The Notre Dame Fighting Irish are coming off a strong season that included another trip to the Elite 8, where they eventually fell to the North Carolina Tar Heels, 88-74.
Despite the preseason praise for the program, 2015-16 season started off slow, with early losses to both the Monmouth Hawks and Alabama Crimson Tide. But, the Fighting Irish built momentum after a win against the Duke Blue Devils inside Cameron Indoor Arena, and three straight victories that included the Tar Heels, the Clemson Tigers, and the Louisville Cardinals.
This year, the Irish are without 2nd Team All-ACC guard Demetrius Jackson, now with the Boston Celtics, and big man Zach Auguste, who signed as a free agent with the Los Angeles Lakers.
With that said, the ‘Golden Domers’ return an experienced roster with a variety of players who received valuable minutes last season.
The backcourt will be lead by senior captains Steve Vasturia and VJ Beachem, as well as junior Matt Ferrell who will assume the point guard role now with Jackson gone. Ferrell appeared in 28 games last season, with four starts in the NCAA tournament.
Look for sophomore guard Rex Pflueger to aid the Irish in perimeter shooting.
The front court will be lead by 6-5 forward Bonzie Colson, who has great quickness and toughness that more than make up for being an undersized forward.
With Auguste gone, the Irish will look for junior Martinas Geben to step up and take over the big man role. Geben has appeared in 38 games in his two years at Notre Dame. Another option at the forward position is sophomore forward Matt Ryan, who has the size to be a force inside while also possessing the ability to shoot the lights out.
The Irish bring in a promising recruiting class in Temple Gibbs, Jack Mooney, and Canadian native Nikola Diogo, who was a teammate of Thon Maker. Look for Gibbs to see court time right away this year at the point guard position. Continue reading Three Can’t Miss Games for the Notre Dame Fighting Irish in 2016-17