Well folks, as of yesterday (April 12th), the spring signing period has officially begun for college basketball, extending through May 17th and promising to bring us A LOT of interesting developments considering not only the record number of players who entered the transfer portal after the 2022-2023 season, but also all the recruits looking to make final decisions for where they’ll spend their collegiate careers.
Needless to say, new Notre Dame Fighting Irish men’s basketball head coach Micah Shrewsberry plans to do some wheeling and dealing as he takes the proverbial mound for the ND program after being hired to succeed Mike Brey last month.
tossing out the first pitch for the @SBCubs' season opener ⚾️ #GoIrish | @Coach_Shrews pic.twitter.com/wPP0GplaOa— Notre Dame Men's Basketball (@NDmbb) April 12, 2023
After the rough final season of the Brey era, the Irish saw a mass exodus of players for a variety of reasons.
Nate Laszewski, Dane Goodwin, Trey Wertz, and Marcus Hammond all played out the end of their eligibility. Cormac Ryan chose to enter the transfer portal and look into moving on to a pro career if he doesn’t feel like using his final season of eligibility. Robby Carmody transferred to Mercer in search of some solid playing time before his career comes to a close. And freshmen J.J. Starling and Dom Campbell utilized the portal as well, choosing Syracuse and Howard as their new destinations.
JJ Starling is heading to Syracuse— NCAA March Madness (@MarchMadnessMBB) April 12, 2023
The team announced today that Starling has officially signed with the Orange pic.twitter.com/n9uAWrBQGV
With all the above said, the Irish are looking at needing A LOT of bodies just to field a team next season, and so Shrewsberry’s immediately gotten busy in attempting to reel in a number of 2023 recruits (many being his former signees at Penn State) as well as quite a few guys in the transfer portal looking for a new home.
So, who’s the new head coach heavily courting, and even likely to land as newcomers to the ND program? Let’s run through ‘em!
Signed Previously, Released from NLI, Not Reconsidering ND
Parker Friedrichsen, 4-star guard from Bixby, OK
Friedrichsen was a fun recruit to see committing and signing with ND back in the fall, considering he was a legitimate sharpshooter who looked like the next great 3-point threat at ND in the same mold as guys like Colin Falls, Kyle McAlarney, Tim Abromaitis, etc.
Instead, Friedrichsen asked for a release from his letter of intent upon hearing the Mike Brey news, and before the Irish signed their new coach, he’d committed and signed with the Wake Forest Demon Deacons.
Brady Dunlap, 3-star forward from Studio City, CA
Dunlap was a solid wing/forward recruit who appeared to be able to do a little bit of everything when he committed to ND in 2022, but like Friedrichsen, he backed off his letter of intent when Mike Brey announced he was leaving.
Unlike Friedrichsen, it sounded like Dunlap was at least open to the idea of meeting with the new coach and potentially re-signing with Notre Dame, but just Thursday he announced his top 5 schools and the Irish were not at all in the mix.
NEWS: Four-star senior Brady Dunlap tells me he’s down to five schools:— Joe Tipton (@TiptonEdits) April 13, 2023
The former Notre Dame signee breaks down each of his finalists: https://t.co/Sf7Pc1q8Ri pic.twitter.com/P32noXmWhl
So, although it would have been nice to pull him back into the fold as another decent-sized forward who could develop into a solid player over time, Dunlap is officially off the table for Shrewsberry and co.
Signed Previously and Stuck
Markus Burton, 3-star guard from Mishawaka, IN
When Burton committed to play for Mike Brey last summer as the first commitment in the 2023 class, he was a small 3-star guard who wasn’t seeing much interest from any big-time programs, mostly because of his size.
However, even at the time, anyone who watched Burton’s highlights could tell he was pretty talented despite his size, and could be a really good point guard for the Irish considering his ball handling, scoring, and fearlessness.
Since then, Burton has only continued to emerge as a bonafide day-one starter for this Irish program in need of guard talent, putting together a phenomenal senior season at Penn High School, leading his team to semi-state in Indiana and going toe-to-toe with some of the highest rated recruits in the state of Indiana. He’s considered one of the favorites — if not the outright expected winner — for Indiana Mr. Basketball.
@NDmbb commit @markussburton put on a Mr. Basketball performance this year leading Penn to a 28-2 record. Stat line was crazy: 30.2 points, 5.5 rebounds, 4.6 assists, 3.3 stls while shooting 57% FG & 42% from the 3 Finished #20 all time for scoring. https://t.co/WD93gMoC41 pic.twitter.com/6b6MCvn6od— Prep Ball Stars (@prepballstars) April 5, 2023
When Brey stepped down and the rest of his class immediately asked to be released from their National Letters of Intent (NLI), Burton held firm in his desire to attend Notre Dame, and doubled down on that commitment/signing as the Irish looked for and found a new coach.
Now, he’s got a great chance to contribute significantly as a freshman for an exciting new coach, and depending on how transfer portal recruiting shakes out, he could be handed the keys to the ND offense on day one by Shrewsberry.
Previously Signed with Penn State and Confirmed to Now Be Signing with ND
Braeden Shrewsberry, 3-star guard from State College, PA
Alright, now we’re getting into the truly new targets — and this one we can keep short and sweet. Braeden Shrewsberry, the 3-star guard whose dad just so happens to be the Irish coach, has already been confirmed to be backing off his signing with Penn State so that he can follow his father to South Bend.
This was casually announced at Shrewsberry’s introductory press conference in Purcell Pavilion, and although Shrewsberry may not be an elite recruit, he appears to be a solid combo guard who can score a little bit, shoot a little bit, and brings solid length and athleticism to the backcourt.
Previously Signed with Penn State, Asked for Release from NLI, Now Heavily Considering ND
Carey Booth, 4-star forward from Wolfeboro, NH
The way bigger potential steal from the original 2023 Penn State class of signees is Carey Booth, a 4-star, 6’11” big man whose father just so happens to be Penn State great Calvin Booth.
Carey Booth was originally assumed to be one of the only Penn State signees who might stick with the Nittany Lions since he’s a legacy, but it quickly became apparent that he really wanted to play for Micah Shrewsberry — Booth asked for his release from his letter of intent a couple weeks back, and has since picked up several 247sports crystal balls to Notre Dame en route to setting up a visit to campus that’s currently happening right now.
2023 4 Carey Booth has picked up a crystal ball prediction for @NDmbb via @247Sports. Booth requested to be released from his NLI with Penn St last week and will likely follow Coach Shrewsberry to South Bend.— Heat Check (@HeatCheckHoops) March 27, 2023
Booth is, simply put, the kind of long, athletic big man the Irish have mostly failed to bring into the program. He can protect the rim, score, rebound, and reportedly is a very smart basketball player to boot.
If he ends up signing with the Irish like most expect, he’ll almost certainly start from day one considering his size and talent.
2023 Hoop Summit : We caught up with Carey Booth in Portland after the Portland Generals scrimmages, this week. The ESPN forward talked about his experience at Brewster, his upcoming visit to Notre Dame, preparing for the next level, and more (sound on).@BrewsterHoops |… pic.twitter.com/BgGCknuCpX— Pro Insight (@_proinsight) April 8, 2023
Logan Imes, 3-star guard from Zionsville, IN
The final 2023 Penn State signee whom Shrewsberry is attempting to bring with him to ND is Logan Imes, a really good shooter and all around good combo guard (6’4”) from Zionsville, i.e. just a couple hours from ND.
Zionsville guard Logan Imes has requested release from NLI at Penn State to see what other options available. Still open to Penn State once new staff in place if there is interest. Also has great relationship with Micah Shrewsberry so Notre Dame is among options.— Kyle Neddenriep (@KyleNeddenriep) March 28, 2023
Since Imes requested his release, it sounds like he’s been in heavy contact with ND, and most folks expect this to essentially be a done deal.
If so, and if Booth signs as well, Shrewsberry will have done an exceptional job bringing over some good young talent from the clutches of the Nittany Lions, setting up the Irish to have a solid foundation of talent to develop over the next few seasons.
Transfer Portal Entrants ND’s In Contact With
Obviously, even with the ND players sticking with the program (Ven-Allen Lubin, J.R. Konieczny, Matt Zona, Tony Sanders Jr., and Alex Wade) and with the addition of Burton plus 3-4 more 2023 recruits, the Irish could still use a few talented veterans and/or promising young talent both down low and to help Burton manage the offense.
So, who are the guys Shrewsberry has been in contact with in the portal?
In short, he’s been VERY active in whom he’s reached out to, considering just the list of guys the Irish have been in contact with who’ve ended up committing elsewhere:
- Southern Illinois G Marcus Domask — committed to Illinois
- Nova Southeastern F Jonathan Pierre — committed to Memphis
- Portland F Moses Wood — committed to Washington
- Yale F EJ Jarvis — committed to Florida
- Virginia F Kadin Shedrick — eliminated Notre Dame from contention
- George Mason F Josh Oduro — committed to Providence
- Brown G Paxson Wojcik — committed to North Carolina
- St. Francis PA F Josh Cohen — committed to UMass
But don’t let those guys opting for elsewhere keep you from checking out the list of transfers the Irish are in serious contention to land:
Penn State Forward Kebba Njie
6’10”, 237 lbs, freshman
2022-2023 Stats: 14.3 MPG, 3.4 PPG, 3.5 RPG, 52% FG
Njie is yet another tall, long, athletic kid in the mold of the kind of player whom the Irish have struggled to land and who’ve been a major thorn in their side at places like Florida State, Syracuse, Louisville, etc.
A former 4-star, top-120 recruit in the 247sports composite rankings in the 2022 class, Njie played at La Lumiere with J.J. Starling, the prep school powerhouse super-close to Notre Dame. Although his stat line isn’t too crazy above, keep in mind that he was a true freshman on a deep, upperclassmen-laden Round of 32 team, and yet he still managed to see time in all 37 games for the Nittany Lions.
Penn State transfer Kebba Njie tells me that he's receiving interest from the following programs:— Jon Rothstein (@JonRothstein) April 9, 2023
This won’t necessarily be a simple one for Notre Dame to land, considering he’s hearing from programs like Indiana, Texas, Texas Tech, etc., but you have to think this is one of the most probably options for Shrewsberry, considering he recruited him to Penn State and was his coach just last season.
If Njie ends up signing with ND to go along with Carey Booth and Ven-Allen Lubin, the Irish are all of a sudden SUPER athletic, long, and promising down low for the first time in A WHILE.
ASU guard Austin Nunez
6’2”, 170 lbs, freshman
2022-2023 Stats: 16.3 MPG, 4.5 PPG, 1.1 RPG, 0.9 APG, 0.7 SPG, 41.5% FG, 37.7% 3FG
Like Njie, Nunez is an intriguing transfer option mostly for his potential rather than for a massive amount of accomplishment on the collegiate level so far. Also a true freshman, Nunez is a former 4-star recruit from San Antonio whom 247sports ranked 71st in his class, and the composite rankings had him just outside the top-100 at #102.
He had a solid first season as a reserve guard for the Sun Devils, showing the ability to shoot from outside and the capability to be a really good guard in a year or two.
Arizona State transfer Austin Nunez tells me that he plans to visit both Notre Dame and Ole Miss.— Jon Rothstein (@JonRothstein) April 8, 2023
With visits planned to both ND and Ole Miss and plenty of other schools showing interest, it’s unclear how strong of a shot the Irish have here.
But the fact he’s planning to visit shows he’s at least seriously considering Notre Dame, and he’d add some oomph to a backcourt that will need it considering how young and inexperienced it will likely be overall.
Syracuse guard Joe Girard III
6’1”, 190 lbs, senior
2022-2023 Stats: 34.4 MPG, 16.4 PPG, 2.8 RPG, 3.0 APG, 0.8 SPG, 40.3% FG, 38.1% 3FG
Whereas the first two names in this list of potential transfer portal options are young, promising guys, Joe Girard III is about as old and experienced as a transfer portal option can get — and he’s almost certainly a guy Irish fans are familiar with, especially if they remember his little rivalry with Prentiss Hubb.
The former 3-star guard from Glen Falls, NY was a guy Mike Brey and his staff made a run at back in 2019, but they got involved a little too late, and the sharp-shooter opted to play for Jim Boeheim at Syracuse instead.
Girard hasn’t necessarily been an outright star in his time with the Orange, but he’s been VERY productive and has played a lot of basketball, considering he’s been in the ‘Cuse rotation since he stepped foot on campus. He’s an excellent shooter and can certainly bring a steady hand to running the Irish offense, which would be really nice considering Markus Burton and the other young guards could use a mentor.
Syracuse transfer Joe Girard tells me that he will have in-home visits with the following programs:— Jon Rothstein (@JonRothstein) April 5, 2023
They’ve already completed 5 In Homes with Butler, UW, LSU, Stanford, and Pitt. They will begin to meet with Notre Dame, BYU & Clemson tomorrow, but there’s a slew of interest, per a friend. https://t.co/PxFk4brCjS pic.twitter.com/q7X03mdIHL— ℯ ℯ (@Andrew__Slater) April 6, 2023
Girard was reported to be having an in-home visit with the Irish staff (whoever that is besides Shrewsberry), but it should be noted that a bunch of other schools have been granted a similar audience with the senior, including Butler, Wisconsin, LSU, Stanford, Pittsburgh, Clemson, and BYU.
Syracuse transfer Joe Girard tells me that he will visit LSU this weekend.— Jon Rothstein (@JonRothstein) April 12, 2023
Hopefully, Girard will like the idea of playing for Shrewsberry at a school he definitely considered somewhat seriously 4 years ago, but you also couldn’t blame him if he wanted to finish his career somewhere that may be more certain to have a shot at making the Big Dance.
Purdue guard Brandon Newman
6’5”, 200 lbs, junior
2022-2023 Stats: 17.7 MPG, 6.0 PPG, 3.1 RPG, 1.1 APG, 36% FG, 31% 3FG
Speaking of experienced guards from Power 5 programs, junior guard Brandon Newman leaving Purdue is a fantastic opportunity for the Irish to add a boatload of veteran athleticism and size to their backcourt. Newman is not the best shooter out there by any means (although he did shoot 38% from deep as a freshman while having career highs in minutes and points), but would immediately be one of the best athletes the Irish have and would really help on the defensive end as well as in bringing someone who can attack the hoop offensively.
The former 4-star, top-125 recruit (247sports composite in the 2019 class) is from Valparaiso, Indiana, and so there’s a chance he’ll want to come close to home and play for an exciting new coach while earning a degree from Notre Dame.
Niagara guard Noah Thomasson
6’3”, 195 lbs, senior
2022-2023 Stats: 36.4 MPG, 19.5 PPG, 3.8 RPG, 3.5 APG, 0.7 SPG, 48% FG, 39% 3FG
Yes, you’re seeing this correctly — for the second straight off-season, the Irish are being linked to a high-scoring senior guard from Niagara. Last year, Brey and co. earned a commitment from Marcus Hammond, who unfortunately dealt with some injury issues early on before finishing the season pretty strong on a bad Irish team.
Thomasson appears to be a similar level of player, having averaged nearly 20 points per game last year while shooting nearly 50% from the field and nearly 40% from long range.
He can pass and rebound a bit as well, and would be a really nice piece to add to next year’s team, especially if the Irish are hoping to surprise some folks and contend for a tourney bid.
Thomasson is looking to play for his 4th collegiate program here, having originally played at Houston Christian before then going to Butler Community College for a year and then signing with Niagara in the 2021 class as an unranked point guard.
Niagara grad transfer Noah Thomasson tells @TransferPortal_ the following schools have been in contact— Jamie Shaw (@JamieShaw5) April 5, 2023
19.5 points, 3.5 assists last season.https://t.co/O3IDIrxRzI pic.twitter.com/wdaGiNPAkg
East Carolina guard Javon Small
6’2”, 180 lbs, sophomore
2022-2023 Stats: 34.7 MPG, 15.8 PPG, 4.8 RPG, 5.6 APG, 1.2 SPG, 39.7% FG, 33% 3FG, 85% FT
Javon Small has been receiving interest from a number of really strong programs, and from most reports so far it sounds like his interest in ND is minimal compared to others he’s already begun planning visits to. Still, the Irish have been talking to him enough to make the list of schools he’s “hearing the most from,” so that has to say something.
East Carolina sophomore transfer Javon Small is hearing the most from the following schools source tells @TransferPortal_— Jamie Shaw (@JamieShaw5) April 3, 2023
The 4⭐️ transfer PG will be narrowing things down soon.
> https://t.co/2ucspxUf2E https://t.co/rEy7xypOZM pic.twitter.com/tI4YxraSPg
A 3-star recruit in the 2021 class, the sophomore Small had a fantastic season for the Pirates last year, averaging nearly 16 points per game while also racking up assists, rebounds, and steals during his nearly 35 minutes played per game.
What probably helps a lot and is driving ND showing so much interest (aside from Small being really good) is that he’s originally from South Bend. He played his high school ball at Compass Prep in Chandler, Arizona, but being a native of the area likely has him thinking about what it’d be like to come play close to home.
Boston College guard DeMarr Langford
6’5”, 220 lbs, junior
2022-2023 Stats: 28.2 MPG, 7.0 PPG, 2.8 RPG, 1.8 APG, 44% FG, 26% 3FG
Langford is a kid the Irish have recently been reported to have been talking to, as Jon Rothstein tweeted just this week that ND was among the programs showing interest.
Boston College transfer DeMarr Langford tells me that he's receiving interest from the following programs:— Jon Rothstein (@JonRothstein) April 12, 2023
Langford is a junior guard who’s spent the last few years languishing on the Boston College Eagles, and is similar to Newman in terms of the length and athleticism he’d bring to the table rather than shooting ability, considering his 26% mark from 3-point range last season.
Originally a 4-star, top-115 guard in the 2020 247sports composite rankings, Langford attended Brewster Academy in New Hampshire, which just so happens to be the same high school as Carey Booth.
It’s unclear how far this will go or if Langford is truly interested in the Irish, but it’s good to see Shrewsberry casting a wide net for really good athletes to go with some really skilled shooters and talented big men.
2024 Recruits Who Recently Earned/Re-Earned ND Offers
Along with the above 2023 recruits and transfer portal targets, Shrewsberry has also wasted no time in reaching out to some additional 2024 guys to get recruiting ratcheted up for this fall/winter’s signing period.
The one I’m most excited to mention, of course, is a 4-star, top-100 small forward from North Carolina by the name of...SIR MOHAMMED!!!
Blessed to be re-offered a scholarship by the new staff at Notre Dame. @CoachJonesMPB @MyersPark_Hoops @TeamCurry pic.twitter.com/bdTQDlF3Ys— Sir Mohammed (@thesirmohammed) April 10, 2023
Technically, the Irish had already offered him under the Brey regime, but it sounds like there’s a renewed focus on him under Shrewsberry, considering he felt the need to tweet about the re-offer.
Landing this kid would be one of the best name additions to Notre Dame athletics since C’Bo Flemister, y’all.
Shrewsberry has also made a point to offer 3-star guard Cole Certa...
Blessed to have received an offer from the University of Notre Dame! #gofightingirish pic.twitter.com/l6dx2B3Xtr— Cole Certa (@ColeCerta) April 10, 2023
As well as 4-star point guard Daquan Davis, who was considered by some to be a Penn State lean prior to Shrewsberry leaving for Notre Dame.
2024 @SJCBoysHoops/@TTOBasketball Daquan Davis (@theedaquandavis) has received an offer from Notre Dame. HC Micah Shrewsberry & staff prioritized Davis at Penn State. Expecting the efforts to remain as the . pic.twitter.com/KBJEv24UUP— Colby Giacubeno (@ColbyGHoops) April 10, 2023
There’s still plenty of time for Shrewsberry and whomever he officially hires as his staff to offer more 2024 kids and/or put in the work to land any of the above guys or some of the others who have ND offers, but it’s fun to see this staff getting after it ASAP right after Micah Shrewsberry took over the program.
Furthermore, it’s starting to look like next season will at least not be a complete disaster, as many were wondering if the new coach would even be able to field a full team of scholarship-level guys.
Instead, we’re looking at a roster that definitely won’t scare too many in the ACC, but also won’t be a bunch of pushovers, considering it’ll likely be Ven-Allen Lubin, J.R. Konieczny, Matt Zona, Tony Sanders Jr., Markus Burton, Carey Booth, Logan Imes, Braeden Shrewsberry, and probably 2-3 transfers that could include Kebba Njie, Brandon Newman, Joe Girard III, Austin Nunez, etc.
We’ll keep you all posted as all this recruiting by Shrewsberry develops, but at least for now it’s exciting to see Notre Dame competing with all the rest to bring in talent in any way possible to start turning things around immediately.