Oct 2, 2013, 9:04 AM EDT
Today the Notre Dame men’s basketball team held their second official practice of the year. Holding practice in “The Pit” at Purcell Pavilion was a good way for the team to block out all distractions and focus on what matters in the two hours they have together: basketball.
This practice seemed as though it was on a whole new level of intensity from the first practice last Friday. Maybe it was because the first practice of every season is a little easier than the others, but the players and coaches both wanted perfection out of everything they did. Right after a quick film session at the beginning of practice, the Irish played the game the way it should be played: fast, physical and to the point.
Today the Irish worked on three things. And each one of these things are going to be important going into their inaugural season with the Atlantic Coast Conference.
First, the Irish reinforced what they were working on this past Friday, defense. The team made a concerted effort towards making sure that when they were on defense that not one open look would be had by the offense. Irish head coach Mike Brey kept telling his players, “Challenge the shot, don’t get beat!” Having a hand up in the shooter’s face and making sure they don’t open their body up too much for the shooter to have an open lane to the basket were a few of the things burned into the minds of the student-athletes.
Secondly, on the offensive end of the court, Notre Dame worked mainly on passing the ball. More importantly, making quick, precise passes with the goal of getting open looks at the basket. Eric Atkins and Jerian Grant showed why they are the leaders of this team, making as Brey called them, “veteran passes.”
With the addition of freshman Demetrius Jackson and sophomore Zach Auguste, this offense is looking to be one of the fastest that Notre Dame has ever had. Scoring in transition is something Irish fans will become accustomed to with the team in this upcoming season.
Lastly, the Irish worked on something that goes far beyond the basketball court. Confidence will be the driving force for this team as they take on, quite possibly, the most difficult schedule in Notre Dame Basketball history.
Confidence in basketball is something that is never discussed and highly overlooked. However, Mike Brey kept telling his players to do things with confidence. “Contest him with confidence,” Brey stated while working on closing out the opponent on the defensive side of the ball.
Being one of the new teams in the ACC, Notre Dame will need to have as much confidence as they have talent this year. This being because of the high talent level in the ACC, Notre Dame will be considered the underdog in many of the match-ups by experts this year.
One thing these experts neglect though is the Fighting Irish have a lot of “fight” in them. Notre Dame is notorious for being picked as the underdog and even more notorious for proving these critics wrong. As long as they play Irish basketball and keep up the confidence Brey is trying to give his players, they are headed in the right direction with the season opener for Notre Dame only 38 days away.
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