McAlarney Back With Irish

As Kyle McAlarney walked to the press table on Wednesday morning, the junior guard jokingly asked the media, "Did you miss me?" Despite Notre Dame's successful 2006-07 season and 24-8 record, the Irish more than likely wished the Staten Island, NY native was present for the NCAA Tournament loss to Winthrop where the team shot 4-for-22 from three-point range.

Instead of watching those types of games on the television, McAlarney will be back on the court for Notre Dame next season. The junior is back on the basketball team after re-enrolling in the university. Last December, McAlarney was arrested for marijuana possession and the university dismissed him from school and the team for the spring semester But the Staten Island native had the chance to re-enroll back in Notre Dame in the summer and he did just that. In the process, McAlarney learned quite a lesson.

"It was tough," McAlarney said about the experience. "It was defiantly a struggle for me. But all in all, I think it was a blessing in disguise. I realized I put myself in that position It was definitely very tough but it matured me."

The only person who might have been happier than McAlarney was head coach Mike Brey, who sat next to his junior guard at the press table. Brey mentioned numerous times last season how he stayed in contact with McAlarney and talked to the suspended guard a few times a week. It's obvious that the Irish head coach thinks McAlarney will not repeat his past mistake.

"I'm certainly proud of him," Brey said about what McAlarney has gone through to get back into Notre Dame and on the basketball team. "I really respect Kyle. He took his medicine very much like a man. As I've said to people in the community, Kyle's back and it's going to be a great story. He'll graduate from here and he's going to be a heck of a basketball player."

The saga began in late December. The Irish had just throttled Rider 101-51. In the victory, McAlarney scored 21 points, including seven made three-pointers. Hours after the contest, the Staten Island native was pulled over and arrested for marijuana possession. Up to that moment, McAlarney had been averaging 10 PPG and had an assist to turnover ratio of 2.5:1 as the team's point guard.

But that would be it for McAlarney for the season. The university suspended him from school for the spring semester and he went back to Staten Island. The news was national on the sports scene.

"It was a growing process for me," McAlarney said about the ordeal. "When everything came out in the media, that was the lowest part of the situation for me because I knew I had embarrassed my family and school."

Brey was determined to get McAlarney back to Notre Dame. The Irish head coach flew out to New York to see him and spend some time with his family, knowing there would be many schools lining up for his services. Brey got there Tuesday, flew back late at night and was expecting McAlarney to take a few days to ponder the next move. It took less than a day for the sharpshooter to determine to come back to Notre Dame in the summer and McAlarney called Brey with the good news.

To stay eligible, McAlarney took two classes at the College of Staten Island, one in sociology and the other in history. The Notre Dame guard enjoyed the history course so much he switched his major to American Studies with an emphasis on political science and history. As McAlarney counted the days down to his return to South Bend, there was no doubt he had strong backing from the Irish basketball team.

"They stuck by me," McAlarney said. "They stuck by my side the entire time. I don't think anyone had any resentment towards me. I took the responsibility for it. They took that into account. They stuck with me through the entire process."

As the second summer school session kicks off, the team, along with the incoming freshmen, are going through workouts and scrimmages. Last season, McAlarney was the point guard. But after his dismissal, freshman Tory Jackson picked up the slack and excelled down the stretch. Whether it was the 21 point, seven rebound and seven assist performance in the win over Marquette or the 20 point effort, including almost all of the key buckets in the closing minutes, in the loss to Georgetown in the semifinals of the Big East Tournament, Jackson proved he belonged at the point in 2007-08. McAlarney will move to the two-guard spot. There's no bitterness between the two guards and McAlarney said on Wednesday the two of them "are like brothers."

"I never thought of myself as a point guard or an off guard," McAlarney said. "The way Tory played was excellent. He responded and picked things up and matured. I couldn't be more excited about coming back and playing with him." Top Stories