Notre Dame basketball: Irish need JJ Starling to start in Year 1

The Notre Dame basketball team made a run to the Second Round of the 2022 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament, but what will they do for an encore?

During the 2021-22 college basketball season, Notre Dame basketball looked to be dead in the water heading to their game against Kentucky. However, head coach Mike Brey decided to insert Blake Wesley, a true freshman, into the starting lineup, and the rest is history.

Wesley would end up with the game-winning bucket against the Wildcats, and the Irish would go on a run that would make them one of the hottest teams in the country. That run landed them in the First Four, and when all was said and done, they nearly made it to the Sweet Sixteen.

Unfortunately, we will not see Year 2 from Wesley, and he was one-and-done and is expected to be a first-round draft pick in the 2022 NBA Draft. However, the Irish have a talented player coming in via their latest recruiting class that could be even better than Wesley, and that player is JJ Starling, who ranked in the top 20 in the country per

For the Irish to succeed in 2022-23, he not only needs to start right away but to dominate.

Notre Dame basketball needs Starling to start from Day 1

Starling certainly is talented enough to step on campus and be a star from Day 1, and he has some solid veterans around him in the backcourt. Cormac Ryan returns, as does Dane Goodwin, while Trey Wertz figures to play a key role off the bench once more.

A pure scorer who can fill it up from anywhere, Starling is in a great position to succeed, and with Wesley gone, the Irish are going to have to find a way to find the points he took with him when he left.

Notre Dame basketball got huge news when Nate Laszewski decided to return, and that should bolster their frontcourt. Matt Zona needs to step into a larger role in 2022-23 as well, but overall, the talent is there for the Irish to make a return trip to the Big Dance.