Former Irish guard Pflueger heading across the pond to join Newcastle
Observer Sports Staff | Thursday, August 27, 2020
Former Notre Dame men’s basketball star Rex Pflueger signed his first professional contract with the British Basketball League’s Newcastle Eagles.
Pflueger will be heading overseas to play professional hoops after a truly rollercoaster of a fifth season left him unable to compete in March. Just under a year after Pflueger lost his mother to brain cancer, he signed a contract with a team based in his mother’s home country.
Pflueger currently holds the record for the most games played in a Fighting Irish uniform, with 141 appearances. He is also a two-time Notre Dame Defensive Player of the Year and a three-time ACC All-Academic Team. A versatile player who could defend multiple positions while providing playmaking on the offensive side of the ball, Pflueger was a key player in Notre Dame’s 2016 run to the Elite Eight. His most notable moment in an Irish uniform came against Stephen F. Austin in the second round of the 2016 NCAA Tournament, where his tip in with 1.5 seconds left secured the Irish a 76-75 victory.
In his final year with the Fighting Irish, Pflueger had a plethora of clutch moments that helped lead Notre Dame to several key wins. Against Toledo, he had two steals in the final two minutes of regulation to help push the game into overtime, where he would score four points in the final 25 seconds to secure an Irish victory. In Notre Dame’s comeback victory from 15 points down against North Carolina, Pflueger secured an offensive rebound with seconds remaining and kicked it out to Nate Laszewski for the game-winning three with 2.2 seconds left on the clock.
Throughout Pflueger’s five years with Notre Dame, four of which were as a full-time starter, he averaged 5.4 points, 3.2 rebounds, 2.4 assists and 1.0 steal per game.
Playing in the BBL will be a homecoming of sorts for Pflueger, whose late mother, Rebecca, was born and raised in Andover, England. He currently has a U.K. passport due to this connection.
The Newcastle Eagles are considered the most prestigious team in the BBL, as they lead the league with seven BBL Championships and six runner-up finishes. However, the team has been in a drought recently relative to their success, as they have not been crowned champions since 2015.
This is not the first time a Notre Dame alum has joined Newcastle. Former Notre Dame Monogram Club Team MVP and current men’s basketball development and recruiting coordinator Scott Martin previously played for the Eagles and was monumental in Pflueger’s decision to don the black and gold.