With Blake Wesley, Paul Atkinson Jr., Prentiss Hubb, and maybe Nate Laszewski all moving on from the team following their Round of 32 loss to Texas Tech, the Notre Dame Fighting Irish men’s basketball program has been busy in the Transfer Portal, reaching out to a number of guys to help fill in key roles both in the backcourt and in the frontcourt.
Today, Mike Brey and his staff helped fill the void left by Hubb and Wesley, as the Irish landed a commitment from Marcus Hammond, a 6’3” graduate transfer guard with one year of eligibility remaining who led the Niagara Purple Eagles in scoring in 2021-2022 by pouring in 18.1 points per game on 43% shooting from the field.
The talented guard will come in and likely share primary ball handling duties with true freshman J.J. Starling and perhaps some combo of expected-returning guards Cormac Ryan and Trey Wertz.
However, he brings plenty more to South Bend than just the ability to bring the ball up the court, as he also has solid shooting range (37% from deep last year and 39% for his career), some good rebounding ability for a guard (4.7 rebounds per game last season), and ultra-reliable free throw shooting (81% career from the charity stripe).
Hammond visited the Notre Dame campus this past weekend, taking in the sights and sounds of the Blue Gold Game festivities while getting to connect in-person with the staff and team.
He was joined by Wright State transfer forward Grant Basile, whom many would consider an even more important Portal recruit for the Irish due to the team’s need for big men — especially if Laszewski does not return. Basile has not yet announced a commitment or even a commitment date, but it has been reported that ND and Virginia Tech have emerged as his two favorites.
Some pictures from Marcus Hammond’s Notre Dame visit this weekend: pic.twitter.com/vyM6M5foGV— Breaking Down Brey’s Boys (@NDbballanalysis) April 25, 2022
This commitment is a really nice addition for the Irish, as Hammond will bring another veteran presence to pair with the blue-chip frosh Starling in the backcourt, and another good ball handler and shooter to add to a team that — even if they add Basile and/or bring Laszewski back — will be very perimeter-oriented and need a number of good guards to make that kind of strategy work.
Hats off to Brey and the boys for getting this one done, now let’s see if they can add Basile to ensure next year’s team has the size down low to not get completely stomped by the ACC’s best opposing bigs in 2022-2023.