Nov. 20, 2001
IRISH ITEMS FOR THE HAWAII PACIFIC GAME – Notre Dame (2-0) begins play against Hawaii Pacific (1-0) in the three-day Hawaii Pacific Thanksgiving Classic. The Irish played their first two games of the 2001-02 campaign at home and came away with convincing victories over New Hampshire (95-53) and Cornell (78-48). The 103-point opponent point total in the two games is the lowest by an Irish team to start the season since the 1985-96 campaign when Notre Dame allowed 105 points in wins over St. Joseph’s of Indiana (79-49) and Butler (87-56). Freshman Chris Thomas has scored 20-plus points in each of his first two outings and leads the Irish in scoring with 23.0 points per game. He is also averaging 8.5 assists and 6.5 steals. Thomas had a triple double in his first collegiate outing as he netted 24 points, dished off 11 assists and made 11 steals to become the first player in Notre Dame basketball history to achieve this fete. He had 22 points and six assists in the win over Cornell on Monday and did not turn the ball over in 34 minutes. Thomas hit six-of-seven from three-point range against the Big Red and has converted on 11-of-16 three-pointers (.688) for the season. Senior David Graves is second in the scoring column as he is averaging 18.0 points. He had a game-high 26 points in the season opener against New Hampshire along with a career-high seven steals. He had 10 points in Notre Dame’s win over Cornell. Junior Jere Macura started the first two game of the season in place of senior Ryan Humphrey who was ineligible because of an NCAA secondary violation, had back-to-back career outings in Notre Dame’s first two games. He had 14 points and six rebounds against UNH in the season opener and then tossed in 16 points and grabbed eight rebounds against Cornell. He is averaging career bests of 15.0 points and 7.0 rebounds. Junior Matt Carroll is averaging 10.5 points and 6.5 rebounds, while freshman Jordan Cornette has averaged 5.5 points and 6.0 rebounds in his first two games. Senior Harold Swanagan is averagng 6.5 poins and 6.5 rebounds. He played just nine minutes in the season opener against New Hampshire after sustaining a right knee injury, but came off the bench against Cornell to play 23 minutes as he scored nine points and grabbed eight rebounds. After sitting out the first two games, Humphrey will return to his starting spot in the lineup against the Sea Warriors.
Notre Dame has limited its opponents to just 50.5 points per game and 34.0 percent field goal accuracy. The Irish also own a 9.0 rebounding advantage and has forced 52 turnovers in the two games.
The Irish will meet either Liberty or Tennessee Chattanooga in the second round.
RECAP OF CORNELL – Rookie Chris Thomas recorded the second 20-plus point effort of his career as he scored a game-high 22 points to lead the Irish to a 78-48 victory over Cornell. Thomas one one of four Irish players in double figures in the contest as he was six-of-seven from three-point range. The Irish point guard also dished off seven assists and did not turn the ball over in the contest. Jere Macura posted his second straight career-high outing as he finished with 16 points (seven-of-nine from the field) and grabbed eight rebounds. Matt Carroll finished with 13 points and five reboudns, while David Graves had 10 points and four rebounds. Harold Swanagan, who played just nine minutes against New Hampshire in the season opener after sustaining a knee injury, did not start against the Big Red, but came off the bench to score nine points and grab eights rebounds in 23 minutes of action. Freshman Jordan Cornette earned the start in place of Swanagan and had three points and six rebounds in 29 minutes of action. Notre Dame had a 39-21 halftime advantage and limited Cornell to just 27 second-half points while hold the Big Red to just 14 points in the first 13 minutes of the second half.
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 121-62 (.661) as a head coach and is 21-10 (.677). He 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 ead 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.
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 to 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.
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.
SERIES RECORD vs. TOURNAMENT FIELD – Akron – Notre Dame leads 2-0 with the last game in the series played in 1995, a 65-54 victory at the Joyce Center. Hampton – First Meeting. Hawaii Pacific – First Meeting. Liberty – First Meeting. Monmouth – First Meeting. Tennessee Chattanooga – First Meeting. Vanderbilt – Vanderbilt leads 4-3 and has won four of the last six meetings. The two schools have met each of the last three seasons. The Irish earned a 77-74 victory last season in Nashville, Tenn., to stop a two-game Commodore win streak
MAKING THE EARLY COMPARISONS – While it is just two games into his rookie season, Chris Thomas already has a couple of noteworthy accomplishments to his credit. With his 24-point effort against New Hampshire and 22-point performance in the Cornell game, he became the first Irish freshman to score 20-plus points in each of his first two games. He is also just the second Notre Dame player to record two consecutive 20-point outings in the first two games of his career. Only Austin Carr, who finished his career as the school’s all-time leading scorer with 2,560 career points, recorded back-to-back 20-point games in the first two games of his career. As a sophomore in his first season (1968-69), Carr opened up his career with final point totals of 20 vs. Kings College, 26 vs. UCLA, 22 vs. Wisconsin and 30 vs. St. Louis in his first four games.
THE FRESHMAN CAN PLAY – It only took one game for freshman point guard Chris Thomas to do what no other Irish player had done previously in the program’s 96-plus year history – a triple double. Thomas scored 24 points, dished off 11 assists and made a school and Joyce Center record 11 steals against New Hampshire. The Irish rookie shot nine-of-18 from the field and five-of-nine from three-point range in 34 minutes of action.
THOMAS EARNS BIG EAST ROOKIE HONOR – Chris Thomas’ triple double performance against New Hampshire earned him BIG EAST Rookie of the Week honors. He became just the second Irish player in seven years to be recognized with the honor. During the 1998-99 season, former Irish All-American Troy Murphy was an eight-time rookie-of-the week honoree.
GRAVES IN THE GROOVE – With classmates Ryan Humphrey and Harold Swanagan not in the game against New Hampshire, tri-captain David Graves had one of the top performances of his career as he tossed in a game-high 26 points (third highest point total of his career), grabbed five rebounds and made a career-high seven steals all in just 27 minutes of action on the court. He hit 10-of-16 shots from the field and was three-of-six from three-point range.
MACURA FINDING HIS COMFORT ZONE – Irish head coach Mike Brey made the decision at the start of the preseason to have forward Jere Macura become more of an inside player, which has seemed to benefit the junior’s play as he has registered back-to-back career-high outings in his first two games. Macura has made the most of his two starts this season. Against New Hampshire, he had a then career-high 14 points, while also grabbing six rebounds in 26 minutes of action as he connected on six-of-nine shots from the field in the contest. Macura then followed that up with a career-high 16-point outing against Cornell. In addition, he also grabbed eight rebounds in the contest. Last season, Macura had just one double-figure game (10 points at Rutgers in Piscataway, N.J.) after scoring in double figures five times as a freshman.
STEALING THE SHOW – Notre Dame had a school record and Joyce Center record 26 steals against New Hampshire, bettering the old mark of 22 set against Vermont on Dec. 21, 1976. Chris Thomas led the Irish with 11 (a school record), while David Graves had a career-high seven steals which would have tied the old mark set by Ray Martin in 1974.
JORDAN GETS INTO THE ACT – While freshman Chris Thomas certainly made his mark in his first two games, Notre Dame’s other rookie, Jordan Cornette, played well in the two wins. The 6-9 forward logged 29 minutes against New Hampshire last Friday night and had eight points, six rebounds and three assists. His playing time increased when Harold Swanagan went out of the game with a knee injury, which left the Irish with just two frontline players – Macura and Cornette. Against Cornell, he started in place of Swanagan and played 29 minutes while scoring three points and grabbing six rebounds.
CARROLL DOES THE LITTLE THINGS AGAIN – While he has struggled shooting from the field somewhat this season (10-26) and has hit just one three-pointer, junior guard Matt Carroll has done the little things that sometimes don’t get noticed. Carroll had 13 points and grabbed five rebounds in the win over Cornell after scoring eight points and grabbing eight rebounds in the season opener against New Hampshire. He was Notre Dame’s most consistent performer all-around a year ago and is expected to continue that sort of play against this season.
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. Expect to add freshman Chris Thomas to the Irish three-point threats as the rookie was five-for-nine from beyond the arc in his first game – he already has 11 three-pointers this season.
IRONMEN – David Graves and Harold Swanagan have played in all 99 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 83 starting appearances during his three seasons, while Swanagan has made 53 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 last season as 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. Notre Dame held New Hampshire to just 31.5 percent in the season opener and Cornell to 36.7 percent accuracy. Last season, the Irish limited six opponents to under 35 percent from the field.
RISING SOPHOMORE – Sophomore Torrian Jones is clearly Notre Dame’s most improved player from a year. Jones played a career-high 23 minutes against New Hampshire and had six points (tying a career-high) and grabbed a personal best five rebounds. He also had three steals in the game which also tied his personal best.
MARKW0OD IN THE FOLD – Chris Markwood played 13 minutes in his first game in an Irish uniform after sitting out all of last season following arthroscopic knee surgery in September of 2000. Markwood finished the game with two rebounds and an assist. He also played five minutes against Cornell
HUMPHREY BACK IN THE LINEUP – Ryan Humphrey will return to his usual spot in the starting lineup for the Hawaii Pacific game after sitting out the first two games of the season against New Hampshire and Cornell as the result of a secondary violation of the NCAAs 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.
SOLD-OUT – Notre Dame played its first home game to a sold-out Joyce Center (11,418) as the Irish played on a football weekend. The basketball contest was played following the pep rally.