April 13, 2011
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The Notre Dame men’s basketball celebrated one of the most successful seasons in recent memory on Wednesday evening (April 13) as the annual basketball banquet was held at Purcell Pavilion at the Joyce Center. Ben Hansbrough (Poplar Bluff, Mo.) and Tim Abromaitis (Unionville, Conn.) were the recipients of the evening’s two major honors. Hansbrough took home the Notre Dame Monogram Club MVP award while Abromaitis copped the Notre Dame Club of St. Joseph Valley Rockne Student-Athlete honor for the second consecutive year.
Notre Dame, under the direction of 11th-year head coach Mike Brey finished the 2010-11 campaign with a 27-7 record overall, its fifth straight 20-win campaign, and produced a 14-4 ledger in BIG EAST play as the Irish finished second in the final conference regular-season standings. Notre Dame’s 27 wins were the most ever under Brey and the most in the modern era for an Irish basketball team. Notre Dame’s 14-4 mark in league play matched the best record in program history since becoming a member of the BIG EAST Conference in 1995-96. The Irish also reached the semifinals of the BIG EAST Championship for the second consecutive year and fourth time overall.
Notre Dame finished fifth in the final Associated Press ranking and was 14th in the season-ending ESPN/USA Today poll after the Irish spent the majority of the season in the top-25 poll. Notre Dame made its seventh NCAA tournament appearance under Brey and 31st overall in school history as the Irish earned the No. 2 seed in the Southwest Region. The No. 2 seed was the highest for Notre Dame since the Irish received a No. 2 seed in 1981. Brey’s squad won its second-round game 69-56 against Akron, but then fell to Florida State (71-57) in its third-round contest.
The Irish finished 8-3 versus ranked opponents during the season, including seven wins during the regular season. Both the seven regular-season victories and the eight wins overall are school records.
Notre Dame finished a perfect 17-0 at home this season at Purcell Pavilion. It marked the third time in five seasons that the Irish–the only BIG EAST team not to lose at home–went undefeated on their home court. This was the fifth season overall since the building opened in 1968-69 that the Irish completed the season undefeated at home. Riding a 19-game home court win streak, Notre Dame is 84-6 (.933) over the last five seasons and 40-5 (.889) in BIG EAST play.
The last four-year run, from 2007-11, produced the most successful stretch in program history as Notre Dame posted a 96-42 (.696) overall record and a 46-26 (.639) mark in BIG EAST play. The 96 wins overall and 46 league victories marked the most in a four-year period in school history.
In addition, five other awards were presented as part of the evening’s festivities. Four-year walk-on Tom Kopko (Chicago, Ill.) was awarded the Team Irish Award; freshman Eric Atkins (Columbia, Md.) was the recipient of the Outstanding Playmaker Award; senior Scott Martin (Valparaiso, Ind.) was tabbed with the Most Improved Player Award; senior Carleton Scott (San Antonio, Texas) was honored with Best Defensive Player Award and senior Tyrone Nash (Queens, N.Y.) received the Captains’ Award.
ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢’Â¬Ã†’ Ben Hansbrough (Senior, Poplar Bluff, Mo., Guard)
Notre Dame Monogram Club MVP
As one of four captains on this year’s team, he proved to be the team’s MVP in every respect as he copped the BIG EAST Conference Player of the Year honor and was an NCAA Consensus Second Team All-American and was a unanimous first team all-BIG EAST selection. He averaged a team-leading 18.4 points per game and averaged 20.7 points in BIG EAST play. During his two seasons in an Irish uniform, he scored 1,044 points for a 15.1 career averaged in the 69 games he played overall. Hansbrough scored 1,613 points in 134 career outings that included two seasons at Mississippi State. He scored in double figures in 55 games with the Irish that include 18 20-plus point outings and two 30-plus point performances. Hansbrough ended the season riding a 17-game double-figure scoring streak. He was once selected as the BIG EAST Player of the Week and was a five-time honoree on the BIG EAST Honor Roll.
Tim Abromaitis (Senior, Unionville, Conn., Forward)
Notre Dame Club of St. Joseph Valley Rockne Student-Athlete Award
Tim Abromaitis averaged double figures for the second consecutive season as he finished as the team’s second-leading scorer with a 15.4 scoring average. He also was the team’s second-leading rebounder, grabbing a career-best 6.1 boards per game. One of Notre Dame’s four captain, he earns this award for the second consecutive year after garnering first team Capital One Academic All-America honors for the second straight season as well. Abromaitis, who graduated from Notre Dame’s Mendoza College of Business with a degree in finance in May 2010, will receive his MBA next month after being enrolled in an intensified one-year MBA program. He became the third player in BIG EAST history to earn the Conference’s Scholar Athlete of the Year in back-to-back seasons. Abromaitis has scored in double figures in 57 games during his Irish career and reached the 20-plus point mark on 21 occasions. He scored a season-high 30 points in Notre Dame’s win over Villanova that marked the third 30-plus point outing of his career. Abromaitis became the 51st player in school history to reach the 1,000-point mark for his career. He was a third team all-BIG EAST selection and was named MVP of the Old Spice Classic.
Tyrone Nash (Senior, Queens, N.Y., Forward)
In his final two seasons in an Irish uniform, Tyrone Nash, started all 71 games. A captain, he averaged 9.5 points and 5.9 rebounds, both career bests, this season as he played in all 36 contests. He also dished off a personal best 90 assists. Nash scored in double figures 17 contests and tallied a career-high 18 points in Notre Dame’s double-overtime victory over Georgia in the first game of the Old Spice Classic. Four of his career-high five double-doubles occurred during the season. He dished off seven assists in both the Chicago State and Providence contests. Nash grabbed a career-high 11 rebounds against Maine and in the regular-season home finale against Villanova as he closed out his career at Purcell Pavilion with an 11-point and 11-rebound performance. Nash finished with 712 points and 525 rebounds in his career.
ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢’Â¬Ã†’ Carleton Scott (Senior, San Antonio, Texas, Forward)
Best Defensive Player Award
Enjoyed outstanding season as one of the team’s four captains, Carleton Scott was Notre Dame’s third-leading scorer with a career-high 11.2 points per game and topped the squad with a personal-best 7.4 rebounds. He started 29 of the 30 contests he played in during the 2010-11 campaign and reached double figures in 20 contests, grabbed 10-plus rebounds in 11 contests and registered seven double-doubles. Scott led the Irish with 57 blocked shots. He scored a career-high 23 points in Notre Dame’s win over Gonzaga on Dec. 11, 2010 and grabbed a season-high 11 rebounds on four occasions. He was named to the all-tournament team at the Old Spice Classic after helping the Irish to the team title.
Scott Martin (Senior, Valparaiso, Ind., Forward)
Most Improved Player Award
Scott Martin averaged 9.7 points and 4.8 rebounds in his first season in an Irish uniform. After transferring to Notre Dame in June 2008, he sat out the 2008-09 season and then was sideline for the entire 2009-10 campaign after suffering an ACL injury in October 2009. He started all 33 contests he played in and averaged 30.5 minutes per game. He reached double figures in 19 contests and scored a career-high 21 9the first 20-plus point outing of his career) in Notre Dame’s loss to Louisville in the semifinals of the BIG EAST Championship. He registered his first career double-double against Marquette (10 pts., 11 rebs.) against Marquette on Jan. 20, 2011 and dished off a career-high six assists against Syracuse on Jan. 1, 2011. Martin was named to the All-Tournament Team at the BIG EAST Championship after averaging 16.0 points and 5.5 rebounds in Notre Dame’s two games.
Eric Atkins (Freshman, Columbia, Md., Guard)
Outstanding Playermaker Award
In his rookie season, Atkins averaged 5.8 points and ranked second on the team with 110 assists. He played in all 34 contests with the Irish and made six starts throughout the season. Atkins, who led the BIG EAST with a 2.56 assist-to-turnover ratio, scored in double figures in seven contests during the season. While playing 863 minutes during the season, he committed only 43 turnovers overall while averaging 25.4 minutes per game. He netted a career-high 15 points against Marquette on Jan. 20, 2011 and grabbed career-high seven rebounds against Gonzaga on Dec. 11, 2010. Atkins dished off a career-high seven assists on two occasions and had five or more assists on 10 occasions.
Tom Kopko (Senior, Chicago, Ill., Guard)
Team Irish Award
Four-year walk-on with program, he played in 31 contests with the Irish and appeared in 12 games during the 2010-11 campaign. His best game in an Irish uniform came against Northern Illinois on Dec. 8, 2007 when he scored five points. A three-time member of the BIG EAST Academic All-Star Team, he will graduate in May with a degree in sociology and a minor in computer applications from the College of Arts and Letters.