Nov. 14, 2012
NOTRE DAME, Ind. --- A heralded quartet of players -- V.J. Beachem (Fort Wayne, Ind./New Haven), Demetrius Jackson (Mishawaka, Ind./Marian), Austin Torres (Mishawaka, Ind./Penn) and Steve Vasturia (Medford, N.J./St. Joseph's Prep) -- that comprise one of the nation's top recruiting classes signed National Letters of Intent during the early signing period on Wednesday morning (Nov. 14) it was announced by 13th-year Notre Dame head coach Mike Brey. The four are members of the class of 2013 and will enroll at the University in the fall.
The talented group is ranked in the top-10 of several recruiting services and is regarded as one of the strongest classes during Brey's tenure.
"We felt that we needed to strengthen our perimeter game with this year's class and I really think that we accomplished that," Brey says. "Our current guards, (Eric) Atkins and (Jerian) Grant, believe it or not, are getting older. We feel we accomplished our needs with the three players we added (Beachem, Jackson and Vasturia) and then strengthened our frontline with a young man (Torres) who is an active player around the basket. This is a heck of a class for us and it keeps our perimeter strength in great shape for years to come.
"Like other players that we have recruited into this program, this group has a real feel for the game and a high basketball IQ. They're going to fit into the system we have and the trend we have established of being unselfish and sharing the basketball. It's also a highly-skilled and athletic group and one that will play together a lot."
"I feel really good about each of the classes that we have brought in the past two years because it took care of a lot of our needs. These two groups are going to play a lot of basketball together and will make up a strong nucleus for us for several years. I'm excited about the future of our basketball program and the direction we're headed."
Four-star Beachem, a 6-6, 180-pound small forward, is one of three players from the state of Indiana. He averaged 19.6 points per game, 7.5 rebounds and 4.3 assists as a junior in 2011-12 while leading his New Haven squad to a 17-4 mark (its most victories in 16 years). An all-state selection and a member of the Indiana Basketball Coaches Association (IBCA) Junior All-Star Team, Beachem also was tabbed for all-Northeast Hoosier Conference honors and garnered all-Northeast Indiana regional honors for the second straight year. In his sophomore season, he netted 16.7 points per game, 5.5 rebounds and 3.3 assists and also was a double-figure scorer in his rookie season as he finished with averages of 12.3 points, 5.7 rebounds and 2.1 assists.
As an AAU player, Beachem was a member of the Eric Gordon All-Stars.
"V.J. is a smooth, scoring wing who can really shoot the basketball and just knows how to play the game," Brey says. "He has a great feel on the court for what is going on around him. V.J. is an active and long defender.
"If I compared him to a former player who has come through our program recently, it would be Ryan Ayers. One thing that V.J. does very well is that he can put the ball on the floor. He needs to get stronger, but he has great length and plays above the rim. What I love most about him though is his calm demeanor on the court. He is extremely steady and plays with a great deal of composure."
Jackson, a 6-1, 170-pound point guard, is one of two local products set to join the Irish program. One of the top players overall in this year's class, he averaged 22.3 points, 6.6 rebounds, 4.4 assists and 2.0 steals while leading his Marian team to the Class 3A sectional title -- the Knights first crown in 43 years. Marian finished the season with a 22-4 record and 6-2 mark in league play. An honorable mention All-American by MaxPreps.com, Jackson also earned all-state honors and was a member of the IBCA Junior All-Star Team.
A two-time Northern Indiana Conference Player of the Year, Jackson has been a three-year starter at Marian. He and Torres were teammates together on the MBA Select AAU Team.
"We are so happy to have Demetrius become a member of our basketball program," Brey says. "Being a local product, he and Austin are going to bring a lot of energy for our fanbase to our building. He's an extremely talented player with Derrick Rose's kind of ability. Demetrius is a highly-skilled and dynamic point guard. As good as he is right now as a player, I believe that there is still so much potential there for him to become an even better player.
"Demetrius has made great strides and has taken pride in becoming a complete player; he's become a real gym rat. He's improved his shooting immensely and that is one area of his game that I have been very impressed with in terms of how far he has come since I began watching him as a freshman at Marian. Demetrius has a chance to be a very special player within our program and I couldn't be more pleased that he has decided to play college basketball in his hometown."
Torres, a 6-6, 200-pound power forward, was an all-Northern Indiana Conference selection as a junior after averaging 10.0 points and 7.2 rebounds.
"We are thrilled to have Austin join our basketball program," Brey says. "Like Steve (Vasaturia) and all of our incoming players, he has been very well-coached in high school. I've watched this young man really mature as player -- he's an athletic player with a workmanlike attitude. He defends really well and plays above the rim. Austin can block shots and finishes well along the basket.
"Austin is a guy that is going to come in and be a role player for us early on. He is going to be someone who is going to earn his minutes by doing a lot of dirty work for us. As he has gotten older, I have been impressed with how hard he plays and how unselfish he is on the court and how tough he plays."
Vasturia, a 6-5, 190-pound shooting guard, is a four-star recruit and ranks 90th overall by Scout.com. He averaged 21.0 points and 9.3 rebounds while leading his St. Joseph's Prep squad to the Philadelphia 4A state championship and finished with 35 points in the championship game, tying the championship-game record for points that was set by Wilt Chamberlain in 1955. Vasturia's prep team finished with a 21-6 overall record and 13-3 mark in league play last season.
Named most valuable player of the Philadelphia Catholic League, Vasturia also was a first-team all-state and all-Catholic League honoree. With 1,149 career points, he is on pace to become his school's career scoring leader (record is 1,566 points held by Reggie Redding). As a sophomore, Vasturia averaged 17.9 points and 5.3 rebounds while garnering first-team all-Catholic League accolades.
He is a member of the Jersey Shore Warriors AAU team.
"Steve is going to be a very good player for us and has been very well-coached in high school," Brey says. "The Philadelphia area has been really good to us and he is going to follow in the footsteps of the great players that we have had from that area. If I could compare him to one of our past players it would be Chris Quinn, but just a bigger version of him.
"Steve's got a mature feel for the game and he plays older than he actually is. He's the complete package -- shoots the ball well, puts it on the floor, is a good defender and moves without the ball. He's just got an excellent feel for the game."