Thanks to class of 2013 small forward V.J. Beachem (Notre Dame) for doing the interview with us. The 6’7, 180-pound wing is an Indiana native who attends New Haven High School. He chose Notre Dame over Butler, Indiana, Purdue and Xavier when he committed last October and he talked to us about his future with the Fighting Irish, who he’s recruiting to join him at Notre Dame, meeting Skylar Diggins and much more. Be sure to join nearly 1,000 other people and follow Beachem on Twitter.
Why did you commit to Notre Dame?
Definitely playing in the Big East, [head] coach [Mike] Brey and his coaching style — the way he likes to play shooting from the outside — and being only an hour and 45 minutes away [from home] is great. I think it’s a great fit for me both personally and my game.
Why did you commit at the time that you did?
It was really the perfect time for me and my family, right before the start of the high school season. I thought I should just take care of it and I thought Notre Dame is the perfect place for me on and off the court, and I still do.
What was your favorite part of the recruiting process?
Seeing all the coaches coming up and seeing you play, that was great. Also going to see all the great colleges and coaches and players, that was pretty fun. The most exciting thing, though, was definitely them seeing you play.
What was your least favorite part of the recruiting process?
It gets pretty hectic, especially in July. It gets pretty tiring but as long as you know what you’re looking for it’s a great process.
So how is it different playing AAU now that you’re committed?
I’m definitely more relieved, it’s like playing two different games. Before you commit, you’re really stressed and worrying about things that really don’t matter but now you’re playing with no weight on your shoulders, all you want to do is win games and that’s the most important thing no matter what.
What do you like about Notre Dame that isn’t basketball related?
Being only an hour and 45 minutes away. Also, life after basketball and the degree and the alumni connection that you have after graduating from Notre Dame. It’s just a great place to be.
Are there any academic programs you’re interested in at Notre Dame?
I’m definitely interested in doing something with business. It has always been something that interests me and I feel I can be very successful in the field of business.
Are you trying to recruit anybody to join you at Notre Dame?
[Class of 2013 point guard] Demetrius Jackson, me and him talk every week. We don’t talk a whole lot about Notre Dame, we just talk about the game of basketball itself, our lives and stuff.
What are some of your goals for your time at Notre Dame?
I definitely want to win, first and foremost. Hopefully we’ll get to the Final Four and win the National Championship, that’s my number one goal. Personally, I just want to become a better player and hopefully make the NBA.
Do you look forward to playing with anyone in particular?
All the guys, really. Me and [Notre Dame commit class of 2012 power forward] Zack Auguste teammed up this past football season when we went to Notre Dame on a visit and went against [class of 2012 Notre Dame commit power forward] Austin Bergett and Demetrius so that was pretty fun. Really everyone, it should be a great time.
Why do you play the game of basketball?
I love it. If I could, I’d play it everyday no matter what. I already do but I’d play non-stop, 24/7.
What’s your favorite basketball memory?
I’d say my freshman year when I hit three game-winning shots. One was for the conference title, another one put us into the championship for the conference tournament so probably those three shots were my favorite basketball moments. Being a freshman at the time, it was even bigger for me.
What has been the coolest part of the recruiting process for you?
Seeing all of these great universities and meeting all of these great guys. Definitely playing with some of them, you wouldn’t be able to experience that if you weren’t being recruited, it’s an indescribable feeling. It’s just a great experience.
What are you trying to improve upon this summer?
I’m definitely trying to get stronger, improve on the defensive end and then improve on every little facet of the game. I think my game is ready right now but I need to get stronger and work on the mental part of the game.
How would you describe your game to someone who has never seen you play before?
A 6’8 wing that loves to shoot the ball from the outside and attack, can lock down on defense, rebounds the ball pretty well and a well-rounded player that can attack from anywhere on the floor.
What’s one thing people probably don’t know about you?
There are two things really — one I’m an only child and two my high school closed last year so this year was my first year at my new high school. I was at Harding my freshman and sophomore year but now I’m at New Haven. There were four guys from my team last year who came over, I was the only guy who started but I followed my coach so that made everything easier. Off the court it was tough because it was a whole new environment compared to previously being literally one minute away from the gym — I rode my bike to school — to New Haven which is 15 minutes away so I have to go to the YMCA after school.
Do you have any funny or interesting recruiting stories?
Meeting [Notre Dame women’s basketball star] Skylar Diggins my freshman year was pretty crazy. That was pretty good. She just walked up to me during a pre-game tailgate at Notre Dame’s first football game of the year when they played Purdue and she asked me my name. I was pretty shocked because she’s Skylar Diggins. When I go up to Notre Dame I talk to her but I don’t really keep in contact with her much.
What was your favorite college football game to attend?
It was definitely the Notre Dame-USC game, that was our first night game in 20 years so it was nuts. It was just crazy and the game under the lights was nuts.