Blue and Gold Illustrated

December 2012

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

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CATCHING ON big leap in his sophomore year Pat Connaughton makes P BY WES MORGAN rotation for the Notre Dame men's basketball team early last season and register a 4-4 record on the mound for the Fighting Irish baseball team this past spring. On the hardwood, ure athleticism helped Pat Con- naughton break into the starting however, the Arlington, Mass., native learned some hard lessons about the myriad aspects of his game that needed improvement in order to thrive in the Big East Conference. Connaugh- ton could rebound and shoot three-pointers, but he struggled off the dribble and rarely pen- etrated. This year, with Notre guarding the best guy on the perimeter on the other team, and he's bet- ter off the dribble making plays. I told him before the [trip to Brooklyn], 'You're not a captain, but we need your voice more.' "He's real ly re- sponded, and he has some good things to say. He has been so rock solid, and I've really been pleased with his improvement." Connaughton was av- eraging 7.7 points, 4.4 rebounds and 3.0 assists per game. He registered 7.0 points, 4.4 rebounds and less than one assist per game in 2011-12. "This year it's eyes on Dame getting consistent production from senior forward Jack Cooley, but somewhat erratic outings offensively from others, Connaughton has raised Connaughton averaged 7.7 points, 4.4 rebounds and 3.0 assists dur- ing Notre Dame's first six games this season. PHOTO BY JOE RAYMOND his game on both ends of the floor. "I'm just so pleased," head coach Mike Brey said. "He has embraced the prize at all times," Connaughton said. "… Drive, dish and do more things than I did last year and make sure to be more consistent with my offensive game. "It's being consistent with the things I can con- trol, like defense, inten-

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