Blue and Gold Illustrated

Preseason 2018

Blue & Gold Illustrated: America's Foremost Authority on Notre Dame Football

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70 PRESEASON 2018 BLUE & GOLD ILLUSTRATED MEN'S BASKETBALL BY COREY BODDEN W ith the graduation of the senior class that helped Notre Dame produce its most wins over four years, and included stars Bonzie Colson, Matt Farrell and Martin Geben, head coach Mike Brey and his staff wel- come six new faces — notably five freshmen — set to vie for action. Fortunately for the Irish, a three- game foreign tour in the Bahamas Aug. 7-13 provided the players with a chance to build their chemistry and find their roles within the system against live competition. Based off the trip and an open practice this August, Blue & Gold Il- lustrated takes an early look at a few of the questions the Irish will have to answer this season as they work to return to the NCAA Tournament. WHO EMERGES IN THE FRONTCOURT? Notre Dame has immense shoes to fill in the middle with the gradua- tion of double-double machine Col- son plus big men Geben and Austin Torres. The Fighting Irish have to replace more than 30 points and 20 rebounds per game of production with the de- parture of that trio. Veteran forwards John Mooney (junior) and Elijah Burns (senior) will be joined in the frontcourt by a pair of newcomers — freshman forward Nate Laszewski and junior Juwan Durham, who sat out last year after transferring in from Connecticut. Mooney averaged 5.6 points and 3.9 rebounds per contest last year, while Burns went for 2.3 points and 2.3 rebounds per game. Burns and Durham will play more of the "five" (center) in Brey's of- fense, while Mooney and Lasze- wski will serve as the "stretch four" (power forward) in most lineup combinations. Given Durham's inexperience on the college level, Burns has been given the chance to earn the start- ing job at that spot. Durham will be counted on mostly for rebounding and blocking shots while he finds his game offensively. "The one thing he may do better than anyone is communicate," Brey said of Burns. "He helps us flow when he's in there. He's going to be a key for us. "I talked to Elijah back in May and I said he was going to start for us in our practice in June, start in the Baha- mas. Just do what you do, don't force anything and keep it simple." Mooney is likely to begin the year as the starter at the stretch four — but the sharp-shooting Laszewski will be difficult to keep on the sideline. During the Aug. 5 open practice, Laszewski was the top scorer in the 45-minute scrimmage while convert- SEARCHING FOR ANSWERS A look at several questions facing the Fighting Irish heading into the 2018-19 season Notre Dame completed its foreign tour in the Bahamas in early August, going 3-0 with wins over IBA Elite, New Providence Basketball Association All-Stars and Bahamas All-Stars. The team's average margin of victory was 49 points, despite posting just a 10-point victory over the Bahamas team (75-65) to close out the trip. For the three-game slate, the Irish averaged 101.7 points per contest while shooting 50.4 percent from the field, 35.1 percent behind the arc and 65.0 percent at the free throw line. Junior point guard T.J. Gibbs led the way by averaging 18.3 points, 3.3 re- bounds and 3.3 assists per game while shooting 52.9 percent from the field and 56.0 percent from three-point territory. Freshman forward Nate Laszewski also put together a strong week, averag- ing 15.7 points and 6.7 rebounds per game while connecting on 58.6 percent from the field and 40.0 percent from behind the arc. Freshman guard Robby Carmody finished with averages of 13.0 points and 4.7 rebounds per game while hitting 68.2 percent of his field goal attempts. Here is a rundown of how each scholarship Irish player who participated fared during the week, per stats provided by Notre Dame. Names are in order of points per game output. Certain statistical marks are marked "—" as the player did not factor much in that particular area. — Corey Bodden NOTRE DAME AT THE BAHAMAS Player PPG RPG APG FG% 3FG% T.J. Gibbs 18.3 3.3 3.3 52.9 (18-34) 56.0 (14-25) Nate Laszewski 15.7 6.7 — 58.6 (17-29) 40.0 (6-15) Robby Carmody 13.0 4.7 — 68.2 (15-22) 33.3 (3-9) John Mooney 12.7 7.7 — 54.8 (17-31) 37.5 (3-8) Rex Pflueger 11.0 4.3 4.7 41.2 (14-34) 17.6 (3-17) Nik Djogo 9.7 6.0 3.7 54.5 (12-22) 25.0 (3-12) Juwan Durham 8.7 8.3 — 57.1 (12-21) — Dane Goodwin 8.0 3.0 3.0 34.5 (10-29) 10.0 (1-10) Elijah Burns 3.3 8.3 3.3 33.3 (4-12) — Note: D.J. Harvey, Prentiss Hubb and Chris Doherty did not participate Notre Dame Finishes Perfect In Bahamas Junior guard T.J. Gibbs averaged 18.3 points, 3.3 rebounds and 3.3 assists per game during Notre Dame's trip to the Bahamas. PHOTO BY COREY BODDEN

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