Mike Brey has picked up a recruiting victory that the Notre Dame program truly needed as it looks forward to a future in the ACC.
2013 point guard Demetrius Jackson, who hails from nearby Mishawaka, Indiana, has committed to the school as first reported by both Dave Telep of ESPN.com and Paul Klee of the Champaign News-Gazette.
Jackson, heralded as one of the top point guards in the class by all the major scouting services, chose the Fighting Irish over Illinois.
If you’re looking for a comparison to make in Jackson’s recruitment from an importance standpoint for Notre Dame look no further than the centerpiece of Notre Dame’s women’s basketball team.
Senior point guard Skylar Diggins is a South Bend native and while in high school was one of the most sought-after players in the country.
Head coach Muffet McGraw and her staff succeeded in keeping Diggins home and its led the program to back-to-back national title game appearances.
It would be a bit unfair to put national contender expectations on Jackson’s shoulders, but from an importance standpoint he was a player that Brey and his staff could not allow to play his college basketball somewhere else.
Jackson’s commitment pushes the number up to three in the 2013 class for Notre Dame, joining small forwards V.J. Beachem and Steve Vasturia.
And Notre Dame won’t be lacking for talented options on the perimeter when these three arrive on campus either, as Eric Atkins, Jerian Grant, Pat Connaughton and Cameron Biedscheid will all have eligibility remaining.
With practices beginning this weekend, not only are players looking to avoid the injury bug but their coaches are as well. And in the case of Memphis, the Tigers won’t have one of their assistants on the court for a little while due to a knee injury.
Assistant coach Damon Stoudamire, who returned to Josh Pastner’s staff this summer after a two-year stint at Arizona, suffered the injury during a recent workout according to L. Jason Smith of the Memphis Commercial-Appeal. And Stoudamire will require surgery, which will put him on the shelf for a little bit.
“He was working out himself and I think he thought he was in his rookie year,” Pastner said. “We think he’s got a torn meniscus, which will require surgery and put him out for a couple of days.”
Stoudamire isn’t the only assistant coach working through pain either. Syracuse’s Mike Hopkins, who is also Jim Boeheim’s heir apparent as head coach, suffered a neck injury body surfing during a family vacation last month. Hopkins spent some time in a neck brace while putting players through workouts as a result of the injury.
As for the Tigers, they’ll have a mixture of experience on the perimeter and youth in the front court as they look to get back to the NCAA tournament after missing out last season. Among the newcomers are talented forwards Dedric and K.J. Lawson, with experienced guards such as Kedren Johnson, Trahson Burrell and Ricky Tarrant (grad transfer from Alabama) expected to be key contributors on the perimeter.
Duke is coming off of a national championship but the roster will look almost completely different for the 2015-16 season. That means last season’s approach to things on the offensive and defensive end will have to change and head coach Mike Krzyzewski mentioned to reporters on Friday how the Blue Devils are still figuring some things out.
“We’re putting in a different offensive system, to personalize it for these guys,” Krzyzewski said to reporters. “And a different defensive system so that we can max out on the talents that they have.
“We’re really proud of our team. I think we’re going to be a really good team.”
Without Jahlil Okafor in the middle, Duke’s offense could shift to a mostly perimeter-oriented team, as the wing and guard depth is superior for this year’s group. Coach K and his staff making adjustments to schemes to fit personnel is a nice move from the Hall of Famer, as he’s done a better job in recent years of making adjustments like this after his stint with USA Basketball.
As the program moves on from Okafor, Tyus Jones, Justise Winslow and Quinn Cook, it’ll be intriguing to see who emerges as a potential go-to offensive player early in the season and how Duke’s offense potentially evolves as the season wears on.