Harangody Prepared For Pressure

After being named Big East Player of the Year last season, Notre Dame junior forward Luke Harangody expects more attention to come his way this season. Harangody says that he has not noticed much of a difference so far, but expects that to change as the Irish open Big East play at DePaul on Wednesday evening.

Reigning Big East Player of the Year Luke Harangody admits that there were times last season when all of the attention affected him, but the 6-foot-8 junior forward has learned to deal with it.

"That was all new to me last year. I'm kind of just used to that now," said Harangody. "I'm not bothered by that, I don't think about it. I know it's going to be there, I know the attention is going to be there with the media and on TV and things like that. I'm just going to go out there and play my game."

Harangody understands that he really had no choice other than to deal with the pressure that comes with being a Preseason All-American.

"It's always going to be there," he said. "It's a lot of pressure, but what are you going to do about it? It's not like it's going to go away."

Aside from the media, Harangody is expecting to get more attention from the opposition, although he has not seen much of a difference yet.

"I really don't notice it that much. I think they're doing some of the same things, a double-team clamp here and there and then some possessions just play me straight up," he said. "They haven't thrown anything at me that I am completely blown by, maybe as Big East starts I'll see some things, but hopefully not."

Harangody understands that things will change as conference play begins.

"I would expect to see some junk defenses thrown on me, maybe a box-and-one or something like that," he said. "Now we're getting into Big East play, so I would expect see some more double-team clamp."

But opponents have to be careful with the amount of attention that they give to the big guy inside because Kyle McAlarney and Ryan Ayers have proven that they can make teams pay from the outside.

"With guys like Kyle and Ryan on the perimeter they have to also take them into consideration," said Harangody.

The Schererville, Illinois native believes that he is better equipped to deal with all of the hoopla now than he would have been earlier in his career.

"I'm a lot more mature this year. Freshman year if that would have happened, I don't even know if we would be here right now," he said. "Where I am right now, three years experience, two years in the Big East, it's just another thing."

Notre Dame head coach Mike Brey has seen Harangody develop into a more complete player.

"I think he's matured as a player, he's grown up as a player. I think you're seeing it with how smooth he's passing the ball," said Brey. "He's passing to open people when he's been double-teamed. I think he's playing with a nice presence about him, a guy who's a junior now and been in college basketball awhile."

Harangody's 1.5-1 ratio is below the team's 2.1-1, but still very good for a big man.

"I've become a lot more patient in the post, I'm seeing things better and I'm finding guys more," he said. "You just learn where the double-team is coming from and just stay solid or maybe dribble out of it. You just find maybe not the scoring guy every time, but just the open guy to get out of the double-team."

Harangody said that trying to get back to 100% after a bout with pneumonia early in the season has been frustrating at times.

"I'm kind of getting a little impatient with my conditioning coming back," he said. "It's not where I want it to be, but I think everyday it's getting better and it's just going to be one of those things where over time my lungs are going to get better."

He said that his condition has improved greatly since his first game back early in the month against Ohio State.

"Ohio State, I could barely get up and down the court and now you just see things where I run a couple plays and get tired here and there," he said. "It's nothing I can't deal with."

Harangody is averaging 22.7 points and 12.0 rebounds after putting up 20.4 points and 10.6 rebounds a year ago and knows that he will have to keep it up as the Irish open Big East play against DePaul on Wednesday.

"I really don't try to read the clippings and things like that," he said. "I'm just out here trying to get that double-double every night, so that's whatever."

So who gets the Big East Player of the Year's attention as conference play rolls around?

"I love watching DeJuan Blair from Pittsburgh. I think we play a lot similar to each other. He's just a great hustler," said Harangody. "I like to watch Syracuse (junior forward Arinze) Onuaku. He's a good player."


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