Death, taxes, and a white shooting guard at Notre Dame!! Big news in the land of ND basketball with the recent commitment by Alex Dragicevich to the class of 2010. I think it's a good signing even while acknowledging that this type of player is right in Mike Brey's wheelhouse. White guys who can light it up from outside are attracted to the Mike Brey system like moths to a flame. It sounds like Dragicevich can really shoot, but a lot of the "foot speed" and "athleticism" issues that typically pop up when describing ND basketball players are also listed in his profile.
I can understand where a cynic might be coming from when evaluating a recruit like Draicevich. For the most part, we've seen what these types of players are going to do for a Mike Brey-coached team. They're going to give you white hot shooting when they're open, but their lack of athleticism hurts our team defense and our ability to create off the dribble. Guys like Falls and McAlarney could go off for 25-30 points at any time, but they also got abused regularly on the defensive side and often got taken out of the game if the other team took away their three point shooting. If you want to win in March, you gotta lock people up defensively. And with teams getting in your face defensively, you need athletes who can get to the bucket and score or create their own shot.
With that said, I don't have a problem with this signing. I'm happy to get Dragicevich. We are what we with Mike Brey, and he's not going to change the type of player he wants to recruit overnight. Believe it or not, Brey is about to enter his 10th season. I was taken aback when I realized that, but it's true. Look it up. We pretty much know what we're getting from Mike Brey. Good offensive teams that are always competitive, but also don't defend that well and generally wear down at the end of the year from the starters playing too many minutes.
That's why I'm not all that bothered about signing a guy like Dragicevich. He's a perfect fit for the Mike Brey system, and we've seen guys just like him have success under Brey. If Brey is going to be the coach of this team, he might as well get the best players he can to run his system. Brey is never going to build a team of athletes and play 9-10 guys a game and lock people up. That's just not the type of team he likes. Maybe that's not a good thing for Notre Dame basketball, but I also don't expect Brey to bring in recruits that don't fit in his system.
Dragicevich is a good prospect. He can shoot, he's got size, and he's a competitor. I like that he's a bigger guy along the lines of a Matt Carroll. McAlarney was a great scorer, but he was really a shooting guard in a point guard's body and couldn't guard any two guard in the Big East. And once teams started face guarding McAlarney and taking away the open three, he couldn't adjust.
With Dragicevich and Eric Atkins signed for 2010, let's take a look at that 2010-11 roster as it stands today.
PG - Eric Atkins (fr)
SG - Ben Hansbrough (sr)
SF - Scott Martin (jr)
PF - Tyrone Nash (sr)
C - Tom Knight (so)
Bench: Joey Brooks (so), Carl Scott (jr), Tim Abromaitis (jr), Jack Cooley (so), Mike Broghammer (so), Alex Dragicevich (fr)
Man, a lot of stuff is going to have to come together for that team to be good. I think Hansbrough and Martin will be a strong nucleus, but it's too early to tell on any of those ND big men (Cooley, Knight, Brog). If one or two of those guys can be productive, we'd have a decent crew of big men. We're going to find out a lot about some of these underclassmen this upcoming season. Sounds like Tom Knight could be in the mix right away.
Two wildcards there would be Abro and Carl Scott. If both those guys make the leap this year, we could really have some quality depth in 2010 and 2011. Would Brey play 8-9 guys consistently if he has bodies that he can trust?? I think Abro could be the sleeper of this team in 2009, and he might even sneak into the mix in the power forward spot. Everything about Abro screams out a Rob Kurz type career.
The other key would be the point guard situation. Think about the Mike Brey era. He likes to play his point guards 35+ minutes a game. Would Atkins be the starting point guard from day one?? Is Brooks going to be in the mix?? Would Hansbrough move to the point with Brooks at shooting guard?? Should be interesting.
And of course there's always the questions surrounding Mike Brey's future at ND. I think ND will be an NCAA Tournament team in the 09-10 season, but it's far from a given. If Brey misses the tournament again in Harangody's senior year, he might not be around in 2010 to coach this team.
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