NOTRE DAME COACH MIKE BREY
October 17, 2013INDIANA SPORTS PAGE
CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA
JEFF FISCHEL: We have Notre Dame head coach Mike Brey.
We've talked about this a couple times, but you never imagined the ACC would extend all the way to South Bend, Indiana.
COACH BREY: No way. Growing up a Maryland basketball fan, spending eight years in this league as an assistant at Duke, I never thought I'd be coaching in the ACC at Notre Dame. I'm thrilled, our fans are thrilled. Our team is excited about joining such a prestigious, classy league. Here we go this year.
I'm excited that we're getting in a year earlier than we first thought because I still have some experience back, namely senior guards, which hopefully can help me navigate what is going to be a new challenge for us.
JEFF FISCHEL: Questions, please.
Q. Having been a long time assistant at Duke, do you feel you have an advantage coming back?
COACH BREY: I do think I'm a little more comfortable than if we would have joined the Big Ten or the Big 12, knowing this league. Some of the venues, I only knew Cole Field House, not Maryland's new facility, Reynolds Coliseum. There's a lot of new places. There's familiarity being in those towns, the rhythm of the ACC. I've run into so many familiar faces today, media, that were covering us when I was at Duke. I think that will help.
I have two assistants that are former ACC players, one a Georgia Tech grad and one a Virginia grad. Maybe it was just meant to be.
Q. I saw a great quote on Twitter talking about your experiences under K and his propensity for eating his young.
COACH BREY: No question, he subscribes to the theory of eating his young, absolutely. We had fun this summer talking about the league. We're certainly at very different points in our careers. I'm certainly very indebted.
It was a fabulous experience, the eight years I was there, being trained to be a head coach. I was very ready then to move on to Delaware and Notre Dame, draw on those experiences every day.
Having said that, we're in it now. I'm excited about that. With Duke and Carolina now on our schedule, when I got to Notre Dame in 2000, we were kind of the whipping boy of the Big East. When we finally got to the point where we could beat a Syracuse and Connecticut, those were program, credible wins. Carolina and Duke are that now for our basketball program.
Mike and I talked a lot about the ACC on the road this summer, how it's changed, different styles of play. It's going to be neat being back on Tobacco Road.
Q. How much do you, Pitt, and Syracuse bring of the Big East to the ACC, or is it the other way around, you have to fit in?
COACH BREY: I've been asked so much about all this style of play, the ACC style, the Big East style. I think what the three of us, eventually Louisville, what the ACC is going to have that the Big East had was all kinds of styles which makes it so exciting for fans and interesting for players and challenging for coaches in their preparations.
All three of us coming in all do it a little bit differently. I hope we can add a little spice, a little variety to the league.
But the league, certainly you have Carolina and Duke, then you have a lot of programs trending up, guys that are building their programs with really good momentum.
Again, I think we become the best and deepest league right away. We're going to get a lot of bids. It's going to kind of roll over from the Big East to the ACC, in my opinion.
Q. Is it going to be strange for you to not be going back to the Garden but traveling back to North Carolina?
COACH BREY: Very strange. If there's one thing I will really miss from the Big East is the Big East tournament in the Garden. That was an amazing experience. I know there's some talk of maybe this league moving that way eventually. That I think would be really good if we could pull that off.
I also remember being an assistant at Duke, playing in Greensboro, the electricity of the ACC. I'm excited that I'll get to coach in that in the heart of ACC country.
JEFF FISCHEL: Your backcourt is phenomenal. How good does that feel as a coach?
COACH BREY: When you have guards like that, I don't want to over?coach them. I want to get those guys healthy, feed them, let them play.
As Abe Lemons said, the old Texas coach, he started off his speech by saying, If you ain't got guards, you ain't got blank. That's true. We have old guards that have played together for a while. I would add Pat Connaughton in that.
If you have good perimeter players, they give us a chance in this first year.
Q. (Indiscernible) and Cooley. Who is the next?
COACH BREY: I hope there's one brewing. May be by committee. I expect Eric, Sherman, the transfer from Michigan State. He's 23, a fifth?year senior. We really need him to do things. Zach Auguste, the young big guy.
We're going to have to do it by committee up front. Luckily for those big guys, they have some experienced guards to hold their hand and help them.
Q. Can we expect to see any surprise Notre Dame uniforms again this year?
COACH BREY: Man, we shook 'em up with those uniforms. I still hear from our alumni on those things.
Our players loved them. The guys I'm recruiting loved them more. That was enough for me.
We're going to ratchet it back a little bit. I don't think Greensboro would be the stage to break out something that loud. New York would be better.
JEFF FISCHEL: I liked them.
COACH BREY: Our players loved them. I tell you what, everybody we were recruiting, our guys loved them. Dick's Sporting Goods loved them. Everybody loved the socks. It was a little extreme. Even this football weekend with USC, alums will come up to me and say, Excited about the ACC, and by the way I didn't like the uniforms last year.
JEFF FISCHEL: When you're recruiting guys now, the message, You're in the ACC, how does that resonate?
COACH BREY: I think that's really powerful. Again, you still have the Syracuse, Pitt, Louisville thing. I still kind of count Virginia Tech, BC and Miami as Big East guys. It wasn't that long ago we were banging heads with them. Certainly BC and Notre Dame have a long history of rivalry and tradition in every sport. That's kind of reignited.
I think on the recruiting front, it's really woken people up. I'm in Big Ten country all the time. I'm fighting the Big Ten. It's Carolina, Duke, the ACC, more of those Midwest kids I think have a little more of an open mind to Notre Dame, closer to their home in the Midwest, but instead of the Big East, it's the ACC. That's been powerful.
JEFF FISCHEL: We talked a little bit about the guards, challenges in the front court. You have guys stepping in now. Talk about a freshmen class that comes in.
COACH BREY: Demetrius Jackson, McDonald's All?American from South Bend, Indiana. We haven't had a kid from South Bend that played for our team in 40 years. We were fortunate enough to keep him home, a guard that will help us right away. We'll play him with Atkins and Grant. Those three guys together give us the speed on the perimeter I don't know if we've ever had in the history of our program.
JEFF FISCHEL: V.J. as well?
COACH BREY: V.J. gives us speed. All those guys are battling for minutes. I'm really pleased. That's our next wave of perimeter when these old guys leave. I feel good we have good, young guards that will take the torch when it's time.
JEFF FISCHEL: Thank you. Good luck this season.