It wasn't long ago that D.J. Harvey was the DeMatha Catholic player everyone thought was destined for stardom. While Markelle Fultz, now the projected No. 1 pick in the 2017 NBA Draft, was failing to make the varsity roster as a sophomore, Harvey was already starting as a freshman. DeMatha alums Victor Oladipo, Jerian Grant, and Jerami Grant couldn't even claim being four starters for coach Mike Jones.
On Wednesday, Harvey committed to Notre Dame. Now the No. 47 recruit in the class of 2017, Harvey is a good get and great fit for the Irish. He hasn't reached the heights some envisioned when he was a ballyhooed middle school player moving to D.C. from his native Alabama, but this was still a no-brainer for ND coach Mike Brey in every way.
Brey is a DeMatha alum himself, and got his start in coaching as an assistant at the school before being hired on Mike Krzyzewski's bench by Duke. Brey pulled Jerian Grant out of DeMatha in 2010 and watched him turn into one of the best players he's ever coached. That connection was too strong for Harvey to pass on even as Texas and Alabama came calling. Grant was quick to congratulate Harvey on Twitter.
There's a lot to like about Harvey even as he comes off an AAU season that saw his reputation decline. He's a smooth 6'6 wing who can handle the ball and shoot it. Harvey was one of the best shooters on the EYBL in 2015, when he knocked down 43.4 percent of his three-pointers and averaged 12.3 points per game for Team Takeover. Those numbers fell off this past summer, as Harvey was only able to connect on 29.7 percent of his threes on a slight increase in volume.
Notre Dame is willing to take the chance he rediscovers his stroke. Brey's system has always placed a huge emphasis on shooting. A player with Harvey size is critical to an offense that has often played four guards at the same time. With Harvey, Brey has a player who can slide between shooting guard and power forward while still ensuring the Irish have all the spacing they need.
It's easy to forget Notre Dame has made it to back-to-back Elite Eights, a run that included one of the great college games in a recent memory when the Irish gave a then-undefeated Kentucky team all it could handle in the 2015 regional final. The core of that team -- Grant, Demetrius Jackson, Pat Connaughton -- are all in the NBA now, but Notre Dame should still be solid this season. Senior V.J. Beachem could be a star, and Steve Vasturia, Bonzie Colson, and Rex Pflueger project as solid complementary pieces.
The commitment of Harvey is more proof Brey is building something sustainable. There can be no years off on the recruiting trail if you want to compete in the ACC. A run to the Elite Eight won't happen every year, but Brey is showing that a great system and targeted recruiting can take a program a long way.