Jerian Grant (AP Photo)

Notre Dame’s Jerian Grant will not play the rest of the season


On Sunday evening, Notre Dame senior guard Jerian Grant released a statement announcing that he will not be a part of the Irish basketball team for the rest of the 2013-2014 season.

“It is with regret and sorrow that I inform you that I am no longer enrolled at the University of Notre Dame due to an academic matter that I did not handle properly,” Grant wrote in a letter addressed to the Notre Dame community. “As a result, I am no longer part of the basketball program and will not be on the court competing with my teammates for the remainder of the 2013-14 season.”

“I take full responsibility for my lack of good judgment and the poor decision that I made. I have no one to blame but myself for the situation. I know and understand the expectations that go with being a student at Notre Dame and I did not live up to those standards.”

Grant, an all-ACC caliber talent, was averaging 19.0 points on the season, but Notre Dame was sputtering a bit this season. They had lost to Indiana State and North Dakota State and home and suffered a demoralizing collapse in a 64-61 loss to No. 3 Ohio State on Saturday night.

Grant is listed as a senior by Notre Dame, but the Fighting Irish are one of the only schools that list their athletes by academic year. Grant redshirted his first season in South Bend, meaning that he still has one more year of eligibility remaining.

“It is my full intention to return to Notre Dame as soon as possible following the 2014 spring semester,” Grant wrote. “I intend to do whatever it takes to earn my degree and finish out my college basketball career here. I understand that there is a process that I must go through in order to come back to school and I will be patient with that process.”

Notre Dame was expected to be a contender in the ACC this season, and despite losing on Saturday, they finally looked like they were coming together and figuring out how to play with a smaller lineup. Losing Grant is a killer blow, but it’s not a season-ender. Mike Brey is going to need freshman Demetrius Jackson to take on a larger role, and it may be beneficial to smooth things over with Cameron Biedscheid and take away his redshirt.

Notre Dame will still have a chance to make the NCAA tournament.

“I have established myself as a leader on the basketball team and this situation significantly impacts my teammates and coaches,” Grant wrote. “They have been such an integral part of my life since coming to Notre Dame. I was looking forward to being in the lineup when our team started play in the Atlantic Coast Conference. I apologize to them publicly and regret that I will not be there with and for them in the upcoming months, but I am confident that they will have great success for the remainder of the season.”

POSTERIZED: Wyoming’s Josh Adams takes flight

Josh Adams
Associated Press
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Not only is Wyoming senior guard Josh Adams the lone returning starter from a team that won the Mountain West tournament last season, but he’s also one of college basketball’s best dunkers. And if anyone may have forgotten about his jumping ability, Adams put it on display Saturday during the Cowboys’ win over Montana State.

After splitting two Montana State players at the top of the key Adams attacked the basket, dunking with two hands over a late-arriving help-side defender. If you’re going to rotate over, have to do it quicker than that.

Video credit: Wyoming Athletics

Defensive progress will determine No. 4 Iowa State’s ceiling

Monte Morris
Associated Press
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Even with the coaching change from Fred Hoiberg to Steve Prohm, No. 4 Iowa State remains one of the nation’s best offensive teams. Given their skills on that end of the floor many teams find it tough to go score for score with the Cyclones, and that’s what happened to Illinois in Iowa State’s 84-73 win in the Emerald Coast Classic title game.

Georges Niang scored 23 points and grabbed eight rebounds, with Monté Morris adding 20, nine rebounds and six assists and Abdel Nader 18 points as the Cyclones moved to 5-0 on the season. The three-pointers weren’t falling in the second half, as Iowa State shot 0-f0r-12, but they shot 19-for-24 inside of the arc to pull away from a team that lost big man Mike Thorne Jr. late in the first half to a left knee injury.

Illinois’ loss of size in the paint opened things up offensively for Iowa State, and the Cyclones took advantage. But where this group grabbed control of the game was on the defensive end of the floor, and that will be the key for a team with Big 12 and national title aspirations.

Nader took on the responsibility of defending Illinois’ Malcolm Hill (20 points) in the second half and did a solid job of keeping the junior wing in check, with that serving as the spark to a 12-2 run that put the game away. There’s no denying that the Cyclones can put points on the board; most of the talent from last season is back and the productivity on that end of the floor hasn’t changed as a result. Niang’s one of the nation’s best forwards, and both Morris (who now ranks among the country’s best point guards) and Nader have taken significant strides in their respective games.

Iowa State will add Deonte Burton in December, giving them another option to call upon. Front court depth is a bit of a concern, as Iowa State can ill afford to lose a Niang or Jameel McKay, but there’s enough on the roster to compensate for that and force mismatches in other areas.

But the biggest question for this group is how effective they can become at stringing together stops. Illinois certainly had its moments in both halves Saturday night, but Iowa State also showed during the game’s decisive stretch that they can step up defensively. The key now is to do so consistently, and if that occurs the Cyclones can be a threat both within the Big 12 and nationally.