British science fiction author Arthur C. Clarke said Douglas Adams’ use of “don’t panic” in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy was perhaps the best advice that could be given to humanity. Notre Dame basketball fans being, for the most part, part of humanity, it’s good advice for them.
Even with injuries and defection, a 13-12/3-9 record is disappointing largely because none of the highly regarded young players have shown more than flashes of ACC ability with the possible exception of Prentiss Hubb who, while not playing star caliber basketball, is holding his own as the starting point guard. A 1.7 assist/turnover ratio in ACC games is solid for a freshman especially considering how few of his passes to perimeter shooters are converted to baskets.
Let me start with the three Notre Dame freshmen who have played a lot this season.
Prentiss Hubb – 32 mpg, 7.7 ppg, 3.0 rpg
Dane Goodwin – 23 mpg, 6.4 ppg, 3.0 rpg
Nate Laszewski – 19 mpg, 6.6 ppg, 4.0 rpg
Now let’s compare them to a selection of highly regarded (but not 5 star) ACC recruits who improved significantly from their first to second seasons. These players’ freshman stat lines resembled the production of Notre Dame’s rookies this season.
Louisville’s Jordan Nwora
Freshman – 12 mpg, 5.7 ppg, 2.2 rpg
Sophomore – 32 mpg, 17.5 ppg, 7.7 rpg
Miami’s Chris Lykes
Freshman – 21 mpg, 7.8 ppg, 1.2 rpg
Sophomore – 34 mpg, 17.1 ppg, 2.6 rpg
Virginia’s De’Andre Hunter
Freshman – 20 mpg, 9.2 ppg, 3.5 rpg
Sophomore – 31 mpg, 15.0 ppg, 5.5 rpg
Virginia’s Ty Jerome
Freshman – 14 mpg, 4.3 ppg, 1.6 rpg
Sophomore – 31 mpg, 10.6 ppg, 3.1 rpg
Junior – 32 mpg, 13.0 ppg, 4.3 rpg
Virginia’s Kyle Guy
Freshman – 19 mpg, 7.5 ppg, 1.7 rpg
Sophomore – 32 mpg, 14.1 ppg, 2.6 rpg
Junior – 34 mpg, 15.1 ppg, 4.3 rpg
UNC’s Luke Maye took three seasons to emerge, but he became a pretty fair player.
Freshman – 5 mpg, 1.2 ppg, 1.2 rpg
Sophomore – 14 mpg, 5.5 ppg, 3.9 rpg
Junior – 32 mpg, 16.9 ppg, 10.1 rpg
Notre Dame’s own John Mooney
Freshman – 4 mpg, 1.2 ppg, 1.6 rpg
Sophomore – 15 mpg, 5.6 ppg, 3.9 rpg
Junior – 28 mpg, 14.0 ppg, 11.0 rpg
Also consider the two ND guys who have a season of college basketball under their belts but also had to recover from injuries.
Freshman – 19 mpg, 5.8 ppg, 2.9 rpg
Sophomore – 26 mpg, 10.9 ppg, 4.5 rpg
Harvey has improved as the season has progressed, and he has not reached his peak by a long shot. An offseason building strength and regaining the physical gifts we saw last season instead of getting his knee healthy enough to be cleared for activityu before the start of the season will help him a lot as will additional passage of time from the injury itself.
Freshman – 8.3 mpg, 1.6 ppg, 1.5 rpg
Sophomore – 14 mpg, 5.6 ppg, 4.0 rpg
I also don’t believe Durham is a finished product. Is doubling his points and rebounds next season a preposterous notion?
My message to Notre Dame fans is simple. Young players get better.
This season has been a painful part of a journey. The young players on the Irish roster are talented. They will improve, some significantly next season; so don’t panic.
Women’s Basketball Notes
Several Notre Dame school records will fall over the next few weeks. Here is a rundown.
Arike Ogunbowale now has scored 2,324 points in her college career. She passed Beth Morgan/Cunningham for second place last night and is 33 points behind Skylar Diggins. She’s capable of a 34-point outburst on national TV Monday, but it’s more likely that she will get the record Thursday at home vs Duke.
Three Point Shots Made
Marina Mabrey has 249, tied with Sheila McMillen for second place and 13 behind Alicia Ratay’s school record. If we figure 4 more regular season games, 3 ACC Tournament games, and 4 NCAA Tournament games, she has to average just a little more than 1 per game to get the record. Mabrey’s average made per game is 2.6 this season; so barring catastrophe, it’s a matter of when she will catch Ratay, not if. Senior day vs Virginia would be a nice time to get the record.
Brianna Turner has 334 blocked shots, 36 short of Ruth Riley’s record 370. Using the 11-game model, she must average 3.3 per game to catch Riley. That is not a lock and not a long shot either. Add two more games by making it to the national championship contest and the necessary average falls to 2.8. Her season average is 2.7 blocks per game.
Turner’s 935 rebounds trails Riley by 72. She must average 6.5 per game to catch Riley in 11 games. Her season average is 7.4, so I like Turner’s chances a lot.