Blue and Gold Illustrated

January 2015

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

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BY ANDREW OWENS I t's hard to believe, but Notre Dame's 83-63 pummeling of Florida State Dec. 13 marked senior guard Jerian Grant's first-ever ACC game. He sat out league play following the academic suspension one year ago while the Irish stumbled to a 6-12 conference record. Grant is back and already turning heads with his play this season. On Dec. 8, Grant was tabbed as the ACC Co-Player of the Week after scor- ing a career-high 27 points against Michigan State in the thrilling over- time win. Five days after earning the honor, he scored 18 points in No. 25 Notre Dame's 20-point win over the Seminoles. Through Dec. 15, Grant was the lone player in the nation averaging at least 18.9 points and 6.0 assists per contest. "It feels good," Grant said. "It's good to be back around the guys, around the coaches and back on campus. "I'm one of the leaders on the team, and I've stepped back and learned a lot." In a lot of ways, Grant is under the radar nationally, just like his team. Al- though the Irish worked their way back into the top 25, it will take a few league wins — and a return to dominance at Purcell Pavilion — to be taken seriously across the country. "When you look at how he stuffs the stat sheet, no one else in the country — certainly no one else in the league — does it," head coach Mike Brey said of Grant. "I always think in time he'll get his due, but he's kind of an understated guy. He's a quiet guy and that probably leads to it. When you look at how he's involved with everything we do offen- sively, the numbers and all the things he does, he's really special." Brey called the duo of Grant and sophomore guard Demetrius Jackson "assassins" following the Florida State win. "What they do to people and how they go after people, I am so excited about what's developing with those two guys," he said. "I certainly put them up against any backcourt in the country in the way they're evolving right now." Michigan State head coach Tom Izzo agreed following his team's 79-78 over- time loss in South Bend Dec. 3. He said Grant is "as good a player" as the Spar- tans have faced this season and called the Irish senior an NBA guard. While most expected Grant to as- TURNING HEADS Jerian Grant's return has the Irish once again looking like an NCAA Tournament team

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