Luke Harangody was miffed when Mike Brey took him out of Saturday's game at UCLA with 13 minutes left in the second half and never put him back in, but the head coach and star player quickly discussed the situation so they were on the same page.
"Zach Hillesland rolled up on his ankle, it probably was a little bit worse than people thought. My feeling was with 13 minutes to go or whatever, I'm not going to mess around with that and throw him back in there," Brey said on Tuesday. "He's such a competitor. I talked to him at the airport and explained to him."
"We talked about why he didn't put me back in," Harangody said later Tuesday. "It wasn't a matter of he was upset with me or anything. He saw the game was out of reach and he didn't think it was the best thing for me to go in."
Harangody also admitted that his frustrations might have got the best of him when he let the media know that he was upset after the game.
"That was probably one of the toughest losses of my career and emotions were running," he said. "We just have to move on and come together."
Harangody has moved on, but that does not mean that he agreed with his coach's decision.
"I don't care if we're down by 50 or whatever, I want to go back in. I'm going to fight and give 100% every time and he knows that," said Harangody. "We have a great relationship like that where he knows I'm going to give 100% every time, but he just didn't think it was the best situation for me to go back in."
As the coach, it is Brey's job to determine what is best for the team in the long run.
"We need to live to fight another day because it ain't happening today, for us, for you, for me," Brey said. "That was really my thinking on that."
Brey loves Harangody's attitude, even if it does make his job a bit more difficult.
"He's a battler, I love him. He's competitive as heck. He's a fighter and he wants to be in there," said Brey. "The problem with Luke is he won't tell you when he's tired or hurt, that's how much of a warrior he is. I've learned now after coaching him for awhile that he's not truthful with me because he thinks it's a sign of weakness."
Harangody admitted that he is not always honest with Brey about fatigue.
"Coach knows I'm pretty stubborn," Harangody laughed. "Maybe I should be more open when I need a blow. I think we've gotten a lot better this year with communicating on things like because as you see now, I'll get a blow in the first half around the 12-minute media timeout. That's a good time for me just to sit down and get a couple of minutes."
Harangody and his spirit are two of the few things that Brey knows that he can count on almost every single night.
"He gets wound up, he's a wound-up guy. I love the motor, the motor is what gives us a chance quite frankly, no matter who we're playing," Brey said. "If it's a blockout drill against two of our walk-ons, he wants to win it and throw them into the wall. He only knows one way."
As the Irish's struggles continue many have wondered whether they will affect Harangody's decision of whether to return for his senior season or bolt for the NBA. He said that he will not make the decision until the end of the season and has not given it much thought, but that as of right now the team's play will have no impact.
"I haven't really talked about that now or thought about that," he said. "It really doesn't. Honestly, right now I'm just trying to get a win."
Notre Dame's next chance for a win comes Thursday at home against Louisville. Harangody said that his ankle is fine, calling it ‘just a bruise', so expect the junior to have more than five points and one rebound against the Cardinals.