The 2012-13 Notre Dame men’s basketball has just begun, but a foundation for the future of the Irish program was laid today and that future is athletic.
Head coach Mike Brey and Notre Dame received National Letters of Intent from four 2013 prospects on Wednesday morning, three from Indiana in point guard Demetrius Jackson, swingman V.J. Beachem and forward Austin Torres. Philadelphia swingman Steve Vasturia rounds out the quartet.
The 6-foot-2 Jackson leads the group, considered a five-star prospect by both ESPN and Scout while Rivals and 247 has him as a four-star. Jackson picked Notre Dame over offers from programs like Kansas, Louisville, Michigan, Michigan State, Butler and Illinois among others.
The 6-foot-6 Beachem (pictured) is a consensus four-star prospect while Vasturia is a four-star according to ESPN and Scout and a three-star by Rivals and 247. Torres is unranked by ESPN and Scout, but ranked as a three-star on 247 and a two-star by Rivals.
“I’m real excited,” Vasturia said. “It’s been great being committed and everything, but to top it all off is really special.”
Beachem and Torres echoed that excitement.
“It’s a great moment to share with my family and to finally make it official even though I’ve known for a while,” said Beachem, who chose the Irish over offers from Purdue, Butler and Minnesota.
“It’s a great opportunity and I’m glad to get it out of the way and to get it on paper so I don’t have to worry about it during my senior season,” said Torres, who was committed to Central Michigan before switching his pledge last month.
The group is excited about coming into together.
“I know them all,” said Beachem. “Steve and Demetrius took their officials when I was up there and I’m real good friends with Demetrius.”
“They’re great players,” added Vasturia. “I had the chance to meet them and hang out with them. They’re great kids. I can’t wait to play with them and go to school with them. It’s going to be a fun four years together.”
Beachem was struck by Brey and his program’s style as well as the academics Notre Dame offers.
“Just having a degree from Notre Dame is life-changing,” he said.
It didn’t take Vasturia, who also had offers from Boston College, Northwestern, Temple and St. Joseph’s among other, long to realize South Bend was the spot for him.
“After I visited, I kind of knew it was an awesome school with a great program,” he said. “I knew you couldn’t beat the tradition of Notre Dame and I felt right at home.”
Meanwhile, Torres grew up in nearby Granger and had several family members attend Notre Dame before him.
“I grew up being a Notre Dame kid and a huge fan,” he said. “It’s always been a dream to grow there and there was just no other opportunity like it.”
Torres plays on the same AAU team as Jackson.
“Like I told Coach Brey and what Coach Brey sees, Demetrius and I make each other better,” said Torres. “We’re dedicated to the game. That’s just what we love to do. Us being together, with all of the chemistry that we have throughout the spring and summer, carrying that on to college will make us even more dangerous.”
The perimeter talent matched with Torres inside will definitely bring additional athleticism to the program.
“I think we can bring a lot of talent,” Beachem said. “People have said Coach’s teams haven’t been that athletic in the past, so we can bring some athleticism.”
“Coach Brey is starting to bring in more athletic players,” Torres added. “I’m one of those underrated kids who not many people knew about it. I’m willing to do the dirty work; play defense, set screens, rebound. There things he’s looking for that other people just don’t have.”
Vasturia believes they’ll have the same attitude Brey’s teams are known for.
“Hopefully just the same hardworking attitude the guys before us and the guys on the team have right now. Hopefully we can bring that too.”