October 11, 2007

Brey turns to non-seniors for vocal leadership

The Notre Dame men's basketball team, fresh from an impressive 2006-07 season in which the Irish exceeded most expectations by easily snagging an NCAA tournament bid with a 24-8 record, returns eight prominent players from last year.

Gone are Colin Falls, the Big East's all-time leading three-point shooter, and high-flying Russell Carter, who provided a level of athleticism seldom seen around Notre Dame.

But head coach Mike Brey is confident with the group he has coming back, in addition to a freshman class that has showed a high level of maturity since arriving in June for summer school.

The following are excerpts from Brey's Wednesday, Oct. 10 press conference to kick off the start of the 2007-08 pre-season.

• Voice of reason, motivation-Brey called Colin Falls the voice in the huddle and in the locker room. Who becomes that voice for the Irish this year?

"I think Tory Jackson's voice will become stronger and stronger each week," said Brey of the Irish sophomore, who took over point guard duties last year following the suspension of Kyle McAlarney.

"Given the year that he had, I really pushed that and orchestrated that this summer. He's a very confident and trusted voice by his teammates."

Sometimes that "voice" is a bit too loud and boisterous. Not so with Jackson.

"You know you can be the voice and then 11 guys don't want to hear your voice sometimes too," Brey smiled. "We've been around teams like that. (Jackson) has absolutely earned (the right) to be listened too, and our older guys do."

Also filling that role will be junior Zach Hillesland.

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