Feb. 18, 2015
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Senior captain Pat Connaughton, who has helped lead the University of Notre Dame men’s basketball team to its best start in more than 30 years, is among 15 candidates for the inaugural 2015 Julius Erving Small Forward of the Year Award, it was announced today by the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Massachusetts.
Named after Hall of Famer and 11-time National Basketball Association All-Star Julius Erving, the award recognizes the top small forward in Division I men’s basketball. A national committee comprised of top college basketball personnel determined the list of 15 candidates.
By early March, the current list of nominees for the honor will be narrowed down to five players. The winner, who will be determined by Erving and the Hall of Fame’s selection committee, will be awarded with the award at ESPN’s new College Basketball Awards presented by Wendy’s from Club Nokia in Los Angeles, California on Friday, April 10. The Awards Show will be televised live on ESPN2 at 8 p.m. (EST).
Connaughton, a 6-5, 218-pound native of Arlington, Massachusetts, has helped the Irish to a 23-4 record, 11-3 mark in Atlantic Coast Conference play and a No. 10 national ranking in both the Associated Press and USA Today Coaches polls. He ranks second in scoring for Notre Dame at 13.3 ppg. and tops the team in rebounding at 7.9 rpg. Both of those averages for Connaughton are career bests.
The two-time Irish captain has scored in double figures in 22 games this season and 70 times during career and leads Notre Dame with seven double-doubles (14 for his career). He has grabbed 10-plus rebounds in eight games in 2014-15 and 18 times during his career. Connaughton also leads the Irish in three-point field goals made (73) and percentage (.448). He is tied for sixth all-time in school history in three-point field goal made (248) and is fifth in three-point field goals attempted.
Connaughton has played in all 129 games during his Irish career and made 109 consecutive starts (112 starts overall). He is one of just three players in the 110-year history of the Notre Dame basketball program to start more than 100 consecutive games. Connaughton also is among 22 Irish basketball players to serve as a two-time captain. He has scored 1,349 points during his career (10.5 ppg.), grabbed 753 rebounds (5.9 rpg.) and played 4,072 minutes for an average of 31.8 minutes per game.
Joining Connaughton on the list of 15 nominees are Justin Anderson (Virginia), Anthony Brown (Stanford), Brandon Dawson (Michigan State), Sam Dekker (Wisconsin), LaDontae Henton (Providence), Jonathan Holmes (Texas), Vince Hunter (Texas-El Paso), Irving Graham (Virginia Commonwealth), Stanley Johnson (Arizona), Roosevelt Jones (Butler), Le’Bryan Nash (Oklahoma State), Terran Petteway (Nebraska), Denzel Valentine (Michigan State) and Justise Winslow (Duke).