KANSAS CITY, MO - NOVEMBER 22: Jerian Grant #22 of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish shoots while Donte Williams #15 of the Georgia Bulldogs tries to block during the Progressive CBE Classic consolation game on November 22, 2011 at the Sprint Center in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Welcome back to the latest edition of Bulls Recon. Today we have 4pointshooter from our friends at One Foot Down coming in to talk Notre Dame basketball. In today's Bulls Recon, we talk about the emergence of Jerian Grant, Notre Dame's short bench, and of course Big East expansion.
1. Eric Adkins impressed me during the Louisville game with his lastsecond heroics at the end of regulation and both overtimes. How hashis improvement helped offset the loss to Tim Abromaitis?
Eric Atkins is the first underclassmen captain in Notre Dame since Chris Thomas - and Mike Brey trusts him as much (and given this season's setbacks, probably even more) as he trusted his long line of outstanding Big East PGs - Chris Thomas, Chris Quinn, Tory Jackson, Ben Hansbrough. Atkins showed that he could do this in the beginning of the year before a mean flu set him back and took away some of his fitness and feel for the game. Ever since being named captain a few weeks ago, we can see that he's really getting back into the thick of things and right where we hoped he would be all year. It's not necessarily his on court game in itself that helps offset the loss of Abro, but his on court leadership as well as he commands respect out of his teammates and they all listen.
2. How in the world is your team holding up with what is effectively aseven man rotation? Do you think the extra minutes will eventuallycatch up with the Irish later in the year?
Well, I've asked this question (and frustrated by it countless times) many times and the answer always seems to reveal itself by NCAA tournament time when Notre Dame falls short of expectations: So ND will likely be fine with the rotation until then. Currently, I view it as 8 man rotation made up of 9 guys. Brey seems to have settled on Cooley-Martin-Dragicevich-Grant-Atkins as the starting 5 and Brooks-Connaughton as the two wing/energy players off the bench. Then Knight and Broghammer split the duties of spelling Cooley
3. Jerian Grant has come out of nowhere to emerge as one of the go toscorers this year. For those who have never seen him play, can yougive us a brief rundown of what he can bring to the table?
Jerian was a four start recruit (and son of former NBA payer Harvey Grant - yes, Horace's twin) out of the prestigious DeMatha program that every ND fan was excited about - given his early injury in camp last year and Brey's propensity for older guys, it was no surprise that he was redshirted last season, but we were all waiting for Grant to be unleashed. I will admit that I didn't see this long range gunning ability to be there so early on in his career, but his ability to score is something I have been waiting for since the summer. At the moment, considering that Brey has given Grant two green lights, you'll see him become the shot taker in iso situations and late in the shot clock moments - and a fair NBA comparison right now would be someone like Jamal Crawford, although I believe Grant has a better game as a playmaker for others.
4. How do you feel about the new additions to the Big East?
They're not Pittsburgh or Syracuse. I can tell you that much.
I don't speak for Notre Dame or even for OFD when I say this, but I don't believe ND will be in the Big East by 2015. The fit both academically and athletically in the ACC is just too good to pass up by that point.
5. Burger from OFD did a great 2 part piece for us on where to go while inSouth Bend before the football game. Do you have a favorite place togo before heading over to Purcell?
I lived on campus all four years while I was at ND so I don't have any real pregame meal/drink rituals before basketball games (North Dining Hall's Make Your Own Pizza - pesto with chicken, onions and jalapenos - and a quick beer - Stella if I used my money right that week - before heading out?) but I did visit this past Christmas break, and I really enjoyed this new bar called "Brother's" on Eddy Street less than 5 minutes by foot away from campus. Relatively clean, lots of flatscreens, really cheap specials and a variety of brews and allegedly, there is a grill in the kitchen too!
6. Finally, how do you see this one ending up?
ND hasn't lost a home game in nearly 3 seasons, I will be worried if the USF team of the last 3 games is the team that shows up in full force, but I think this young ND team is really coming into its own and will continue to defend well. If Grant and Atkins can get going earlier than they have the last two games, I think ND takes this one and wins their 30th straight home game.
Thanks again to 4pointshooter for helping us out today. Make sure to head over to OFD for my answers to his questions.
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