Point guard Demetrius Jackson may be the headline recruit of Notre Dame's 2013 recruiting class, but it was V.J. Beachem and Steve Vasturia, who got the group off to a great start when they offered commitments within weeks in the fall of 2011.
Notre Dame men’s basketball coach Mike Brey had no problem comparing the pair to former players during his signing day teleconference on Wednesday.
Brey sees the 6-foot-6 Beachem, from Fort Wayne, Ind., as a more athletic version of a former Notre Dame starter.
“He’s a Ryan Ayers who can put it on the floor,” said Brey. “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 with such a calm pace.
“Big-time shooter, he 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 shot fake and put that thing on the floor and make a play off the dribble, which makes him very, very valuable to us. I’m really excited to have him.”
Meanwhile, the Irish head man compared Vasturia, a 6-foot-4 Philadelphia, to a former player who has spent the last six years in the NBA.
“Vasturia is a bigger Chris Quinn,” he 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. He really has a great feel.”
Vasturia (pictured) has the ability to play either guard spot, but with Jackson in his class, he’s likely to spend most of his time at off guard.
“There’s a poise and maturity about him,” said Brey. “What I love about our program now, I go out on the road and other coaches go, ‘Oh, he’s perfect for you. He’s a Notre Dame guy. Vasturia, he’s going to be perfect for you.’ You’re right he is. He’s going to fit how we play.”
Brey was impressed with the maturity with which Vasturia handled the recruiting process.
“He’s so matter of fact,” the Irish coach said. “It was come out for an unofficial visit, ‘I’m going to think about it for two weeks. Boom, I’m doing it.’ Come out for an official visit, ‘Thanks, I’m going to go have a great senior year.’ He’s a man. It’s like dealing with Garrick Sherman or Scott Martin already at 18. I’m very impressed with him and that’s why I think he’s extremely ready to contribute early.”
Brey also likes the tutors Vasturia has learned under at St. Joseph’s Prep School and with the Jersey Shore Warriors AAU program.
“He’s coached by Speedy Morris, who is up to be nominated for the Naismith Hall of Fame,” Brey said of Vasturia’s high school coach. “He played for Tony Sagona, who in the summer Troy Murphy and Matt Carroll have played for.”
Brey is confident Beachem knows what to expect when he gets to Notre Dame.
“He gets it,” said Brey. “When you’re in-state, you really get to know our program. You’ve been here a bunch unofficially, you know our roster, and you know our guys. They knew about us and watched us a bunch. Certainly there’s great coverage in Fort Wayne about us. I think he’s going to be a heckuva player for us; he’s just got to get stronger, a little older. But feel for the game and the calmness with which he plays as a big-time shooter, great kid.
“The biggest step for him, like a lot of guys in our program, is getting stronger physically. He’s got that sleek, (current freshman Cameron) Biedschied body right now. But Cameron has put on 14 since he got here in the summer. When V.J. gets here in June, that’s going to be a big, big thing for him, our strength training with Tony Rolinski. In time, he’s going to be really good for us.”