Irish hoops recruiting benefits from ACC


The move to the ACC for the Notre Dame Fighting Irish is nothing but positive on the basketball recruiting front. Not to mention, it’s a return home for coach Mike Brey and assistants Anthony Solomon and Rod Balanis. Brey was an assistant at Duke and helped land Danny Ferry, Solomon played for Virginia, and Balanis played at Georgia Tech.

The ACC is an expansive league that stretches from New England to South Beach. Now it’s branched out into the Midwest, and Notre Dame will be the lone ACC program in that neck of the woods. Two hours from Chicago and now playing on the campuses of North Carolina and Duke, membership has its privileges.

Membership in the ACC also means a reunion with Pittsburgh and Syracuse and indoctrination into what is the best basketball league in the country. From a hoops standpoint, Notre Dame was set to play in the same league with SMU, Central Florida and Houston. Now the Irish can brag to recruits that they’ll face the likes of the Tar Heels, Blue Devils and Orange.

Given the changing landscape of the Big East, the dilution of its basketball product and the inevitable lowered profile of the league following the loss of Syracuse and Pittsburgh, Notre Dame put itself in a position to strengthen its national profile.

As a member of the Big East, Notre Dame spent a ton of time in the Northeast. Now the program has status in the South. Long term, the relationship with the ACC should ultimately prove exceptional for recruiting.

Short term, the news may give Notre Dame the jolt it needs to close on its top target. It just so happens that Notre Dame’s No. 1 overall target in the Class of 2013 lives minutes from campus. There will be considerable buzz around town regarding the move to the ACC. Point guard Demetrius Jackson (Mishawaka, Ind./Marian) won’t be immune.

Even though Jackson is still somewhat of a sleeper nationally, the noise coming from South Bend will be overwhelmingly positive. Will it be loud enough to wake up the echoes and allow the Irish to capitalize on the wave of enthusiasm and get him sealed up? The No. 18 prospect in the ESPN 100 visits campus next week for the Michigan football game.

Meanwhile, Brey has a new selling point for his program. He has just joined the undisputed -- once Pitt and Syracuse arrive -- leader in college basketball. Time to reform the recruiting pitch. For Brey and Solomon, two guys familiar with the ACC, it won’t be a difficult transition.