Notre Dame men's basketball: Biedscheid decision coming
As one member of the No. 21 Notre Dame men’s basketball team wrestles with the possibility of sitting out the 2013-14 season to extend his collegiate career a year, another has decided to go the five-year route.
Sophomore swingman Cameron Biedscheid has spent the last 10 days deciding whether to sit out the season and preserve a year of eligibility or return to a reserve role that saw him play in 34 of 35 games last season.
Biedscheid and his mother talked with coach Mike Brey last weekend before coach and player discussed the situation again Monday. Brey planned to meet with Biedscheid again after Wednesday’s practice. A resolution should arrive prior to Friday’s opener against Miami (Ohio).
“We’re coming to a decision; he’s coming to a decision,” Brey said Wednesday afternoon during his weekly teleconference.
While Biedscheid sorts out his situation, former Penn High School standout and current Irish freshman forward Austin Torres has decided, at least for the rest of the fall semester, to sit out and preserve a year of eligibility. Going on a five-year plan was something that was first discussed in September of 2012 after Torres surprisingly jumped out of a verbal commitment to Central Michigan to commit to Notre Dame.
Torres averaged 2.5 points, 1.0 rebounds and 1.0 assists in 8.5 minutes over the two exhibition games. If everyone on the Irish front line remains healthy, he would be the fifth power forward on the depth chart with little chance at seeing meaningful minutes.
“If we’re all right bodies-wise going into the second semester….then we would look to put him on a five-year program,” Brey said.
Under NCAA rules, only freshmen can play in exhibition games and still sit out the season to preserve a year of eligibility, which is why Biedscheid, who continues to practice, did not play in either preseason game. One reason for Biedscheid’s prolonged decision-making process (he has been unavailable for comment since Oct. 28) has been having to come to grips with going an entire year without playing in a game.
“That’s a long year,” Brey said. “That’s not going to be easy at times (but) we’ve not spent a lot of time with it. It’s almost as if, let me know how you feel and we’ll move forward with whatever.”
Brey has maintained that five-year plans have to be a player’s choice.
Even if Biedscheid decides to sit, injuries and/or ineffectiveness that may surface could see him called into action three weeks or three months down the line and scrap the five-year plan.
“There’s always that asterisk on it,” Brey said.
It’s been nearly 12 years since Miami (Ohio) and Notre Dame last met, but Brey rolled through recollections of the two games between the schools since he’s been in South Bend as if they were last month.
During the 2000-01 season, Miami beat Notre Dame, 73-64, in the old Joyce Center. That’s when Irish All-American and future NBA lottery pick Troy Murphy came off the bench for the first and only time in his three-year collegiate career.
Murphy had been arrested in the fall for providing false identification at a downtown establishment. Not starting the early-December game was part of the punishment handed down by Brey, who was in his first season as head coach.
Seldom a factor against big man Mike Ensminger, Murphy finished with 22 points and four rebounds in 36 relatively quiet and un-Murphy-like minutes.
“He wasn’t real ready to go,” Brey said with a smile.
The following year in Oxford, Ohio, former Irish guard Torrian Jones blocked a shot in the closing seconds to preserve a 70-69 victory. That day also saw future NBA first-round draft pick Ryan Humphrey, two days after being ruled out for as long as three weeks with a stress reaction in his leg, go for 18 points, seven rebounds, six blocks and six assists. He also played all 40 minutes.
Both Miami meetings saw Brey work against veteran coach Charlie Coles, who went 266-225 in 15 seasons at Miami. Coles left coaching after the 2011-12 season. He died in early June at the age of 71.
“Charlie Coles was one of the good guys in our profession, a true teacher,” Brey said. “There’s guys that are really respected in our profession. He was right there at the top.”
Brey long admired and remembered the way Coles’ teams defended Notre Dame. Years after the teams met, Brey would occasionally scan Miami game tape to see what new wrinkles Coles added to his position defense. He even borrowed a few.
“One of the good guys,” Brey said. “God rest his soul that we lost him.”
Expected to miss as many as six weeks after suffering a broken left hand in mid-October, Irish sophomore power forward Zach August returned to workouts Sunday and Tuesday (Monday was an off day). With two more practices Wednesday and Thursday, Auguste should be back in the rotation Friday.
“The one thing about him, having him back, he’s an energy guy,” Brey said of the 6-foot-10, 242-pounder. “What I love about him and what I’m still coming to grips with is, he’s going to make some mistakes, but he makes stuff happen.
“He’s different than all our big guys.”
As the Irish move forward with the assumption that Biedscheid will not be in the mix, Auguste is expected to be a main reserve along with fellow sophomore power forward Austin Burgett and freshman guard Demetrius Jackson.
“Those three have to be in there and be a part of things,” Brey said.
Brey believes that no players are more respected in the Notre Dame locker room than senior guard Eric Atkins and junior swingman Pat Connaughton.
That belief was reinforced Wednesday when the Irish elected them captains for the 2013-14 season. Both were unanimous choices.
Atkins becomes the first three-time team captain in the 109-year history of the program. A three-year starter, Atkins had an immediate impact as a freshman, when as a reserve he averaged 25.4 minutes per game and led the Big East in assist/turnover ratio (2.56) on a team that finished 27-7.
Connaughton stepped into the starting lineup midway through his freshman year, and the Irish promptly won nine consecutive Big East games. The 6-foot-5 Connaughton, also a pitcher on the Notre Dame baseball team, averaged 8.5 rebounds in the team’s two exhibition games.