Irish Illustrated: Let’s start with the obvious. What made Notre Dame the place?
John Mooney: I think a better question would be, what weren’t the factors? It was the perfect fit. I think it starts with coach (Mike) Brey and his staff. He really made my family and me feel wanted. We had a chance to build a relationship over the last couple weeks and it was topped off with a great visit. I think next was hanging out with some of the guys on the team. I actually got a chance to get close with a lot of them and they’re all very down-to-Earth, cool guys. No egos, funny, high character. I can definitely see myself hanging out with them for the next four years. Another thing would be the style of play coach Brey intends to run. I think I match up perfectly with that. Then would be the academic side of Notre Dame. It’s a first-class school. The academic tradition speaks for itself. It was a great fit in that category as well. Lastly would be the Irish Catholic tradition my family instilled in me. Obviously, Notre Dame being both Catholic and Irish, it’s a perfect fit deep down.
II: When you left for the visit, did you have an inkling this could happen?
JM: I obviously knew how great Notre Dame was all around. But when I got there and saw it for myself with my own eyes it was a no-brainer decision. It was a very easy and comfortable decision. I knew deep down in my heart it was the place for me.
II: What stuck out to you initially after getting on campus?
JM: It’s beautiful. It really is. The campus is gorgeous. The bricks are all the same color. The facilities are first class. I love the court, it looks sweet. That stuff doesn’t really matter. The Golden Dome, I’d say that’s a memorable place in itself. So much about Notre Dame jumped out at me.
II: What let you get that quick connection with guys already on the team?
JM: All the guys said when they were in my same shoes when they committed they knew it was the place for them. They were all saying how real coach Brey is and how what he said in the recruiting process is exactly what you’re gonna get.
II: How was playing pickup with them?
JM: We were just playing. We weren’t really doing any offensive sets, obviously. We were just flowing. I think that’s what coach Brey really wants to run. It was fun, it really was. Playing pickup with those guys was a blast.
II: How much have you watched them over the years?
JM: I watched them a lot last year when they made their big run. I loved it. I really did. Their style of play is awesome. I think it really fits my style as well.
II: What about it makes it a snug fit?
JM: They just play. They free flow. They obviously have sets they come in with but it’s a lot of reading and reacting. I think with my character, my IQ, I can fit in just fine.
II: As far as the recruiting process in general, for a long time you were set with Florida. What’s the last month been like?
JM: It’s been crazy. It really has been. It’s kinda been like two whole years of recruiting mashed into one month. It’s been crazy but it’s humbling and it was exciting. I’m definitely glad to get it over with so I can get back to focusing on my senior year and the next level.
II: Your dad mentioned there were like 31 schools involved on some level. Was it overwhelming?
JM: It definitely was a little overwhelming. We were getting calls every 10 minutes. It was crazy. But again, it was humbling and exciting and flattering to say the least. It’s exactly what we asked for.
II: Did you have other visits lined up?
JM: We did have two other visits set up officially. But after this weekend we just knew it was the place for me.
II: Former Florida coach Billy Donovan helped guide you over the last month. How was that?
JM: That was great. It really was. Coach Donovan has been great to us over the years but really over the last couple weeks my dad and him have actually talked a number of times. He’s been helpful in trying to guide us. Not telling us what to do, but just guiding us. We really thank him for that and he’s a great guy for that.