Notre Dame Basketball: Get Old and Stay Old Works in South Bend.

NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 06: Rex Pflueger
NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 06: Rex Pflueger /

Notre Dame basketball’s lack of “one and done” players isn’t a bad thing.

You may have noticed that this year’s Final Four wasn’t exactly the showcase of NBA talent that some might have expected. Aside from obvious no Notre Dame basketball, there was also no Duke, no Kentucky and no Arizona.

In the one and done era, we sometimes get caught up in admiring the impressive collections of new talent rather than looking favorably on teams that have been together for years. In this year’s final weekend, the highest ranking freshman from the 2017 class to get to San Antonio was Jermaine Samuels of Villanova — the No. 42 recruit in the nation. He logged less than one minute in the championship game.

Another trend over the last few years which has everyone uneasy is the amount of transfers every year in Division 1 basketball. The current number for this year is 405. The mid-majors have basically become a minor league farm system for the power 6 conferences. In a world where high school recruits are allegedly receiving a cool $100K for their John Hancock, it certainly isn’t outside the realm of possibilities that power 6 coaches are tampering with mid-major rosters by contacting players and making them offers.

Things are different in South Bend.

There is a method to assembling an NCAA basketball team’s roster. You never want to be too heavy on guards, big men or wings in one particular class. You also never want to have a situation where you are signing too many players to a single class. Typically the largest class you see is around five.

There are certain examples that stick out, however. Last year, Pittsburgh brought in nine players while Duke and Kentucky  regularly sign five and six man classes — but those are outliers. In the current college basketball landscape of rampant transfers and almost certain tampering, Mike Brey has blazed his own path and subscribed to a particular method: Get old and stay old.

The GOSO concept isn’t a new one. It is basically the mantra of every mid major program that hopes to make the tournament every 4-6 years. In the power 6 however, it is not typically prevalent. It is a concept that Josh Pastner is currently trying to adopt at Georgia Tech as well, as he has used Notre Dame as a specific example of how he intends to build his roster.

Since the 2010-11 season, Coach Mike Brey has lost only four players to transfer that he brought into the program as freshman. One of those players, France native Eric Katenda was forced to leave the program after an injury left him blind in his left eye. Brey has had zero one and done players. In fact, he hasn’t had any two and done players! Demetrious Jackson was the only player I could find that declared early, and that was after his junior campaign.

At the conclusion of this year’s Final Four, there was a lot of Twitter chatter about how Jay Wright shifted his tactics from recruiting five star, future lottery pick recruits, to guys that “he could actually coach.” Mike Brey has been doing that all along. Landing multi-year, high end talents such as Jackson, Jerian Grant and DJ Harvey — while also identifying underappreciated players he can develop like Bonzie Colson. He was rated a 3-star player coming out of high school.

Since 2010-11 (I just picked that year out of a hat by the way), Coach Brey has compiled a 192-89 record — including seven 20 win seasons — and has never lost in the first round of his six NCAA tournament appearances.

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The GOSO method seems to be working in South Bend and I think Irish fans prefer it be that way instead of getting to know six new freshman every single season.

I know I do.