Fresh off his visit to South Bend this past weekend, Canadian wing player Nikola Djogo pledged his commitment to the Notre Dame Fighting Irish via social media on Wednesday night:
❗️❗️ Proud to announce my verbal commitment to... pic.twitter.com/5N0Xjog8TI— NIKOLA (@NikolaDjogo) October 15, 2015
The 6'6" shooting guard chose the Irish over offers from low-to-mid majors Butler, Northeastern, Penn, UNLV, and Winthrop, but Djogo's recruitment was really just starting to pick up. The likes of Michigan, Stanford, Tennessee, Wichita State, and Wisconsin were interested and said to be heavily recruiting as of recently. In fact, Notre Dame's recruitment only really started a month or so ago, when on a visit to Orangeville Prep in Canada to see Djogo's high school teammate Thon Maker, Irish head coach Mike Brey offered Djogo, making him the first of a dozen or so of the big time coaches previously showing interest to throw his hat in the ring.
A visit materialized shortly thereafter, giving Notre Dame a huge leg up on the competition that was set to heat up over the coming high school season, which would have been Djogo's first chance to really show these coaches what he could do after transferring to a much higher profile prep school. The Irish, however, closed the door on what could have been an explosive recruitment before it could really heat up as Djogo saw a perfect fit for what he can do off the court and what he wants in a school on his visit. Anthony Solomon rose to the occasion for this recruitment, talking to Djogo just about everyday since the offer and making this visit and commitment a reality.
Recruiting Service Rankings
None of the recruiting sites have evaluated Djogo, likely due to his playing in Canada. I would expect them to evaluate him more this high school season, but his eventual ranking probably has a fairly low ceiling due to such a late arrival on the recruiting scene (and being in Canada).
The Irish will be pretty loaded at shooting guard and out on the wing when Djogo arrives in South Bend. Steve Vasturia and V.J. Beachem will both have one year remaining, while Rex Pflueger and Matt Ryan will just be beginning their sophomore years. It is tough to see the versatile Djogo, whom I envision playing some combination of the 2, 3, and 4 for Notre Dame, cracking that lineup his freshman year.
That said, I think there are minutes for the taking come his sophomore year, as Djogo will be able to step into the lineup as yet another tall, lanky perimeter player for Mike Brey. He could very well be the first man off the bench for much of the year given his ability to play multiple positions. He strikes me as a strong, savvy player who can find his way in Brey's offense quickly and max out his effort on defense, something for which he seems to show a genuine willingness.
It is difficult for me to figure out Djogo's ceiling, probably because his competition up until now has been lacking and there just aren't any scouting reports out there on him. Not just because of his left-handedness, but he reminds me a lot of Scott Martin, or at least a version of Martin who hadn't previously suffered from knee injuries.
Djogo is a nice athlete and will be a tough defender on most 2s and 3s. He seems to be willing and able in all parts of the game: rebounding, defending, passing, driving, shooting. Does his shot translate? Will he be able to get to the basket, especially if defenders focus on taking away his left? Can he get involved in any of the pick-and-roll play-making in this offense and use his dynamite passing skills or will he be relegated to a Ryan Ayers-like role out on the wing for the most part?
I don't have great answers to these questions yet, so I will say this. Djogo seems like he will be a great Swiss army knife of a contributor in the mold of a Scott Martin or Zach Hillesland. Whether or not he can get to another level to be a real impact player in the ACC remains to be seen, although I wouldn't doubt it given the considerable skill set he brings. Still, a guy who can do the little things on both ends of the court to support who I consider to be the future focal points of this offense (TJ Gibbs, Matt Ryan, Bonzie Colson) presents a ton of value for Mike Brey, making Nikola Djogo an ideal fit for this class.
Welcome to Notre Dame, Nikola!