Notre Dame basketball has flourished under Mike Brey thanks to his ability to instill confidence and empower players.
Ryan Humphrey has played a lot of basketball in a lot of locations. From college ball at Oklahoma and Notre Dame, to NBA stops in Orlando and Memphis, to stints in Italian, Cyprian and Spanish leagues he has, quite literally, traveled the globe spreading the roundball gospel.
Now back in The States, Humphrey has transitioned to the coaching ranks, sharing the bench with his former college coach, Mike Brey.
“This is my first year working up under him,” Humphrey told Campus Insiders. “I played for him a long time ago, so I’ve known him the majority of my adult life. So there’s a difference between playing for a guy and working for a guy.”
In his first year on the Notre Dame basketball staff, Humphrey is enthused to be working alongside one of the game’s top coaches.
Brey has created a culture of success during his 17 seasons in South Bend, including trips to the Elite Eight over the past two years. By Humphrey’s estimation, Brey is one of the most underrated coaches in America – after all, he has made basketball matter at an historical football powerhouse. He’s done it by being a player’s coach and really empowering each individual on his team.
“I think one thing that he does is he instills confidence into his players and everyone that surrounds him on his staff, but he’s also very calculated,” Humphrey said. “I think that he allows us to have freedom offensively and what that does is it empowers our players, but then there’s times where’s he’s calculated and he makes different changes and different twists and he knows what buttons to push. I think he’s one of the most underrated coaches in America.”
No longer an architect, Brey has mechanized the workings of his program. There is a system in place and a winning mentality instilled in every individual involved with the Notre Dame basketball program.
“We kind of laugh and joke about it, but it’s been machine-like. Where one group graduates the next group takes the mantle and they hopefully propel us. That’s what Coach Brey has built since he’s arrive here a long time ago. I think from there it’s now where our players are running our practice, our players are running our system. Everyone knows their role. They’ve bought into it and they try to excel at it.”