It’s now old news that 2018 Gonzaga College High School (D.C.) guard and consensus top-60 player Prentiss Hubb committed to Notre Dame basketball last week. This was another big-time commitment for head coach Mike Brey, who has begun to really clean up when it comes to recruiting perimeter talent, especially in the Washington DC area (e.g. Eric Atkins, Jerian Grant, DJ Harvey).
But what wasn’t immediately apparent when Hubb committed was one of the biggest reasons he said he could see himself playing for the Fighting Irish. Tom Noie wrote an article for ND Insider that explained that Hubb was shown practice facility renovation plans, and that was a huge factor for him.
“It wasn’t just one thing, but, yeah, one thing that really stood out was the new practice facility and how it would be done by the time that I got there,” Hubb told the Tribune Thursday. “It’s going to be great. That was the main thing.”
One of the big knocks against Mike Brey has always been his inability to consistently recruit top-level talent. Obviously this is just one player, but this statement is absolutely huge and immediate proof that the state of the team’s practice facilities matters to prospective players.
So, looking back over the years of neglect from the ND athletic department as Brey (and Muffet McGraw) continued to win lots of games with team(s) that practiced in a basement, it’s really easy to begin playing the “what if?” game and imagining Brey’s and McGraw’s teams with more raw talent.
In the case of Brey, imagine the 2-seed team in 2011 with another athletic rim protector or another wing who could take defenders off the dribble. Think about the 2015 team with one more big man who could help slow down Karl-Anthony Towns and Willie Cauley-Stein in the Elite Eight. Imagine the 2016 team with another dynamic scorer to help carry the load alongside Demetrius Jackson. Imagine last year’s team with another competent big man who could take some burden off BONZIE in the paint.
It’s downright angering when you think about it, considering just a couple more 4-star-or-better recruits could have meant a Final Four trip or better over the past 7 seasons. Furthermore, think about Muffet’s teams, who only failed to take down the absolute best team in the country each year (UConn, Brittney Griner’s Baylor teams, Texas A&M in the title game), and now add a few more blue-chip prospects to her squads. Think the Irish might have gotten McGraw another title by now?
“Maddening” doesn’t begin to describe the Notre Dame athletic department’s neglect of the two basketball programs and their success despite that lack of support. The cash cow football team continues to get every investment Brian Kelly wants while the program consistently churns out disappointment, and yet it takes a couple decades for actual, successful coaches like Brey and McGraw to get plans for a decent practice facility in a major, money-making sport.
All I can say is that that sucks it took this long, but it’s about to be a really fun time to be a Notre Dame basketball fan, as I think we will all see Brey and McGraw begin to up their recruiting and bring in some of the best talent they’ve ever had in their storied tenures in South Bend. I’m excited to see who else follows Mr. Hubb to Purcell, that’s for sure.
Pivot Point Games
Sports Illustrated put out a list of ‘Pivot Point Games’ that will be games upon which a team’s season will hinge, catapulting them to hope and success, or alternatively launching them into a dark abyss of despondency and 4-8 records.
Andy Staples, of course, included a Notre Dame game in this list, offering up the September 9th tilt against Georgia as the Irish’s pivotal matchup. A strong showing would mean a good season on the horizon for the Irish, while a blowout loss would mean pain and misery ahead.
Can’t say I disagree, but I also can’t say I think there’s much hope of ND winning or even almost winning a game where they will have to try to tackle Nick Chubb and Sony Michel.
Coaching Salary Cap?!?!??
Jason Kirk of our own SB Nation put out a pretty interesting article recently, detailing an argument as to why a salary cap for coaches would improve college football.
I’m all for it, as I think these coaches are making way too much money off of the performance of a bunch of un-salaried players, but I also think any coach who can bring Notre Dame football back to a national title-holding spot ( COUGH URBAN MEYER COUGH ) should be paid all of King Midas’ silver to do so. So what the hell do I know?
What do you guys think?
Jim Harbaugh Delivers a Baby Calf
The title says it all.
Enjoy the latest installment of “Jim Harbaugh is Absolutely Insane and I Am Here For It.”