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Harangody for Big East player of the year

Staff Editorial | Friday, February 22, 2008

In light of his 23-point, 12-rebound performance in Notre Dame’s 82-70 win over Pittsburgh last night and his inspired play this season, The Observer endorses forward Luke Harangody for Big East player of the year.

The 6-foot-8 bear of a power forward has lifted the Irish throughout this season, displaying an uncanny combination of raw power, intensity and skill.

The numbers don’t lie. Sporting a svelte new frame, (having dropped a few pounds over the summer) Harangody has shown a velvety touch around the rim in averaging 20.5 points per game go along with 10.4 rebounds per game. Leaner and meaner, Harangody has transformed himself into a veritable back-to-the-basket bucket machine. He leads the entire Big East in scoring and is currently ranked second in the conference in rebounding.

Most importantly, due in large part to Harangody’s efforts, Notre Dame has built a 10-3 conference record and a 20-5 record overall. The Irish also currently sit near the top of the standings. Harangody has also led the Irish to a scoring average of 80.2 points per game, good for first in the Big East.

Whether laying out for loose balls, muscling for boards or playing his physical brand of defense, his style of play brings football rather than basketball to mind at times. Perhaps

we should be endorsing Harangody for Heisman. Throughout the past two seasons, Harangody has built a hard-nosed reputation for himself by hustling, bustling and generally outworking the competition, battling for boards and scoring in all manner of put-backs, baby hooks and bank shots.

It’s safe to say no one would call the Big East the Big Easy. Bear in mind that Harangody’s prodigious numbers come from grinding night in and night out against stiff competition in a conference many claim to be the toughest in the country from top to bottom. And Harangody fits right in with the Big East’s hard-nosed style of play, having borne more than his share of hard fouls, bruises and floor burns in this hardwood school of hard knocks.

Nine days ago, Harangody turned in one of the best performances of his young career, dropping 32 points and grabbing 16 caroms in a losing effort against Connecticut on Feb. 13. He scored a career high in points despite having to contend with the long arms of 7-foot-3 Huskies center Hasheem Thabeet, making his feat all the more impressive.

For leading the Big East in scoring, leading Notre Dame to a likely NCAA Tournament berth, we commend Harangody’s play thus far this season and endorse him for Big East player of the year.