The Notre Dame campus is all football this weekend, as they kick off their 2015 season against the Texas Longhorns, but Mike Brey and his Notre Dame Fighting Irish will look to capitalize on the buzz around campus with some crucial recruits visiting South Bend.
|Notre Dame Hoops Visitor List - 9/6
|Temple Gibbs (committed)
Heading to campus this weekend are three prospects, one of which is already firmly committed to Brey and the Irish. Point guard Temple Gibbs out of New Jersey, who has already used his official visit to South Bend, will be heading to Notre Dame on an unofficial visit to help in the recruiting efforts. Since his commitment, Gibbs turned in an excellent summer on the AAU circuit with his New Jersey Playaz Basketball Club and currently sits as the 72nd ranked player overall in 247's composite ranking.
Gibbs will work on helping the Notre Dame staff add Virginia big man Javin DeLaurier to the 2016 class. DeLaurier likely ranks as the top realistic target for the Irish in this class, as they have been aggressively recruiting him since last summer. Brey and assistant Anthony Solomon were practically following DeLaurier and his AAU team all summer, often as the only coaches or at least the deepest coaching staff in attendance.
DeLaurier has exploded over the last few months, going from a fringe four-star player into a consensus top 50 player nationally. He currently ranks 39th overall in 247's composite rankings. His athleticism is just off the charts and skill level has some coaches pursuing him as more of a small forward than power forward. Notre Dame just wants him and will figure out how to utilize him later.
The Irish are an absolute top contender in his recruitment. Some think Texas may lead, particularly given how long new Longhorns head coach Shaka Smart has recruited DeLaurier, although he hasn't clearly come out and said as much. Worth monitoring is Texas' frontcourt recruiting, as they are firmly in the hunt for quite a few highly-ranked targets and only so much room for all of them.
Also in play here are Stanford and Princeton, the other two schools to which DeLaurier has set official visits. He reportedly earned a 32 on his ACT and, as is very evident with his top schools, is looking for a great academic school. His relationship with Anthony Solomon (who is from Virginia) is very strong, and he is simply a Notre Dame type of kid saying all the right things about the Irish. Notre Dame will be in this one to the end and try to take the lead in his recruitment this weekend.
The last recruit set to visit is Florida center John Mooney who was committed to Florida until fairly recently following Billy Donovan's move to the NBA. Mooney has largely been out of the recruiting spotlight, especially having not played AAU ball over the summer. He has reportedly grown quite a bit and is much closer to 6'10" than he is 6'7" at this point despite what the recruiting sites say.
Mooney likely fits Notre Dame's class as a complement to a more athletic power forward type like DeLaurier as a more traditional post player. He can really step out and shoot with three-point range and looks like a willing, adept passer as well. His game reminds me a bit of Luke Zeller. Notre Dame has yet to offer Mooney, especially having not been able to see him live yet, and may wait for a better target like Jayce Johnson before moving on Mooney.
There is an outside chance that five-star center Jarrett Allen visits this weekend as well, but those plans have yet to become firm. Allen is reportedly not the most enthusiastic individual regarding the recruiting process and is tough to get information from. That said, the Irish appear to be hanging around in his recruitment and are doing their best to get a visit. Doing so this weekend could go a long way towards getting Notre Dame to the top of his list.
This weekend is Mike Brey and staff's big chance to take the driver's seat for DeLaurier and leave an impression on Mooney should they want to move on him later. I doubt they score a commitment or move on Mooney, but you never know. Either way, they have another big weekend coming up for the UMass game that should really help provide clarity for how the Irish will fill out the 2016 class and whether they will need to expand their options past the current offered list. In a couple weeks, I'll break down how this weekend went with DeLaurier and preview the (as of now) two visitors set for that weekend, both of which Notre Dame has a great chance of landing.
Upcoming Visitor List - 9/25
SG Kevin Huerter (NY)
C Jayce Johnson (CA)