ACC All-Academic honors for ND freshmen Pflueger, Ryan

IRISH STEW

Tom Noie
South Bend Tribune

Freshmen are expected to struggle somewhere along the way during college basketball’s grind of a season, and Rex Pflueger and Matt Ryan have been no exception.

The Irish rookies have both bounced in and out of the starting lineup and seen minimal minutes at times as they work to figure it all out.

Regardless of what they’re doing on the court, they continue to get the job done in the classroom. Pflueger and Ryan were the only Irish named Wednesday to the Atlantic Coast Conference’s 26-member All-Academic team.

Pflueger and Ryan were among nine freshmen to earn ACC All-Academic honors. Both are enrolled in Notre Dame’s first year of studies.

Student-athletes must earn a 3.00 grade point average for the previous (fall) semester and maintained a 3.00 cumulative average during their academic careers.

A member of the National Honor Society in high school, Ryan wasn’t worried last fall about the academic adjustment after pulling two As during summer school.

“I plan on getting all As and Bs,” Ryan said in October of his studies. “They’re already talking to me about being a freaking Academic All-American. That’s what they’re telling me to do.”

Preparing last week to stay out on a two-game road swing that took Notre Dame to Wake Forest and right on to Florida State proved a tricky balancing act during midterm exams. But Irish coach Mike Brey had no reason to worry about his two freshmen when it came to handling their book business during an extended stay away from campus.

“Our three freshmen are amazingly organized students and gifted students,” Brey said.

The third member of the freshman class, Elijah Burns, is sitting out this season to preserve a year of eligibility.

Pflueger has appeared in 20 games with one start. He’s averaging 2.6 points and 1.6 rebounds in 13.5 minutes. He’s shooting 39 percent from the field, 26 percent from 3 and 94 percent from the free throw line. After spending non-conference play on the outside of the rotation looking in, Pflueger has quietly put together a 7-to-1 assist/turnover ratio (21 assists, three turnovers) in conference play. He’s often been the first guard off the bench during league play.

Currently back in the role of sixth man, Ryan has played in 26 games with four starts. He’s averaging 5.3 points and 1.7 rebounds. He’s shooting 40 percent from the field, 34 percent from 3 and 76 percent from the foul line.