Wednesday, October 29, 2008


by Raymond Balter

Under Head Coach Mike Brey, the University of Notre Dame Men’s Basketball program is on more of a roll then they have been in many years. The Fighting Irish are ranked in the top twenty-five in virtually every pre-season poll, are listed in the top ten in most of them, and are pegged to finish as high as third by Blue Ribbon. Leading the way for them this year once again will be reigning Big East Player of the Year Luke Harangody, who NBE Report spoke with at last Wednesday’s Big East Media Day.

Luke Harangody had quite a season last year for Notre Dame. The 6’8 forward averaged 20.4 points and 10.6 rebounds per game, statistics that were good enough to earn him league player of the year honors. What is even more impressive is that his Big East totals were even better than those overall numbers: against league foes, his averages were 23.3 points and 11.6 boards per game. On top of it all, he did all that while just a sophomore.

Now the native of Shererville, Ind. is back for his junior campaign (which also makes him the first reigning BE POY to forgo a professional opportunity and come back since Pitt’s Brandin Knight, who shared the honor with UConn’s Caron Butler in 2001-02, returned to play for the Panthers the following year).

Since Indiana is such a basketball-crazed state and he was already a pretty big star coming out of high school (though hardly a McDonald’s All-America type), his sudden fame is not such a big deal.

“There have been a lot of people that have followed me over the course of my career and are still following me," he said. “There have been so many people that followed me back home and are still following me." About his new star status, he said that, “I don’t think it’s changed me personally, but it has put more pressure on me and got me in the gym more to become that much better of a player and that’s a positive."

Harangody said that his final four choices coming out of high school were Indiana, Purdue, Ohio St., and Notre Dame. What was it that led him to pick the Irish? “The coaching staff – and you’re not going to find a group of players like this anywhere in the country," he said. “That’s the one thing that stuck out about Notre Dame." About his coaches, he had particularly high words of praise for the head man.

“Coach Brey has given me the confidence to become the player that I am today," he said. “That helped me out a lot, because if not for him, I probably would not be sitting where I am now. He instilled in me the confidence that I could be one of the top players in this league." Still, Harangody appears to be in no rush for the next level, and seems more focused on the task at hand this year.

“It’s great for the program to be getting all the hype, but we’re a veteran group and we know how to go about our business," he said. About the NBA, he had this to say: “You think about it, people start talking about it. It’s always been a dream of mine to play in the NBA, and now I’m going to take it one step at a time and see how it goes."



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