Bonzie Colson explains his decision to return to Notre Dame for senior year.
Laken Litman/IndyStar

SOUTH BEND – With the summer tournament circuit over and the recruiting quiet period in session, IndyStar’s Notre Dame Insider Laken Litman sat down with Fighting Irish basketball coach Mike Brey.

In a wide-ranging interview, Brey discussed where his program stands big picture coming off a successful although disappointing end to last season, realistic expectations for the team and Bonzie Colson in 2017-18, whether the program gets enough attention and much more.

Notre Dame opens its season Nov. 11 on the road against DePaul.

This interview was edited for length.

Question: Where does the program stand coming off a run at the ACC championship and second-round exit in the NCAA tournament last season?

Answer: The program may be at its healthiest state in its 113-year history, quite frankly. We’ve got unbelievable momentum, we feel we’re in a great position with young players. Part of the culture here is young players growing up in our system getting older, getting better. We’re very excited about our recruiting to date for the 2018 class (three four-star players), and again, the ACC kind of energizes you.


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It was like taking a new coaching job when we went to the ACC (in 2013-14). You can get a little stale in the Big East — and I loved the Big East. But when we went to the ACC, it kind of energized me because it was a new challenge and, can you make it? Of course after the first year (when Notre Dame went 6-12 in league play), I was wondering, maybe I can’t make it in the ACC. But the last three (in which the Irish have gone to two Elite Eights) we’ve been on a good run. We still have a nucleus of kids who have been part of winning and I think that the culture is really firmly established.

We’re really a model program. We’re not grabbing a bunch of five-star guys, we’re getting guys better. How we play, the demeanor and style of how…