On Wednesday, Notre Dame basketball and Mike Brey welcomed three new members of the 2015 class. The trio provides their thoughts on what it means to be Irish and what aspects of the game they'll be bringing with them to South Bend.
Wednesday marked the first day of the November early signing period for the 2015 basketball class. Notre Dame
signed three members to its class, a trio of three-star prospects hailing from California, New Jersey and New York.
6'7 1/2", 220
New Rochelle, N.Y., Iona Prep
Arizona State, Boston College, Clemson, Davidson, Pittsburgh, Providence, Rutgers, Vanderbilt
Quotes on signing:
"It feels great to get the signing done. It was very emotional for my family and I realizing the significance of the entire situation - basketball at the highest level and being able to attend a top university in the world. After I signed, I felt really relieved, and I really just cannot wait to get out there with my teammates in June and through the summer grind with them."
"The biggest area I will contribute is scoring. I also can really pass the pass the ball, which will keep the defense on their heels. As I continue to get stronger, my rebounding will be a high level especially because I'm about 6'8" now and 220 pounds. Defensively, I talk non-stop and play great help. I definitely know I will have to improve my one-on-one defensive skills. That will be key."
"One word I would use to describe Coach Brey is 'consistent.' My game in one word - 'smart.' I have a couple of goals for this year. First and foremost, I have to stay healthy. Also at an individual level, I am going to work hard to win Mr. Basketball for New York. At a team level, the only long-term goal we have right nows it the Catholic League Championship. We know we have to take the season one game at a time, though we can't help but look towards what we can achieve in the post-seaons with the pieces that we have."
Commitment quote (8/11/14):
"I fell in love with Notre Dame when I visited last fall. It's a great place. Notre Dame has a great fan base for all of its sports, and it's such a national brand. When I graduate I'm going to have lots of good connections."
Brey on Ryan:
"Matt is a big-time shooter. We've had a long history of having great shooters in the program during my time here, and I firmly believe Matt is going to develop into one of those special scorers for us. He plays with a great deal of energy and passion and is an underrated passer. I'd say he's about 95 percent back from that, expect full recovery. But I don't think there's a better shooter in the class. No one got to see him much in the last year, so people have forgotten about him a little bit. But what makes him also such a potent shooter is that he's 6'8". He shoots over the top of people.
Ryan played in only eight games last season. Surgery on both hips due to a torn labrum sidelined him for most of the year. Prior to the surgery, Ryan averaged 19 points, eight rebounds and five assists.
"Ryan ranks among the most deadly three-point marksmen in the Class of 2015. He boasts a smooth stroke with a quick release and easy range past the stripe. He's also a confident, intelligent, tough and well-seasoned player with a frame that will enable him to add plenty of muscle for the ACC. Though not athletically explosive, Notre Dame has succeeded with that kind of player in the past." - Scout.com national analyst, Rob Harrington
Blairstown, N.J., Blair Academy
George Washington, Seton Hall, Temple, VCU
Quotes on signing:
"It was something that I always wished for, and now that it's a reality, it feels amazing. When I visited in September, it was pretty amazing. It was my first time there, but I knew I was going to like it. I am going to bring a really sting work ethic and good communication both offensively and defensively. I don't have a personal goal for this season, but I am hoping to win a state championship with my team."
Commitment quote (8/21/14):
"I felt comfortable committing even though I had never visited because of how academically prestigious Notre Dame is. Academically, it's a great school. There were some other schools that I was looking at, but none of them were like Notre Dame in academics."
Brey on Burns:
"Already, he's very physically ready for the college game. For a player with his size, Elijah is a great passer, and that is something that really stood out for me when I was recruiting him. He shoots the ball really well and is extremely athletic. Elijah is able to play above the rim and rebound. He's a very physical defender and that grabbed my attention as well when I watched him play. Elijah is well coached and plays in a very competitive high school program at Blair Academy."
Last season, Burns averaged 13 points and six rebounds. Blair Academy took home the New Jersey Prep A state championship. Burns played for LaSalle Institute in Troy, New York his freshman and sophomore seasons. He committed to Notre Dame having never taken a visit to campus.
“A slightly undersized power forward with a good skill level and solid athleticism" - Scout.com national analyst, Brian Snow
Santa Ana, Calif., Mater Dei
California, San Diego State, Texas A&M, Washington State
Quotes on signing:
"It feels amazing to finally be signed and even more great to a school as highly regarded as Notre Dame. One word to describe my game is 'versatile.' One word to describe Coach Brey is 'leader.' My personal goal for my senior year is to lead my team to another undefeated season."
Commitment quote (9/11/14):
"That (in-home) visit sealed the deal," Pflueger said. "I was still a little bit on the fence heading into that visit. I wanted to hear Coach Brey one last time and make sure everything I thought was true. Basically, I wanted to make sure I would have the opportunity for early playing time."
Brey on Pflueger:
"He plays for a great high school program and for a coaching icon in Gary McKnight. Rex has had the luxury of learning from some great high school coaches. He certainly has a tremendous feel for the game. He's very athletic and a great defender. Rex has a real all-around game as a passer and a shooter. He has been accustomed to winning during his high school career, and I'm sure that winner's mentality is going to carry over to his career here at Notre Dame. Rex is a player we've been very high on since we started recruiting him."
Last season, Pflueger averaged 12 points, five rebounds and nearly five assists. He shot 42.7 percent from the field and 30.9 percent from three-point range. Mater Dei finished the season a perfect 35-0, winning the national championship and its fourth consecutive state title.
"Pflueger has made strides in his game over the last two years and has a couple areas where he's pretty reliable - his shooting and passing. He's a very good shooter that can hit three-pointers off the dribble and catch, while he's able to hit one or two-dribble pull-ups from mid-range. He's also a very good passer and is an unselfish kid who does a nice job finding the open teammate. He needs to keep getting stronger and improving his handle." - Scout.com national analyst Josh Gershon