Mar 11, 2013, 5:29 PM EDT
Notre Dame welcomed three talented and promising freshmen to the squad this year. These three players look to build on the success of recent Irish squads and leave a mark of their own. Irish UNDerground blogger Lauren Chval sat down to get to know the third of the trio, forward Austin Burgett.
Believe it or not, Austin Burgett’s first great love was baseball.
When he was younger, his dad was a minor leaguer, and Burgett recalls spending a lot of time watching his father play. His start in basketball came a couple years later.
“In third grade, my dad got me started playing basketball because I was taller than everyone else,” he says. “It stuck.”
Burgett’s height wasn’t the only advantage he had in the game. Although he kept playing baseball in high school as a pitcher and left fielder, Burgett says that he developed an unmatched passion for his second sport.
“To be honest, in high school I was probably better at baseball,” Burgett explains. “I just liked basketball more.”
Although he grew up only a couple hours away from Notre Dame, Burgett admits that he was not a fan before he committed as a junior in high school. In fact, he spent his childhood cheering on the Indiana Hoosiers.
“I’ve been an IU fan all my life and that’s where most of my family members have gone. So I kind of went the opposite way.”
He says the frequently cited combination of athletics and academics was a big factor in that decision. He had never been to Notre Dame before his first visit as a freshman in high school when he came for a football game, but Coach Brey and his staff impressed the young Burgett at an open gym.
At the time, the only player on the team that he would ever share the locker room with was graduate student Scott Martin. He didn’t meet his fellow freshmen until a couple years later on his official visit.
“They’re a little bit more out there and try to keep them within the limits,” Burgett admits.
Even in classes that the three take together, Burgett jokes that he is sometimes the one to keep things focused.
Academically, Burgett is currently in the process of deciding between Business Management and Business Marketing.
“My uncle is in international business, and he does marketing and management, and I job shadowed him and I liked it. So I’m hoping to do the same thing.”
In many ways, Burgett is a normal Notre Dame student, despite his athletic talent. His favorite movie is Step Brothers. He’ll tell you that his hall, Duncan, is the “best dorm on campus.” He and his roommate schedule time to watch the new episode of The Walking Dead every Sunday night. In fact, that element of typical student life is one of the things Burgett loves most about Notre Dame.
“I really like living with the normal students instead of living with just athletes so that you interact with them more,” he says. “I don’t like just hanging out with the basketball team because we see each other every day. It’s nice to be within the population.”
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