SCOUTING THE IRISH – Notre Dame, defending BIG EAST West Division regular-season champions in 2000-01 returns four veteran players who led the Irish to a 20-10 overall mark and 11-5 record in league play a year ago. Last season, the Irish returned to the NCAA tournament for the first time since 1990 and advanced to the second round. The Irish lost two key starters in point guard Martin Ingelsby and two-time BIG EAST Player of the Year Troy Murphy, but return four players with considerable experience in the starting lineup. Notre Dame opens up play this evening at home against the New Hampshire Wildcats in the second-ever meeting between the two teams. It will be the first of five games for the Irish in the next nine days. Following tonight’s contest, head coach Mike Brey’s squad will be at home again on Mon., Nov. 19 when it plays host to Cornell at 7:30 p.m. Then the Irish travel to Honolulu, Hawaii for three games at the Hawaii Pacific Thanksgiving Classic, Nov. 23-25. Senior tri-captains David Graves (Lexington, Ky.), Ryan Humphrey (Tulsa, Okla.) and Harold Swanagan (Hopkinsville, Ky.) return along with junior Matt Carroll (Horsham, Pa.). All four were in the Irish starting lineup a year ago. Humphrey and Swanagan will anchor a Notre Dame frontline that will be tested early on because of its lack of depth up front. Humphrey returns as the Irish’s top returning scorer, rebounder and blocked shots leader as he averaged 14.1 points, 9.0 rebounds and 2.72 per game while starting all 29 games he appeared in last season. Swanagan made 15 starting appearances as a junior and averaged 4.2 points and 3.4 rebounds. Graves, who could finish his Irish career as the all-time leading three-pointer shooter, has averaged double figures in each of his three seasons. He owns a 13.1 career scoring average and 180 career three-pointers. Carroll will be in the Notre Dame starting lineup for the third straight season. He has started 60 of the 67 games he has played in during his career. Last season he was one of just two players who started all 30 games and averaged 12.4 points and 5.0 rebounds. Carroll, who led the Irish in three-pointers last season with 65, forms one of the best outside shooting combinations in the country with Graves. The two combined for 127 of Notre Dame’s total of 219 three-pointers. With the loss of Ingelsby in the backcourt, the starting point guard duties will be handed over to freshman Chris Thomas (Indianapolis, Ind.). The first Mr Basketball from Indiana to attend Notre Dame, he was a McDonald’s and Parade All-American a year ago after averaging 23.4 points, 3.9 rebounds, 5.7 assists and 3.7 steals and leading his Pike High School team to the its second Indiana state championship in four years. The loss of Murphy in the frontcourt and the transfer of Ivan Kartelo leaves Notre Dame with a year young frontline. Expect junior Jere Macura (Split, Croatia), sophomore Tom Timmermans (Driehuis, Netherlands) and freshman Jordan Cornette (Cincinnati, Ohio) to see significant playing time. Macura was more of a perimeter player last season, but will move closer to the basket to better utilize his inside talents. Cornette averaged 14.0 points and 7.0 rebounds and 4.0 blocked shots in his final scholastic campaign while earning all-state honorable mention honors. The trio of Graves, Carroll and Thomas will enable the Irish to have a strong perimeter and backcourt game. In addition, look for sophomore Torrian Jones (Morrisville, Pa.) to bolster Notre Dame’s play as he will have a greater role on the team. Sophomore Chris Markwood (South Portland, Me.) was sidelined all of last season following knee surgery, but is expected to see considerable playing time in 2001-02, especially as a defensive stopper. Notre Dame ranked as one of the nation’s top teams in field goal percentage defense, finishing 10th overall after holding its opponents to must 39.3 percent accuracy from the field. The Irish again will look to embrace that same philosophy as well continue to have a presence on the defensive boards. Humphrey will have to sit out tonight’s game against New Hampshire and Monday night’s matchup with Cornell because of an NCAA secondary violation. Timmermans will miss the next three to four weeks with a right sprained knee.
RECAP OF EXHIBITION #1- The Notre Dame men’s basketball team was impressive in its first exhibition test of the season as the Irish, defending BIG EAST West Division champions, cruised to a 108-75 victory over the Sport is War.com All-Stars. Notre Dame displayed a balanced scoring attack with six players finishing in double figures. Senior Ryan Humphrey had 21 points and grabbed 14 rebounds, in addition to blocking five shots, while classmate David Graves recorded a double-douoble of his own as he finished with 20 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists. Junior Matt Carroll tied for game-high scoring honors as he contributed 21 points. Freshman point guard Chris Thomas had 14 points and nine assists in his debut while playing 29 minutes. Sophomore Torrian Jones added 11 points off the bench, while junior Jere Macura finished with 10 points and six rebounds. Harold Swanagan was the only starter who did not score in double figures as he finished nine points, but had eight rebounds, four assists and three blocked shots in 30 minutes of action. Notre Dame jumped out to a 52-36 halftime advantage while only trailing once in the contest. The Irish shot 51.3 percent from the field while holding its opponent to just 39.5 percent from the field. Notre Dame also owned a 58-39 advantage on the boards. The Irish shot 40.0 percent from three-point range (10-25), but struggled from the foul line hitting just 18-30 (.600) from the charity stripe.
RECAP OF EXHIBITION #2- Notre Dame registered a 25-point win in its final exhibition test before the start of the preseason as the Irish registered a 95-70 victory over the EA Sports Midwest All-Stars. David Graves led four Irish players in double figures as he finished with 26 points on 10-of-17 shooting from the field. Harold Swanagan registered a double-double as he netted 14 points and grabbed 12 rebounds, while Chris Thomas finished with 16 points, nine rebounds, seven assists and five steals in 21 minutes of action. Torrian Jones added 13 points, while Jere Marcura grabbed eight rebounds. Notre Dame shot 50.7 percent from the field as the Irish connected on 34 of 67 attempts and limited their opponents to just 36.9 percent shooting from the field. Notre Dame led 50-36 at halftime. The Irish were dominating on the boards and outrebounded EA Sports 51-31.
HEAD COACH MIKE BREY – Mike Brey is in his second year as the Notre Dame head coach and seventh 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. In his first season with the Irish, he guided Notre Dame to a 20-10 record and 11-5 BIG EAST mark in claiming the league’s West divisional championship, the first conference title in school history. In addition, he helped Notre Dame earn an NCAA tournament berth for the first time in 11 seasons as the Irish advanced to the second round for the first time since 1989. Brey has an overall record of 119-62 (.657) as a head coach. He earned earned his first victory as Irish head coach on Nov. 18 with a 104-58 triumph over Sacred Heart, which also marked the 100th of his coaching career and came in the 152nd game as a head coach. While at Delaware, Brey guided the Blue Hens to a 99-52 record during his tenure as his teams earned berths in three postseason tournaments. Under Brey, Delaware appeared in two NCAA tournaments (’98 and ’99) and played in the National Invitation Tournament in his final season (2000). Prior to his arrival in Newark, Del., he spent eight seasons (1987-95) on the Duke sidelines along Blue Devil head coach Mike Krzyzewski, and before that stint was an assistant coach at DeMatha High School under legendary coach Morgan Wootten from 1982-87.
THE CAPTAINS – Seniors David Graves, Ryan Humphrey and Harold Swanagan will serve as Notre Dame’s tri-captains for the 2001-02 campaign. Both natives of the state of Kentucky, Graves and Swanagan hail from Lexington and Hopkinsville, respectively, Graves averaged 13.8 points and 4.7 rebounds last season, while Swanagan netted 4.1 points and 3.4 rebounds. Humphrey was the second-leading scorer and rebounder for the Irish a year ago with averages of 14.1 points and 9.0 rebounds.
FIRST YEAR SUCCESS FOR BREY – Notre Dame’s 19 wins during the regular season under Mike Brey represented the most wins by an Irish coach in his first season. He also became just the second coach in school history to take his team to the NCAA Tournament in his first year as a head coach and the only first-year coach to lead his team for a first-round victory. John Dee also made the tournament in his first season in 1964-65, but lost in the first round to finish 15-12.
WING-ING IT – The perimeter play of outside shooters David Graves and Matt Carroll give the Irish a deadly three-point shooting arsenal. The duo made 127 (57.9 percent) of Notre Dame’s 219 three-point field goals last season and attempted 323 of team’s 570 shots from beyond the arc. Carroll shot 40.9 percent from three-point range, while Graves made 37.8 percent of his attempts.
IRONMEN – David Graves and Harold Swanagan have played in all 97 contests during their Irish careers – neither one has missed a game. They saw action in 30 games as freshmen and juniors and played in 37 contests in their sophomore season. Graves has earned 81 starting appearances during his three seasons, while Swanagan has made 51 starts.
BLOCK PARTY – Notre Dame set the single-season team record for blocked shots last season with 178 in 30 games for an average of 5.93 blocks per game. The previous mark of 145 was set by the 1991-92 Irish team. Notre Dame had 110 blocks during the 1999-2000 campaign. Ryan Humphrey led the Irish with 79 blocks, the second-highest individual single-season mark in school history and ranked 18th in the nationally with 2.7 blocks per game.
DEFENSE, DEFENSE – Notre Dame ranked 10th nationally in field goal percentage defense as the Irish opponents shot just 39.3 percent from the field and 31.4 percent from three-point range. Only one opponent, Indiana, shot above 50.0 percent from the field against the Irish, while four teams – Indiana (53.3), Miami of Ohio (45.3), Rutgers (49.1) and Connecticut (49.2) – shot better than 45.0 percent from the field against the Irish last season. The last Notre Dame team to hold opponents to under 40.0 percent shooting was the 1996-97 squad (39.4).
HUMPHREY TO MISS FIRST TWO REGULAR-SEASON CONTESTS – Ryan Humphrey will miss tonight’s game against New Hampshire and Monday night’s contest against Cornell as the result of a secondary violation of the NCAA’s outside competition rule for men’s basketball.
TIMMERMANS OUT TWO TO THREE WEEKS – Tom Timmermans is out with a sprained right knee and is expected to miss the first two to three weeks of the season. He sustained the injury in a practice.
A BIG EAST MOMENT FOR THE IRISH – Notre Dame’s eight consecutive BIG EAST wins last season against Pittsburgh, West Virginia, Syracuse, Georgetown, Pittsburgh, St. John’s, Rutgers and Virginia Tech marked the first time since the Irish joined the league in 1995-96 that they posted eight straight wins over league foes. Notre Dame also finished the season six games above the .500 mark for the first time since becoming a league member.
BIG EAST MOMENT II FOR THE IRISH – Notre Dame’s five straight road wins at Georgetown (78-71 on Jan. 27), Pittsburgh (75-67 on Feb. 3), West Virginia (69-66 on Feb. 11), Rutgers (81-59 on Feb. 14) and Virginia Tech (85-61 on Feb. 24) marked the first time since the Irish joined the BIG EAST they had won five consecutive road games in the league.
BIG EAST CHAMPIONSHIP FORMAT CONTINUES – For the second consecutive year, every team in the BIG EAST Conference will not advance to the league’s postseason tournament. The top six teams in each division will qualify for the 2002 BIG EAST Championship in Madision Square Garden on March.
MR. INDIANA – Freshman point guard Chris Thomas is the first Mr. Basketball from Indiana to attend Notre Dame. He played in the McDonald’s All-American game and was a fourth team Parade All-American honoree. He led his Pike high school team to the Class 4-A state championship as a senior after averaging 23.3 points, 5.7 assists and 3.7 steals. Thomas is the 12th McDonald’s All-American to attend Notre Dame.
MILLER TIME – Dan Miller, a 6-8, 223-pound guard/forward from Mt. Holly, N.J, has transferred to Notre Dame from the University of Maryland following three seasons. He has one year of eligibility remaining with the 2002-03 campaign. Miller was a former McDonald’s and Parade All-American at Rancocas Valley High School.
JERSEY #1 TO BE WORN FOR FIRST TIME AT NOTRE DAME – Freshman point guard Chris Thomas becomes the first player in the 96-year history of the Notre Dame men’s basketball program to wear jersey #1.
DANNY WHITE ADDED TO IRISH ROSTER – Head coach Mike Brey has added guard Danny White to the Irish roster for the 2001-02 season. White, the son of director of athletics Kevin White, played for Towson University, before transferring to Notre Dame in January of 2001. He will be eligible to play following final examinations for the ’01 fall semester.
IRISH INK THREE IN EARLY SIGNING PERIOD – Notre Dame signed three players to national letters of intent on Nov. 14 – 6-3, 230-pound forward Rick Cornett (Country Club Hills, Ill./Homewood Academy), 6-10, 220-pound forward Torin Francis (Roslindale, Mass./Tabor Academy) and 6-1, 175-pound guard Chris Quinn (Dublin, Ohio/Coffman). Cornett averaged 17.9 points, 12.0 rebounds and 3.0 blocked per game in 2000-01 while leading his prep team to the Illinois Christian School state title for the second consecutive year. In addition, he was a member of the Illinois Warriors AAU team which captured the 17-and-under national crown in 2001. A two-year starter at Tabor Academy, Francis averaged 20.0 points, 10.0 rebounds and 3.0 blocked shots last season as he squad captured its second straight New England Prep school championship. A member of the BABC AAU squad, he helped that team to a runner-up finish at the Nike Showcase in Orlando, Fla. Quinn averaged 18.5 points, 6.0 assists and 3.8 rebounds during his junior year. He set the single-season school assist record with 155 in 26 games while committing just 29 turnovers and was named the Ohio Capital Conference Central Division Player of the Year. All three have participated in the Nike All-America camps.
NOTRE DAME-DePAUL TO RENEW STORIED RIVALRY – Notre Dame and DePaul will renew its historic basketball rivalry in the first annual Dell Classic 4 Kids men’s basketball doubleheader at the United Center in Chicago, Ill. on Sat., Dec. 1. The first game features a matchup between Texas and Stanford at 11:00 a.m. (CST) with the Irish and Blue Demons tipping off at approximately 1:30 p.m. (CST). Both games will be shown live on Fox Sports Net.
NOKIA SUGAR BOWL BASKETBALL CLASSIC – The 2001 Nokia Sugar Bowl Classic at the New Orleans Arena in New Orleans, La., on Thur., Dec. 27 features two BIG EAST Conference opponents – Notre Dame and Miami (Fla.) – and two Southeastern Conference foes – squaring off against each other. Notre Dame will meet Alabama in the first game of the doubleheader at 7:00 p.m. (CST), while the matchup between Louisiana State and Miami will follow at 9:30 p.m. (CST). Both games will be televised on Fox Sports Net.
LIGHTS, CAMERA, ACTION – Notre Dame once again will receive tremendous exposure with seven nationally-televised games on CBS, ABC and ESPN. Four of those appearances will be at home at the Joyce Center. Last season, Notre Dame was featured nine times on national telecasts during the regular season, the most since the 1988-89 campaign. Notre Dame will play twice on CBS (both at home against Kentucky and Providence), once on ABC (vs. Syracuse) and four times on ESPN (at Indiana, at Syracuse, home versus Georgetown and at Rutgers).
KEVIN WHITE RADIO SHOW – A weekly half-hour talk show featuring first-year athletics director Kevin White debuted Aug. 27 on Chicago’s ESPN Radio 1000. “The Kevin White Show” is scheduled to air from 11:00-11:30 p.m. for 30 consecutive Sundays on ESPN radio (1000 AM in Chago, www.espnradio1000.com). The show also can be heard in 35 states. White will welcome to the show a series of guests and prominent figures associated with college athletics, including administrators, coaches and media members.
MEN’S BASKETBALL LUNCHEON DATES SET – Three luncheons featuring Notre Dame men’s basketball coach Mike Brey and his Irish players have been scheduled during the 2000-2001 season: Monday, Dec, 3, 2000 (the day before the Notre Dame-Indiana game), Friday, Jan. 18, 2002 (the day before the Notre Dame-Kentucky game) and Tuesday, Feb. 19, 2002 (the day before the Notre Dame-West Virginia game). All three luncheons, which begin at noon, will feature Brey, members of his squad, video presentations and other special guests. The Dec. 3 luncheon also will feature Notre Dame women’s basketball coach Muffet McGraw. Tickets are $16 each. Tickets are available by mail by writing Athletics Business Office, 112 Joyce Center, University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, IN 46556. Checks should be made payable to University of Notre Dame. No telephone reservations will be accepted. For more information, call 219-631-5031.