After one of the poorest seasons of the Mike Brey era, an empty recruiting class, and a few eyebrow-raising recruiting misses, it just feels like Notre Dame hoops needed a win. They earned a significant one on Friday night when Stanford transfer Cormac Ryan announced that he had committed to Notre Dame following a campus visit earlier this week.
The Irish narrowly missed out on Ryan the first time around, when the New York City native committed to Stanford over Notre Dame and Northwestern, including a host of other offers. Ryan was the 68th-ranked prospect in 247sports’ composite ranking of the class of 2018. That places him behind only Nate Lazsewski in Notre Dame’s excellent recruiting haul from that year. He hails from the same AAU program as Irish alum and current Milwaukee Buck Pat Connaughton and the same high school as former Irish kicker Justin Yoon.
Brey was on this one right away. He reportedly contacted Ryan minutes after he entered the transfer portal a few weeks ago. Notre Dame was the only school Ryan was reported to have visited during this brief recruitment, despite interest from Butler, Gonzaga, Marquette, Northwestern, Villanova, Virginia and a few others.
It was an up-and-down freshman season for Ryan at Stanford. He worked his way into the starting lineup but an ankle injury, the usual freshman growing pains, and a dreadful Jarod Haase offense really hampered his consistency.
Games played: 24 games, 17 starts
Per game: 8.7 points, 3.5 rebounds, 1.9 assists
Shooting: .333 FG%, .316 3FG%, .737 FT%, .457 eFG%, .484 TS%
This is from his junior year of high school. But this was the longest and most representative video I could find to put here. I’ve watched a lot more videos of Stanford highlights and his junior and senior seasons of high school. Here are my thoughts:
Effortless shooter, including off the dribble…surprisingly tight handle for such a gangly kid…can drive with either hand…capable finisher in traffic but might struggle against more imposing ACC defenders…fine athlete but not exactly a strength either…pretty fiery and chatty out there, which I really like…brings intensity to the defensive end…really good footwork as one-on-one defender and length can create problems…willing to push in transition…displays good vision and passing ability when he gets downhill
Hot take: I think he might already be the best pure, all-around basketball player on Notre Dame’s roster.
Ryan will sit the upcoming season and have three years of eligibility remaining. He essentially forms a two-man class with Robby Carmody, who are both eligible through the 2022-2023 season.
I think tremendously highly of Ryan and see this as a perfect addition for the roster and Mike Brey’s system. Once TJ Gibbs graduates, Ryan should slot in nicely to that second guard position beside Prentiss Hubb. I think it is crucial to have two guards who can run the show at all times. To me, no else on this roster really projects to be able to do that for long stretches. In that sense, Ryan fills a massive need.
More than that, I just think Ryan fits the modern mold of a guard in basketball. He’s tall and got good length, especially for the college level, and should be able to adequately switch on defense. He was a prolific shooter in high school and should have little problem extending to the deeper three-point arc as his career develops. He is comfortable enough on the ball but can play off it. He’s reminds me quite a bit of former Maryland guard and current Atlanta Hawk Kevin Huerter. Not quite as tall but brings a lot of the same skill-set and could develop into a similar type of player.
And I know he struggled his freshman year. But freshmen are generally pretty lousy shooters, and like I mentioned earlier, he was battling injuries throughout. He will also go from playing for Jarod Haase, who consistently produces offenses outside the top 200 in KenPom, to Mike Brey, who consistently is in the top 50 if not better. Let’s not also forget the raw talent here, a top 70 player in his class for very good reason. I think this is a great get for Mike Brey and the type of player that will have the Irish competing in the ACC again.