Garrick Sherman

Garrick Sherman

Former Michigan State, Notre Dame center goes on Twitter rant about NCAA


Twitter can be a medium filled with words that don’t offer up a whole lot of value, but it can also be the stage for incredibly entertaining thoughts that normally wouldn’t be made public. That was the case Wednesday evening as Garrick Sherman, a former player at Michigan State and Notre Dame, took to Twitter after his professional season in Georgia (the country, not the state) came to an end hours earlier.

The topics Sherman touched on that grabbed attention included marijuana use amongst college basketball players, and how he helped a former teammate pass a drug test. Sherman, who stated during the rant that he “may or may not have consumed some alcohol” since his team’s season came to an end, said he did so more to expose the NCAA than to bring any kind of trouble upon Michigan State.

But even if the NCAA were to ask about any of this they don’t have subpoena power, so it isn’t as if Sherman would have to say anything to them. Warning: there’s some bad language in a couple of the tweets.

On what Michigan State head coach Tom Izzo told him at the Final Four: linked due to the language

On how he helped a teammate at Michigan State with a drug test: linked due to language


Eric Atkins, Notre Dame beat No. 7 Duke, turn around their season?

Eric Atkins, Quinn Cook
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For the first time in 19 games against former assistant coaches, Mike Krzyzewski has been beaten.

And while it isn’t necessarily a surprise that it was Notre Dame head coach Mike Brey that did it, it is a surprise that it happened this season.

The Fighting Irish were dealt a bad hand last month when it was announced that leading scorer Jerian Grant would be leaving school for the second semester due to an academic issue. That left a Notre Dame team that had been struggling with Grant in the lineup shorthanded, and the fact that they were taken to overtime by Canisius in their first game in the post-Jerian era was not exactly promising.

But if there is anything that Brey has proven that he’s capable of doing, it’s overcoming adversity on his roster. And on Saturday, his Irish used a late 20-4 run to turn a 60-50 deficit into a 70-64 lead in their 79-77 win over the Blue Devils.

Eric Atkins led the way for the Irish, finishing with 19 points and 11 assists while completely dominating the game on the offensive end of the floor. There really isn’t any other way to put it. He’s averaging 24.5 points and 9.0 assists in the two games without Grant.

He’s not alone, however. Pat Connaughton finished with 16 points — including a pair of momentum-changing dunks late in the second half — while Garrick Sherman chipped in with 14 points and eight boards, helping the Irish to control the paint against the smaller Blue Devils. Austin Burgett (five boards, five blocks) provided energy off the bench while Steve Vasturia (3-for-5 from three) came in and helped stretch the floor.

Put it all together, and what you get is Notre Dame’s biggest win of the season.

By far.

Remember, this is a team that lost to Indiana State and North Dakota State at home, that choked away an eight point lead in 51 seconds against Ohio State at the Garden. This is a team that had been written off as a contender in the ACC before the lost Grant for the year. But the Irish made a statement on Saturday afternoon. They’re not going to roll over and die just because a couple of pundits said they would.

This isn’t the first time that Brey has had to manufacture a turnaround. Remember when Luke Harangody injured his knee in 2010 and the Irish were forced to turn to the ‘Burn Offense’? That turned their season around, and they won their last six regular season games before making the NCAA tournament. Or what about in 2012, when Tim Abromaitis tore his ACL and the Irish still managed to win 13 Big East games?

Are the Irish really back?

Is this group actually going to be able to win against the best in the ACC once teams have a chance to scout and game-plan what they do without Grant?

Who knows.

But the bottom-line is that writing off the Irish — writing off Mike Brey — is never a good idea.

Eric Atkins comes up big in Notre Dame’s overtime victory over Canisius

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With the announcement that leading scorer Jerian Grant was done for the season for academic reasons, it was clear that Notre Dame needed to figure out how they would account for the 19.0 points and 6.2 assists per game that the senior provided. Given Grant’s impact on both ends of the floor, this is not a situation in which the Fighting Irish simply “replace” him with one of their young bench players.

But in their tough 87-81 overtime victory over Canisius on Sunday afternoon, the way in which Notre Dame will account for that personnel loss was crystal clear.

Eric Atkins, who entered the game shooting just 39.8% from the field, played every second and accounted for a career-high 30 points (10-for-15 FG) and seven assists to lead the way for Notre Dame. He was joined in double figures by forwards Garrick Sherman (17 points, ten rebounds) and Zach Auguste (12 points, eight rebounds), and Notre Dame also received some valuable contributions from their newcomers.

Demetrius Jackson, who will be a key figure moving forward alongside Atkins and Pat Connaughton on the perimeter, V.J. Beachem and Steve Vasturia all provided valuable minutes against Canisius, with Billy Baron and company giving Notre Dame all it wanted and then some. That freshman trio may have combined for “just” 15 points, but if Notre Dame is to have any shot of getting to the NCAA tournament without Grant they’ll need to chip in.

On Sunday afternoon they did that, and as a result Notre Dame avoided what would have been a third home loss of the season with a game against No. 9 Duke next on the horizon.

But the most important development for Notre Dame moving forward is the play of Atkins, who was aggressive offensively in the team’s first game without Grant. With Grant on the floor Atkins attempted just six shots in Notre Dame’s stunning loss to No. 3 Ohio State last weekend, and it’s obvious that Mike Brey will need his point guard to be even more aggressive now that Grant’s gone.

Notre Dame’s done this before under Brey, with suspensions (Kyle McAlarney) and injuries (Scott Martin, Luke Harangody and Tim Abromaitis) simply resulting in the formation of a “new” team that still found a way to be successful. With those prior successes in mind, maybe we shouldn’t be so quick to rule out Notre Dame this season.

New Year’s Resolutions: Notre Dame Fighting Irish

Mike Brey
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Over the course of the holiday week, we at College Basketball Talk will be detailing what we believe will be the New Year’s Resolutions of some of the nation’s most talented, most disappointing, and thoroughly enigmatic teams. What can we say, we’re in a giving mood.

Who else made Resolutions? Click here to find out.


  • Why it will happen: Mike Brey doesn’t really have a choice but to expand his rotation and give more minutes to Zach Auguste, Tom Knight, and Austin Burgett. With news breaking after Notre Dame’s game against Ohio State at Madison Square Garden that star guard Jerian Grant would no longer be with the program due to an academic issue, Brey has been put in a tough position. The Irish’s bench only accounts for 21.1% of the overall minutes to begin with, and taking Grant’s 35.6 mpg out of the picture makes matters worse. Brey no longer has the option to play with a small line-up like he favored. Auguste or Knight now will most likely move into the starting five.
  • Why it won’t happen: Unless Mike Brey tries to play basically his starting five with just one off the bench, this will happen. I still think Notre Dame has a chance to be decent in the ACC, but they are in a world of trouble as things currently stand. There were already flaws with this team; compound that with taking Grant out of the equation, and things look bleak. The onus falls on Zach Auguste and Tom Knight to really log quality minutes in the front-court — they have both been hot and cold this season.


  • Why it will happen: With Grant no longer playing, Notre Dame will revert back to playing a more traditional three guard, two forward line-up, rather than going small with four guards and a forward. As such, expect Notre Dame to go inside more often and continue featuring Garrick Sherman, along with Auguste / Knight. For a team that shoots collectively 76% from the line, they should be attempting more than 21.5 FT per game. Eric Atkins and Pat Connaughton have both taken more three-pointers than free throws. While they are both proficient from the perimeter, they cannot continue to settle for that shot.
  • Why it won’t happen: The last time Notre Dame got to the line at a high rate was during the 2010-11 season. That year, they boasted a front-court consisting of the dual-threat Tim Abromaitis, Tyrone Nash, and Scott Martin — Nash shot free throws at one of the highest rates in the country. The problem: Notre Dame simply doesn’t boast forwards of this caliber on this year’s team. It’s unrealistic to expect Atkins and Connaughton to all of a sudden become different players. Grant has shot the most free throws — far and away — this season. In his absence, it’s hard to see who will get to the charity stripe regularly.

Jerian Grant rebounds from a tough Wednesday and so does Notre Dame

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One of the big issues for Notre Dame in their 73-69 loss to North Dakota State on Wednesday night was the play of senior guard Jerian Grant. The team’s leading scorer and assist man, Grant accounted for nine points and five assists, failing to make a single field goal in 39 minutes of action. Neither he nor Eric Atkins were able to get untracked against the preseason favorites to win the Summit League, resulting in a third loss for the Fighting Irish this season without a significant resume-building victory to their credit.

“Grant couldn’t really get any angles to the bucket,” Notre Dame head coach Mike Brey said following the defeat. “He was getting us shots but we couldn’t make them. He was starting to kick to shooters like he usually does, but for him not to make a field goal is a big hole in our offense. He’s been on a tear, but not so good tonight.”

Grant had no such issues against Indiana on Saturday afternoon, scoring a team-high 23 points on 5-for-13 shooting (11-for-11 FT) and dishing out six assists in Notre Dame’s 79-72 victory. Grant’s field goal percentage may not have been great, but when Grant’s making good use of his ability to attack defenses good things tend to happen for Notre Dame as a whole. One of the beneficiaries on this day was senior big man Garrick Sherman, who accounted for 16 points and five rebounds, and at times on the block Indiana had no answer for him.

Through ten games this season Sherman’s been a much-improved player for Notre Dame, averaging 14.4 points (compared to 7.0 ppg last season) and 7.5 rebounds (3.4 rpg) per contest and shooting 52.5% from the field. With Grant, Eric Atkins (seven points vs. Indiana), Pat Connaughton (14 points, eight rebounds) and Demetrius Jackson (five points) Notre Dame once again has multiple players capable of scoring on the perimeter.

However for this offense to be at its best there has to be some semblance of balance and while he may not be in the class of a Luke Harangody or Jack Cooley, through 11 games Sherman has been the interior scoring threat that Notre Dame needs.

Will Sheehey led three Hoosiers in double figures with 22 points, and the bench contributions from Stanford Robinson (six points) and Austin Etherington (five points) could be positives down the line if the two reserves can build on those performances. But in the end they were unable to overcome a ten-point disparity at the foul line (Notre Dame attempted 14 more free throws), and Jerian Grant returning to form didn’t help matters either.

Notre Dame was more efficient offensively against the Hoosiers than they were against North Dakota State, and that doesn’t happen if Grant isn’t aggressive. He isn’t the only capable scorer in the rotation, but he’s the key if the Fighting Irish are to be a factor in the ACC.

Iowa defeats Notre Dame 98-93 in offensive shootout

Jarrod Uthoff

The Big Ten got its first win in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge from Iowa’s offensive firepower. The Hawkeyes, playing in front of a raucous crowd, held off a Notre Dame second half comeback, countering the rally and holding off the Fighting Irish in a 98-93 win on Tuesday night.

The Irish posted 43 points in the first half and still trailed by nine heading into the break. Notre Dame used a 14-3 run to take a 57-55 before the first media timeout of the second half.

Though the Iowa offense Roy Devyn Marble responded to Notre Dame’s run with 13 (of his 17) straight points of his own. The Irish couldn’t stop him, and if it wasn’t Marble, it was Aaron White (20 points) or Jarrod Uthoff (17 points) or any of the other Hawkeyes that scored in double figures that made plays down the stretch.

The Hawkeyes shot 57 percent (53 from three). Notre Dame shot over 50 percent (41 from deep) and like Iowa had multiple double-digit scoring, including Eric Atkins’ 23 to go along with Sherman’ s big night. Iowa wasn’t there defensively either, but the Hawkeyes had more weapons to win the shootout, while also outrebounding the Irish by 10.

The Irish fought back to get into the game, led by Garrick Sherman’s career-high 29 points, but the same problems for Mike Brey’s program caught up to them late in the game. Notre Dame couldn’t get enough stops — whether it was man-to-man or zone — to complete the comeback.

This was a good test for each team. Iowa was coming off a tough loss in the Battle 4 Atlantis title game against Villanova and Notre Dame was playing its first road game of the season. Iowa showed its a talented and deep team, averaging a tick under 90 points per game. Although Notre Dame found itself in a hole early, the Irish battled back, but the similar problems we’ve seen so far handed them their second loss of the season.

On Nov. 17, Notre Dame allow Indiana State to hit 11 threes, 55 percent from deep, on its way to an 83-70 win. And that was in South Bend. If Notre Dame can’t defend, how does it expect to contend in the ACC with the likes of Duke and Syracuse, which both have impressive perimeter attacks of their own?

Notre Dame has three games at home against Delaware, Bryant and North Dakota State — none of them high-major teams, but all contenders in their respective conference — before games against Indiana and Ohio State, both games on neutral floors.