Dec. 9, 2002
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – After helping Notre Dame to three straight victories over top-10 teams last week, senior forward Dan Miller (Mt. Holly, N.J.) and freshman center Torin Francis (Roslindale, Mass.) swept the BIG EAST Conference weekly awards, with Miller being named player of the week and Francis co-rookie of the week. It marked just the second time since joining the league that Notre Dame players won both awards in the same week. The pair also earned places on the BB&T Classic all-tournament team when Notre Dame topped No. 9 Maryland and No. 2 Texas last weekend to claim the event crown.
Miller averaged 19.0 points and 7.3 rebounds and hit 12 of 22 (.545) three-point attempts and nine of 11 (.818) free throws over the three-game stretch. He posted 20 points against both Marquette and Texas and notched 17 points and seven rebounds against Maryland, where he played for three years before transferring to Notre Dame prior to last season. Miller, who had four three-point goals in each contest, is averaging 17.3 points and 7.4 rebounds this season, while shooting 49.1 percent from the field.
On the week, Francis averaged 17.3 points, 10.3 rebounds and 4.0 blocked shots per game, while shooting nearly 70 percent from the field (18-26). The rookie had a pair of breakout performances in the BB&T Classic, registering 20 points and eight rebounds on eight-of-eight shooting against Maryland before posting season highs with 21 points and eight blocked shots, along with 10 rebounds, against Texas to register his fifth double-double in nine collegiate games. Against Marquette, Francis had 11 points and 13 rebounds. The native of Roslindale, Mass., who shared the honor with Boston College forward Craig Smith, is averaging a double-double this season (11.8 points and 10.1 rebounds), while swatting 2.2 blocks a contest and connecting on 54.1 percent of his field goals in fewer than 27 minutes per game. In addition, he is averaging 17.6 points and 15.1 rebounds per 40 minutes on the floor.
Francis joined Chris Thomas and Troy Murphy as the only Irish players ever to win the BIG EAST rookie of the week award. Both Thomas (2001-02) and Murphy (1998-99) went on to be named the conference rookie of the year.
Miller entered an elite club of six Notre Dame players, including three current National Basketball Association stars, to be named the BIG EAST’s top player of the week. Other Irish players who have won the award are Troy Murphy (11 times), Ryan Humphrey, Pat Garrity (twice), Keith Friel and current Irish senior guard Matt Carroll.
Carroll captured the honor on Feb. 11 of last year, while Thomas was also named rookie of the week. That was the only previous time an Irish pair swept the conference awards.
Notre Dame is 8-1 this season and knocked off top-10 teams in three consecutive games for the first time in school history. The Irish will return to action on Saturday, playing host to DePaul at 5:00 p.m. in the Joyce Center.