April 12, 2006
Notre Dame, Ind. - Senior Chris Quinn (Dublin, Ohio) was the recipient of the two major awards presented at the Notre Dame Men's Basketball Banquet held Wednesday evening at the Joyce Center. Quinn received the Notre Dame Monogram Club Most Valuable Player Award and also was awarded the Notre Dame Club of St. Joseph Valley Rockne Student-Athlete Award. Nearly 450 attended the annual banquet.
Other award winners on the evening included junior Russell Carter (Paulsboro, N.J.) who copped the Most Improved Player Award; senior Torin Francis (Boston, Mass.) received the Top Rebounder Award; sophomore Rob Kurz (Lower Gwynedd, Pa.) was tabbed with the Best Defender Award; freshman Kyle McAlarney (Staten Island, N.Y.) was presented the Outstanding Freshman Award; and junior Colin Falls (Park Ridge, Ill.) received the Team Irish Award.
Quinn had one of the most productive basketball seasons in recent memory for an Irish player. As a first-time winner of the Notre Dame Monogram Club MVP Award, the two-time captain averaged a team-leading 17.7 points, 6.4 assists and 1.6 steals and was selected an honorable mention All-America selection by the Associated Press and a third-team honoree by CBS Sportsline.com. Quinn scored in double figures in all but two games during the 2005-06 campaign and led the Irish in scoring on 12 occasions. He netted 20-plus points seven times and topped the 30-point mark on four occasions (all in BIG EAST play), including a career-best 37-point effort against Pittsburgh on Jan. 4
A first-team all-BIG EAST selection, he became the fifth Irish men's basketball player in school history to earn first-team all-conference, joining Pat Garrity, Troy Murphy, Ryan Humphrey and Matt Carroll on that notable list. Quinn became just the third Notre Dame player to average better than 20.0 points per game during the conference season when he averaged 20.6 points per game in 16 league outings.
A three-year starter, he was the recipient of the BIG EAST's Sportsmanship Award. Quinn finished his career with 1,454 career points (11.8 ppg.) and 428 assists (3.5 assists) in 123 games played (tied for seventh all-time) and is one of just six players in school history with better than 1,000 points and 400 assists. He also ranks in the top 10 in seven different career categories.
Quinn's accomplishments in the classroom were equally impressive and culminated with him being named a first team Academic All-American by ESPN the Magazine. A marketing major in the Mendoza College of Business, he has maintained a 3.24 grade-point average during his career and earned a 3.833 following the '05 fall semester. A two-time recipient of the Rockne Student-Athlete Award, Quinn also earned the honor in 2004.
Carter earned the Most Improved Player Award after producing one of the most dramatic one-year turnarounds of any Irish player in recent memory. After averaging 0.8 points and 0.4 rebounds in his freshman season and 3.5 points and 1.4 rebounds during his sophomore campaign, Carter finished as the team's fourth-leading scorer at 11.5 points per game and tied for second in rebounding with a 5.1 average. He played in all 30 contests and started 28 games, while netting double figures on 17 occasions.
Prior to his junior season, he had only been in double figures twice during his career. Carter topped the 20-point mark on four occasions and had a career-high 24 points against Louisville.
Francis, the recipient of the Best Rebounder Award, led the Irish in rebounding average during all four seasons of his career. This year, he finished the year averaging 11.6 points and a career-best 9.4 boards. Francis concluded his career fifth on the all-time rebounding list with 969 rebounds for an 8.6 average. In addition, he scored 1,280 career points (11.3 average) and is one of just six players with better than 1,000 career points and 900 rebounds. Francis started all 113 games of his career and ranks second all-time in consecutive games started, in addition to finishing with 31 career double-doubles. During the '05-'06 campaign, he posted eight double-doubles, scored in double figures 18 times and grabbed 10-plus rebounds on 16 occasions.
Like Carter, Kurz enjoyed a very productive year in his second season with the Irish as he earned the team's Best Defensive Player. After playing in just 14 games during his freshman season and averaging 1.4 points and 1.1 rebounds, he saw action in all 30 contests (made 12 starts) and averaged 6.4 points and 5.1 rebounds. He scored in double figures in seven games and grabbed 10-plus boards in two contests. Kurz scored a career-high 18 points in the season opener against Lafayette and had two double-doubles during the season against Seton Hall and Georgetown. In addition, he had 26 blocked shots and made 15 steals.
McAlarney was the team's fifth-leading scorer this year in his rookie season as he averaged 6.6 points and 2.5 assists and earned the Best Freshman Award. He played in 29 games and missed the final game of the season (Notre Dame's second-round loss to Michigan in the NIT) with an ankle injury. McAlarney earned starts in 10 games and netted double figures on eight occasions, including a career-high 16 against Niagara. In addition, he dished off a career-high eight assists against both Rutgers and Marquette.
Falls received the Team Irish Award, symbolic of his hard work, dedication, effort and leadership both on the court and in the classroom. He was Notre Dame's second-leading scorer this season with a 13.8 scoring average. Falls set the school's single-season three-point scoring mark with 102 three-pointers as he became the first Irish player in school history to make more than 100 three-pointers in a single season. He started all 30 games this season and scored in double figures in 19 contests. Falls topped the 20-point mark on seven occasions and netted a career-high 32 points in win at Seton Hall.
Notre Dame finished the season with a 16-14 record and advanced to the second round of the NIT.