Ben Hansbrough was one of 21 players invited by the Nets to take part in the minicamp, and it was his second time working out for the Nets. Last summer, the former Notre Dame point guard, who was the Big East player of the year as a senior in 2011, attended the Nets' workouts for rookies. The 6-3 Hansbrough, who averaged 18.4 points per game and shot 43.5 percent from 3-point range as a senior at Notre Dame, went undrafted last summer, and ended up playing in Germany and Slovenia. He said he was hampered by a bad ankle injury suffered during an individual workout in Indianapolis just before the NBA combine. He said he chipped a bone and tore two tendons in his left ankle.Read the rest of Stephenson's article on NJ.com.
As he watched his brother Tyler and the Indiana Pacers make a run at the Eastern Conference Finals, Ben Hansbrough ('11) thought back to his days playing basketball in the backyard. In a recent feature for the New Jersey Star-Ledger, Colin Stephenson writes about Hansbrough's quest to join his brother in the NBA next season:
The parents of the men's golf team gathered to watch their children at 2012 NCAA Golf Regional in Ann Arbor (L-R - John Platt, Bruce Scodro, Kim Scodro, Joe Moeller (Walker's Grandfather), Paul McNamara II, Cathy Usher, Colin Usher, Terry Walker and Sherri Walker)Aaron Horvath of the Notre Dame Media Relations department returns to the UNDerground blog with a unique look at last week's NCAA golf regional. When Father Sorin founded Our Lady's University in 1842, he did so using the ethos of achievement, community and sensibility. 170 years later, his vision still holds true. His vision of a close-knit community working as one towards a common goal is an afterthought in most industries today. Yet, in the last few weeks, I have had the opportunity to see up-close and personal the way in which those around the University of Notre Dame breed the culture of community, faith and family. Haley Scott DeMaria, the University's 2012 commencement speaker said, "There are three things that have sustained me, that have carried me through my challenges and have rejoiced with me. My faith, my family and my friendships. While academically, three "Fs" wouldn't be celebrated; in life, they are to be embraced. Faith, Family and Friendship." These philosophies and teachings are no more evident than on the golf course with our men's golf program. As a casual fan of golf, you may only watch the 'Major' tournaments - The Masters, the U.S. Open, The Open and the PGA Championship - nonetheless in the game of golf there is a set of unwritten, old-school rules that have followed the hallowed game from its inception in the 15th century. Golf is one of the only sports or games in which you call penalties on yourself; in addition, golf also sets a different standard for etiquette while on the golf course. You can call me a detractor, but I always believed that when push comes to shove, competition comes before character on the playing field. Last week, while following the men's golf team at the NCAA regional in Ann Arbor, I was unequivocally proved wrong. Behind every great businessman, attorney, accountant, singer or athlete are their parents, and the members of the men's golf team are no different. Trudging around the hilly, 6,800-yard course I found that each Irish golfer had at least one parent with them providing encouragement and a friendly face behind the ropes. I fully expected the parents to be pulling for their own, but what happened as the round went on befuddled me, each parent truly cared about all the golfers as if they were their own. After starting the day in ninth place, after a day one 291, the Irish started moving up the leaderboard and were just a few strokes out of fifth place (the qualifying mark for entrance to the NCAA Championship) after completing the outward nine holes. But what was even bigger were the murmurs that started to spread round the course as senior Tom Usher made the turn at four-under par. Usher's parents, Colin and Cathy, made the trip all the way from Baildon, England to what ended up being their son's final collegiate tournament. The camaraderie between all the golf parents is one of the most unique relationships that you will ever get a chance to witness. The 12-member team allows each parent to get to know one another throughout the year; which is clearly evident when you are exposed to their community. "Look around you: your roommate, your classmate, perhaps your teammate or a professor." Stated DeMaria, "Think of how much you have learned from them. They have made you a better person, as you have made them. That is who we are at Notre Dame. As anyone who has experienced the student section in the Purcell Pavilion, Compton Family Arena or in the football stadium knows, our strongest trait is our community." Unlike the large, professional tournaments, at collegiate golf tournaments there are no large scoreboards behind greens, or video boards feeding hole-by-hole scoring to the groups. This requires a vast variety of communication from the parents to one another and to the golfers who want to know where their teammates stand. As Usher began his play on the inward nine holes, the chatter between parents grew even louder. His third shot on the par-five, 12th hole left him only a few feet for birdie. As the putt found the bottom of the cup, his parents, sister and fellow teammate Chris Walker's parents gave him congratulations. Not only did the teams' parents complement the great play of their kin, they also complemented their competitors on shots and helped find stray golf balls for anyone in the group throughout the round. Needless to say, I did not hear anyone's parents yelling, "Noonan!" It was not uncommon for me to glance at a parent and they give me a 'thumbs-up' or 'thumbs-down' sign depending on how their son was playing. If a parents son was playing poorly, another parent would console them by saying something along the lines of "Don't worry, he has the game to get (the strokes) back." After the conclusion of their son's round, the parents don't just leave, they all watch the rest of the team finish out their round by the 18th green. The parents reunite at the end of the round by the final green when Notre Dame's top golfer, Max Scodro's parents join them as their son hits his approach shot into the green. There, the family's cheer on all the golfers, no matter what color their shirt is or what logo is emblazoned on their golf bag. For they truly know the meaning of proper sportsmanship. What shouldn't be lost in this story is the play of the parents' children - Usher's record-breaking 65, Scodro's seventh-place finish, Walker's aggressive style of play, Niall Platt's resiliency in shooting back-to-back 72's and Paul McNamara's surgical-like dissection of the golf course. Their hard work and dedication to the game gave them the ability to lead the Irish to their best finish in the event since its inception in 1989. But without the support of their teammates, their coaches, their parents and the Notre Dame community who knows how far this trail blazing group of student-athletes would have gone. With the loss of three seniors - Scodro, Walker and Usher - the Irish will need to rely on some new pieces next year in their attempt to go farther than their regional round exit in the NCAA Championship. In the words of Father Sorin, "we will rebuild it, bigger and better than ever." The previous thousand words cannot encapsulate the true importance of feeling like you are in a true community of caring individuals. In my short period of time with them, the way I was treated by parents, players and coaches alike gave me the feeling that I was a part of something bigger than golf. Father Sorin's vision for a community of faith, family and friendships was a vision for his University that outlasted him and will outlast us. The platform in which the University wields is a great one, and the continued education and enrichment of the University to its students will ensure that their founders ideals will be bestowed upon the brightest minds of their generation through teachings from their professors, friends and most importantly, their parents. - Aaron Horvath
For the second time in three years, the Notre Dame men's lacrosse team has earned a spot in the national semifinals. In a game full of momentum swings, the Fighting Irish notched an exciting, 12-10 win over #5 Virginia in the NCAA quarterfinals on Sunday afternoon at PPL Park. Leading the way offensively was senior Max Pfeifer, who netted three goals and added one assist. Steve Murphy contributed a pair of scores, as well as two assists, while Sean Rogers also notched two goals. Notre Dame scored six goals in the final period, including one by Ryan Foley that put the Irish ahead for good. After three more scores gave them a 12-8 lead, the Irish survived two late Cavalier goals to pick up the victory. As Notre Dame athletics so often do, the game created a lot of buzz on Twitter. Here are a few of the many tweets from this afternoon:
Congrats to ND men's Lax, beat Virg. To make it to national semi's next week-- Mike & Mike (@MikeAndMike) May 20, 2012
Congrats to @NDlacrosse on its big win over Virginia to make it back to the Final Four for the second time in three years!-- ND Monogram Club (@NDMonogram) May 20, 2012
And even on graduation day, a couple Notre Dame football players had time to tweet about Irish lax.
Notre Dame joins Loyola (Md.), Maryland and the winner of Duke vs. Colgate in the national semifinals, to be played on Saturday, May 26 at Gillette Stadium (the home of the New England Patriots) in Foxborough, Mass. There will be much more coverage coming soon, so be sure to follow @NDlacrosse on Twitter, 'like' the Irish on Facebook, and stay tuned to UND.com. - Josh Flynt ('11)
I'm no lacrosse expert, but after thirty minutes of play, I think one's going to come down to the wire at PPL Park in Philadelphia. #4 Notre Dame jumped out to a 3-1 lead in its NCAA quarterfinal matchup with #5 Virginia, before the Cavaliers responded with three straight goals. Virginia looked ready to take a 5-3 lead, but a goal was disallowed after a crease violation. A lot can happen in the second half, but if the Irish lead holds up, that may very well turn out to be the turning point in the contest. The Irish quickly responded with a goal of their own, tying the game at four and taking back momentum. They scored two additional goals in the second quarter to take a 6-4 halftime lead. First half goal scorers included Max Pfeifer (twice), Conor Doyle, Westy Hopkins, Sean Rogers and Steve Murphy. Pfeifer, Murphy, Jim Marlatt, and Tyler Kimball also added assists on three of those scores. If you can't catch the rest of the game on ESPNU/ESPN3, make sure to follow all the tweets at @NDlacrosse. Should be a great second half. - Josh Flynt ('11)
It was a busy second day for the Irish in Philadelphia. After breakfast at the team hotel, the team headed out to PPL Park, the home of the MLS's Philadelphia Union and the site of tomorrow's NCAA quarterfinal game against Virginia. The Irish spent about an hour on the field, stretching, going through a few drills, and talking strategy for their upcoming game against the fifth-seeded Cavaliers. After the walkthrough, the players signed autographs for those in attendance, including many young fans who had just finished a youth clinic outside the stadium. The Irish returned to the locker room, grabbed lunch and showered, before it was off to Malvern Prep, an Augustinian Catholic school in nearby Malvern, Penn. Since they have often been on the road during commencement weekend, the Irish began a tradition of holding their own ceremony to honor the team' seniors over the past several years. This year, twelve seniors graduated at the Our Lady of Good Counsel Chapel on the Malvern Prep campus. Rev. James R. Flynn, O.S.A., the Head of School, said Mass, with the help of three Malvern students (and future Domers) who served as altar servers and lectors.
The twelve Notre Dame lacrosse student-athletes in the class of 2012 include: Ben Ashenburg, Nick Beattie, Jake Brems, Devon Dobson, Andrew Gleason, Eric Keppeler, Max Pfeifer, Colt Power, Kevin Randall, Michael Rogers, Sean Rogers and Bobby Smith.At the end of Mass, head coach Kevin Corrigan said a few words and introduced John Delaney ('78), a Philadelphia assistant district attorney and the president of the Notre Dame Alumni Association, to give the commencement address. Delaney spoke about four characteristics of the university - faith, vision, passion and family. He talked about Father Sorin's vision in founding Notre Dame, as well as the lifelong familial bond that the graduating Irish will not only have with their teammates, but with the university. The Irish also got a visit from Gene Corrigan, father of head coach Kevin Corrigan, a former Virginia lacrosse coach and the Notre Dame athletic director from 1981-87 (among many other accomplishments). Gene talked about all the senior class had accomplished over four years, and offered words of encouragement as they seek to finish off great careers by hopefully earning three more wins, beginning Sunday against the team he once called his own. To conclude the ceremony, Philip Pfeifer, a professor at Virginia's Darden School of Business and the father of Irish senior Max Pfeifer, officially declared the Irish seniors graduates of the University of Notre Dame. Professor Pfeifer served as a visiting professor in South Bend during this past year. Since the university's undergraduate ceremonies will be held tomorrow, the twelve Irish lacrosse student-athletes became a few of the first official graduates in the class of 2012. I had a chance to speak with Fr. Flynn after Mass and he was incredibly grateful to have been a part of Notre Dame's ceremony today, calling it a great honor for Malvern Prep to be associated with such a fine university. From my own perspective, I really thought the graduation was a nice way of recognizing the hard work and accomplishments - academically and athletically - of these young men over the past four years. It's too bad that they cannot participate in the regular commencement with the rest of their graduating class, but it's a double-edged sword. The fact that the Irish are missing graduation is a good thing - it means their season is still going on and their title hopes are still alive. Besides, it was an intimate celebration with the people with whom they are closest - their families and lacrosse brothers.
Max Pfeifer, Sean Rogers, Ben Ashenburg and Bobby Smith - four of the first graduates in the class of 2012.After parents had taken plenty of team graduation photos, the Irish left for downtown Philadelphia and a nice dinner at Maggiano's Little Italy. On the bus, we caught the end of the Spurs-Clippers game, before popping in 'Casino Royale' while stuck in traffic. When we arrived at the restaurant we were greeted with a nice family-style meal in one of the banquet rooms. I'm not sure I've ever seen spaghetti, chicken parm, salad and bread disappear as quickly as it did tonight. In and out - twenty minutes max. From there, it was back to the hotel, where the Irish got in a final film session on Virginia. It's an early wake up call on Sunday. After Maryland and Loyola (Md.) punched their tickets to Foxborough, Mass. on Saturday, Notre Dame will look to become the third team with a spot in the Final Four. The game begins at noon ET and will be broadcast live on ESPNU/ESPN3. Remember to follow @NDlacrosse on Twitter for more photos and in-game during the rest of the trip. - Josh Flynt ('11)
The Notre Dame men's lacrosse team left this afternoon for the City of Brotherly Love, in preparation for its NCAA quarterfinal matchup on Sunday. The fourth-seeded Fighting Irish traveled in style, chartering a flight from the South Bend Regional Airport. After traveling with football and men's basketball previously, this is my first trip with the lacrosse team. I occasionally covered the Irish for UNDerground during the season, but this is my first experience spending much time around the team and coaches. As intense and focused as they are on the field, they do not take themselves too seriously away from it (just wait until you see some of the defensive players' postseason haircuts). They're a fun bunch to be around and you can really tell that the lacrosse team is like one big family. Though I suppose that should come as no surprise, having a head coach who has led the program for almost a quarter-century. Upon arrival at the hotel, the Irish grabbed dinner, before watching film of Sunday's opponent, Virginia, the defending NCAA champion. It's a city famous for cheesesteaks, but Notre Dame opted for pasta, roast beef, stuffing, potatoes and green beans, among a variety of other delicious dishes this evening. Tomorrow, it's off to PPL Park for a walkthrough and autograph session. As you may know, it's commencement weekend at the University of Notre Dame. Since the Irish are generally on the road in NCAA tournament play, they have established their own graduation tradition. This year, they'll visit Malvern Prep for a special Mass and ceremony honoring the team's seniors, before a team dinner and more game film. For head coach Kevin Corrigan, Sunday will go beyond trying to take his team back to the Final Four. The longtime Irish head coach will also be leading his squad against his alma mater, Virginia, where he played and later served as an assistant coach. Much more coming throughout the weekend - Be sure to follow @NDlacrosse, @NDSportsBlogger, @byrneirish (assistant coach Gerry Byrne) and @fishtastik (assistant coach Brian Fisher) on Twitter, and 'like' the Irish on Facebook for all the updates from Philly. Catch the game Sunday at noon ET on ESPNU/ESPN3. - Josh Flynt ('11)
Briana Coyne ('12) is a student worker in the Media Relations office. She recently profiled men's lacrosse goalie John Kemp, who is continuing his family's strong athletic legacy. Lacrosse, baseball, soccer, football, hockey - name the sport and John Kemp, a junior goalie on the Notre Dame men's lacrosse team, probably played it at some point during his childhood. This comes as no surprise considering he grew up in a household with six older brothers and sisters who all played sports, as well. "Sports were just a big thing in my family," says Kemp. "We always had a 15-seater van and my Mom would drive everyone around. I literally was in the car for six hours a day picking everyone up and going to practices. I would miss practices for other practices." With so many practices, scrimmages and games to take all seven of the Kemp children to, it is hard to imagine how the parents were able to juggle all these schedules, but they managed. However, on rare occasions, there were mishaps. "When we were growing up, there would always be that one time my Mom would forget about someone so we would be left at practice for like two hours," jokes Kemp. Regardless, the Potomac, Md., native and his siblings continued competing and excelling in sports as they got older. The athletic achievements of the Kemp family are numerous: Robbie played baseball in high school and was named all-conference; Julie swam for the University of Miami (FL) and qualified for the NCAA Championships in 1999; CJ played lacrosse at Fairfield University and then professionally for the Rochester Rattlers and the Baltimore Bayhawks of Major League Lacrosse (MLL); Erin swam for Towson University; Joey, a 2008 Notre Dame graduate and former goalie, was named the 2007 Great Western Lacrosse League Player of the Year and currently plays in the MLL for the Chesapeake Bayhawks after previously playing for the Los Angeles Riptide and Chicago Machine; Elizabeth swam for the University of Florida, was a six-time all-Southeastern Conference selection, and competed in the 2008 U.S. Olympic Trials; and John is the starting goalie for the Fighting Irish. If all of those honors were not enough, Julie, CJ, Joey, Liz and John have all been named All-America in their respective sports. For one family to have so much athletic talent is remarkable, but the Kemp children are not the only athletes in the family. Their father, Robert, played football under Lou Holtz at William & Mary. "My Dad has some really funny stories about him (Lou Holtz)," says Kemp. "He does a really good impression of him with his voice." Kemp, who started playing lacrosse at the age of seven, said going to so many practices was hard to adjust to in the beginning, but he soon realized the relationships he gained with teammates and coaches were definitely worth it. Also, being in this athletic atmosphere with his siblings helped Kemp with his own game. "When you are around sports all the time you think about the game from a young age," says Notre Dame head coach Kevin Corrigan. "You recognize what works and what doesn't work. There is no question that John has benefited from the experience of all his brothers and sisters." When Kemp was younger, he learned the most from his siblings through observation - seeing his sisters' diligence in getting up at four in the morning for swimming, watching his brothers play on the field, and attending everyone's games. "Seeing the success they had really helped me," states Kemp. Not only was Kemp excelling in the same sport as two of his older brothers, he also was playing the same position. With so many similarities, it is hard not to feel the pressure of following in their footsteps, but that did not faze Kemp. "I think it makes it easier for me, but it also makes it harder," comments Kemp. "Obviously there is a lot to live up to, but it is also something to keep in mind because they have been through it and makes it feel like it is possible for me." In his sophomore year at Georgetown Prep, Kemp committed to play for the Irish, where his brother, Joey, was the goalie at the time. Because of the quality of education and his brother's experience at the school, Kemp felt Notre Dame was the obvious choice. "Joey absolutely loved it here," says the younger Kemp. "I always joke around that we have had the same teachers, and he brings up stories about them." Since they both played goalie for the Irish, it is hard not to draw comparisons. According to Corrigan, both John and Joey have very similar approaches to their position. "If you were to look at them from 100 yards away and watch them in the goal and watch their mannerisms - the way they move and even their footwork - it is scary sometimes how much they look alike," states Corrigan. It is not only John and Joey's on-the-field play that is comparable, but also their mental attitude towards the game that has helped them thrive. "The qualities that most distinguish them are their mental toughness and their ability to keep an even keel and perform at a high level on a consistent basis. They just never get rattled. They are never thrown off their game," adds Corrigan. With having two older brothers play professionally, Kemp gets plenty of feedback on his performance. "If John has a bad game, the first guys he hears from are his brothers," says Corrigan. "They watch my games and tell me what I did wrong," says Kemp. "During our Duke game last year, Joey sent me an email after the first quarter telling me what I was doing wrong. I saw it at halftime and made adjustments." With the support of his family as well as his own commitment to the sport, Kemp has had a very accomplished career thus far at Notre Dame. He recently was named the 2012 BIG EAST Goalkeeper of the Year and was one of 25 nominees up for the Tewaaraton Award, which is presented annually to the nation's top lacrosse player. Kemp currently ranks first nationally in both goals-against average (5.95) and save percentage (.641). For Kemp, his personal statistics are secondary to those of the team. His focus is solely on how he is contributing to the team's efforts and success. "I don't like to think of personal goals because I really don't care about personal goals," states Kemp. "It just matters what the team does." His leadership and stability are qualities that his teammates rely on, especially in tough situations. "He just comes in quietly and does his job," says Corrigan. "I think the guys count on that no matter what is going on. If things are going well or not, John is going to be the same guy, and they can look back, trust him and count on him to be 'that' guy." Even with all the success he has had, Kemp does not forget to give credit to his parents for their encouragement and dedication. "I think it is true for me and all of my siblings that we consider our parents our role models. With their dedication in taking us to practices and sending us all to private schools, they have had to give up a lot for us." Having so much athletic achievement in one family seems almost unfathomable, but the honors and accolades do not lie. And for the youngest Kemp child, he keeps adding to the incredible legacy. - Briana Coyne ('12)
For the first time in three years, the Irish enter the final weekend of the regular season not worried about qualifying for the BIG EAST tournament. That doesn't mean there isn't a reason to show up at Connecticut this weekend.
There are a lot of permutations that affect the BIG EAST standings, but everyone will be best served by keeping it simple. If Notre Dame can win this series against Connecticut, chances are the Irish finish no worse than fifth in the BIG EAST. That would surpass the preseason expectations of the league, give Notre Dame 30 wins and make it three straight series wins entering next week's conference tournament.
Tuesday night after the win against Northwestern, Mik Aoki told some of us that he believes the pitching duo of Will Hudgins and Pat Connaughton can have Notre Dame competitive with any team in the country. He believes Adam Norton can beat any team's #3 starter. He's pleased with the development of Sean Fitzgerald and Steve Sabatino as "long relievers". Then Aoki put the caveat on the deal..."as long as we play clean defense."
It's not a news flash to anyone who has followed this team all year. Sometimes, the Irish make errors the way people eat potato chips...one just leads to another and another. As Mik explained on one of the pregame shows last week, it's a matter of looking at mistakes as new opportunities to pick up a teammate...to make the kind of play that bolsters the team. Instead, many times, the body language has been that of "here we go again".
When Notre Dame can avoid that pitfall...when they make one error or none, the Irish are 24-8 this year. Think about it...a team with 19 freshmen and sophomores...and one that had to replace its entire starting staff at the beginning of the year...still wins 75 percent of the game when they play good defense. That's pretty darn good.
Is that good enough to get past Connecticut? The big names like George Springer and Matt Barnes are gone, but UConn still has talent. Second baseman L.J. Mazzilli is likely to be a top-three round draft pick. Speedster Billy Ferriter leads the team with a .340 average and 22 stolen bases. And when you look at the earned run averages of the Connecticut pitchers, they're very comparable with Notre Dame. So what is UConn's Achilles heel? The same as the Irish...the heel of the glove.
Connecticut has made 91 errors...13 more than the Irish. The Huskies are 13-6 when they make one error or less...which also means they've had 32 games where they have made two or more. So, the Huskie faithful are saying the same thing..."if we can only play clean".
Normally, when you go into a tough battle, the phrase used is "it's time to take the gloves off". This weekend, it's time to make sure they're on and used properly.