Blue and Gold Illustrated

Nov. 2, 2019

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

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12 NOV. 2, 2019 BLUE & GOLD ILLUSTRATED UNDER THE DOME KELLY TRIPUCKA TO BE INDUCTED INTO RING OF HONOR Notre Dame three-time All-American Kelly Tripucka (1977-81) will be inducted into the Purcell Pavilion Ring of Honor on Feb. 1, 2020 versus Georgia Tech. He will be the ninth men's basketball addition to the Ring of Honor, which is the highest honor the program can bestow on a former student-athlete or coach. Earlier this year, on Nov. 8, former 2010-14 Fighting Irish center Natalie Achonwa will be the sixth women's basketball honor to be accorded the honor. Tripucka was the ringleader during perhaps the most successful four-year run since the end of World War II in Notre Dame men's basketball annals. After a remarkable prep career by the Essex Falls, N.J., native at Bloomfield High School, Tripucka helped the Irish compile a 92-26 four-year record, highlighted by the program's lone Final Four in 1978 when he was named the Midwest Regional MVP as a freshman. The next year the Irish lost in the Elite Eight to Magic Johnson's national title Michigan State team, which in essence was considered in many circles the de facto na- tional title game while matching two of the country's most talented teams at the time. Notre Dame never was ranked lower than No. 14 during Tripucka's four seasons and claimed 11 wins over top-10 teams, three of them versus the Associated Press No. 1: Marquette in 1978, DePaul in 1980 and Virginia in 1981, plus UPI No. 1 Kentucky also during his senior season. A Notre Dame legacy, Tripucka's father, Frank, was the starting quarterback for the unbeaten 1948 Fighting Irish football team and an NFL first-round draft pick in 1949. A versatile and athletic player who could drive by slower defenders, post up smaller defenders and shoot over any player, Kelly Tripucka was at his best on the grandest stages. He was selected 12th overall by the Detroit Pistons in the 1981 NBA Draft, with classmates Orlando Woolridge and Tracy Jackson chosen No. 6 and No. 25, respec- tively, in the same draft. Tripucka earned an All-Star berth in his rookie season and spent five successful seasons in Detroit before getting traded to the Utah Jazz for Purcell Pavilion Ring of Honor inductee and fellow alumnus Adrian Dantley. After two seasons with the Jazz, Tripucka helped launch the expansion Charlotte Hornets franchise, leading the team with 22.6 points per game during its inaugural season. Over his 10 seasons in the NBA, Tripucka scored 12,142 points (17.2 per game) with 2,703 rebounds and 2,090 assists while earning two All-Star game selections. Inducted into the National Polish-American Hall of Fame in 2000, Tripucka also has been named The New Jersey Star-Ledger "New Jersey Boys' Basketball Player of the Century" and in 2008 was selected to the "50 Greatest Pistons" team. — Lou Somogyi Three-time Fighting Irish All-American Kelly Tripucka will be inducted into the Purcell Pavilion Ring of Honor on Feb. 1, 2020. He led Notre Dame to its lone Final Four in 1978 and a 92-26 record over his four years. PHOTO COURTESY NOTRE DAME MEDIA RELATIONS TOMMY KRAEMER RECEIVES MIDSEASON ACCOLADES Fresh off Notre Dame's 308-yard rushing performance in the 30-27 victory versus USC Oct. 12, Fighting Irish senior right guard Tommy Kraemer received midseason second-team All-America honors several days later from the Associated Press at the halfway point of the season. Head coach Brian Kelly specifically singled out the two starting guards — Kraemer and junior Aaron Banks — for their performance against a Trojans unit that featured a formidable defensive tackle tandem inside. Senior running back Tony Jones Jr. rushed for a career-high 176 yards in the contest, many coming between the tackles. Kraemer also had been a preseason second-team AP pick, even though last season he did not grade out among the top three Notre Dame linemen and even lost his starting position for a brief period. Also on the preseason first team were senior drop end Julian Okwara and senior safety Alohi Gilman, but they were not on the midseason list (although Gilman was named one of 14 semifinalists for the Jim Thorpe Award, which honors the nation's top defensive back). Kraemer temporarily lost his starting spot last year because offen- sive coordinator Chip Long felt he was too slow on pulls and not in prime condition. Kelly recently praised Kraemer's conditioning and commitment to better nutrition habits. "He's in great shape physically, stronger, moves well, and a lot of that took place in the offseason," Kelly said. "As a football player, he still is powerful at the line of scrimmage. He can handle most guys that he goes against. "He's a very, very underrated pass blocker, and I think the things he continues to work on are the consistency elements." Entering the game at Michigan Oct. 26, Notre Dame's 94.4 mark in pass blocking from Pro Football Focus ranked No. 1 in the nation. Kraemer and the rest of the starting offensive line all are eligible to return for another season together in 2020. — Lou Somogyi Senior right guard Tommy Kraemer received midseason second- team All-America honors from the Associated Press. PHOTO BY MIKE MILLER

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