Men's Basketball

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2011-12 Media Day - Men's Basketball - Irish Players

Oct. 12, 2011

Tim Abromaitis • Graduate Student • Forward

On playing at the World University Games this summer ...
"It was a great experience basketball wise. Playing with and against a lot of the top players from colleges all around the world was definitely a positive thing for me. It was a fun experience to be able to be around those guys and experience China and travel like that."

On what experiences he will take from this summer and apply to this year...
"We really went hard practicing for a week or two when we were in Colorado and getting to China. The little things like that and the habits that guys on our teams have, like what they do to workout and what they do in their free time. I try to take bits and pieces from everybody's game and hopefully it makes me better."

On how it affects the team to know that everybody will be playing this year...
"Everybody has really been working hard knowing that we will get the opportunity. Obviously with Ben (Hansbrough) and Carleton (Scott) and Ty (Nash) leaving there's a void for guys to step up. We've really been working hard and I think we're ready to step up to the plate."

Scott Martin • Senior • Guard

On his back injury last season ...
"Walking out of the United Center (after the NCAA Tournament) was a little rough. My back was not well, but I took some time off and worked through it and got some rest. I feel great right now and have no problems so I'm ready to go."

On this year's team ...
"The young guys have really worked hard to get better. They have been working hard in the gym and in the weight room and getting themselves ready. As coach was saying, everybody on this team is going to play and we're excited for that. This is everyone's team, it's not just the captain's team, it's everyone combined and we're all going to contribute."

 

 

On his role this year ...
"Our big thing last year was rebounding. Rebounding as a team, rebounding as a unit. We have to do that again this year and that means Abro (Tim Abromaitis) and I have to rebound well. But, it also means everybody else has to rebound. Everyone needs to box out their man and then go get it."

Joey Brooks • Junior • Guard

On his expectations for this season ...
"I really expect for us to pick up where we left off last season. My role is to do whatever it takes for us to win. This year, it's going to be being the best defender, guarding the other team's best player, getting to the paint, making plays for my teammates and getting to the foul line."

On his leadership role this season ...
"Ben Hansbrough was one of my best friends last year. I really watched him very closely and learned how he led us to where we were last year."

On how the team needs to play this season ...
"We have to be extremely tough. The BIG EAST is a very tough conference and our non-conference schedule is very difficult. I really think it's going to come down to our mentality and what we're willing to take from other teams. We can't be pushed around and we can't be out-rebounded. We need to be the aggressor at all times. If we do this, we'll see better results."

Jack Cooley • Junior • Forward

On conditioning in the offseason ...
"The conditioning is going phenomenal. We just did the conditioning test and I passed without a timeout. The whole team didn't even need a timeout, which is very impressive. I lost a lot of weight from last season to help with my agility and quickness so I hope to play more minutes this season."

On moving into a starting role ...
"This season will definitely be different. The main key is to manage my fouls. I have to be smarter on how I play and keep up with the game."

On how playing a lot last year will help him this season ...
"Just how to play with the team. Getting used to the style and playing more with Eric Atkins. Learning what he does and how to get open and where he'll find you. Really, the more you play the more beneficial it is."

On his expectations for this season ...
"I think the sky's the limit. Last year we weren't predicted to do well and this year I think you'll see some special things happen."

Eric Atkins • Sophomore • Guard

On what has prepared him to step into a leadership role ...
"Last year helped me to step into this leadership role a lot. Ben (Hansbrough) especially. The work during the summer has also helped. Every expected me to lead during the workouts and during the pick-up games. Everything from last year and this summer has helped me be ready for this season."

On how comfortable he was taking a leadership role this summer ...
"I was very comfortable with it, especially with a year under my belt. Knowing the guys a little bit better, knowing who to get on a little bit more than others. I am very comfortable with it."

Alex Dragicevich • Sophomore • Guard

On being stronger than he was last year...
"I came in with 13 percent body fat and now I'm down to eight or nine percent. I did one pull-up and now I do three sets of eight. Tim (Abromaitis), (Mike) Broghammer, and Joey (Brooks) are really strong too."

On feeling more prepared now than he did last year...
"We had 80-plus practices last year. If you get 80-plus practices on the second team playing the top team, you're going to be a better player by the end of the year. This will come naturally. After that, watching them workout at absurd hours of the night, watching (Tim) Abromaitis get it in at absurd hours of the night, knowing what it takes, learning from the older guys, and applying it to your life. It's a lifestyle."

On Coach Brey telling him that there are "minutes on the team this year"...
"In terms of him saying 'you're going to play this much,' and 'you're going to play this much,' he hasn't said that. It was just him telling me that there are minutes to be had. There's opportunity there. I don't want to jinx myself now by saying I'm going to play a lot so I'm going to keep working and let the chips fall where they may."

Jerian Grant • Sophomore • Guard

On not playing last year ...
"It was different. I've never sat out that much in my life. The most I've ever sat out was a week or two so it was definitely different. I wanted to be out there and help my team, but they did real well and I was really excited for them."

On his role in practice last year ...
"I went out there every practice and played my hardest. I competed with the best because the team was fourth in the country."

"It helped me see the game from a different view. I was able to watch and learn and I believe I got much better because of it."

On his expectations for this season ...
"I have high expectations for myself this season. Although I didn't play last year, I'm a sophomore so I should have a pretty good season."

Pat Connaughton • Freshman • Guard/Forward

On rebounding ...
"That's something I feel will get me on the floor early. Just going after the ball because that's something I control more than anything else."

On becoming comfortable at Notre Dame ...
"It took a few weeks. Scott (Martin), Abro (Tim Abromaitis), they were huge in my development over the summer. They helped me get used to practice and those types of situations. Now the season starts Friday, it will still take me a little time to get 100% used to it, but those guys have been great to me this far and I don't expect anything less going forward."

On the speed of the game ...
"It is a little different than high school. Everybody is the best of the best out here. In high school, you went up against the best kids in your region. The speed is something to get used to; the movement is something to get used to. In high school, I had the ball and it came to me. In college, I need to move to find the ball."

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