A few key NBA dates for former Irish

IRISH STEW

Tom Noie
South Bend Tribune

The grind of another NBA regular season awaits.

It's something that former Notre Dame power forward Jack Cooley experienced in bits and pieces last season as a rookie with the Utah Jazz, and something that rookies Pat Connaughton (Portland) and Jerian Grant (New York) will become accustom to this winter with an 82-game slate that stretches from September to April.

With the scheduled officially released in mid-August, here are some key dates this season for each of the former Irish looking to make their name in the Association:

JACK COOLEY, PF, Utah Jazz

Oct. 28: at Detroit (Season opener with first of three on the road)

Oct. 31 at Indiana (Back in Indiana for only time in the regular season)

Nov. 4: at Portland (First meeting against former Irish teammate Connaughton; will also play Dec. 31 in Utah, Jan. 13 in Portland and Feb. 21 at Portland)

Dec. 9 vs. New York (First meeting against former Irish teammate Grant; also meet Jan. 20 at Madison Square Garden)

Feb. 1 vs. Chicago (Hometown team)

March 19 at Chicago (Only visit back to hometown area for Glenview, Ill., native)

PAT CONNAUGHTON, SG/SF, PORTLAND TRAIL BLAZERS

Oct. 28 vs. New Orleans (Season opener)

Nov. 4 at Utah (First meeting against former Irish teammate Cooley; also games Dec. 31, Jan. 13 and Feb. 21)

Dec. 8 at Cleveland (Cavaliers play in Quicken Loans Arena, where Connaughton's career ended with NCAA tournament loss to Kentucky in Elite Eight)

Dec. 12 vs. New York Knicks (First meeting with former teammate Grant; also March 1 at Madison Square Garden)

Jan. 15 at Brooklyn (Nets selected Connaughton with the 41st pick of the June draft before trade to Portland; also meet Feb. 23)

Feb. 27 at Chicago (Closest Connaughton will get to South Bend as rookie)

Feb. 28 at Indiana (First and only game back in Indiana as a pro)

March 2 at Boston (First and only trip back to Massachusetts for native of suburban Arlington; rematch arrives March 31 in Portland)

JERIAN GRANT, SG/PG, NEW YORK KNICKS

Oct. 28 at Milwaukee (Season opener)

• Oct. 29 vs Atlanta (Grant's first regular-season game in Madison Square Garden since the loss to Ohio State on Dec. 21, 2013. One day later, Grant announced that he would be separated from Notre Dame following an "academic misstep.")

Oct. 31 at Washington (Return to hometown team for native of nearby Bowie. Wizards selected Grant with No. 19 pick in June draft before a trade to Atlanta Hawks and on to Knicks; the first of three regular-season meetings)

Nov. 4 at Cleveland (Last time Grant was on floor of Quicken Loans Arena, his potential game-winning, fade 3-pointer fell short against Kentucky in NCAA tournament)

Nov. 25 at Orlando (First meeting against close friend Victor Oladipo one night before Notre Dame opens AdvoCare Invitational in nearby Lake Buena Vista; the first of three regular-season meetings)

Dec. 2 vs. Philadelphia (First of four games against younger brother Jerami, set to start his second season with the Sixers).

Dec. 9 at Utah (First meeting against former college teammate Cooley; also Jan. 20 at Madison Square Garden)

Dec. 12 at Portland (First meeting against former college teammate Connaughton; also March 1 in NYC)

Jan. 1 at Chicago (Closest Grant will get to South Bend as a rookie; Also will visit United Center on March 23)

Feb. 24 at Indiana (one of two trips back to Indiana, Knicks also close the regular season April 12)