Tim Finke resolved to see Notre Dame for himself.
Several others had told the four-star junior wing from Champaign, Ill., what to expect. But Finke knew he couldn’t rest on their word. Earlier this week Finke and both parents made the trek to South Bend for what could be their only summer visit.
“It was really nice,” Finke said. “Like I said, I’ve never been there. Everybody said it’s really nice. It definitely met that expectation. It’s definitely a beautiful campus and on top of that the coaches and the whole staff were great. It was definitely a great visit.”
Finke toured the campus and facilities. Head coach Mike Brey checked in and sat down with Finke for a film session. Brey also introduced the entire coaching staff, including new assistants Ryan Humphrey and Ryan Ayers.
Humphrey was a familiar face to the Finkes after meeting them during his stint at Northwestern.
Now that he’s in a position to recruit for his alma mater, Humphrey shared some insight on how Notre Dame shaped his basketball and life experience.
“He said it wouldn’t just be a four-year commitment,” Finke said. “It would be a 40-year commitment. Everyone comes back around and it’s a family there is basically what he was getting at. He definitely preached that. It was just a great time, everybody loved it.”
Humphrey graduated from Notre Dame before being taken in the first round of the 2002 NBA Draft. He went on to play overseas before moving into coaching.
“He was a great player at Oklahoma then Notre Dame,” Finke said. “It’s definitely cool when a coach has the experience of being a player, being in your shoes. He definitely played at a really high level, so it’s neat to have that. He’s really a nice guy and I like talking to him all the time.
I’d already met him at Northwestern, so it made things a lot easier and not as awkward as it could’ve been as a first visit. It was a good experience.”
Brey emphasized a potential fit for Finke from a basketball perspective, going through film of past players to compare how Finke plays to their success. Finke noted player movement and freedom on offense.
Closer examination revealed a potentially snug fit.
“I love to move without the ball and cut constantly,” he said. “That’s what they do. It’s definitely cool to see that. Making reads, coming off screens, constant movement. That’s how they play and that’s how I love to play as well. It’s really cool to see how he’s utilized that and also made pros coming through the system.”
Making the stop at Notre Dame could be the only visit Finke makes until fall. Right now the 6-foot-6, 200-pound prospect is looking over other potential trips with his father and preparing for the July evaluation period, where he’ll run with the St. Louis Eagles.
College coaches will be in attendance during the live periods, so there’s a chance the list of suitors continues to grow. Creighton, DePaul, Illinois, Iowa State, Northwestern, Notre Dame and Ohio State are some offers on the table. Finke’s older brother, Michael, is entering his junior year as a forward at Illinois.
Finke sees July as an opportunity to show coaches more improvement.
“I always try to move without the ball,” Finke said. “So definitely doing that. All the little things, like defense. Playing defense and getting stops, steals, everything like that. Maybe the average fan won’t notice but you’ve gotta do it for coaches because at the end of the day they always see the little stuff.”
No matter what happens in the coming month, Finke sees Notre Dame sticking around on the strength of this first visit. Returning in the fall for a football game is likely the next step.
“It was a really good visit just to get up there the first one this summer,” Finke said. “Just to see what they had to offer. It was definitely a really, really great visit just to see everything. Like I said, I heard a lot of great stuff about it and it definitely met expectations. It was a lot of fun to go there.”