Notre Dame men's basketball coach Mike Brey marveled at how things have changed when he welcomed the four newest members of the Irish team.
New Haven's V.J. Beachem, Mishawaka Marian's Demetrius Jackson, Penn's Austin Torres and St. Joseph's Prep's Steve Vasturia signed their letters of intent to play for Notre Dame on Wednesday, the first day of the early signing period.
"Think about us: Two of the three top candidates (Beachem and Jackson) for (Indiana) Mr. Basketball are coming to Notre Dame," Brey said during his Wednesday news conference. "Things have changed a little bit. The game has changed in this state."
Notre Dame's four-man class is ranked No. 10 by Scout.com and is the No. 14 class in Rivals.com's rankings.
Jackson is rated a five-star prospect by Scout.com, and Beachem and Vasutria are both rated four-star prospects.
The 6-foot-6, 165-pound Beachem averaged 20.8 points and 6.6 rebounds as a junior for New Haven. Brey said he sees one of his former players in the forward.
"He's a (former Notre Dame and Mad Ants guard) Ryan Ayers, who can put it on the floor," Brey said. "He's got that body type, but he plays above the rim, too.
"I love the poise and pace that he plays with. He plays at such a calm pace, big-time shooter, can shoot the ball, a calm guy. I think he's going to become a good defender because he's got great length. He can shoot fake and put that thing on the floor and make a play off the dribble, which makes him very, very valuable for us. I'm really excited to have him."
Brey said he wants Beachem to work on his leadership skills during his senior year of high school, and he said Beachem will need to get stronger.
Brey also hinted that Beachem could have to wait his turn to play after his first year at Notre Dame.
"In time, he's going to be really good for us," Brey said. "He gets it. He and his family, when you are in state, you really get to know our program. You've been here a bunch unofficially. You know our roster. They knew about us and watched us a bunch, certainly there is great coverage in Fort Wayne about us.
"I think he's just going to be a heck of a player for us, just has to get stronger, a little older, but feel for the game and the calmness with which he plays and a big-time shooter, great fit."
Jackson and Torres were also perfect fits for the program and not just as players, but because they are both from Mishawaka.
"I think (Jackson) is going to give us a great shot in the arm, certainly in this community with what he brings. I would add Austin Torres to that, too, two local young men joining our program," Brey said.
Jackson, a 6-1, 170-pound guard, averaged 22.3 points and 4.4 assists for Mishawaka Marian. He will likely be mentored by point guard Eric Atkins, who will be a senior next year, while playing limited minutes as a freshman as he gets ready to take over the point.
There was plenty of drama around Jackson, who Notre Dame targeted early as a need for this class, but after reports that the guard would wait a few days before signing with the Irish, Brey said a short talk persuaded the local product to officially join the program with the rest of his class.
"That was a key one for us," Brey said of Jackson. "A lot of work went into that one. We are thrilled to have him, thrilled that he decided to stay home. I always felt we were in pretty darn good position with him. We maintained a great patience with him through the process."
Torres, a 6-7, 190-pound forward, averaged 10 points and 7.2 rebounds last season. He was a late addition to the class, and he flipped from being committed to Central Michigan to joining Notre Dame.
"As people were calling me, different schools were calling me about him, because they knew I saw him play, I would hang up the phone after selling him to another school, and I would say, 'You know what, I think I'm talking myself into this guy,'" Brey said. "For him, we've talked about a five-year program. That is something we want to consider with him."
Vasturia, a 6-5, 190-pound guard, averaged 21 points and 9.3 rebounds as a junior. Brey also compared him to a former Notre Dame player.
"Vasturia is a bigger Chris Quinn," Brey said. "He is really ready as a freshman. Feel for the game, he's got good size, shoots it, I have not seen a young player move without the ball like this in a long time."
Brey said one of the things that has him excited about the four players that signed with Notre Dame on Wednesday is the thought of them playing with current freshmen Cameron Beidschied, Zach Auguste, Eric Katenda and Austin Burgett when the Irish eventually move to the Atlantic Coast Conference.
"I'm proud of this group," Brey said. "I think they are great fits. I think when you plug them in on the back end of our current freshmen, you look at the nucleus playing together eventually in our program and playing in the ACC, I'm extremely excited about that."