Zach Auguste made a verbal commitment to Notre Dame on Thursday night, as was first confirmed by ESPN's senior basketball recruiting analyst Dave Telep.
The commitment caps what has been an on-again, off-again ride for Auguste and the Irish dating back to the fall of last year.
A year ago, when Auguste was just starting to ping the high-major radar the Irish were one of the first schools at that level to seriously recruit him.
His recruitment steadily increased throughout his junior season at New Hampton and ultimately peaked this summer, closing the live period with a tremendous 10 days out west with his Mass Rivals club.
By the time July had come to a close Auguste had earned his choice of high-major offers and when he announced his final four schools in late August, Marquette, West Virginia, Florida, and Georgia Tech made the cut.
"I'm leaving the fifth spot open just in case I get any new options," Auguste said at the time.
Asked if it was possible for any other schools to get back in after not making his final cut, Auguste replied, "if they recruit me hard enough."
Turns out that glimmer of hope was all Notre Dame needed, not just to get back in the race, but ultimately to pull ahead on the final lap.
After taking his first official visit to Marquette last weekend, Auguste arrived in South Bend on Wednesday night and gave Irish coach Mike Brey his word less than 24 hours later.
The commitment is a big one for Notre Dame on several fronts.
First and foremost, Auguste is a high-level talent. A long and athletic 6-foot-9 power forward with an inside-out skill set, his potential far exceeds his current spot just outside the ESPNU 100. He's most comfortable facing the basket from the perimeter, where he can stretch defenses to the arc with his shooting range or put it on the floor, but he's also starting to add a post dimension to his game with the emergence of a jump hook. In short, his game has evolved at a rapid rate in the last year with more frequent signs of him being able to put the pieces together. If that happens on a more consistent basis in the next four years, Auguste could emerge as a high impact player for Notre Dame.
Secondly, and almost equally important, this is a big recruiting victory for Notre Dame. Not only did the Irish score a comeback win, but they did it over a number of worthy adversaries. Recent years have seen the Irish elevate their recruiting profile in correlation to their on-court success and a lot of those victories have come with prospects, like Auguste, who put a premium on the quality of their future education as well as their athletics. It's a niche the Irish are continuing to develop and the results have them competing with the big boys in recent years.
Lastly, this commitment only reinforces Notre Dame's rapidly developing pipeline into the New England region, which not surprisingly, has produced a steady supply of high-academic, high-major players in recent years. Auguste is the fourth New England product to commit to Notre Dame in the last five years (and fifth if you include Tyrone Nash who spent a year of prep school in Massachusetts) joining Tim Abromaitis, Thomas Knight and most recently Pat Connaughton.
Adam Finkelstein has been a coach or scout at the high school, college and pro levels. He was an assistant coach in Division I by the age of 24 and also worked as a scout for Marty Blake, the NBA's director of scouting. Dave Telep contributed to this piece.