When Kyle McAlarney left the Notre Dame campus for a semester in January of 2007 he had 316 career points. McAlarney believed that his career at Notre Dame was over following the school's ruling that he would be suspended for a semester as a result of his arrest for possession of marijuana.
But head coach Mike Brey visited McAlarney at his home in Staten Island two days later to try to convince him not to transfer. The sharp-shooter did decide to return to South Bend and scored eight points against Savannah State on Monday and now has 1,002 career points.
"Being a 1,000-point scorer at Notre Dame seemed a long way away a couple of years ago when he was heading back to Staten Island for a semester," Brey said. "He's a role model for a lot of people, he's come off the mat, he's looked everybody in the eye. I just think he's been a great example and a great Notre Dame man. I know our program is very proud of him and I think the University is very, very proud of this kid coming back and saying, ‘Yep, I screwed up, but I'm back.'"
When asked what he will remember most about his career at Notre Dame, McAlarney pointed to returning from that semester away from his teammates.
"Definitely when I came back after the suspension, that's obviously the biggest moment of my career to date," he said. "I think the journey more, I'm going to remember. I'm not going to remember the game or the practices, but just being in the locker room with these guys and everything like that is very special."
When he arrived at Notre Dame, McAlarney knew that 1,000 points was something that he could accomplish.
"I came in my freshman year and I saw Chris Quinn get his 1,000th point and I kind of said to myself, ‘I'll have the opportunity to do that and leave my mark on Notre Dame basketball,'" he said. "It's going to be very important for me. Obviously, after the season I'll look back and say, ‘Wow, I'm very proud of that,' but right now there's a lot of other things that we need to focus on."
McAlarney has not given 1,000 much thought since his first season and even now does not pay too much attention to it.
"I had forgotten about it until someone had mentioned it after the (Delaware State) game," he said. "It's a great honor and I'm very proud of it, but it's something that I think can go on the back burner for right now because we need to get the win and we need to get a little better."
Luke Harangody reached the plateau with a similar attitude last year.
"Obviously Kyle doesn't care about that stuff a lot, but as I hit it last year it's kind of a neat feeling," he said. "As you look at all of the great players that have been in that club, it's an honor."
Harangody did not even find out that he had reached 1,000 until after the season and was not sure, but he did score his 1,000th point during last year's Big East Tournament.
"I think I did it at the Garden," he said. "I really wasn't aware until the season was over that I actually hit the 1,000-point mark, someone told me. I think the reason was because we lost to Marquette so no one wanted to talk about that. But when I heard about it it's pretty cool because when I looked at all of the guys that are in that, it's a pretty good club to be in."
McAlarney was able to do something Harangody didn't by reaching the milestone at the Joyce Center.
"To do it at home will be kind of a neat experience, so that's cool," Harangody said.
McAlarney scored 192 points (6.6 average) as a freshman before putting in 124 (6.2) in an abbreviated sophomore campaign. He returned to score 497 (15.1) last season and now has 189 through 11 games as a senior.
"To be a 1,000-point scorer even though he missed all of those games and those chances tells you how efficient this guy has been when he's been here," said Brey.
McAlarney is not worried about how his legacy at Notre Dame will end up right now.
"I haven't thought about that too much, it's a little scary to think about," he laughed. "I just want people to know that I came in here and I tried my best and I worked hard. I wasn't the most athletic or imposing guy, but I came in here, I tried my best, I was a gym rat and I was close to the team. I really had a good time with my teammates. I think something along those lines, but something I'm not thinking about until after the season."
And his goals are a lot larger than scoring points.
"We want to win championships, that's the ultimate goal," he said. "We're chasing it. It's a big dream of ours and we're going to keep chasing it until the season is over."