Pair Still Pending

Sixth-year hopefuls Tim Abromaitis and team MVP Scott Martin await rulings on eligibility.

The lone senior speaker at last night's Men's Basketball Awards Ceremony, decorated student-athlete and former All Big East competitor Tim Abromaitis thanked an extensive list of coaches, aides, family and friends.

He thanked them for his unlikely recruitment (head coach Mike Brey never saw him play until a highlight tape witnessed by the staff in July just prior to Abromaitis' senior season at Farmington HS). He thanked those he was sure to forget during a speech prepared earlier that afternoon, and he thanked the people of Notre Dame for making it a special place.

He even thanked the ceremony's video coordinator for "capturing all three of my career blocks in there, somehow."

But Abromaitis, who needled roommate and team MVP Scott Martin for ‘weaseling out' of a senior speech, hopes for one last chance to be thankful after five seasons immersed in college basketball.

"If I'm back up here doing a second speech next year, I definitely won't be complaining about it then," Abromaitis offered.

Therein lies the rub, and for the duo, collegiate limbo. "Sit back, relax, and wait, I guess," Martin said of the process. "That's all we can do. We're hopeful. We're definitely hopeful."

Brey has noted there's no rush, and apparently the NCAA compliance office agrees as the separate Martin and Abromaitis cases for 6th-year consideration have yet to be fully vetted.

"The process is the process; I don't think it's a negative. I would hope (for a decision) end of next week." Brey said before admitting he'd sung that tune before.

"But you know what, if we get the right answer, I don't care if they take another month or six weeks, they're not going anywhere. They have to finish school.

"Obviously the vibe we have gotten as I've told you guys is we have a great case with (Martin). With Abro it's different, and we haven't really submitted Abro's full paperwork yet," Brey noted. "We'll do that (Wednesday) or Thursday."

Brey readily admitted the best argument in Abromaitis' favor is his known standing as the ideal example of an NCAA student-athlete.

"Absolutely," said Brey in agreement of Abromaitis' unique status in the collegiate ranks. "The one thing I bank on for both of them. That committee has been very fair to student-athletes. I hope they would really look at that with Abro. He has kind of been robbed of his (full) career a little bit, and we'll pursue that hard when we get the full paperwork in."

Martin Named MVP

In early March, Irisheyes.com made a prediction: On a team with four viable candidates, Notre Dame's MVP would be its lone standing senior. Despite decidedly average numbers, it was clear Scott Martin was the straw that stirred the drink of the surprisingly solid Irish.

"It was just the total package of leading when Abro went down. Kind of leading us through really tough times in November and December, and kind of doing it on his own.

You heard me say a number of times, he wasn't playing very well either. Then being secure enough when other guys started to have great years, he was okay with fitting in and stirring it. I thought that was so valuable for us. He kind of made us go on both ends of the court.

"He was cornered, individual. There were a lot of people after me not to start him (after a slow start and extended shooting slump). That was great motivation for him."

Martin agreed with his head coach that the award came to fruition as much for his off-the-court guidance as hardwood excellence.

"I just think it was ‘the voice' is where it started. I guess my leadership role. The way I felt all year was it was my senior season. My last go-around, and I didn't want to let it end like it was looking it was like it was going to end.

"I just kept pushing everybody and kept fighting and the guys responded. We kept fighting, came together, and were the true sense of a team this year. Everybody played together; everybody got better, and that just led to victories."

As for his current status in hoops purgatory?

"I'm just hanging out now, enjoying my last couple months," said Martin who will graduate in May with a history and computer applications degree.

Team Awards

The following awards were presented at Wednesday's "Night with Notre Dame Basketball" at the Purcell Pavilion.

Playmaker of the Year: Sophomore point guard Eric Atkins
Newcomer of the Year: Redshirt-freshman Jerian Grant
Most Improved: Junior Jack Cooley (Cooley also won the award for the Big East Conference)
Defensive Player of the Year: Scott Martin
Captain's Award: Graduate Tim Abromaitis
Scholar-Athlete of the Year Award: Abromaitis won his third straight for the University and Big East Conference
Notre Dame Monogram Club MVP Award: Scott Martin


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