Aug. 15, 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 3 of the trip.
LIMERICK, Ireland — We want this college basketball season to start really bad. I was talking with my roommate, Luke Harangody, about it before we took the floor (Friday) against the Ireland national team. We just can’t wait to get started. Playing games is so much more fun than the offseason. I want to be done with the offseason.
We’re already into our in-season mode. That carried over to our first game here. We took the floor and it was kind of weird at first. There were no cheers; it was silent. So we huddled up and said, `OK, this is a BIG EAST road game for us.’ It helped our energy level.
We won pretty convincingly by 37 points (104-67). Our energy was really high. We wanted to play really bad. We woke up, had breakfast, and went to shootaround with such focus.
(Friday) was the first time we had played an actual game since March (when Notre Dame lost in Denver to Washington State in the second round of the NCAA tournament). We didn’t talk about Denver. We haven’t addressed last season at all. We kept telling ourselves that this is the first game of the 2008 season.
I tried to stay with my normal gameday routine. After shootaround, we went back to the hotel and all took naps. I didn’t sleep that long so I got up and watched some of the Olympics on TV. I got bored with that so I watched a show called “Man vs. Wild.” I like to watch that to just get my mind off the game.
The lineup to start the game was me and Tory (Jackson), Zach (Hillesland), Luke (Harangody) and Luke (Zeller). To start the second half, Ryan (Ayers) started for Luke (Zeller). It was very physical, but it was a fun game to play.
There weren’t that many highlights. Luke Zeller had a couple nice put-backs and ‘Gody had a breakaway dunk. Carleton Scott can play. He contributed a lot with his length on defense. Tyrone Nash, he was just a beast down low. He played his heart out. We need those guys.
We played four 10-minute quarters and I think me and Luke (Harangody) each played around 30 minutes. It was a lot of fun.
I think the day off (Thursday) really helped our rhythm. I thought it would throw us off our game, but for me, it helped get my legs back under me. We were so ready to play. We play very well together. We share the ball extremely well.
The gym at the University of Limerick was like a really nice high school gym. It was kind of small, but it was packed. It wasn’t anything spectacular. I think the places will be bigger when we play in Belfast and Dublin.
We wore our home white jerseys today — no practice jerseys. Believe it or not, we were the “home” team. We were a little shocked at some of the non-calls by the officials, but we just accepted it. No one complained.
We stayed around after the game and signed autographs. A couple of the kids who are on the (Ireland) Under-15 National Team came up to me and said that they were big fans. I was shocked — here I am playing so far away back home and they stay up to watch our games. That meant a lot to me, to have kids follow us that way. They just love basketball over here.
A lot of kids wore their jerseys to the game tonight. I saw a lot of Irish names on their backs. I haven’t seen anyone named McAlarney yet. I saw a few McInerneys. When they first announced my name, I did hear a few extra cheers in the stands.
We’re on the way back to the hotel now and it’s hard to hear. The bus driver’s singing over the public address system.
I have no idea what we’re going to do today. We have to take a bus to Belfast, which is like a five-hour trip, but I don’t mind at all. There’s so much to see here, I’ll take a bus anywhere.
That doesn’t mean I want to bus to all of our BIG EAST games this year. I’m not too fond of going down that (Indiana) Toll Road every two days or so.
As for home, I’m not missing anything. The people are so nice. I see all the little kids here running around with freckles on their faces. That’s the way I looked when I was that age. I’m in no hurry to come home. I love it here. I love everything about this place. The only thing I miss is my family, and my mom.
Love you, mom.