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Men’s Basketball Analysis: Kurz plays steady role in offense

Fran Tolan | Thursday, February 7, 2008

After Notre Dame’s 89-80 win over DePaul last Thursday, Blue Demons coach Jerry Wainwright had plenty to talk about. He could have talked about how Notre Dame drilled clutch shot after clutch shot down the stretch.

But in his postgame press conference, Wainwright emphasized that Irish forward Rob Kurz is the “most underappreciated player” in the Big East.

In his chat with the media soon after, Irish coach Mike Brey emphatically agreed.

And how could he not?

Kurz – the team’s lone senior – is averaging 13 points and 8.1 rebounds per game. But with Kurz’s frontcourt-mate Luke Harangody on the short list of Big East player of the year candidates and junior Kyle McAlarney sporadically erupting for 30-plus points, Kurz is rarely even mentioned.

Maybe he warrants attention so infrequently because his numbers are usually pretty constant. For instance, he put up a typical line of 17 points and 10 boards against Seton Hall Wednesday night.

He has recorded 10 double-digit rebound games and has scored more than 10 points in 15 of Notre Dame’s 21 contests.

Pretty steady.

And speaking of steady, remember those season averages of 13 and 8.1 that were previously stated? He finished last season with averages of 12.6 and 8.

When asked if he cares about the lack of attention paid to his production, Kurz shrugs the question off.

“I just try to go out and do my thing,” Kurz said. “I’m always just worried about the team getting a win, and as long as we’re doing that, I’m satisfied.”

Kurz said he simply tries to help his younger teammates concentrate on achieving their goals.

“I just have to make sure everyone comes to work every day,” he said. “We just have to focus, just prepare for every game.”

So “afterthought” is certainly the wrong word to describe Kurz, who is clearly an integral part of Notre Dame’s success. His play may often go unnoticed but that is due more to his workmanlike approach than people’s ignorance of his impact.

Maybe Kurz’s statistics are not mentioned because his consistency renders them almost boring. In other words, a double-double is not considered anything special.

Well, at least not for Kurz.

It seems like he reaches that milestone virtually every game.