Jul 30, 2013, 10:58 AM EDT
The University of Notre Dame men’s basketball team welcomes four freshman to the mix this upcoming season; Austin Torres, Steve Vasturia, V.J. Beachem and Demetrius Jackson. In addition to a sit down ‘getting to know’ video, each student-athlete took a few minutes to chat with me about their summer, coming to Notre Dame and some random thoughts they have. Beachem is the third of a four-part series that will look at each student individually, Torres’ was released last Tuesday followed by Vasturia’s on Thursday and Jackson this Thursday. Enjoy…
V.J. Beachem, a Los Angeles Lakers fanatic from from Fort Wayne, Ind., brings his game to Notre Dame after a successful career at New Haven just a few hours away from the University’s campus.
Although he was within two hours of Notre Dame by car, Beachem didn’t grow up a fan of the Fighting Irish, but always paid attention to the program.
“I didn’t really have a favorite college team growing up” said Beachem. “I remember watching some Notre Dame basketball games when I was younger. The team with Carleton Scott and Ben Hansbrough was one of the best teams we have had here in awhile. That team was really exciting and helped pick up my interest in Notre Dame.”
In certain parts of Indiana, Notre Dame is not considered the State of Indiana’s favorite University. Many say that is between Indiana University, Purdue University and Ball State University. But Beachem understands the importance of his role at ND.
“It’s a great feeling to be a part of Notre Dame” Beachem stated. “Some people don’t consider Notre Dame ‘Indiana’s school’, but it is one of the most prestigous schools in America. It’s a great feeling to be able to represent Fort Wayne up here in South Bend.”
Along the recruiting trail Beachem was targeted by a variety of programs with Michigan State and Notre Dame sticking out the most to him. Aside from his close relationship with Michigan State assistant coach Dane Fife, Beachem chose Coach Brey and the Irish.
“You don’t really find guys much better than Coach Brey” Beachem said. “He is going to push you both on and off the court and that’s is something my family and I were looking for.”
Coach Brey has coached in the ACC before and will again after Notre Dame declared they would begin play in the ACC in 2013-14. Needless to say, Beachem was excited when he heard. “Immediately I said, ‘Wow!’ Even after it settled in I was really excited to play in the ACC and really pumped to play against some of the teams like Duke and North Carolina that we will be playing against.”
BEACHEM HIGHLIGHT VIDEO
Many Notre Dame fans haven’t had the opportunity to see Beachem play during his time at New Haven or on his AAU squad, so what can we expect from the 6’8″ wing?
“Notre Dame fans say my game is molded after Ryan Ayres.” said Beachem. “Back home I hear I am like Kevin Durant because I am tall and long. Lately I’ve been hearing my game is like Paul George. I’m not nearly as good as I need to be defensively yet to be like Paul (George). But I am a really unselfish player who can knock down shots on the perimeter and has a good all-around game.”
Arriving at Notre Dame is always hard for any freshman, whether you are a student-athlete or a student. But you have to keep it in perspective and understand what is needed to accomplish your goals.
“I want to be the best player, student and friend I can be during my time at Notre Dame and I will do whatever it takes to reach my dreams” Beachem said.
What is Beachem looking forward to the most this season? “This one is easy, playing at the Garden (New York) or playing against Duke at home.”
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