew White III appears to be on the staff's wish list. White is actually currently visiting Notre Dame, having arrived yesterday, indicating the Irish are serious players to get him. He would be a huge get, roughly an equivalent replacement according to the 2012 recruiting rankings for Cameron Biedscheid.
July is an important month for recruiting, with several evaluation periods that allow coaches to watch players at the many high-profile AAU events around the country. The staff will be very busy watching and contacting their major targets, so I would expect us to have a solid grasp of where the Irish stand with most of the names below by the end of this month.
As always, the offered players are listed by position followed by some others that are on the radar:
Jalen Coleman recently named a top 6 that includes Notre Dame, along with Illinois, NC State, Indiana, UNLV, and presumed favorite Michigan. He has maintained that his comfort level with the staff and a few friends on the team keep the Irish in play, and in recent interviews, he has stated his desire to go to a top business school. I really think the Irish are quietly major players in this recruitment, and another reported visit to campus this past weekend means Coleman has visited Notre Dame more than any other school. I think it speaks volumes that Notre Dame has not expanded its offer list at the guard position very much. Coleman will likely continue to take his time before a commitment but would be well worth the wait for Notre Dame.
The Irish remain in good position for Philadelphia guard Levan Alston, especially if he is able to visit at some point in the summer or early during official visit season. That said, if he ended his recruitment today, he would be more likely headed to local Temple or VCU, where he reportedly loved his visit, so Notre Dame will have some ground to make up if and when he visits.
Antonio Blakeney looks like a Louisville lean, and the Irish are still not expected to be in play.
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.
New on the list is Aaron Falzon, who was extended an offer while on campus as he and his AAU teammates made a swing through South Bend on their Midwest tour. He is in the same program as former Irish forward Ty Nash. He would fit the bill as a stretch 4 option for Mike Brey, but no reports yet on what kind of impression the Irish made on Falzon for his services.
Status quo for Elijah Burns, who remains on the books for a September 6th official. He's the type of player who will likely add more offers in the next month depending on his AAU performance, which will give us a better understanding of Notre Dame's major competition for his signature.
The Irish still have to like their chances for Matt Ryan but have the right to be a little nervous that Duke, UNC, or perhaps even Stanford will become major competition should they choose to offer. His return to AAU action from labrum surgery is expected this month and will go a long way towards determining whether he ever receives those offers.
Luke Maye is a Virginia legacy and visited there recently but does not have an offer with the Cavaliers very tight on scholarships. This might be Notre Dame's gain, as he is expected to visit this summer in addition to UNC. His stock is skyrocketing this AAU season, which is likely to continue this month with more showcase events. He wants to play in the ACC and close to home, so the Irish would have a hurdle to jump with the latter.
Rex Pflueger and DJ Hogg appear to be in play, with Irish assistants visiting both in California and Texas in recent months, but neither has set up a visit to South Bend yet. If either of them do, we might be able to consider Notre Dame serious contenders but until then, we keep them cold.
One new offer at the center position this past month went out to Josh Sharma, teammate of Aaron Falzon, also while on his Midwest tour visit. Most think Wisconsin is the favorite to land him, but his recruitment is becoming more national in recent months, which may shake things up.
Not much to update on Fort Wayne center Caleb Swanigan, either for Notre Dame or his recruitment in general. Not sure anyone other than Michigan State or perhaps Louisville will get much of a look from Swanigan.
Status quo for Las Vegas center Stephen Zimmerman, who reportedly was quite good for the USA U-18 squad, at least for the camp portion of the recent FIBA Americas championships. Arizona and UNLV will battle it out for him.
The staff seems pretty focused on the offers above, but the evaluation periods in July may make them reconsider their position with current targets or, perhaps, identify some players that they have not yet moved on that they really want. If that occurs, the ten names listed below might be some to watch:
|10 to watch|
|.973||PF Esa Ahmad||OH||6-7/210||Cold|
|.876||PF Evan Boudreaux||IL||6-7/225||Cold|
|NR||PF Noah Bramlage||OH||6-7/215||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|
|.971||CG Soso Jamabo||TX||6-3/210||Cold|
|.857||C Derrik Smits||IN||7-0/215||Mild|
|.973||SF Tres Tinkle||MT||6-6/180||Cold|
Off the board this month is Greek center Georgios Pappagiannis, who has instead decided to play professionally for Panathinaikos in his native Greece. He is eligible to return for college next year, but I am betting the next time we hear his name will be at a future NBA draft.
New to the board is Ohio forward Noah Bramlage, with whom the staff has reportedly had contact. They will have plenty of chances to see him coming up as he is AAU teammates with Jalen Coleman. He has mostly mid-major offers and is likely Ivy League bound as of now but has plenty of major conference interest that could turn into offers with a big summer, Notre Dame included.
Not many other updates in this section this month, although it appears as though Wisconsin forward and new five-star Henry Ellenson may be more open to schools that are not Wisconsin than I initially assumed. Not sure if that list might include Notre Dame, but my bet is that Brey has (apparently) not offered for a reason.
A little surprised that the staff has not pursued Ohio forward Esa Ahmad harder after some heavy interest early, but that might just mean the interest was not reciprocated. Either way, tough to see this one going anywhere but Ohio State.
Soso Jamabo reportedly loved his visit with the football program (the rankings above are for football), and he would inject some elite athleticism to the hoops program as well if he were given the go-ahead for both sports. No telling if that is really in the cards, however.
Tres Tinkle is rocketing up the rankings in recent months, which will likely give his father and new Oregon State head coach a four-star prospect in his first class.
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.
Indiana's Matt Holba is a pretty athletic small forward prospect who has mostly local mid-major interest at this point. Notre Dame is in great shape with multiple forwards for this recruiting class but have Holba as a potential contingency if things change.
Connor Cashaw is a player that I really like and is, in my opinion, overshadowed by high school teammate Jalen Brunson, causing him to be a bit underrated. The staff has seen him play multiple times, and he would be a potential option should things go south with Coleman and/or Alston. However, with Brey apparently feeling pretty good about where he stands with both players, Cashaw might have to wait.
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.
Same goes for Indiana center Derrik Smits, who has visited multiple times but looks unlikely to receive an offer until, perhaps, much later in the cycle. The son of former NBA center Rik Smits has Clemson and Xavier as his only major offers thus far.
I bet this prediction looks different in next month's edition of the big board, but for now I am holding strong with Notre Dame landing the same 3-man class that I have predicted previously.
My prediction for the 2015 class, unchanged and still likely to be wrong: Levan Alston, Elijah Burns, Matt Ryan