Notre Dame had a busy week on the recruiting trail, as the Fighting Irish basketball staff threw out a number of offers to some of the nation’s best players.
It had been just under a year since Notre Dame last offered a 2021 basketball player, but the coaching staff dished out two new offers late last week. The first of the two offers went out to known longtime target Jordan Hawkins from Hyattsville (Md.) DeMatha Catholic. The second to Montverde (Fla.) Montverde Academy DaRon Holmes II.
JORDAN HAWKINS, GUARD
Hawkins, a top 50 shooting guard from a familiar program in DeMatha, is 6-5, 170-pounds with a sweet stroke. That is his calling card, and a big reason why he would fit perfectly into the Notre Dame offense. He has beautiful shooting mechanics from deep, and could be someone that transitions into a 40%+ three-point shooter at the collegiate level.
He also has an advanced feel for his pull up jump shot, and is equally dangerous from 15-18 feet out. Where improvement is needed at the next level is around the basket. Hawkins is a smooth athlete and shows why he can be an effective slasher and finisher in time, but at the prep level it isn’t a huge part of his repertoire.
In Mike Brey’s scheme he can play the one through three spots effectively with his size and length. While he isn’t as tall, his game resembles that of former Notre Dame wing V.J. Beachem. By the time Beachem was an upperclassmen, he was one of the ACC best shooters and showcased his above the rim capabilities on a more regular basis. A similar trajectory for Hawkins would be a welcomed addition to South Bend.
The DeMatha star will announce his top list of schools on August 1st, and according to a source, Notre Dame is expected to make the cut. While the offer was given out just yesterday, the Irish coaching staff has prioritized Hawkins for a while. His top considerations include Louisville, Xavier, Seton Hall and Marquette among several others.
DARON HOLMES II, FORWARD
The No. 30 recruit in the country on Rivals, DaRon Holmes II received the second 2021 offer of the week, and the vibe early on is the interest is genuine by both parties. Originally from Arizona, Holmes announced in the spring his plans to transfer to national power Montverde Academy in Florida for his final year of prep basketball.
The dynamic power forward is not the typical big man Notre Dame finds themselves in the thick of things with. While he can step back beyond the three-point line and make shots, he is equally adept at driving past defenders from the top of the key and finishing at the rim. Listed at 6-8, 205-pounds, he is a long athlete that should be able to defend and block shots at the college level at an effective rate. He is also a good enough athlete to guard the three through five spots, especially in Brey’s four around one system.
One thing working in Notre Dame’s favor is Holmes’ family ties to the university. His dad didn’t play basketball in South Bend, but he graduated from Notre Dame. The competition will certainly be there, however. Holmes holds offers from many of the nation’s top programs, including Kansas and Virginia.
It won’t be an easy task to land either of these two elite 2021 basketball prospects. Notre Dame is offering them much later in the process than many of the other programs in consideration. Brey recently came out and said that Notre Dame basketball will not allow recruits on campus in the fall for official or unofficial visits, further adding to that uphill climb. These two join South Bend (Ind.) Riley shooting guard Blake Wesley as the top targets for Notre Dame, and pairing even one of these three with South Bend (Ind.) Saint Joseph’s small forward J.R. Konieczny should be seen as a major recruiting win.
The Notre Dame coaching staff was especially busy with the 2022 class, handing out four new offers in the class of 2022, adding to the three offers given out at the beginning of the 2022 contact period in June. Four-star and Top 100 power forward Isaac Traudt out of Grand Island (Neb.) Senior was the first to report the offer on social media yesterday, and he was followed closely by fellow Top 100 power forwards Ben Middlebrooks of Fort Lauderdale (Fla.) Westminster Academy and Kyle Filipowski of Wilbraham (Mass.) Wilbraham & Monson. The last 2022 athlete to post an offer was five-star point guard Jaden Bradley out of Bradenton (Fla.) IMG Academy.
JADEN BRADLEY, GUARD
Starting with the five-star guard, Bradley is one of the more impressive recruits in the country. Originally from North Carolina, Bradley transferred to IMG Academy for his final two years of prep ball. At 6-3, 170-pounds, he already possesses good height and length for a point guard at the Power 5 level, but what sets him apart is his impressive athleticism.
Bradley runs the floor well and is dynamic in the fast break; consistently attacking to the basket with ease or finding the open man for easy buckets. He is also an instinctive defender, and on film he is often seen creating turnovers for his team.
Bradley is a very unselfish player which lends himself well to be a floor general when he reaches college, but don’t mistake that for him not being aggressive either. He knows when to score and when to hit his teammates for open looks. Simply put, Bradley is not the type of recruit Notre Dame typically lands, but for what the Irish do well he would be a tremendous asset to the program; whether that be as a one-and-done or multi-year player.
ISAAC TRAUDT, FORWARD
The first offer of the day on Friday went out to Nebraska big man Isaac Traudt, and there might not be a more perfect fit for Brey’s system in 2022. Traudt currently plays point guard for his high school team and pretty much does everything well on the court. He can defend multiple spots on the court with his length and athleticism, and he is a unique offensive weapon. If Brey wanted him to be a primary ball handler, he could perform well in that role, and if he wanted him to be the primary big on the court I wouldn’t put it past him to succeed.
Part of the reason Traudt is so uniquely talented is the growth spurt he went through since entering high school. He told Irish Breakdown that he came into high school at 6-2, and now entering his junior season he stands at just over 6-9 and weighs 195-pounds. Assistant Coach Ryan Humphrey has been his primary recruiter thus far, and then on Friday morning he was able to get on the phone with Coach Brey and receive his offer. Here is what he had to say about possibly playing at Notre Dame.
“I think Notre Dame would be good for me,” he told Irish Breakdown. “I am definitely interested in them, so I will hopefully get out for a visit there at some point. I like the way they play, and I think they would really compliment my game.”
BEN MIDDLEBROOKS, FORWARD
The second reported offer the day went out to another versatile big man, and another sunshine state product. Ben Middlebrooks is a player Irish Breakdown knew was on Notre Dame’s radar and it came as no surprise that the staff pulled the trigger. Much like Traudt and the other power forward we will talk about later in Kyle Filipowski, he is a versatile big and can do many things well on the basket course.
Middlebrooks will likely remind many Notre Dame fans of recent standout John Mooney, in that he is an athlete that will mix it up down low, but can also hover around the perimeter and hit the three ball on a consistent basis. He is listed at 6-8, 190-pounds, but he definitely looks physically bigger than that on film and I wouldn’t be surprised if he was closer to 215-220 pounds right now. Middlebrooks and Traudt would compliment each other nicely as the four and five in Brey’s system.
KYLE FILIPOWSKI, FORWARD
Lastly, we have the third power forward offer the staff handed out this past week and he is a kid that offers many of the same attributes as the aforementioned targets. I had the opportunity to speak with Filipowski a few weeks ago, and then again yesterday after he received the offer. He describes himself as an all-around player that is just as likely to hit a three as he is to face up or post up down low.
Already physically developed at 6-10, 215-pounds he can probably gain another 15-20 pounds and retain his high level athleticism. Filipowski was one of the first 2022 athletes to receive a phone call from Brey on June 15th, and Brey called him again Friday with the good news.
“Coach Brey called me earlier today to catch up,” he stated. “We were talking about hopping on a zoom call, so I can see the campus and learn more about the program. After we talked about making those plans, he told me he wanted to offer me a scholarship.
“My high school coach feels like I would fit in great into their style of play”, he continued. “Notre Dame is absolutely a school I would consider, and I am always open to learning more about a program and seeing what they have to offer.”
With the four offers out in 2022 on Friday, that brings the offer list up to seven in the class. That is already two more than they have offered in the 2021 cycle, and more names should be entering the mix in the coming weeks as well. Right now, it is too early to tell how many and who will have major interest in Notre Dame and vice versa. However, all seven guys fit both the Notre Dame culture and Brey’s system well. Landing a few of these young athletes would be a major boost to the future of the program.
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