Nov. 16, 2000
From the Associated Press
Notre Dame narrowly missed making the NCAA tournament last season, but
look to amend that in 2000-01 as they open the season hosting Sacred Heart.
The 16th-ranked Irish (22-15, 8-8 Big East) can probably still feel the
sting of missing out what would have been its first appearance in the
field since 1990.
With four starters returning from a squad that recorded its first
campaign since the 1988-89 campaign, the team is expected to accomplish more
No player is more important to the Irish's fortunes than All-American
Last season, Murphy became the first Irish player since Adrian Dantley
1976 to earn first-team All-America honors. He led the Big East in both
and rebounding, which marked the first time that a player had led the
conference in both categories in the same season.
In addition, Murphy was the only player nationally to finish in the top
in both scoring and rebounding as he averaged 22.7 points and 10.3 rebounds.
New coach Mike Brey, who helped recruit and coach the likes of Danny
Christian Laettner and Grant Hill when he was an assistant at Duke,
what a special player Murphy is.
"I'm very comfortable dealing with a special player, and Troy certainly
fits into that category," Brey says. "He has the whole package. I'm anxious
to work with him. What makes Troy so unique is that, besides being a great
player, he is a tremendous leader. He enjoys that role and knows how
it is for him to set the tone. He, as much as anyone on this team, wants
program to take the next step."
Swingman David Graves' perimeter game should provide the Irish with a
complement to Murphy's inside game, as Graves set the school's single-season
three-point mark with 83.
Graves was Notre Dame's second-leading scorer, and the only other
average double figures last season, as he netted 13.2 points and 5.4
Playing Notre Dame for the first time, Sacred Heart (3-25, 2-16
Conference) is beginning just its second year of Division I play under
head coach Dave Bike.
Bike, who begins his 23rd season on the bench for the Pioneers, will be
depending heavily on the trio of senior swingman Marijus Kovaliukas, senior
point guard Kurt Reis and junior center Tim Welch.