Four Go From Verbal To Official

This morning, Mike Brey, his coaching staff, and the Notre Dame basketball community welcomed four new faces to the program.

Today was the first day of the NCAA's early signing period, and 6-foot-5, 215-pound swingman Joey Brooks, and forwards Jack Cooley (6-8, 210), Mike Broghammer (6-9, 220), and Tom Knight (6-9, 260) faxed in their letters-of-intent bright and early.

"Those guys, it's going to be one of the heaviest recruiting classes to come into college basketball," Scout.com's National Recruiting Director Dave Telep laughed. "Those guys bring a lot of beef, and they're all a little different.

"I think Tom Knight is probably the best mid-range face-up guy, the best touch and best hands of the bunch. Mike Broghammer is probably the better long-range face-up guy. Jack Cooley is the inside banger who is really best around the bucket. They all should physically be ready to come in and compete for minutes, and Notre Dame has done a good job with getting guys that fit their profile.

"The one to watch is really Tom Knight because he may be the late bloomer of the bunch. He is the one we know the least about. Cooley is just a tough inside guy. It's going to make for great competition in Notre Dame's front court.

"Joey Brooks, he can find himself playing the three perimeter positions, and a little backup point, so you get a little versatility in the backcourt, and you get three guys that make the competition for minutes very strong."

Brooks, a Houston product, got the ball rolling for the class-of-2009, when he gave Brey his verbal pledge back in early November.

"It's been a long road coming," Brooks stated. As a junior at Strake Jesuit, he averaged 23 points, eight rebounds and four assists, earning All-State honors. "I was talking to my friend about it, who is committed to play football at UConn, and he said once you sign you're married. I said yeah, but me and Notre Dame have been dating for awhile, so I think it's time to make that long-term commitment."

Brooks and his teammate Tim Frazier, who is signing with Penn State, will have a ceremony during lunch to take pictures with their families, each other, and to just soak in the moment. Brooks picked Notre Dame over places like Marquette, Arizona State and Kansas State.

"It's actually a really great feeling," Brooks said. "I talk to Tory (Jackson) (Monday) night, and I was telling him man it's about to be official in a couple hours. He was like, it's one of the best feelings you'll ever experience so enjoy it."

While there will be some hoopla in Brooks' afternoon, Cooley's school day is going to be rather typical. After signing in the morning, he will go to class and practice like he normally does. No press conference, no ordeal in front of the school.

"Nothing big like that," the Glenview, Ill. product said. As a junior, Cooley averaged 25 points per game for Glenbrook South. "Our school, they said if we had more scholarship athletes, they said they would've, but they're not going to."

Cooley was the second verbal commitment to the class, pledging back in February over offers from places like Illinois, Wisconsin and Southern Illinois.

"Like, it's just going to feel better because some people don't get it that a verbal, in my mind a verbal means that I'm going to go to that school, I'm not going to de-commit, but other people are always asking have you signed with them, and when I say no it's just a verbal, they're like are you still looking at other schools?

"I go no, when I gave my verbal, it's my word and I'm not going to go back out on it."

Neither did Broghammer.

Broghammer joined the fold in early September on his official visit. The Minnetonka (Minn.) Hopkins player averaged 11.9 points per game in helping his team to a 27-2 mark and a spot in the state championship game.

"It feels great," Broghammer said. "It feels different in a sense that that's it, I'm for sure 100 percent done with everything. It's set. It's just that relief."

Broghammer chose the Irish over offers from Penn State, Southern Illinois, Western Michigan and several others.

Knight was the last to say he was in, telling Brey and company last week.

The Dixfield, Maine product averaged 17 points and eight rebounds, leading Dirigo High to just a game short of the state title contest.

"It's going to feel pretty good because I know this process is officially over, and I don't have to worry about it anymore," Knight said.

Knight picked the Irish over Rutgers, Providence, Seton Hall, Davidson and plenty of others.

Brooks, Cooley and Broghammer will for sure be in town for the Notre Dame-Connecticut game on Jan. 24th, and Knight is a possibility. The ESPN College GameDay Crew will also be in South Bend that day, and there will probably be a few 2010 recruits as well, that could be eventually be new faces in the Irish basketball program.


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