Notre Dame Hoops Media Day Notes, Quotes and Observations

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mike brey

When it’s 85 degrees outside, it’s somewhat difficult to think about college basketball season, but practice is underway and Notre Dame Media Day is already over.

It was interesting to see if ND Head Coach Mike Brey would still rock his trademark mock turtleneck underneath a sport coat today, as this afternoon was shorts and flip-flop weather.

And the light-hearted banter I walked in on (a bit late unfortunately) was all about the topic of wardbrobe, the NBA’s new dress code for coaches and how the mock doesn’t work for men who are out of shape.

Then the press conference officially began and it was all business. Well, basketball actually, because that’s the business at hand.

By Paul M. Banks

Obviously, the first question is “who’s going to run the point?” Now that Tory Jackson, the second leading assist man in school history, has graduated.

“You go right into the issue of Tory Jackson leaving the building, you had the ball in his hands 38 minutes a game and you didn’t have to worry, and the toughness factor, and maybe more than anything how he led and helped me manage the locker room,” Brey said.

And another key loss is Luke Harangody, the guy who’s number 44 is now hanging on a banner above the court in the Joyce Center’s Purcell Pavilion. He’s the second leading rebounder and scorer in school history. The best case scenario for the Irish in 2011 is a sort of Ewing Theory manifestation, where the team gets better and more cohesive from playing together and sharing scoring duties, and overall becoming less reliant on just one player.

The Fighting Irish played really well down the stretch last season when Harangody was missing, so maybe that experience last winter will help them this season.

ND’s 2011 core starts with their experienced quintet. “I call them the five old guys, I’ll say five old guys get down here,” Brey told the media.

The five old guys are: graduate student Tim Abromaitis, who might possibly be the leading scorer this season, senior Ben Hansbrough (yes, Tyler’s little brother) who will likely start off taking the bulk of the ball-handling duties, senior Tyrone Nash, the team’s closest thing to a true center, Scott Martin a Purdue transfer, who missed the last two seasons, one from NCAA mandated transfer protocol, and s second year from a knee injury, and finally Carleton Scott, a senior who will see a lot of touches in the post.

The theme of this year’s squad will be versatility and balanced production, as the Fighting Irish will have lots of players who can play 2-4, a good deal of interchangeable pieces, multiple lineups, four fourmen on the floor at times, three forward sets, “rebounding by committee” etc.

In other words, it’s all wide open and it may take a while for this team to define their identity. However, on the flip-side, opponents won’t have much of an idea about what to expect from them either, and the Irish will be difficult to game plan for.

Any time anyone mentions Martin, the word “versatility” seems to come up. So he could be a key cog to the Irish season, not only in basketball fundamentals, but in helping the team define it’s identity.

Paul M. Banks is President and CEO of The Sports Bank.net , a Midwest focused webzine. He is also a regular contributor to Chicago Now, the Chicago Tribune’s blog network, Walter Football.com, the Washington Times Communities, Yardbarker Network, and Fox Sports.com

He also does a regular guest spot each week for Chicagoland Sports Radio.com

You can follow him on Twitter @thesportsbank

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