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Notre Dame Men’s Basketball: Northwestern Transfer Julian Roper II Commits to the Fighting Irish

FINALLY, the Irish add someone from the portal instead of subtracting — the rebuild is ON

NCAA Basketball: Wisconsin at Northwestern David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

Well folks, after watching the Notre Dame Fighting Irish roster continue to be decimated by departures — including Ven-Allen Lubin’s announcement of entering the transfer portal yesterday — there’s finally some good news in terms of beginning to build the team back up with newcomers, as sophomore guard Julian Roper II has committed to play for Micah Shrewsberry.

Roper played the first two seasons of his collegiate career for the Northwestern Wildcats as a solid rotational guy, averaging 20 minutes per game as a true freshman and then 21.5 minutes as a sophomore on the Wildcats’ second-ever tournament team in 2022-2023.

A 6’3” guard from the Detroit area, Roper averaged 4.4 points, 3.7 rebounds, 1.1 assists, and 0.7 steals per game this past year, and managed to shoot 45% from the field and 42% from long range while playing in only 15 games due to an ankle injury he suffered in February.

NCAA Basketball: Nebraska at Northwestern David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

Roper was a 3-star recruit when he signed on to play for Chris Collins as part of Northwestern’s 2021 recruiting class, ranked 155th in the 247sports composite rankings as the #38 shooting guard in the class and the #5 player in Michigan. He held other offers from Wisconsin, Alabama, DePaul, Illinois, Iowa, Maryland, Missouri, Ohio State, and Toledo, so he’s always been considered a solid prospect.

He’s also the son of college athletes (always helps to have good genes), as his father Julian Sr. played football at Grand Valley State and his mother Kelli did some hooping of her own at Central State University.

Roper may not be a massively splashy transfer portal commitment compared to what the top programs have been landing of late, but he’s a young, athletic guard who looks like a guy who can play solid defense, shoot the ball a little bit, and also slash to the hoop and score at the rim when needed.

He’s a welcome addition to the depleted Irish roster for the 2023-2024 season, and at least right now he stands to be a HEAVY contributor and maybe even a starter with his experience and athleticism, depending on what other guys Shrewsberry and co. land in the portal and in the 2023 class.

As of now, the definite roster looks like it will be Matt Zona, J.R. Konieczny, Tony Sanders Jr., Markus Burton, Braeden Shrewsberry, walk-on Alex Wade, and now Roper. Assuming the Irish land 2023 recruits Carey Booth and Logan Imes as expected, it will be interesting to see who else the new ND staff is able to convince to sign up to help lead this rebuild. Kebba Njie, Austin Nunez, Joe Girard III, Brandon Newman, DeMarr Langford, and a few others have all been mentioned as possibilities to varying degrees.

No matter who else ends up signing, this is big for Shrewsberry to land his first ND commitment that didn’t come from his own family tree, and will hopefully begin building some momentum for other commitments over the next couple weeks, considering the crystal balls that have begun rolling in for guys like Booth, Imes, etc.