Mike Brey picked up an interesting committment late Monday evening, not from a five-star high school senior, but a transfer from Mississippi State. Said transfer also happens to be the younger brother of University of North Carolina and College Basketball POY Tyler Hansbrough. Ben Hansbrough, a 6'3'' sophmore guard, averaged a little over 10 points per game for the Bulldogs this past season, helping them to the second round of the NCAA tournament (where they nearly defeated National Runner-Up Memphis).
While Hansboough will not be eligible to play this season, per NCAA rules, he will immediately help the Irish in practice. Having an SEC-capable guard with NCAA tournament experience will only help push Kyle McAlarney, Tory Jackson, and the remaining Irish guards in practice, thus helping them prepare for what shapes up to be an even stronger Big East (8 teams in Fox Sports' Preseason Top 25, including Notre Dame at #7). Additionally, Hansbrough will transition perfectly into the starting lineup for the 2009 - 2010 campaign when KMac has graduated.
With no recruits coming in the class of '08, Hansbrough helps fill the void and will join two already signed recruits eligible for play in '09 (Joey Brooks and Luke Harangody clone Jack Cooley). With the addition of another big man to help replace Harangody, Zeller, and the lanky Zach Hillesland, the Irish should be in good position to challenge for the Big East title in '08 and beyond.
Another note on potential big men: while he plays smaller than his size, Purdue freshman forward Scott Martin is transferring from Purdue and according to sources has narrowed his choices down to Notre Dame and hometown Valpo. Martin would be a welcomed addition to the Irish and is visiting campus next week.