Zach Hillesland received the Notre Dame Club of St. Joseph Valley Rockne Student-Athlete Award for the second straight year.

Irish Seniors Honored At Annual Basketball Banquet

April 15, 2009

Notre Dame, Ind. – Junior Luke Harangody (Schererville, Ind.), the first player in BIG EAST Conference history to lead the league in both scoring and rebounding, received top honors at the annual Men’s Basketball Banquet as he was named the 2009 Notre Dame Monogram Club MVP Award winner. In addition, senior Zach Hillesland (Toledo, Ohio) was the recipient of the Notre Dame Club of St. Joseph Valley Rockne Student-Athlete Award for the second consecutive year.

The two awards were presented along with five others at the banquet honoring the 2008-09 team on Wednesday evening, April 15 on the arena floor of the Joyce Center.

Ryan Ayers (Blue Bell, Pa.) was honored as the team’s Best Defensive Player; Hillesland received the Captains’ Award; Jonathan Peoples (Bellwood, Ill.) and Tyrone Nash (Queens, N.Y.) shared the Most Improved Player Award; Tory Jackson (Saginaw, Mich.) was honored with the Outstanding Playmaker Award; and Kyle McAlarney (Staten Island, N.Y.) was awarded the Team Irish Award.

Notre Dame advanced to the semifinals of the National Invitation Tournament and recorded its third straight 20-win season as the Irish finished with a 21-15 record. It also marked the sixth time in nine seasons that Notre Dame has reached the 20-win plateau under head coach Mike Brey. Notre Dame also finished runner-up at the prestigious Maui Invitational.

The Irish advanced to the postseason for the 10th straight year, its longest postseason run in the 104-year history of the men’s basketball program. Notre Dame has played in the postseason in each of Mike Brey’s nine campaigns (five NCAA, four NIT). The Irish also went up against 12 ranked opponents during the ’08-’09 season, the most ranked teams any Irish team faced in school history.

Notre Dame also achieved a program first by defeating Indiana, Louisville and Kentucky in the same season. The Irish beat Indiana, 88-50, in the first round of the Maui Invitational, handed Louisville a 90-57 setback at the Joyce Center in February, and then beat Kentucky (77-67) in the quarterfinals of the NIT.

Notre Dame finished 15-3 at home this season, and at one point during the season, ran its home court win streak record to a school record 45 straight following its win over Seton Hall on Jan. 10. That enabled the Irish at the time to claim the nation’s longest win streak at home. The win over the Pirates also enabled Notre Dame to tie the BIG EAST mark for consecutive conference home victories.

2008-09 Men’s Basketball Award Honorees

Luke Harangody – Notre Dame Monogram Club MVP Award

Notre Dame’s leading scorer (23.3) and rebounder (11.8) for the second straight season…First player in BIG EAST history to lead the conference in scoring (25.2) and rebounding (12.8) in back-to-back campaigns…Only player to finish in the top 10 in both scoring (8th) and rebounding (6th)…First Team All-BIG EAST…Set Notre Dame single-season record with 25 double-doubles and ranks fourth all-time with 50…Scored 30-plus points on six occasions…One of only four players in Notre Dame history with 1,800 points (1,823) and 900 rebounds (949)…Has scored 1,031 points in BIG EAST play and is one of only three players in league history to have scored more than 1,000 points in three seasons…John R. Wooden All-America Team…Dick Vitale All-America Team…Second Team Associated Press All-American…Second Team USBWA All-American…State Farm/NABC Third Team All-American…The Sporting News Third Team All-American…Has played in 99 career games and owns 83 starts.

Zach Hillesland – Notre Dame Club of St. Joseph Valley Rockne Student-Athlete Award & Captains’ Award

Team captain…Will graduate in May with a degree in marketing from the Mendoza College of Business…Has highest cumulative grade point average on the team with a 3.532 average…Earned a 3.917 GPA and was named to the Dean’s List for the 2008 fall semester…Averaged 4.6 points and 4.9 rebounds…Scored in double figures in five games…Netted a career-high 17 points against DePaul…Matched career-high 12 rebounds against Furman…Played in 112 games during his career and made 53 starts…Scored 549 points and grabbed 496 rebounds in four seasons.

Ryan Ayers – Best Defensive Player Award

Team captain…Averaged career bests of 11.1 points and 3.5 rebounds…His 94 three-pointers tied for sixth most in a single season…Finished 17th nationally in three-point field goal percentage (.438)…Scored in double figures in 19 games (career best)…Netted a career-high 35 points against South Dakota and tied a Joyce Center record with nine three-pointers…Finished with 28 points against Providence (most points in a BIG EAST game)…Started 51 of the 117 games he played in during his career…Finished with 763 points and 6.5 career scoring average.

Jonathan Peoples – Co-Most Improved Player Award

Played in all 36 games and made two starts…Averaged 3.2 and 2.3 rebounds…Earned first career start against Marquette and also was in the starting lineup against Pittsburgh…Netted career-high 14 points and dished off a personal best nine assists against Providence…Grabbed a career-high six rebounds versus Furman…Dished off 44 assists.

Tyrone Nash – Co-Most Improved Player Award

Averaged 3.0 points and 3.6 rebounds…Played in 34 games and made one start…Earned first career start against Villanova…Shot 50.7 percent from the field…Scored a career-high 10 points against Delaware State…Grabbed a personal best 11 boards versus Connecticut…Had five or more rebounds in 10 games.

Tory Jackson – Outstanding Playmaker Award

Averaged a career-best 10.6 points…Led Irish in assists for the third straight season (177 assists)…Grabbed 158 rebounds (4.4 per game)…Also led Notre Dame in steals for the third consecutive contest…Tied a career-high with 21 points versus Indiana…Dished off a season-high 10 assists against South Dakota…Netted double figures in 19 games…Has played in 101 games during his career and made 87 starts…Scored 894 points, grabbed 431 rebounds and dished off 509 assists during career.

Kyle McAlarney – Team Irish Award

One of the most prolific three-point shooters in Notre Dame history…Eclipsed his own single-season three-point mark with 124…First player in school history with 100-plus three-pointers in consecutive seasons…Averaged 15.0 points…Connected on a school record 10 three pointers in championship game of Maui Invitational versus North Carolina en route to a career-high 39 point effort…Scored 30-plus points in two games and netted double figures in 28 contests…Finished with 20-plus points in six games…Was 10th nationally in three-point field goals made (3.4)…Became Notre Dame’s 49th career 1,000-point scorer…Played in 110 games during his career and made 91 career starts…Finished with a 12.3 career scoring average (1,352 points) and connected on 43.4 percent of his shots from the field and 43.4 percent from three-point range…Ranks 23rd all-time on Irish career scoring list and fourth all-time in three-point field goals made.