July was obviously a big month for the Irish, as their 2015 class got off to a big start as one of the very few programs that received multiple commitments during the all-important July evaluation periods. Matt Ryan and Elijah Burns committed on back-to-back weekends, filling major needs on Notre Dame's roster out on the wing and in the interior, respectively.
|Notre Dame Scholarship Chart & Eligibility
|Notre Dame 2015 Commits
In the good news department, other than obviously securing two commitments in July, was Matt Ryan's return to game action after a long road to recovery. A healthy Matt Ryan is one of the best wing players in the 2015 class, so it's very good to see him back in full game mode with almost a full year of AAU and high school ball before heading to South Bend next summer.
Playing in my first game since December 29 in exactly one hour— Matt Ryan (@Matt_Ryan32) August 1, 2014
Notre Dame was expected to be more of a major player on the transfer market this offseason but so far has missed on their relatively few targets. Only Kansas transfer Andrew White III remained as a possibility, but reports have surfaced recently that Notre Dame was no longer recruiting White, apparently feeling good about their high school recruiting instead. My sense is that this bodes well for Mike Brey in finishing his 2015 class.
The current Irish recruiting efforts are in really good shape having secured two commitments, one of which was perhaps their number one target overall, and remaining in great shape for a handful of prospects with 1 to 2 scholarships available.
Mike Brey and his staff will slow down with the frequent flyer miles and rack up their cell phone minutes in the month of August, which is designated as a quiet period. The staff can call prospects as much as they want but can only make in-person contact if the recruit decides to visit campus, which is possible for a couple of their targets, although nothing is yet on the books.
As always, the offered players are listed by position followed by some others that are on the radar:
No target is getting more attention from the Notre Dame staff than elite guard Jalen Coleman, who has the Irish in his top 6, along with Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, NC State, and UNLV. The staff, often up to three-deep, evaluates Coleman in action pretty much whenever the NCAA allows them to and has hosted him on a number of campus visits. Michigan remains the crystal ball favorite, for whatever that is worth, but I have read quite a bit around various corners of the internet hinting or outright saying that Notre Dame is in the lead in this recruitment. It is also worth noting that Michigan is filling up, although it looks like they might have one more spot to take someone like Coleman. It was announced yesterday that Coleman is taking his official visit for the September 6th weekend, which will feature a who's who of Notre Dame hoops commits and targets.
Philadelphia guard Levan Alston recently announced that he will be taking his official visit to Notre Dame the big weekend of September 6th as well. The Irish likely trail Temple and VCU but continue to evaluate Alston, who has racked up quite a few major offers this summer, at AAU events. Hard to say whether Notre Dame would slow-play Alston a little in favor of Coleman or just accept the first commitment they receive, should either player come to that decision. Regardless, the Irish are a firm contender in Alston's top 6.
2015 Team Final (PA) SG Levan Alston has narrowed his list to Temple, VCU, Notre Dame, Marquette, Penn State & Penn.— Alex Kline (@TheRecruitScoop) July 30, 2014
Rex Pflueger, who I have reclassified into the combo guard category, recently released a top 5 that includes the Irish, along with Cal, San Diego State, Washington State, and recent offer Texas A&M. This bodes well for Notre Dame to receive an official visit should he hold off on committing before he gets a chance to do so. The goal here is obviously to add him to the September 6th weekend as well, which looks like a great strategy and effort by the Notre Dame staff to get all their major targets to visit along with the two commitments in the class.
My top 5 schools: Notre Dame, Texas A&M, California Berkley, Washington St, and SDSU pic.twitter.com/nT1qZuVJJ2— Rex Pflueger (@rexpflueger_1) July 29, 2014
Antonio Blakeney looks like a Louisville (or Kentucky) lean, and the Irish are still not expected to be in play.
Notre Dame has already nabbed two from this category and may be done as a result. The players remaining in this category appear to project as stretch power forwards at the next level.
Luke Maye was reportedly set to visit South Bend this summer but have apparently backed off since receiving Elijah Burns' commitment, seeing them as relatively redundant players for this class.
Recent offer Aaron Falzon has kept fairly quiet regarding his recruitment since his big Midwest tour this summer. Northwestern and Boston College are going very hard after the elite-shooting big man, but the Irish do not seem to be major players here with their sights set elsewhere.
DJ Hogg would be in play, but he has not given strong indication that the Irish are serious contenders at this point.
The new offer here is Serbian center Samir Sehic, who now plays high school and AAU ball in Texas. He has exploded on the recruiting scene, with offers coming in from the ACC, B1G, and Big 12. Notre Dame fits everything he is looking for in a school, and he has already spoken favorably of Mike Brey, who has immediately made Sehic a top target. Securing an official visit, hopefully for the September 6th weekend with Matt Ryan and Elijah Burns, would be huge, and the chances are good, as Sehic recently named Notre Dame as one of his final 6 schools.
Mike Brey made it a point to watch Josh Sharma in person at a recent weekend event, which means the Irish may have a better shot than I would've thought previously. Brey is not one to waste time on unrealistic targets, so I think it says something about the potential mutual interest that he spent some of his valuable evaluation time on Sharma.
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, UNLV and others will battle it out for him.
I very highly doubt that the staff will be extending any more offers for this class, unless they cannot close on any of their current targets. That would be unfortunate, but here is a potential list in case that occurs:
|10 to watch|
|.973||PF Esa Ahmad||OH||6-7/210||Cold|
|.869||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|
|.973||CG Soso Jamabo||TX||6-3/210||Mild|
|.875||C Derrik Smits||IN||7-0/215||Mild|
|.972||SF Tres Tinkle||MT||6-6/180||Cold|
My dream of Soso Jamabo suiting up for the Irish hoops squad does not appear so crazy with some attention the Texas running back/shooting guard has gotten at various AAU tournaments this summer. I think he could certainly add something athletically (and scholarship-free) to Notre Dame's backcourt should he ultimately decide to play, first and foremost, for Brian Kelly and Kelly hands him off after bowl season to Mike Brey, who I'm certain would love to have him.
Not much else to add to the not-yet offered board, as Brey and staff spent most of their limited evaluation time on the handful of current offers with interest still in the Irish. I think that trend is likely to continue throughout the remainder of the cycle.
Some highly-rated prospects remain on the not-yet-offered board, but that likely has more to do with lack of mutual interest early on in their recruitments rather than being overlooked by Brey and company. Some members of this category are Esa Ahmad (Ohio State-bound?), Henry Ellenson (Marquette-bound?), and Tres Tinkle (Oregon State-bound?), all of whom have received attention from the staff at one point or another.
Others, however, appear to be back-up plans that, again, the staff has had some contact with but would seemingly only get offers down the road if things in this class went seriously off the rails.
Ohio forward Noah Bramlage remains a late possibility, if the staff is impressed enough by the big man while they are evaluating his AAU teammate Jalen Coleman.
Another possibility, should they miss out on Coleman (and Alston and Pflueger) is Illinois shooting guard Connor Cashaw. The staff has observed Cashaw multiple times (it is unlikely they were there to see Jalen Brunson, who has never been a realistic possibility), but they obviously (and for good reason) want to devote their resources to the higher-ranked players on their board first.
Illinois forward Evan Boudreaux seems to be cut from a similar cloth to that of Luke Maye, whom the staff obviously prefers, and Boudreaux looks likely to be Iowa-bound anyway.
Indiana's Matt Holba is a pretty athletic small forward prospect who has mostly local mid-major interest at this point. With Matt Ryan on board, it is hard to see this one happening, however.
Devin Cannady may be in the same boat as Cashaw, especially given that he is a local high school star and friend of a couple current Irish players. He would probably commit on the spot should he ever receive an offer, but I still highly doubt that ever occurring.
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. Clemson looks to be the favorite for the son of former NBA center Rik Smits, unless Purdue decides to make a move.
I'm changing my prediction this month, first to reflect my belief that Eric Katenda is going to be placed on medical hardship, giving the staff another scholarship to use, but also because I have read enough to change my confidence level in the Irish snagging their top remaining target, Jalen Coleman. I'll add Rex Pflueger as well. This may disappoint some who want another big, but Notre Dame's guard recruiting is very strong this year, and they are not exactly in a position to turn away talented four-star players when they seem like long-shots at other positions.
My prediction for the 2015 class: Elijah Burns, Jalen Coleman, Rex Pflueger, Matt Ryan