Notre Dame earned its second win of the season Monday night against Mount St. Mary’s but scored a win for its future as well. Class of 2018 big man Chris Doherty committed to the Irish to cap off a remarkable recruiting class for head coach Mike Brey.
Chris Doherty (@cpd_chris) has committed to the University of Notre Dame joining his lifelong AAU teammate, Nate Laszewski! Playaz coming full force to South Bend in 2018 #GoIrish #ACC pic.twitter.com/WuedRIxwKD
— New England Playaz (@NE_Playaz) November 13, 2017
If that AAU team looks familiar, it’s because Notre Dame’s previous commitment, Nate Laszewski, also plays for the Playaz. The two are good friends and will continue to share a front court in South Bend. Doherty also attends Marlborough High School in Massachusetts, the alma mater of former Irish big man Zach Auguste, with whom Doherty has actually recently trained.
Doherty has had an interesting recruitment, largely because injuries derailed his sophomore year of high school and AAU. He had previously exploded as a top prospect in New England during his freshman year. But then back issues prevented him from playing consistently or at 100% the next year. That’s a really tough time to miss as a non-blue chip prospect, as that would normally be the most crucial time to prove yourself. Still, Doherty bounced back and was just starting to see his recruitment pick back up after some impressive AAU play this summer.
Doherty had recently added offers from Boston College, Rutgers, and of course, Notre Dame to his nice list of mid-major offers (Rhode Island, Florida Gulf Coast, and Manhattan, among others). Plenty of other high-majors were starting to show interest, from the likes of Arizona, Michigan State, and Virginia to others like South Carolina and Xavier.
But Brey was quicker than most to offer Doherty, who was impressed enough during his early November visit to South Bend to shut down his growing recruitment and commit to Notre Dame. With his commitment, the Irish close their 2018 class. This class will certainly go down as one of the strongest of the Brey era in a year when they really needed to rebuild a roster low on numbers moving forward.
247: NR nationally
ESPN: NR nationally, 3 star, 38th ranked C
Rivals: NR nationally, 3 star
Scout: NR nationally
247 composite: 236th nationally, 3 star, 55th ranked SF
I honestly have no idea how the composite ranks someone who the individual sites have mostly not gotten around to ranking. They don’t even know what position he is across the sites. Just throw out the rankings here.
There aren’t too many good highlight videos for him, but I’ve scoured as much as I can (in addition to the embedded video here) and will give my thoughts on all that I’ve been able to see.
Much better athlete than I assumed; gets up easily and can throw down with some authority. Impressive putback dunk in one of the Adidas Uprising event finals off one foot. Nice, creative left-handed finisher around the basket and shows good footwork. Strong-bodied and throws his weight around on the boards; would be a real pain to play against. Reputation as a similarly-strong and smart defender. Literally haven’t seen one shot from his outside the paint. Can’t imagine he’s more than 6’7″ at this point in time.
Doherty contemplated reclassifying to 2019 but will instead remain in the 2018 class and likely redshirt his freshman year anyway. It’s certainly better for Brey to have Doherty start learning the offense and practicing against ACC-level players during that year. I would estimate that Doherty is not going to contribute all that much until 2020 or so, at which point only Juwan Durham will remain as a true post player from the current roster.
I do really like Doherty as a prospect. That said, I wonder what his ceiling might be for a team that really likes to play smaller and space things out. He’s smoother than Martin Geben or even a Jack Cooley and seems to have the requisite toughness to reach the productivity of the latter. Still, it feels like Cooley played in an entirely different Notre Dame era. It was only five seasons ago, but you wonder if that type of player has the same value these days.
If Doherty can extend his game out from just beyond the paint, then there is no doubt he can be a core player for Notre Dame. But players that are limited offensively have limited upside for a Mike Brey coached team. It will be fascinating to see how Doherty develops under the tutelage of Brey and Ryan Humphrey. Worst case scenario, you have a bulldog to bring in off the bench for defense and rebounding that can complement a stretch-4 like Laszewski. Best case, though, you have a great, tough athlete that also develops a well-rounded offensive game and can therefore play alongside Laz, Durham, Harvey, or whoever else in the Irish frontcourt.
Doherty is a welcome addition to the Notre Dame program and cap to this great 2018 recruiting class. I’m excited to see what he can develop into over the course of his Irish career.