How did former Notre Dame players fare this season in respective hoops leagues?

Tom Noie
ND Insider

Playing the game at its highest level – in the NBA – has been an option of late for only one former Notre Dame men’s basketball player, but that doesn’t mean former Irish don’t have hoops options.

Following is a rundown of how Notre Dame guys (graduates) fared professionally during the 2020-21 basketball season in their respective leagues around the world.

Players are listed alphabetically with their years at Notre Dame in parenthesis. All statistics are courtesy of eurobasket.com

• TIM ABROMAITIS (2008-12)

Country: Spain

Team: Unicaja Malaga

Record: Finished 17-19 overall and 11th place out of 19 teams in the Liga Endesa (highest level). Also was 8-8 in EuroCup.

Stats: In 36 games, Abromaitis averaged 8.6 points, 3.8 rebounds and 0.8 assists over 21.5 minutes. He shot 63.5 percent from the floor, 39.1 percent from 3 and 79.4 percent from the foul line.

Note: The Connecticut native also has played professionally in France, Germany and Russia. Prior to playing in mainland Spain, Abromaitis played professionally in the Canary Islands.

Former Irish power forward Zach Auguste has been given a look this summer by the Boston Celtics after playing last year in Greece.

• ZACH AUGUSTE (2012-16)

Country: Greece.

Team: Panathinaikos

Record: Part of the A-1 (highest level) League, Panathinaikos finished 20-2 and first place among 12 teams.

Stats: In 22 A-1 League games, Auguste averaged 5.0 points, 3.0 rebounds and 0.5 assists over 11.3 minutes. He shot 70.3 percent from the field and 41.7 percent from the foul line. In 21 Euro League games, the power forward averaged 4.6 points, 2.3 rebounds and 0.4 assists over 10.3 minutes. He shot 67.2 percent from the field, 100 percent from 3 and 53.3 percent from the foul line.

Note: A native of Marlborough, Mass., who holds dual citizenship between the U.S. and Greece, Auguste has worked out in the summer for the Boston Celtics and may join the team’s summer league team in Las Vegas. Auguste has previously played for NBA teams over the last three summer leagues.

• AUSTIN BURGETT (2012-16)

Country: Luxembourg.

Team: Etzella.

Record: Etzella went 18-4 and finished in first place in a 12-team Total League that had one team go 0-22. It was 19-6 overall.

Stats: In 24 games, Burgett averaged 18.1 points, 9.2 rebounds and 2.0 assists over 34.5 minutes. He shot 60.6 percent from the field, 41.3 percent from 3 and 84.4 percent from the foul line.

Note: Burgett also has played professionally in Belgium, Slovenia and Sweden.

• ELIJAH BURNS (2015-19)

Country: United Kingdom

Team: Worcester

Record: Worcester finished 14-16 and in seventh place in the 11-team British Basketball League.

Stats: In 17 games, Burns averaged 12.2 points, 5.5 rebounds and 1.3 assists over 23.6 minutes a game. He shot 57 percent from the field, 41.9 percent from 3 and 89.5 percent from the foul line.

Note: In one game against London, Burns scored 24 points with seven rebounds in 25 minutes. The 25-year-old, who played one season at Siena after graduating Notre Dame, will play professionally next season in Hungary for the OSE Lions.

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• BONZIE COLSON (2014-18)

Country: France

Team: Sig Strasbourg

Record: Finished 25-11 and third place in 18-team Pro A League. Also went 8-7 in Basketball Champions League.

Stats: In 35 Pro A games, Colson led the team in scoring (18.1 ppg.) and was second in rebounding (5.1) in 29.2 minutes. He shot 60.9 percent from the field, 34.2 percent from 3 and 83.9 percent from the foul line. He was third on the squad in 3-point attempts with 146.

In 14 BCL games, Colson averaged team bests for scoring (18.1) and rebounding (5.9) in 29.6 minutes. He shot 53.2 percent from the field, 32.4 percent from 3 and 81.4 percent from the foul line.

Colson earned team most valuable player honors for both Strasbourg's Pro A and BCL seasons.

Note: The 25-year-old Colson, who has played in the NBA with the Cleveland Cavaliers and Milwaukee Bucks and for each team's G League affiliate, will play the 2021-22 season with Pinar Karsiyaka in Turkey. It will be his second pro stint in the country.

• PAT CONNAUGHTON (2011-15)

Country: United States

Team: Milwaukee Bucks

Record: The Bucks finished 46-26 and first place in the Central Division, third overall in the Eastern Conference.

Stats: The only former Irish in the NBA, Connaughton averaged 6.8 points, 2.4 rebounds and 1.2 assists over 22.8 minutes. He shot 43.4 percent from the field, 37.1 percent from 3 and 77.5 percent from the foul line.

Note: In the first year of a three-year deal with the Bucks, Connaughton became the first Notre Dame graduate/former Irish to win an NBA championship since John Paxson in 1993.

Former Notre Dame power forward Jack Cooley has found pro life after the NBA.

• JACK COOLEY (2009-13)

Country: Japan

Team: Ryukyu GK

Record: A member of the Japanese B-1 League, Ryukyu finished 40-16 and first place in the 10-team West Division.

Stats: In 61 games, Cooley averaged 15.8 points, 12.0 rebounds and 1.6 assists in 28.6 minutes per game. He shot 60.7 percent from the field, 9.1 percent from 3 and 75.2 percent the foul line.

Note: Cooley registered 39 double doubles for points and rebounds last season, including one game on Dec. 27, 2020 against Kawasaki when he had 34 points and 23 rebounds.

• MATT FARRELL (2014-18)

Country: Turkey

Team: Buyukcekmece

Record: The BSL (high level) team finished 14th out of 16 teams with a 10-20 record.

Stats: In 26 games, Farrell averaged 14.2 points, 2.3 rebounds and a team-best 5.7 assists over 29.2 minutes. He shot 46.8 percent from the field, 30.8 percent from 3 and 81.8 percent from the foul line.

Note: Farrell also has spent time in the NBA G League with the former affiliate of the Phoenix Suns. He was undrafted out of college.

• MARTINAS GEBEN (2014-18)

Country: Lithuania

Team: Zalgiris

Record: Finished in first place of the 10-team LKL league with a 33-3 record. Overall, Zalgiris finished 21-2 at home, 20-1 on the road.

Stats: The power forward averaged 3.3 points, 2.1 rebounds and 0.6 assists in 8.1 minutes over 33 games. Geben shot 61.8 percent from the floor, 72.7 percent from the foul line.

Note: A Lithuania native who played professionally for two seasons in his home country, Geben will play next season for Brose Bamberg in Germany.

The last Notre Dame player taken in the first round of the NBA draft (in 2015), guard Jerian Grant has found new basketball life in Europe.

• JERIAN GRANT (2010-15)

Country: Greece

Team: Promitheas

Record: The squad finished 16-6 and third place in the 12-team A-1 League. It played 34 overall Greek League games and 10 Euro Cup contests.

Stats: In 27 overall games, Grant averaged 14.8 points, 4.2 rebounds and 6.9 assists in 34.8 minutes. He shot 53.2 percent from the field, 38.5 percent from 3 and 78.7 percent from the foul line.

Note: Grant played on the same pro team as his older brother, Jerai, who played collegiately at Clemson. Grant finished third on the team in field goal attempts (190), six behind his brother, who led the squad with 196. Grant led the team in free throw attempts (136).

Notre Dame’s most recent first round NBA draft pick (2015), Grant is signed next season to play with AX Armani MI in Italy.

• DEMETRIUS JACKSON (2013-16)

Countries: Lithuania and Spain

Teams: Rytas (Lithuania), Juventut Badalona (Spain)

Stats: Jackson started the 2020-21 season with Rytas, where he averaged 13.5 points, 3.3 rebounds and 5.2 assists in 22.3 minutes over six games. He shot 59 percent from the field, 47.1 percent from 3 and 78.6 percent from the foul line.

Jackson left for Spain, where in two games for Juventut, he averaged 5.5 points and 0.5 rebounds in 13.0 minutes. He shot 66.7 percent from 3 and 83.3 percent from the foul line.

Note: Jackson is the last second round pick of Notre Dame, selected by Boston in 2016. He played 26 games for three NBA teams.

John Mooney parlayed a solid first year as a pro in Australia with the chance to play professionally next year in Japan.

• JOHN MOONEY (2016-20)

Country: Australia

Team: Perth

Record: The Wildcats finished 25-11 and second place in the nine-team league. The regular season ran from January until June. Perth advanced to the league championship game, where it lost.

Stats: Mooney averaged 16.9 points, 11.5 rebounds and 2.9 assists over 33.1 minutes across 42 games. He shot 53.9 percent from the field, 45.3 percent from 3 and 73.2 percent from the foul line. He finished his first pro season with 27 double doubles.

Note: Mooney earned an invitation to attend NBA Summer League with the Milwaukee Bucks, but instead signed to play next season with Chiba, which won the B-1 Japanese League championship this season.

• TY NASH (2007-11)

Country: Chile

Team: CD Valdivia

Record: CD finished 9-10 overall in Liga Nacional league and 3-2 in five Valdivia games.

Stats: A late addition to the roster, Nash averaged 11.2 points, 10.6 rebounds and 1.0 assists in 34.8 minutes over five Nacional games. He shot 59 percent from the field, 47.6 percent from 3.

In five Valdivia Cup games, Nash averaged 13.2 points, 11.2 rebounds and 1.6 assists in 35.0 minutes. He shot 57.4 percent from the field, 20 percent from 3 and 34.6 percent from the foul line.

Note: An original member of the Notre Dame Fighting Alumni team that won the first championship in The Basketball Tournament in 2014, Nash played two games for the Purdue alumni team (Men of Mackey) in this year’s TBT.

Rex Pflueger enjoyed a successful rookie season as a pro in the United Kingdom, where he holds dual citizenship.

• REX PFLUEGER (2016-20)

Country: United Kingdom

Team: Newcastle

Record: The Eagles finished 18-12 overall and fourth place in the 11-team BBL league.

Stats: The rookie guard averaged 4.2 points, 3.0 rebounds and 1.7 assists in 17.9 minutes over 31 games. He shot 47.4 percent from the field, 25.4 percent from 3 and 81.8 percent from the foul line.

In five BBL games, where Newcastle won the championship, Pflueger averaged 7.8 points, 3.2 rebounds and 2.2 assists over 23.6 minutes. He shot 35.7 percent from the field, 34.8 percent from 3 and 71.4 percent from the foul line.

Note: Pflueger holds dual citizenship between the United States and the United Kingdom, where his late mother, Rebecca, was born and raised.

• STEVE VASTURIA (2013-17)

Country: Lithuania

Team: Zalgiris

Record: Finished in first place of the 10-team LKL league with a 33-3 record. Overall, Zalgiris finished 21-2 at home, 20-1 on the road.

Stats: Averaged 2.5 points, 0.9 rebounds and 0.7 assists in 11.5 minutes over 19 games. He shot 40.9 percent from the field, 36.4 percent from 3 and 75 percent from the foul line.

Note: Vasturia was a pro teammate of former college teammate Martinas Geben. Zalgiris won the league championship in the spring.

Also: Power forward Torin Francis (2002-06) was listed in the eurobasket.com directory as having played the 2020-21 season for Defensor Sporting Club Montevideo in Uruguay, but he did not appear on the team's final statistics for last season. Francis turned 38 in June.

Follow South Bend Tribune and NDInsider columnist Tom Noie on Twitter: @tnoieNDI