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Return to the 2006-07 Top 144 Preview

August 15th, 2006

By Joel Welser

Broadcast Basketball


Notre Dame Fighting Irish


Overall Rank: #87

Conference Rank: #11 Big East


2005-06: 16-14, 6-10, 11th (t)

2005-06 postseason: NIT


Even with Chirs Quinn on the floor, Notre Dame lost tons of close games last year.  Without the point guard, one cannot expect the Irish to start winning those types of games.  Only the other Quinn from Dublin, Ohio will be winning close games this fall.  Well, most of those probably won’t even be close.


Who’s Out: Quinn is a huge loss.  The guy averaged a smooth 40.0 minutes, 17.7 points, 6.4 assists, 3.8 rebounds and 1.6 steals per contest.  As if that wasn’t bad enough, it is actually the losses to the frontcourt that will be most painful for the Irish.  Torin Francis received much criticism from fans, but the numbers don’t lie.  Francis averaged 11.6 points and a team high 9.4 rebounds and provided some experience and leadership.  Rick Cornett was a solid big man off the bench and averaged 5.4 points and 3.6 boards during his senior season.


Who’s In: Luke Harangody is a nice addition to the frontcourt.  The 6-8, 255 pound forward is crafty around the basket and doesn’t lack strength or toughness like so many other freshman big men.  Harangody won’t light up the Big East as a freshman, but he should be able to contribute and provide a nice option off the bench.  Tory Jackson, Jonathan Peoples and Joe Harden will help out on the perimeter.  Jackson is the big name recruit of the group and the 5-10 point guard is a hardworking, quick player.  Jackson will break down defenders and beat them off the dribble, but his decision making skills still need some work.  Peoples doesn’t have the range to hit the long ball with consistency, but he is an exciting player to watch in transition.  Harden is a hardworking 6-7 wing.  He has good instincts, but won’t likely see much action early in his career.


Who to Watch: Rob Kurz and Luke Zeller will have to see a drastic increase in production in order for Notre Dame to make the postseason.  Kurz, a 6-9 junior, averaged 6.4 points and 5.9 rebounds last season in 12 starts.  Zeller added on 3.4 points and 3.1 boards during his freshman campaign.  Both players can hit the outside shot, but the Irish seem to let the big guys roam a little too much.  Kurz and Zeller need to stay inside, get on the glass and leave the outside shooting to the talented group of guards.


Final Projection: And there is still quite a bit of talent on the perimeter.  Kyle McAlarney started ten games last year and will take over the point guard spot.  McAlarney can dictate tempo and become a floor leader.  He’ll need some help from friends early in the season, but by the time the football season is over and people start watching hoops in South Bend, he should be settled in.  With Colin Falls and Russell Carter on the wings, McAlarney won’t have to shoot much, but he has the ability to hit the long ball and keep the defense honest.  As always, the Big East is difficult.  Even getting to the Big East Tournament will be tough, but if the bigs can hold their own on the glass and the defensive end, a trip to MSG and the NIT isn’t far off.


Projected Post-season Tournament: none


Projected Starting Five:

Kyle McAlarney, Sophomore, Guard, 6.6 points per game

Colin Falls, Senior, Guard, 13.8 points per game

Russell Carter, Senior, Guard, 11.5 points per game

Rob Kurz, Junior, Forward, 6.4 points per game

Luke Zeller, Sophomore, Forward, 3.4 points per game

88 Loyola Chicago » Complete List » 86 Fordham

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