Oct 28, 2013, 12:09 PM EDT
With the Irish men’s basketball team beginning their new journey tonight at 7:00 p.m. (ET) against the University of Indianapolis in an exhibition contest, I felt I should give my three thoughts on Notre Dame before we get underway. Before I begin, I would be remiss if I didn’t let you know that you can watch tonight’s game online for free on WatchND.tv. Click here at 7:00 p.m. (ET) to watch the game.
Having the unique opportunity to watch men’s basketball practice the past few weeks, a few things have stuck out to me as we head into this season. Here are the three things that stuck out to me…
1. The Play of Austin Burgett
I was away from the Notre Dame basketball team much of last year, but a guy that stuck out to me big time while watching practice was Austin Burgett. Not only is Burgett a big body, but he has incredible athleticism and a unique ability to hop off of two feet while in the lane to grab rebounds. One of the reasons why I believe Burgett will get a big chunk of playing time this year is not just his ability to rebound the basketball, but also knock down the outside shot. For many of the people who remember the early Coach Brey years, there were tons of guys on the court who could knock down the three at a high percentage and from deep, that is no longer the case. So needless to say, I look for Burgett to surprise many with his athleticism and play at and above the rim.
2. An Unexpected RIm Protecter
Many have talked about how freshman Austin Torres will need to develop by sitting on the bench for a year before seeing playing time, I don’t see that. Torres’ upper-body is mature enough for him to be useful for Coach Brey’s rotation and he has a uncanny ability at the rim on the defensive end. Torres’ 12-15 footer is smooth and will only get more consistent. His shot form is great for the pick and pop which works great in Brey’s motion offense. He still needs to work on his offensive game with his back to the basket and finishing while in the lane, but you can tell he has worked on turning over his weakside shoulder for a push shot while on the block. Most importantly, Torres’ play on the defensive end will be what gets him quality ticks during the season.
3. Where Will All The Minutes Come From?
Having two guards like Jerian Grant and Eric Atkins that play well over 30 minutes a game (Atkins plays closer to 40), there isn’t a lot of minutes left to go around for some. So how will Coach Brey get all of his guys time? This season I see the Irish going small, playing four guards/wings at any given time. With only Garrick Sherman, Tom Knight, Austin Torres and Austin Burgett on the roster as guys who can play the high post/man in the middle position, there will be times when there will only be one of them on the court. Therefore, you will see many more guys see playing time than in previous years under Brey. In recent memory, Brey has kept his rotation to eight and sometimes seven when the Irish get closer to Tournament time. Seeing Grant play the wing, allowing McDonald’s All American Demetrius Jackson play alongside Eric Atkins up top is a very real possibility for the Irish. In ending, don’t be surprised to see a ton of different lineups from Brey and his staff early on to figure out who plays well together and what guys rise to the top as the Irish move closer to ACC play.
I want to hear your thoughts on the upcoming season, feel free to comment below or contact me on twitter at @NDSportsBlogger.
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