Notre Dame junior point guard Matt Farrell has drawn comparisons with all-time NCAA assists leader Bobby Hurley for his intensity on the court and fierce competitiveness.
Farrell will be one of the entertaining players to watch Thursday when Notre Dame plays Princeton in the first round of the NCAA Tournament at KeyBank Center. Like Hurley, Farrell is a New Jersey native.
Irish coach Mike Brey says any comparison of the two players is utterly appropriate.
“The demeanor and the edge are the same,” Brey said Wednesday. “It’s that I-95 Jersey edge that both of them have.”
Brey should know. He was an assistant to Mike Krzyzewski at Duke during Hurley’s playing career. In fact, during Hurley’s first year as head coach at the University at Buffalo, he called Brey to endorse the Irish coach’s recruitment of Farrell.
“Obviously I know Bobby well and recruited him,” Brey said. “He tried to recruit him for here at UB at the time. He called me, actually the day I was going down to watch him. He said, ‘Coach I usually don’t get involved. I just love him.’ He kind of made a comment. He said he reminds me of myself. I said, ‘Well, this evaluation is now over.”
Farrell made honorable mention All-Atlantic Coast Conference this season. He averages 14.2 points and 5.5 assists (second best in the ACC). Farrell’s 41.3 percent shooting percentage from three-point range ranks second in the ACC.
“I think he’s better than Hurley because he shoots it better than Hurley,” Brey said.
Better overall than Hurley? “Yeah.”
But Farrell’s not a first-team All-American?
“I think he’s a better player than Hurley because he shoots it better,” Brey said.
For the record, Hurley shot 40.5 percent from three-point range for his four-year career at Duke. He hit 42.1 percent both his junior and senior seasons.