Not an “afterthought”
Letter to the Editor | Thursday, April 9, 2015
I am writing in response to “An Open Letter to Men’s Basketball.”
Isn’t it a poor indictment of the Notre Dame student body when you state, “You were an afterthought when the student body looked ahead to what the South Bend winter would hold?” I understand that the 2013-14 season was disappointing on and off the court for the Irish, but to claim that the team was an “afterthought” seems to suggest no Notre Dame student even gave the team a fighting chance.
As a diehard college hoops fan who is well aware of the team’s coaching staff and personnel, I take great offense with that statement. With the talent the team had in place and the clear devotion all those players have to head coach Mike Brey and his staff, it was clear very early on this team had a good chance of being different from past Notre Dame men’s basketball teams. Just listening to what Brey said in the preseason about the returns of senior guards Jerian Grant and Pat Connaughton along with the development of junior forward Zach Auguste and sophomore guards Demetrius Jackson and Steve Vasturia during the summer’s Italy exhibition tour should have given everyone hope.
Please do not make excuses for the poor student attendance throughout the basketball season. Yes, people showed up for the Michigan State and Duke games, but even then it seemed like the students only went to those games as a social event. There were February home games against Boston College and Wake Forest when the team was ranked in the top 10, and the student section was a ghost town. That is really sad and really pathetic.
These kids were out there playing an amazing brand of team college basketball, yet students still could not find time to make their way to Purcell Pavilion for games. You mention that “our” faith was tested with a road loss to a Final Four team, a road loss at a place (Pittsburgh) that gives teams trouble every year, and a loss to a team with a Hall-of-Fame coach who made the Final Four just two years ago. Do you think the Wisconsin student body had its faith tested when the team lost at Rutgers in January? How about Duke when its team lost back-to-back games to North Carolina State and Miami (Fla.)? Michigan State, another Final Four participant, lost home games this season to Texas Southern, Illinois and Minnesota. Do you think that stopped the “Izzone” from fully supporting its school’s team? The answer to all those questions is no. And it is absolutely egregious that our student body does not keep that same level-headedness about a group of classmates that, for the most part, has been a massively successful regular season unit since it stepped on campus.
It is a real shame that it took a run to the ACC tournament title and the Elite Eight for “us” to realize what Brey and the team had been working towards for several years. I encourage everyone to look ahead to Notre Dame hoops next winter, because there is something special there.
The views expressed in this Letter to the Editor are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.