Copyright by Global Electronics Telecommunications, publishers of IrishEyes™
By Alan Tieuli
"It's hard to say a percentage right now," Carroll
said when asked to judge how healthy his sprained ankle is. "I really don't know
because I haven't done anything on it. You
can't judge until you get on the court, I probably won't move until I get on the
court to warm up."
Carroll sat out Friday's practice at the RCA Dome, and didn't
get much sleep Thursday night at the team's downtown
If Carroll can't go Saturday at 1:10 p.m. Eastern versus No. 10
Illinois (25-6) in the second round of the NCAA Tournament West Regional, it likely will
provide more coming attractions for the 2003-04 season.
Expect freshman Chris Quinn to
play an extensive role, one that the
"Next year has definitely gone through my mind," Quinn told
IrishEyes. "This is something I will be
expected to do full-time. There's a lot
of scoring gone and I'm going to have to step up.
Right now I'm focusing on this tournament and what I can do to help the
Quinn has endeared himself to Notre Dame Nation, and the coaching
staff, with his unselfish, energetic approach this season.
A 22-point per game scorer his senior year at Dublin Coffman, Quinn is
averaging 3.9 points per contest this year, but has proven adept at doing the "little
things" well. He draws charges, plays
terrific defense, rarely turns the ball over (15 in 475 minutes) and has shown an uncanny
knack for securing offensive rebounds, despite his slight, 6-2 stature. He had 13 offensive boards in 210 Big East
Conference minutes, opposed to 19 apiece by Carroll (in 595 minutes) and point guard Chris Thomas (in 610).
"He's been exceptional in the way he comes up with rebounds
and steals, out of nowhere," said Notre Dame assistant coach in charge of guards Anthony Solomon.
Quinn turned in 19 unselfish minutes against Wisconsin-Milwaukee, drawing a key charge in the second-half while also contributing three rebounds and a steal. Irish underclassmen scored 56 of the team's 70 points in the one-point victory.
"When we've asked him to handle himself in terms of game
preparation, he's been great," said Solomon. "Unlike other freshmen we've
had over the years, he sees the moment. He's very mature for a freshman."
Solomon appreciates Quinn's maturity since the coaching staff
has been admittedly inconsistent in handling his minutes.
Ten times this season he had played fewer than 10 minutes, but the freshman
has never hung his head. It might have been
easy for him to do so, considering he played 28 and 25 minutes respectively in Notre Dame's
two biggest wins of the non-conference season, versus
"He's a winner and he's enjoying this run," said
Solomon. "Playing with and beside Chris Thomas and Matt Carroll, two major league
college guards, what a dream. He's taking it all in, and when his opportunity comes,
he'll be able to use to his advantage."
Will that opportunity come Saturday against
"When you are coming out of high school, you have the ball in
your hands 90-percent of the time and free to do whatever you want," Quinn said.
"You really didn't have to concentrate on all the little things. As I look back, it made me appreciative of all the
guys on my high school team that did the little things.
Now I'm doing the little things, waiting my turn. If it turns out the time is now, let's do it. But we all want Matty healthy. He gives us our best chance to advance."
Solomon has no doubt that Quinn will be able to step into the Notre
Dame starting line-up next year and make a major contribution.
"The big spark he has given us, is when he is in the game, he
sort of gets lost and spots up for threes," said Solomon. "We got to get him to
look inside the defense a little bit more, but he's very close to being the total
package for an overall top-notch college guard. He's
a basketball junkie, very coachable, and when you get him in the heat of the moment, he
makes the necessary adjustments."
"I'm just not sure how Matt will be (Saturday)," said
head coach Mike Brey. "But I'm sure
of what we can get from Chris Quinn. He's
on the verge."
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