Notre Dame Starters and Key Reserves
- Forward: 6'8" 235-pound senior Tim Abromaitis: Ranks second on the squad in scoring (15.3), rebounding (6.1), minutes per game (34.2), and three-point percentage (42.4)…Free throw percentage dropped exactly 10 percent this season compared to last year's sterling 87.3 percent effort (shot two more free throws last season)…Suffered through a mid-season slump in which he averaged 9 ppg., and connected on just 22 of 52 shots from the floor; included was win over Pittsburgh in which he never attempted a shot in 29 minutes – since, Abromaitis has averaged 18.6 ppg including four efforts in excess of 20 while dishing out 20 assists vs. just eight turnovers in that nine-game span…An even 50 percent shooter from beyond the arc over the last five contests (19-38) though he's a head-shaking 13-20 from the charity stripe in that span…Improved defensively from last season and earned the right to guard the opponent's best off-the-ball player for most contests this season, faring well vs. Big East scorers Preston Knowles (Louisville), Jeremy Hazell (Seton Hall) and Cory Stokes (Villanova) in the later portion of the regular season (Abromaitis limited that trio to an aggregate 36 points on 13 of 38 shooting…The best off-the-ball player at the program since future NBA swingman Matt Carroll graduated in 2003.
- Forward: 6'8" 218-pound senior Carleton Scott: Ranks third in scoring (), minutes per game (31.0), and field goal percentage (47.3%), while leading the team with 1.8 blocks per game and an 88.3 percent clip from the foul line…Missed just three of 27 free throw attempts in conference action…Just over half of his 239 field goal attempts were launched from beyond the arc (37.3 percent); shot 57 percent from inside the arc on mid-range jump shots and points in the paint…Posted four consecutive double-digit rebounding games in mid-February (and in five of seven games) but hasn't approached that total over the last four contests, grabbing 6, 3, 6, and 7 rebounds, respectively…Connected on six field goals in a Big East quarterfinals win over Cincinnati, curiously his high number during conference play…Has failed to block a shot in two of the last three contests after swatting at least two opponents' offerings in eight straight games (blocked four vs. Cincy)…Played 44 minutes in the semi-finals loss to Louisville without attempting a free throw, his third such outing over the last four contests…Irish finished 24-4 with Scott in the lineup this season – in three of the losses, Scott did not make a trip to the charity stripe.
Mike Brey on Scott: "I should light a candle for 2-2 (record) without him. He really is a key for us. The ball moves well, he's a good screener, he can stretch the D with his jump shot, but he anchors us back there defensively, blocks some shots, and he has gotten some big time rebounds at the rim. Nobody rebounds at the height that he rebounds on our team. He can go get them against the athletic guys at a level where the other guys can't."
- Forward: 6'8" 232-pound senior Tyrone Nash: Ranks fifth on the squad in scoring (9.7) and minutes per game (28.7); third in assists (2.7) and rebounds (5.9); and fourth in free throw percentage (71.4)…Scored 13 points in just 21 minutes in semi-finals loss to Louisville due to foul trouble…Has found extended bench time (4 fouls or fouled out) in three of team's six losses this season…The team's most versatile defender can guard the post, switch on screens up top, and rotate to help at the rim…Evolved into a reliable traffic rebounder this season – a weakness for the bulk of his junior season last winter…Has connected on 23 of 29 free throws over the last four contests, but highs for the squad in that span…Finished strong with six double-digit scoring efforts in his last eight games…Keys the Irish offense with his passing from the low block; also an effective facilitator from the wings and high post but Notre Dame's offense is at its best following post touches from the senior pivot…Finished the season with 21 assists and six turnovers over the last six games and did not commit a turnover in three of the final four contests…Also connected on 25 of his last 43 field goal attempts, all from close range.
- Guard/Forward: 6'8" 219-pound senior Scott Martin: Broke out in the semi-finals loss to Louisville last Friday with his best game in an Irish uniform…Scored a career-high 21 points (8-15 from the field) with 8 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 steals vs. the Cardinals while tying for a team-best 44 minutes in the overtime matchup…Ranks fourth among the Irish in scoring (9.9), rebounding (4.9) and is tied for third in minutes per game (31.0)…Hit 13 of 25 shots in the Big East Tournament (9-15 on 2-pt. FG attempts)…A four-game, 19-23 effort from the foul line in early February serves as a pleasant memory as Martin has visited the charity stripe for just nine free throws in nine games since, hitting only three and failing to earn foul shots in six of seven games in that span…Snared at least five rebounds in six of the last nine contests…Possesses the best vertical leap on the team according to the coaching staff…Hit 33 of his last 64 field goal attempts in road or neutral site games and posted career highs in points (21), rebounds (11), blocks (3), assists (6), and three-point shots made (3, twice) in matchups outside South Bend.
- Guard: 6'3" 203-pound senior Ben Hansbrough: Suffered through a 3-15 shooting effort in the team's semi-finals loss to Louisville last week; the game marked his second vs. the Cardinals this season in which he posted more turnovers than assists (resulting in an OT win and an OT loss)…Irish are predictably 2-4 when he suffers more turnovers than assists in a game this season…Leads the team in scoring (18.5), assists (4.3), steals (1.3), 3-pt. percentage (44.1), and minutes per game (35.3) while ranking second in free throw percentage (81.4 percent) and qualifying field goal percentage (48.6 percent)…Earned Big East Player of the Year honors, bettering his season average in each category above during conference play…Hit 57 of 69 FT attempts in the final five minutes (and overtime) of contests this season, though his final two shots were costly misses late vs. Louisville last Friday…Scored between 21 and 32 points in nine of his last 13 outings…Had connected on an astounding 41 of 60 previous shots prior to his struggles vs. Louisville, including 19 of 31 from long range…Hit 100 of 119 free throws in last 20 games (Big East competition)…Ability to find the lane, then find teammates or a crease to finish will determine Notre Dame's post-season performance.
An intense competitor, Hansbrough noted the following (yesterday) regarding the team's NCAA Tournament berth this season and early exit last March (a first-round loss to Old Dominion):
"I'm still a little bitter about it. Excited isn't the word because going to the NCAA Tournament isn't enough for us. We're bitter about it; we're driven. Let's go there and may the best team win. Whatever."
- Guard: 6'2" 173-pound freshman Eric Atkins: The savvy freshman struggled in his last outing, posting three turnovers in 13 minutes of relief vs. Louisville…Appeared to have a case of the Madison Garden "yips" – something the freshman avoided in other big spots for the majority of his first season…Led the conference in assist-to-turnover ratio (2.67-1) including 30 assists vs. 6 turnovers during Notre Dame's seven-game conference winning streak…Committed 10 turnovers in Notre Dame's five conference losses vs. 15 in their 15 league victories…Scored 61 points over a six-game span in which Carleton Scott was absent or rounding back to shape but has totaled only 33 points in the 12 contests since (Irish are 10-2 in that span, were 4-2 during his higher scoring contests)…Connected at a 74.1 percent clip on foul shots in the final five minutes and overtime this season…Steady presence serves as a key to a deep tourney run as he allows Hansbrough to play 15 minutes off the ball.
- Center/Forward: 6'9" 248-pound sophomore Jack Cooley: – Has collected 23 rebounds off the bench in his last four contests, the first four-game span of the season in which he played more than 10 minutes per outing…His 12 offensive boards in those contests leads the team; Cooley finished second on the squad in offensive rebounds (behind Nash) and tied for second in blocked shots (with Nash, behind Scott) despite averaging just 10.6 minutes per game…Hit 29 of 45 field goal attempts in 20 Big East contests including 15 consecutive over a three-game span, the best effort at the program since John Shumate hit for 20 straight in 1973…Irish were 8-4 when Cooley played at least 10 minutes vs. NCAA Tournament teams…A coordinated big man with solid hands, Cooley's dogged defensive presence is secondary to his contributions on the offensive glass, without which the Irish are unlikely to advance past second round action.