Notre Dame will have one of the premier backcourts in the ACC this season and seniors Eric Atkins and Jerian Grant will be asked to do a lot if the Irish expect a deep postseason run.
The 6’5” Grant in particular has high expectations this season in which he’ll be entering his third season with Notre Dame. Since a stress fracture in his lower left leg forced him to redshirt his freshman year, Grant still has two years of eligibility left and so now the talk of the NBA Draft and potentially testing the waters after this season is a very real situation if Grant continues to improve.
According to a story Monday from Brian Hamilton of the Chicago Tribune, Notre Dame head coach Mike Brey has discussed this possibility with Grant and the two appear to be on the same page.
“I think Jerian would love to have a great year and be in position to get to the next level,” Brey said in the Tribune interview. “I said, ‘Jerian, let’s you and us have a great year so you can move on.’ He’s on board with that – like, hey, let’s have a great year, and if it all works out, I can go, if I’m a first-round pick.
“‘If that doesn’t work out, I’ve got the option to come back.’ He’s really kind of secure with that, because I said, ‘You can’t be putting pressure on yourself. You’re going to fold if you do that.’ We talked about that a couple times this summer, and I think his mind is really on that.”
Grant averaged 13.3 points and 5.5 assists last season, but will need to improve his shooting percentages in order to garner heavy NBA Draft interest. Guards in the NBA typically shoot better than the 40 percent from the field and 34 percent from the three-point line that Grant shot at Notre Dame last season, so that will be a key point of interest in helping determine his draft stock.
National Semifinals– Saturday, April 1
6:09 p.m. EST, CBS, Glendale
No. 7 South Carolina vs. No. 1 Gonzaga (Jim Nantz, Grant Hill, Bill Raftery, Tracy Wolfson)
Approximately 40 minutes after conclusion of first game, CBS, Glendale
No. 1 North Carolina vs. No. 3 Oregon (Jim Nantz, Grant Hill, Bill Raftery, Tracy Wolfson)
North Carolina and Kentucky ended in legendary fashion on Sunday.
After freshman Malik Monk buried a heavily-contested three-pointer to tie the game at 73-all for Kentucky with under 10 seconds left the Tar Heels didn’t use a timeout as Theo Pinson found forward Luke Maye for the game-winning jumper.
These 10 seconds will go down as one of the greatest finishes in NCAA Tournament history.
North Carolina advanced to the Final Four for the second consecutive season and 20th time overall as the No. 1 seed Tar Heels outlasted No. 2 seed Kentucky, 75-73, during Sunday’s South Regional final in Memphis.
Reserve forward Luke Maye knocked in the game-winning jumper for the Tar Heels with 0.3 seconds left to break a 73-all tie after Kentucky’s Malik Monk tied the game with a three-pointer on the previous possession.
The Tar Heels (31-7) overcame an ankle issue from junior point guard Joel Berry as North Carolina was led by Justin Jackson’s 19 points.
Maye also stepped up with a big game for North Carolina as he continued his strong March with 17 points. Berry added 11 points, as he went to the locker room during the first half to get his ankle looked at before returning to play later in the half.
Kentucky (32-6) won the regular-season matchup of these teams, 103-100, in Las Vegas in December as their freshmen guards struggled to perform on Sunday. After De’Aaron Fox and Malik Monk combined for 71 points in that previous win over the Tar Heels, the two freshmen studs couldn’t get going.
Both of them dealt with first-half foul trouble as Fox finished with 13 points while Monk was held to 12 points. Also battling foul trouble in the first half, freshman Bam Adebayo added 13 points for the Wildcats.
With Fox and Monk struggling to generate consistent offense, the Wildcats were able to stay in the game thanks to great performances from reserves like Isaac Humphries (career-high 12 points) and senior Dominique Hawkins (10 points.
North Carolina advances to face No. 3 seed Oregon in next weekend’s Final Four.
South Carolina earned its first trip to the Final Four with its win over SEC-rival Florida on Sunday.
The Gamecocks made sure to celebrate properly when head coach Frank Martin hit the locker room after the game by dousing him in water before Martin gave another speech.
Darius Rucker, the former front man of Hootie and the Blowfish and a current star in the country music world, is a lifelong South Carolina Gamecocks fan.
This isn’t really a secret.
Hell, on Friday night at a concert he was playing, Rucker set up TVs so that he would be able to watch South Carolina take on Baylor:
You probably didn’t realize just how big of a fan he actually is until you saw him, sitting second row at the regional final in New York City on Sunday afternoon, tearing up as the Gamecocks advanced to the Final Four:
Let ’em cry, Darius, if the tears fall down like rain.