Notre Dame basketball team lands spring commitment

Notre Dame basketball coach Mike Brey(Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images)
Notre Dame basketball coach Mike Brey(Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images) /

Mike Brey and the Notre Dame basketball program added their third commitment in the 2020 class this morning, and it was a nice surprise

Anyone that follows the Notre Dame basketball program has been disappointed over the last few seasons – both on the court and in recruiting. A year after bringing in his best class from a rankings standpoint, Brey whiffed in 2019. The 2018-2019 team won only three games in conference play and finished with one of the worst records during Brey’s tenure.

This past season, the program started to turn the corner, as the vaunted 2018 class became more comfortable during their sophomore campaign – finishing .500 in the conference and an overall record of 20-12 before COVID-19 ended the season abruptly.

On the recruiting end of things, the Notre Dame basketball team added two big men to the fold during the fall signing period in Matt Zona and Elijah Taylor, but it has been relatively quiet since  – much to the malign of the fan base. Of course, Stanford transfer Cormac Ryan is also in the fold for next year as well.

The staff missed out on longtime target Hunter Dickinson who opted instead to go to Michigan, and the same happened with wing target Terrance Williams. They’ve put their name in the basket with a few other recruits, William Jeffress most notably, but the proper traction has never been there.

Just a week ago, it was being reported the staff was content with the group of guys returning next year and that a transfer or third 2020 commitment wasn’t necessarily likely. However, since that was floated around, Notre Dame’s name has been mentioned with a few recruits and transfers. Enter Tony Sanders Jr.

Sanders is a wing prospect out of Gulliver Prep in Miami, Florida. The staff officially offered on March 31st and things evidently moved very quickly. He announced on his Instagram page earlier today his commitment to the Irish – making him the third pledge of the 2020 class and the highest-ranked of the three. rates him as the 198th ranked prospect in the country and 222nd in their composite ranking. This also ensures, that as of right now, the Notre Dame basketball team is adding more guys (4) than they are losing (3) for a team that simply needs some extra bodies.

Sanders stands at 6’7″ and weighs around 190-pounds. He holds offers from Dayton, Florida State, Georgia, Georgia Tech, South Carolina and Xavier among several other programs. While I haven’t been able to dissect his film a whole bunch yet, from the clips I’ve seen, he brings an instant boost to the athleticism of the team and has good potential in all three facets of the game. His length to play the 3 and even the 4 in Brey’s system is good on both ends of the court, and he offers an above-the-rim aspect to his game the team currently lacks.

It’s hard to say if Sanders will play a prominent role from the onset with Goodwin, Ryan, Carmody, Laszewski, and Djogo all set to return, but it should be easy to find minutes for this type of prospect. I would expect by year two he is in the rotation in some capacity, and by the time he is an upperclassman he will be a really quality player that helps Brey’s team “stay old”.

While Sanders certainly provides some more depth, don’t be surprised if the staff still brings in a transfer or another 2020 prospect as well. Kentucky transfer Johnny Zujang recently announced a top 6 with Notre Dame in it, although he seems more likely to move out west. Also, Santa Clara transfer Trey Wertz released a top 11 that included Notre Dame. The staff is definitely looking to add some talent whether that be by grad transfers or normal.

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Notre Dame Men’s Hoops got better today with the commitment of Tony Sanders Jr. and it was definitely a nice way to kick off April and take our minds off the tough times.