Hoops Recruiting

Before Joe Harden decided to transfer from the Notre Dame basketball program after one year, Mike Brey and his staff only had one scholarship to give in this year's recruiting class. Adding a low post presence was and might still remain the number-one priority, but with the opportunity to add another player, and with the way Irish like to play offense, adding a shooting guard is always a thought.

The Irish missed on their first target when 6-foot-11 forward Kenny Frease chose Xavier over Notre Dame and a host of other schools back in March. But fresh off a 24-8 season and its first NCAA Tournament appearance since 2003, the program is riding a nice wave of momentum into recruiting, and are still in on a few of the nation's best players.

It's doubtful if Brey even knows if they will take one or two players in this year's class, as they could also opt to save a scholarship for the future. But if any of these two guys choose to come aboard, they will surely be welcomed.

***Tyler Zeller (Washington High): The five-star 6-foot-11 forward has trimmed his list of schools to nine, and hopes to have it to five by the end of the month. Notre Dame, Indiana, Iowa, Iowa State, Kansas, Kentucky, North Carolina, Purdue, and Tennessee all still have a chance to land Luke Zeller's little brother.

Brey has kind of taken over Zeller's recruitment as the Washington, Ind., product's stock has continued to rise. The Irish have a good chance to make Zeller's final five, and from there he will take his official visits in hopes of signing in November.

A late bloomer as a national recruit since tearing it up on the AAU circuit this year, Zeller averaged 20 points and 10 rebounds as a junior. With Frease out of the picture, Zeller is Notre Dame's top target and the perfect replacement for Rob Kurz.

***Iman Shumpert (Oak Park and River High): A combo-guard, the 6-foot-4 five-star Oak Park, Ill., product plans to visit Notre Dame in August, and lists the Irish among his favorites with Wisconsin, Marquette, Illinois, Georgia Tech, Clemson and Bradley. All have offered, and North Carolina is showing strong interest. If Roy Williams were to extend a scholarship, they would certainly be in the mix.

Shumpert averaged 17 points, three rebounds and three assists as a junior. He fits in well to what Brey likes to do offensively, as he can handle the basketball and play the off-guard position.

***Matthew Humphrey (Hales Franciscan High): One of the nation's top 3-point threats, the 6-foot-6 guard from Chicago recently trimmed his list to six schools, Notre Dame, Illinois, Oregon, Connecticut, Florida and Kentucky. Florida and Kentucky have yet to offer.

Humphrey, who averaged around 15 points and six rebounds, has been on Notre Dame's campus a couple times already, and would be a great addition to the perimeter in place of the graduated Colin Falls.

Irish assistant coach Gene Cross is in regular touch with both Shumpert and Humphrey.

***Terrelle Pryor (Jeannette High): Brey has not offered Pryor, but no big deal because football coach Charlie Weis has. Probably a long shot to end up at Notre Dame, the 6-foot-6, 215-pound wing player from Jeannette, Pa., is attracting interest from the top football and basketball programs in the country.

Pryor, who averaged 16 points per game as a junior, has stated that he wants to play both sports and quarterback on the next level, and listed Notre Dame among his favorites with Ohio State, Florida, Michigan, Penn State, Texas, West Virginia and a few others, even though Weis is recruiting him as a defensive end.

Brey would certainly let Pryor join the team when football season is over if all the details could be worked out.


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