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Ex-Irish player returns tonight

Matt Lozar | Wednesday, March 17, 2004

In what could be his last college basketball game, Purdue center Ivan Kartelo returns to the place where he played his first two seasons. Notre Dame senior captain Torrian Jones was a freshman on the team in Kartelo’s last season with the Irish. Jones feels the Irish have a good idea of what to expect after playing with transfer Dan Miller last season.”I’m sure [Kartelo] will have a lot of emotion coming back, similar to Dan Miller when we went back to Maryland last year,” Jones said. “He’ll have a lot of emotions riding on the game.”Kartelo is known for his physical play and on a physical team like the Boilermakers, Jones doesn’t expect Kartelo to back down tonight.”He’s definitely going to be going out there and competing hard. He’s going to be physical, some might say too physical, but that’s something you have to deal with every game,” Jones said. “He’s going to want to go out there and play hard.”Kartelo saw his minutes decrease significantly during his second year at Notre Dame. After averaging more than 13 minutes per game in all 37 games his freshman year under Matt Doherty, Kartelo only played an average of 5.5 minutes in 16 games his sophomore year under Mike Brey. The major drop in playing time was the main factor in Kartelo’s decision to transfer. Kartelo was a major influence in getting former Irish player Jere Macura to attend Notre Dame. When Kartelo announced he was transferring in April 2001, it was rumored Macura was also going to transfer, but Macura stayed for his four years.Despite his transferring, Jones feels there isn’t bad blood between Kartelo and any players on the Irish roster or members of the coaching staff.”I think he left here on pretty good terms,” Jones said. “I think Tom and myself had a good relationship with him.”Kartelo averages 20.5 minutes of playing time per game and is averaging 5.7 points and 6.0 rebounds per contest. He also ran into some off-court trouble when, on Feb. 22, Kartelo was arrested for punching a bouncer at the Wabash Yacht Club. Purdue coach Gene Keady limited Kartelo to eight minutes on the court in the game following his arrest.Before the arrest, Kartelo was also battling an injury to his hip, but that won’t keep him from playing tonight. “I think it will be good. He’s dealt with some injuries and some problems on and off the court,” Notre Dame guard Chris Thomas said. “It’s always a great opportunity to come back to a place where you love and once played for.”