Class Impact: Elite Guard JJ Starling To Notre Dame

Breaking down how the commitment of JJ Starling impacts the Notre Dame class and roster
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Notre Dame landed a huge commitment for its 2022 class when La Porte (Ind.) La Lumiere School guard JJ Starling gave them a verbal commitment. Starling is originally from Baldwinsville, New York and is a consensus top 40 player. He chose the Irish over Duke, Syracuse, Stanford, Northwestern and Maryland.

Let’s break down how this commitment impacts the 2022 Notre Dame recruiting class.

Notre Dame Class Impact

Starling, a 6-foot-4 combo guard, is the second commitment in the 2022 class for Notre Dame coach Mike Brey. Starling is ranked as the 33rd best player in the country on the 247Sports composite list and is ranked 40th by Rivals. ESPN ranks him as the nation's 27th best prospect. Dom Campbell, a 6-8 forward from Phillips Exeter Academy in Exeter, New Hampshire, is their other commitment. Campbell is a consensus top 100 player.

Starling is a huge pickup for the Irish for two reasons. Brey beat out Duke, which rarely happens, for a recruit and barring the unforeseen, he’ll arrive on campus as a starter. 

The dominoes bounced Notre Dame’s way when Jaden Schutt, a 6-5 shooting guard from Illinois, committed to Duke last month. These sorts of wins, beating out Duke for a recruit, can help down the road with other elite players. Last year, Starling averaged 14.9 points at La Lumiere, a prep school that has a roster full of Division I players. As a sophomore at Bakers High School in New York, Starling averaged 28.6 points and six rebounds.

The Irish have seven seniors on the roster and six are guards. They are Robby Carmody, Dane Goodwin, Cormac Ryan, Prentiss Hubb and Trey Wertz. It’s a weird situation, though. Each has at least a year of eligibility left because of the Covid 19 exception that granted athletes an extra year of eligibility because their seasons were disrupted.

Brey has said he doesn’t know who will or won’t return for next season. It sounds like Brey is going to figure it out as he goes in terms of bringing in new players. To have the right mix of veterans and young players, it would seem that Notre Dame would need to add at least one or two more more players in the class of 2022. It’s all really a guess at this point, though. 

Hubb plays point guard. If he leaves, Starling could step in and play point guard. If he doesn’t leave, Starling could be part of a three, four or even five-guard rotation at times. It just depends on which players are left on the team. Whether or not Hubb leaves after this season, what we know is that once he departs Notre Dame needs a lead guard to replace him, and Starling could absolutely fill that void.

Notre Dame Fit

Starling is the quintessential scorer. He’s a good shooter but his offensive game is complete. He can use either hand off the dribble to score. He’s able to curl off screens, elevate and make 3-pointers, or he can make them in transition. Starling has a great first step, and he’s not afraid to play through contact to get his shot off or draw fouls. 

Starling has been a scorer in high school and prep school. He’ll have to work at the distributing part of his game if he plays point guard. Starling’s game is similar to former Notre Dame guard Jerian Grant. Grant was a combo guard on the 2015 team that lost to Kentucky in the Elite 8. 

Brey is the best in the business at getting teams to play with offensive efficiency and making them share the basketball. This is the kind of guard that should dominate 

Defensively, it’s typically a leap for any prep player to make the transition to college. Starling has all the skills necessary to be a good defensive player. He’ll just need to develop them. 

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