Aug. 23, 2008
Editor’s note: During the Notre Dame men’s basketball team’s 12-day, four-city foreign tour of Ireland, senior guard Kyle McAlarney will file a daily diary after talking by phone with the South Bend Tribune’s Tom Noie. Following are McAlarney’s thoughts on day 10 of the trip.
DUBLIN, Ireland – I was really feeling it against Poland. I just got to spots and my teammates got me the ball.
(McAlarney scored 32 points on 10 3-pointers. Had this been a regular-season game, McAlarney would have tied his career high for points and the 10 3s would have been one more than the school record of nine he hit last season against Syracuse).
This wasn’t similar at all to the Syracuse game. That day, I did it against the 2-3 zone. This time, there were a few off the dribble and some in transition. I hit a few really deep ones. At least three were beyond 3-point range.
Something that Coach (Mike) Brey mentioned to me (Thursday) I tried to take into the game against Poland. He told me that it’s OK if I take the first look I get and that we can take some bad shots. I tried to carry that over. Before, I was dribbling too much and over-thinking things in trying to get an even better shot. Coach Brey told me and Ryan (Ayers) to just let it fly, shoot it the first time we get it.
Having Mike (Mastrangelo, his best friend from back home in Staten Island, N.Y.) here has really given me an emotional confidence boost. I feel like a different player when he’s in the stands. He was there when everything really got started for me. We worked out together a lot when I was a sophomore and junior in high school. That’s when I developed into a Division I college basketball prospect. Having him with me puts me in a good state of mind to just go play. I’m having a blast with him here. When he sees me hit all those 3s, he sits there like he’s seen it all before. He humbles me and he keeps me grounded. Coach Brey joked about bringing Mike back with us as an assistant trainer. Mike keeps me loose and gives me so much confidence out there.
We reminisced a lot (Thursday) night. He told me stories about Afghanistan and Europe. When he’s on leave like this from the Army (where Mastrangelo serves as a combat medic), he and his wife just travel around to all these different cities.
When we can sit and talk like that, it’s like the distance between us really just never existed. We have such a close relationship. It’s kind of like he’s just there. (Thursday) night before I went up to my room, we kind of looked at each other and said, “Oh, man, this is amazing how it’s worked out.’ It worked out for me to spend time with him after the BIG EAST tournament game against Marquette and it’s worked out that we can spend time in Dublin. In Ireland! I just wish our other two best friends, James and Antonio, could be here with us.
We tried to treat (Friday) as a normal game day. We had a shoot-around in the morning and then got our rest in the afternoon. Defensively, we talked in the locker room a lot about being as good as we are on the offensive end. We played a lot of 1-2-2 and 2-3 zone. We pressed. We trapped. We switched up defenses. That’s how we’re going to play this year.
Our starting lineup was me and Tory (Jackson), ‘Gody (Luke Harangody), Ryan (Ayers) and Luke (Zeller). We started the same way in the second half.
I got another gold basketball for my play (Friday). Now I have two. I don’t know how I’m going to get them back on the plane. It’s a gold molten regulation-size basketball on a hand-made stand given to the game’s most valuable player. I think I’m going to send one home and keep the other in South Bend. It means a lot to get the recognition from the people here. They appreciate my play and they appreciate my last name.
I don’t know if I’m going out tonight. I’m pretty tired, so I’ll probably just go to bed even earlier than last night. We’ve got an early game (today), so we’ll have some free time after that.
I got another bag of M&Ms from a little girl tonight, so I’ve got enough to hold me over until I get back to school. I always try to have at least one bag in my apartment back in South Bend. I’m good on M&Ms for the rest of the weekend.
As for the shout-outs, I have to give another to my buddy Rob. He’s just always hanging around the locker room over here. He’s become my biggest fan. My buddy Rob…
Love you, Mom.