The transfer market has been en fuego for the Notre Dame football team the last 10 days. Saturday it started to heat up for the Notre Dame men’s basketball team too. The Irish landed one of the biggest prizes on this year’s transfer market this morning – UConn big man Juwan Durham.
Blessed to have the opportunity to do is this again. I'm going to Notre Dame! ??
— ??♂️ (@JuwanDurham) June 10, 2017
Juwan Durham, a former Top 50 prep recruit, gives Notre Dame a much needed big man on the roster for the 2018-19 season. The Irish will lose Bonzie Colson, Austin Torres, and Martinas Geben after this season as all three will be out of eligibility after hopefully another run in the NCAA Tournament. He was at the top of Mike Brey and his staff’s radar this offseason as they look to continue to build a roster equipped for late runs in March.
Mission accomplished for Brey and co.
After announcing his intention to transfer following the season, Durham visited Notre Dame first before also taking in Virginia Tech and Villanova. The Irish were able to beat out both of the their former Big East rivals for Durham’s services. Virginia Tech will now get to see Durham up close and personal in ACC play against the Irish.
While Durham won’t be eligible to play this fall, he has three years of eligibility remaining and is a tailormade athlete for Mike Brey’s program.
How Durham Fits in at Notre Dame
With the trio of big men leaving Notre Dame after this season, Durham will be looked at to take on a major role in the 2018-19 season. Notre Dame will also be losing Matt Farrell to graduation following this season which made bringing in as much game ready talent as possible for the 2018 season imperative for the Irish staff.
Durham will likely team with Prentiss Hubb – a top 50 guard in the class of 2018 – and incoming freshman DJ Harvey to form the next batch of new faces in the Notre Dame lineup.
Durham joins a front court for 2018 that will be almost brand new. John Mooney and Elijah Burns – sophomores this upcoming season – did not play much as freshmen but will be thrust into more prominent roles. Notre Dame will be looking to add more depth to the front court in addition to Durham in the class of 2018.
Injuries Have Slow Durham’s Progress
During Durham’s junior year in high school he was widely considered a top 50 recruit. At the end of that junior season, however, he tore his ACL in his right knee. Before the injury Durham averaged 22.9 points and 10.2 rebounds a game while adding 4.7 blocks a contest.
Unfortunately for Durham his bad luck didn’t end with his junior year ACL tear. At the beginning of his senior campaign, he tore the ACL in his left knee costing him his entire senior season.
After rehabbing, Durham saw limited action in 28 games for the Huskies, but did not start a single contest. He averaged 1.6 points and 1.3 rebounds a game in 8.3 minutes.
After all of the injuries, Durham needs to use his season on the sidelines building up strength not just in his legs but all over. Durham needs to build out his 6-11 frame before he is ready for the kind of minutes Notre Dame will be relying on him for in 2018.
Durham will also have a year to work with former Notre Dame big man Ryan Humphrey – a former transfer to Notre Dame himself. Humphrey is entering his second season on the Notre Dame staff. Humphrey transferred to Notre Dame after two seasons at Oklahoma in 1999 to then head coach Matt Doherty but was a vital cog in Mike Brey’s first Notre Dame team in 2000 after sitting out a season. Humphrey ended up being a first round pick in the 2002 NBA Draft after a successful two seasons under Brey’s guidance.
Transfers Have Done Well Under Brey
Mike Brey’s program has done well with transfers in the past starting with Humphrey. Along with the way the Irish have had success with players such as Ben Hansbrough and Danny Miller. Despite the success, the Irish have not had many in recent years. Durham is the first Notre Dame basketball transfer since 2011 when Garrick Sherman transferred to Notre Dame from Michigan State.
Notre Dame fans have to not just hope, but bank on Durham doing the same. Notre Dame’s front court depth for the 2018-19 season right now looks thin at best. None of the players on the Irish roster for 2018-19 to man those positions have established themselves on the college level. Mooney and Burns will have their chance to develop this season while Durham will have to use his practice time to his advantage while being ineligible for games.