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Mike Brey Transcript: Jan. 17

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Brey and the Fighting Irish host North Carolina State on Saturday. (Thomas J. Russo-USA TODAY Sports)

Notre Dame head coach Mike Brey met with the media on Thursday afternoon before his team faces North Carolina State this Saturday in South Bend.

Check out what Brey had to say about the Wolfpack and more below.

Q: Prentiss Hubb seems to have figured it out … what’s the next step for Dane Goodwin and Nate Laszewski?
MIKE BREY: “I’m really happy with where Prentiss is right now. We could have used one more scorer down there the other night. They’re going to get playing time I think Dane can be a little more aggressive going to the basket early in the possession. They both have turned down shots sometimes and we’ve got on them about it. I thought Nate was more aggressive the other night.

“They have to be aggressive for us and it’s just a process with them. You hope they can follow Prentiss’ lead.”

Q: How much of adjustment is it for those guys?
BREY: “I asked them after the first two league games and asked them about their thoughts. They said the speed of guys. Nate dealt with the speed of a guy from behind the other night. They’re both are adjusting and they will adjust because they are smart and tough. We have to keep giving them minutes to do it.”

Q: What have you’ve seen from Prentiss Hubb?
BREY: “We had him in a blue shirt for a little bit. We call it 'blue shirt therapy.' You put a guy in a blue shirt and all of a sudden Coach isn't watching as much and you’re loose and playing. As we talked about, we were going to bring him off the bench, which went out the window 20 minutes before the Syracuse game. There was no question he needed to be on the floor the other night.

“I’m hoping we can build on this a little bit. I thought he was really good down there in a tough atmosphere handling the ball most of the night. TJ was taken away by them and his health.”

Q: On health of T.J. Gibbs and John Mooney …
BREY: “Yeah, TJ is feeling better. We just needed to let that run through him. I give John a lot of credit. That ankle was really sore. It tells you the toughness of this guy. I thought he’d be more of a game-time decision. He was bouncing around at the shootaround on Tuesday. Giving him a couple days was good.”

Q: How did Juwan Durham deal with his?
BREY:
“He’s still sore and we’re dealing with that one a little bit. John and TJ are better but I think it will be a day to day issue with Juwan and how we handle it and deal with it.”

Q: How has he handled it after what’s happened in the past?
BREY:
“He really tired to play through it and help us. He gave us good minutes. It’s kind of new territory. He doesn’t complain at anything. He’s a kid who has had some surgeries and he doesn’t want to talk about them. He wants to practice. We want to make sure he is healthy to make sure he is productive.”

Q: Is hard to practice when you’re already down a couple of bodies?
BREY:
“We haven’t gone very long. Coach Ayers goes a lot in practice and he’s in there for us when we’re at nine or even as an 11th guy. We limit how long we go. We’re not necessarily doing the ‘take the charge’ drills … You’re really mindful of how long you go and contact.”

Q: What are some of the elements you stress of what the team is doing well in watching film?
BREY: “I thought our defense was good and our transition defense was good. We got beat up on the backboard for a spurt which kind of cost us. We didn’t get some 50-50 balls. It was hard to generate another scorer, but I thought from our effort and how we defended and got back, we keep putting ourselves in position.

“John Mooney said on the plane ‘We’re close.’ I said we are. We have to keep trying to help them and teach them to see if guys will step forward like a few did against Boston College.”

Q: What do you see from NC State?
BREY:
“They have athletic bodies. They are Carolina like in tempo. They want to play fast and will be on the offensive boards. They have really good guards and I have a feeling Johnson will play against us. We couldn’t handle him at all Raleigh last year.

“They’ve got guys who can take you off the dribble and they go at your throat. They’re up on the backboard. We did a good job of controlling the tempo the other night and we have to do the same thing. We don’t need a race track game with a North Carolina or NC State.

“We have to handle the ball against pressure. They pick up full-court and we’ve overall been good with the ball. Not so good the other night in the first half. We were good in the second half. We will have to be good for the ball.”

Q: How much do you relay to the team how important these games are at home with the start to the league?
BREY:
“We could really use a win against a quality opponent to get closer to .500 in this league. You have to stay close to .500 in this league to have a realistic shot at getting in the NCAA Tournament.

“I also have been very realistic with them. It’s a little bit of a page of last year’s book. Our January is really hard. Not to say our February isn’t, but it’s different. You have to keep guys alive no matter what happens. In this league, you can always surge and be part of the discussion, which last year’s team did when we were totally off the radar at 3-7. All of sudden, you’re in the dang thing. I want to keep that in mind, but we could really use this one Saturday.”

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