Tag: Mike Brey

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Notre Dame lands four-star 2016 point guard Temple Gibbs Jr.


With Jerian Grant out of eligibility and Demetrius Jackson due to be a junior next season, adding a point guard in the Class of 2016 would help Notre Dame moving forward. Sunday night head coach Mike Brey and his staff received a commitment from four-star point guard Temple Gibbs Jr., who is the first commit in the 2016 class for the Fighting Irish.

News of Gibbs’ commitment was first reported by Rivals.com, with Gibbs announcing the news on social media shortly thereafter.

Gibbs will be the third family member to play Division I college basketball when he arrives in South Bend in 2016. The oldest brother, Ashton, played four seasons at Pittsburgh and middle brother Sterling is looking for a school to complete his college career at after playing one season at Texas and two at Seton Hall.

Like those two, 6-foot-3 Temple attends Seton Hall Prep in West Orange, New Jersey and was a key target for a number of high-major programs. Among those programs were Oklahoma, Iowa, UConn, St. John’s, Providence, Georgetown and Virginia. But it’s Notre Dame, which hosted Gibbs on a visit this past weekend, that did what it needed to do to land Gibbs.

And given the point guard position for them moving forward, this is an important development for the Fighting Irish.

With Jackson expected to lead the way offensively for a team that lost both Grant and Pat Connaughton from last season’s ACC champion team (they also reached the Elite Eight), a big year for him in 2015-16 could leave Notre Dame with an even greater need at the point. 6-foot-1 Matt Farrell will have eligibility remaining, as he’ll be a sophomore next season. But landing a player in Gibbs who can both score and distribute the basketball gives Notre Dame some much-needed depth at the position.

Gibbs averaged 19.9 points, four rebounds and 3.2 assists per game as a junior, earning second team all-state honors from NJ.com. He plays his grassroots basketball for the Playaz Basketball Club, and in Nike EYBL play Gibbs is averaging 13.6 points, 3.6 rebounds and 2.6 assists per contest.

No. 3 Notre Dame knocks off No. 7 Wichita State to get to the Elite 8

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For the first time since 1979, the Notre Dame Fighting Irish are headed to the Elite 8.

And man, did they make a statement along the way.

With 16:41 left in the game, No. 7 Wichita State completed their comeback from an early 13-point deficit, using a 6-0 spurt to take a 38-37 lead, their first of the game. It would also be their last lead of the game, as No. 3 Notre Dame hit eight straight shots and 15 of their next 17 field goals as they went on a game-winning 38-16 run over the course of the next 12 minutes.

Notre Dame would go on to win 81-70.

“We got going a little bit,” head coach Mike Brey said in his postgame interview on CBS. “We guarded to get out of here, and then we got into one of those offensive rhythms.”

Demetrius Jackson was terrific for the Irish, finishing with 20 points and three assists, while Pat Connaughton added 16 points and 10 boards, but the real star of the night was Jerian Grant, who made the evisceration of a good Shocker defense seem effortless.

Grant had nine points and 11 assists while committing just two turnovers, putting on a clinic in how to run the pick-and-roll. Wichita State put Tekele Cotton on Grant, and he actually did a pretty good job in limiting the first-team all-american’s ability to score. But what the Irish do offensively is to spread the floor with shooters, which created quite a bit of space for center Zach Auguste rolling to the rim; Auguste was 6-for-6 from the floor and had 15 points. When Wichita State’s defense slid over to help, Grant picked out those shooters, as the Irish went 9-for-19 from beyond the arc.

The question that everyone is going to ask after seeing Notre Dame put on this kind of offensive clinic is whether or not the Irish can get to the Final Four, a path that, you would assume, runs through No. 1 Kentucky. The conversation is going to be dominated by talk of whether or not the Irish can actually get that win, but for now, it may be moot.

At least to Notre Dame.

Brey is a terrific basketball coach, a guy that has won more than 400 career games in his 15 seasons at Notre Dame, but his relative lack of tournament success has left him the butt of jokes. This is Brey’s first trip to the Elite 8, and it was only the second time at Notre Dame that he even reached the second weekend, the first since 2003. And given what he’s been through this week, with his mother passing away the day of Notre Dame’s win over No. 6 Butler, what choice does Brey have beyond living in the moment.

Frankly, I don’t think who they play matters to Brey, who, according to reporters in Cleveland, walked into the press room early and, when told he could wait for his turn at the podium in a back room, asked, “Is there a bar in it?”

He’s not worried about who he plays. He’s just happy to be playing another game.

As he told CBS after the game, “see you Saturday, baby.”

Mike Brey’s mother died the morning of Notre Dame’s win over Butler


Minutes after his No. 3 Notre Dame team beat No. 6 Butler in an overtime thriller, head coach Mike Brey announced that his mother, Betty, had died early on Saturday morning.

Betty Brey died of a heart attack. She was 84 years old.

The news puts into context just how important sports truly are. The win was arguably the most important of Brey’s career. This may be the best team that he’s ever had at Notre Dame, a program that has developed a reputation for struggling in the NCAA tournament under his watch. For the first time since 2003, Brey will lead the Irish into the Sweet 16, and it comes on the same day that his mother passes away.

Betty Brey lived quite a life. She was a world class swimmer, qualifying for the Olympic trials at 15 and competing in the 1956 Olympics. At one point, she held a world record in the butterfly.

“It was kind of a tribute to her, it was really a special night,” Brey said of Saturday. “She was an unbelievable woman, a woman ahead of her time.”

“I think she was definitely with us down the stretch.”

I want to share a quick story about Brey. Back in 2008, when I was still bartending full time while trying to launch a website, Brey and his wife actually came into the bar on a random day during the week for lunch. We knew some of the same people — he recruited a player, Tim Abromaitis, from the same AAU program that I played for — and we ended up chatting for about 30 minutes, much of which was about the career I was trying to pursue.

Fast forward three years and I’m covering a Notre Dame game for NBC. I go to introduce myself again, assuming he had no recollection of our chat, but Brey remembered who I was and asked about my website, my job, whatever. Not that I’m someone important now, but back then I was freelancing for NBC and running a site that maxed out at 75,000 uniques per month. That day at the bar I was nothing but another random kid trying to find his way, and Brey not only took the time to talk with me then, but remembered it three years later.

Brey told reporters on Saturday night that he’ll spend Sunday with his family celebrating his mother’s life.