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Men’s Basketball: McAlarney graces SI cover

Fran Tolan | Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Irish co-captain Kyle McAlarney said junior forward Luke Harangody is the face of Notre Dame’s basketball program.

But last week, Sports Illustrated printed a series of regional issues for its college basketball preview and McAlarney, along with women’s player Ashley Barlow, graced one of the six covers.

A self-effacing McAlarney said Harangody is the one who deserved the national exposure.

“I feel kind of guilty being in that [cover] shoot with all he’s done and accomplished. I feel like people will look at it and say, ‘Why is he on it, this little Irish … jerk,'” McAlarney laughed.

But the Sports Illustrated higher-ups are not the only ones that envision McAlarney as one of the faces – if not the face – of Irish basketball.

“He has been our best voice,” Brey said of his senior guard. “Just hearing Kyle talk this year it’s been his team, a lot of responsibility.”

McAlarney said the Sports Illustrated cover – which depicts him dribbling and grinning as a smiling Barlow guards him – took some time to shoot. Still, before the issue hit newsstands, he said he could not wait to see it.

“It was a little awkward, a little weird. But thinking about it, it’s pretty surreal, pretty cool,” he said. “I’m probably going to blow it up and save it because it’s something I may never get to experience again. I’m pretty excited about it.”

This season, McAlarney has attracted extra attention not only from the media but also from his teammates. As the team’s most serious and vocal captain, he said he knows the other Irish players look to him for leadership.

He has tried, then, to lead by example. The workaholic McAlarney even said he has tried to spend more time in the gym.

“I’ve gotta really be locked in, getting in the gym, working out more. [I’ve] gotta set an example for these guys here,” he said. “… Just consistently coming in, doing my work, showing these guys what it takes. Hopefully, if I show these guys that I want it, that flows down to the rest of the team.”

Note:

uBarring an injury to one of Notre Dame’s top eight players, Irish sophomore forward Tim Abromaitis will sit out this season, preserving a year of eligibility, the South Bend Tribune reported Tuesday.

Irish coach Mike Brey said there would not be enough minutes to go around if Abromaitis, the youngest player on the team, were to play this year.

Last season, current sophomore Carleton Scott did not play and could apply for a fifth-year when the time comes.