Nov. 1, 2002
Notre Dame, Ind. –
SCOUTING THE IRISH IN 2002-03 – Notre Dame returns two starters and seven monogram winners from last year’s squad which posted a 22-11 mark and 10-6 record in BIG EAST play. The Irish advanced to the second round of the NCAA tournament for the second consecutive year and finished in second-place in the final BIG EAST West Division race behind champion Pittsburgh. The Irish will look to replace three key starters – Ryan Humphrey, the team’s leading scorer (18.9 ppg.) and rebounder (10.9 rpg.) and the 19th overall in the 2002 NBA Draft; David Graves (14.4 ppg. and 5.0 rpg.) who closed out his career as the school’s all-time three-point field goals made leader and finished as the seventh all-time leading scorer; and Harold Swanagan (8.1 ppg. and 6.7 rpg.). Notre Dame’s strength will be in its backcourt, while the inexperience and youth of the frontline poses several question marks for third-year Irish head coach Mike Brey and his staff. Senior guard Matt Carroll (Horsham, Pa.) returns for his fourth season as a starter in the Irish lineup. Carroll has played in 99 career games at Notre Dame has earned starts in 91 of those contests. He averaged 14.1 points and 4.8 rebounds a year ago. Carroll heads into his final season needing just 58 three-pointers to become the school’s all-time leader in that category. He owns a career scoring average of 12.0 ppg. after finishing the 2001-02 campaign by scoring 20 points in the final four games of the season. Sophomore point guard Chris Thomas (Indianapolis, Ind.), the 2002 National Freshman of the Year by Basketball Times and Basketball News and BIG EAST Rookie of the Year, joins Carroll in the backcourt again this season. The Irish tandem comprises one of the top backcourt tandems in the country. Thomas averaged 15.6 points, 3.5 rebounds and 7.64 assists last season en route to establishing single-season marks for assists (252) and steals (72). He started all 33 contests and averaged 38 minutes, while playing 40 or more minutes in 14 games. Thomas scored in double figures in all but seven games and netted 20-plus points in nine games. Carroll and Thomas form one of the most dangerous perimeter attacks in all of college basketball as the two accounted for 149 of Notre Dame’s 244 (61.1 percent) three-point field goals. Both have a great outside touch with the ability to knock down the long-range shot and break zone defenses. Senior Dan Miller (Mt. Holly, N.J.), a combination guard/forward joins the Irish after sitting out last season following his transfer from the University of Maryland in the summer of 2001. Miller played in 104 games for the Terrapins during his three-year career at the College Park, Md., campus and started all 34 contests during his sophomore year (1999-2000), while averaging 8.5 points. He played on Maryland’s 2001 Final Four team. Miller has one year of eligibility remaining. Torrian Jones (Fairless Hills, Pa.) was the first player off the bench for the Irish a year ago, and it is likely that he will fill that role again this season. He has emerged as one of Notre Dame’s most complete players in terms of his offensive and defensive skills. He played in all 33 contests last season and earned nine starts while averaging 3.5 points and 2.0 rebounds. Junior Tom Timmermans (Driehuis, Netherlands) will likely be the starting center for the Irish to begin the season. After battling a knee injury during the early part of last season, Timmermans finished off the ’01-’02 campaign in strong fashion as he played in 19 games and averaged 2.2 points per game. Freshman Torin Francis (Rolsindale, Mass.), a McDonald’s and Parade Magazine All-American, will get the starting nod at the power forward slot to start the season. One of the top prep standouts in the country a year ago, he averaged 28.5 points, 11.0 rebounds and 3.0 blocked shots per game. Sophomore Jordan Cornette (Cincinnati, Ohio) will also battle be battling for a starting job. He played in all but two games and earned starts in six contests during last season. Cornette averaged 2.7 points and 3.3 rebounds while averaging 14.3 minutes of playing time. Another rookie frontline player expected to see significant playing minutes is Rick Cornett (Country Club Hills, Ill.). He concluded his prep career with 2,488 career points and 1,788 rebounds, and averaged 21.0 points and 14.0 rebounds during his final prep season. With Timmermans, Francis, Cornette and Cornett up front, freshman Omari Peterkin (St. Thomas, Virgin Islands) will have a chance to settle in and learn Brey’s system and style of play. He averaged 25.0 points and 15.0 rebounds in his final season and has also been a member of the Virgin Islands Junior National Team the past two years. The Irish will receive added depth in the backcourt from Chris Markwood (South Portland, Maine) and freshman Chris Quinn (Dublin, Ohio). Markwood begins his third season with the Irish, but missed all of his freshman year following arthroscopic knee surgery in September of 2000. He played in 18 games last year. Quinn will be Thomas’ backup at the point guard, but it is likely the two will see playing time in the backcourt at the same time throughout the season. He averaged 22.4 points and 7.0 assists during his final prep campaign and finished his career with 1,670 career points and 469 assists.
HEAD COACH MIKE BREY – Mike Brey is in his third year as the Notre Dame head coach and eighth in the collegiate ranks. He was named the 17th head coach in the program’s history on July 14, 2000, following five seasons (1995-2000) as head coach at the University of Delaware, where he led the Blue Hens to an overall record of 99-52. Brey owns a 42-21 mark (.667) with the Irish after two seasons. He is the first coach in Notre Dame history to lead his teams to consecutive 20-win campaigns. Last season, he led his team to a 22-11 record and 10-6 mark in BIG EAST play after guiding the 2000-01 Irish to the 2000-01 BIG EAST West Division crown with an 11-5 record and finishing with a 20-10 overall record. Five of his eight teams have advanced to postseason competition (four NCAA and one NIT appearances). Since his arrival, he has led Notre Dame to a 21-11 mark in BIG EAST play during the regular season fr a .656 winning percentage. In the two-year period from 2000-02, the Irish’s BIG EAST wins are matched only by Boston College and Connecticut. His 21 wins after only two seasons rank as the third-best total in conference history. Only four other BIG EAST coaches, including St. John’s mentor Mike Jarvis, have ever posted a better winning percentage in their first two seasons in the league. Brey has an overall record of 141-73 (.659) as a head coach and is 42-21 (.667) at Notre Dame.
THE CAPTAINS – Matt Carroll, Jere Macura and Dan Miller will serve as captains for the upcoming 2002-03 campaign. It marks the second straight year that the Irish will have tri-captains. Carroll, a three-year starter owns a 12.0 career scoring average in 99 games played. As a junior, he finished with a 14.0 career scoring average and ended the 2001-02 campaign by registering four straight 20-point outings in BIG EAST and NCAA tournament competition. Macura has played in 76 career games and owns a 3.7 scoring average. This is Miller’s first season of competition with the Irish.
IRISH SET TO MEET DEFENDING NATIONAL CHAMPIONS – Notre Dame will play defending national champion Maryland in the first round of the BB&T Classic at the MCI Center in Washington, D.C. on Saturday, December 7 at 3:30 p.m. Texas and George Washington will meet in the first game of the tournament at 1:00 p.m. The consolation game will take place at 1:00 p.m. on Sunday, December 8, followed by the championship tilt at 3:30 p.m. Raycom/Comcast will televise all four games of the tournament. Notre Dame’s matchup with Maryland will mark the 30th time an Irish squad has faced a team that had won the national title the previous year.
THOMAS NAMED TO WOODEN AND NAISMITH LISTS – Sophomore point guard Chris Thomas is one of 50 preseason candidates for the 2003 John R. Wooden Award, which is annually presented to the nation’s top men’s basketball player. He also was named as a preseason candidate (one of 30) for the 2002-03 Naismith College Basketball Player of the Year Award, which is presented annually by the Atlanta Tipoff Club. Thomas is among five sophomores chosen to the Wooden Award list and is one of five BIG EAST players selected to the Naismith List.
MILLER TIME – After sitting out the 2001-02 campaign following his transfer to Notre Dame from Maryland in the summer of 2001, the time has cme for Dan Miller to don an Irish uniform. The 6-6, 220-pound guard/forward from Mt. Holly, N.J., has one year of eligibility remaining, He was a former McDonald’s and Parade All-American at Rancocas Valley High School.
CARROLL CLOSING IN ON IRISH THREE-POINT RECORD – Former Notre Dame standout David Graves (1998-2002) set the Irish three-point mark last season with 259, but it is likely that Matt Carroll will break that record at some point durng the 2002-03 campaign. He heads into the season third on the all-time list with 202, needing just 58 to break the record. Ryan Hoover (1992-96) currently is seocnd with 248. In 99 career games played, Carroll has averaged 2.0 three-pointers per game.
LIGHTS, CAMERA, ACTION – Head coach Mike Brey and Irish once again will receive tremendous exposure with 10 nationally-televised games on CBS, ABC, ESPN and ESPN2. Notre Dame was featured on national television 16 times in the regular season during the past two seasons. THE NATIONAL LINEUP Mon., Dec. 2 vs. Marquette (7:00 p.m.) – ESPN2 Mon., Jan. 6 at Pittsburgh (7:00 p.m.) – ESPN Sat., Jan. 18 at Kentucky (2:00 p.m.) – CBS Sat., Jan. 25 at Boston College (2:00 p.m.) – ESPN Sun., Feb. 9 vs. Pittsburgh (3:30 p.m.) – Pittsburgh Sat., Feb. 15 at Syracuse (1:00 p.m.) – ESPN Mon., Feb. 24 vs. Connecticut (7:00 p.m.) – ESPN Sat., Mar. 1 at Rutgers (4:00 p.m.) – ESPN2 Tue., Mar. 4 vs. Syracuse (7:00 p.m.) – ESPN2
113 AND COUNTING – Heading into this season, Notre Dame has hit at least one three-pointer in 113 straight games, which dates back to the 1998-99 campaign. The last time the Irish did not make a three-pointer was ina 101-70 loss to Connecticut in the Harford Civic Center (Jan. 12, 1999) as Notre Dame finished 0-7 in the contest from three-point range. The Pittsburgh game on Jan. 26, 2002, marked the 100th consecutive game in which the Irish hit a three-pointer. Notre Dame made a season-high 14 against Rutgers on Feb. 6, 2002.
ONE OF JUST 12 – Getting back into the NCAA tournament the last two seasons has put Notre Dame in rather elite company as the Irish were one of just 12 schools to win at least one NCAA game in both 2001 and 2002. The list also includes: Arizona, Cincinnati, Duke, Illinois, Kansas, Kent Stae, Kentucky, Maryand, Missouri, Stanford and UCLA.
TAKING CARE OF THE BALL – Notre Dame has averaged 18.3 assists and just 13.7 turnovers over the last 63 games for a 1.34 assist-to-turnover ratio. The Irish ranked with a 1.45 assist-to-turnover ratio and ninth in 2001-02 with a 1.23 ratio. Notre Dame’s 629 assists last season were second-most in school history – the 1999-2000 team had 643 assists in 37 games for a 17.4 assist per game average.
BROTHERLY LOVE – Three members of the Notre Dame squad have brothers playing at other Division I schools. Matt Carroll’s brother Pat is a sophomore at St. Joseph’s (Pa.); Jordan Cornette’s brother Joel is a senior at Butler; and Jere Macura has a brother Petar who is a freshman at IUPUI.
LUSTIG ADDED TO IRISH ROSTER – Senior Dan Lustig has joined the Irish as a walk-on for the 2002-03 campaign. The 6-5, 195-pound guard hails from Alexandria, Ind., and attended Alexandria Monroe High School. He led high school prep team to the 1998 Indiana Class II-A state championship and an appearance in the semifinals in 1999. A member of the Irish Guard, he is the sixth family member of nine children to attend Notre Dame. He will wear No. 24 this season.
ND-DEPAUL GAME TIME MOVED – The Notre Dame-DePaul game, originally scheduled for a 7:30 p.m. tip on Saturday, December 14, has been pushed up to a 5:00 p.m. start.