Men's Basketball: Still no surprises to date in terms of offseason Irish roster management

Tom Noie
ND Insider

This was more formality than anything, a decision that really wasn't much of one.

When the NCAA announced during the 2020-21 season that college athletes would receive one additional year of eligibility following that COVID-affected campaign, Notre Dame men's basketball guard Dane Goodwin made it no secret how he felt.

Mar 20, 2022; San Diego, CA, USA; Notre Dame Fighting Irish guard Dane Goodwin (23) controls the ball against Texas Tech Red Raiders guard Terrence Shannon Jr. (1) in the first half during the second round of the 2022 NCAA Tournament at Viejas Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The senior was immediately interested in exercising that option, both to play an additional season and complete work toward a Master's degree in business. This past season, he kept relatively quiet about next season.

Coming back for one more year was a nice option, he'd say, but he'd decide his future at a later date.

On Friday, Goodwin made official via social media that he will return for his bonus year in 2022-23, when he will be a super senior.

"Playing at Notre Dame has always been a dream of mine and the last four years have been nothing short of amazing," Goodwin wrote. "I'm honored to have the opportunity to play one last year with my brothers and excited to see what the group coming back can accomplish. Go Irish!"

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Goodwin is coming off a career season. A native of Upper Arlington, Ohio, he finished second on the squad in scoring at 13.6 ppg. He also averaged 4.7 rebounds and 1.2 assists in 33.4 minutes. A third team All-Atlantic Coast Conference selection, Goodwin also made a run at the coveted 50-40-90 mark for field goal percentage (.504), 3-point field goal percentage (.458) and free throw percentage (.823). He played in all 35 games and made 34 starts.

Having earned votes for first team all-league and most improved, Goodwin likely will be a preseason all-league selection after helping Notre Dame go 24-11 overall, 15-5 in the ACC last season. As good as Goodwin was in 2021-22, he feels he can be even better in 2022-23.

Goodwin is expected to be joined by teammates Cormac Ryan and Trey Wertz in returning for their bonus seasons. Neither has made an official announcement. Like with Goodwin, they really don't need to make any kind of a declaration. Classmate Prentiss Hubb will move on to the next stage of his playing career. Fellow senior Nate Laszewski also is expected to leave behind that bonus season for the chance to play professionally.

The three were part of coach Mike Brey's highest-ranked recruiting class when they signed as high school seniors. The group was considered among the nation's Top 20. Goodwin originally committed to play for Ohio State.

Freshman guard Blake Wesley declared for the NBA draft in late March. He's expected to remain in the two-round process.

Mar 18, 2022; San Diego, CA, USA; Notre Dame Fighting Irish guard Cormac Ryan (5) is introduced before the game against the Alabama Crimson Tide during the first round of the 2022 NCAA Tournament at Viejas Arena. Mandatory Credit: Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

A quiet awards night

For the longest time, Notre Dame often capped the end of the basketball season with a sit-down dinner on the floor of Purcell Pavilion.

It then moved to an open house-themed evening of autographs that culminated in an awards presentation and senior speeches inside Heritage Hall.

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On Thursday, the Irish went the private, quiet route – just members of the program inside Rolfs Hall – to put a period on the 2021-22 season.

Notre Dame handed out several individual awards including most improved (Goodwin), best defender (Ryan), top rebounder (Paul Atkinson, Jr.),, assist leader (Hubb), leadership (Laszewski) and top rookie (Wesley). The entire team was voted most valuable player after leading the Irish back to the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2017.

Laszewski and Wesley did not attend the event. Both are working out in Las Vegas in advance of their respective NBA auditions.

Notre Dame's Paul Atkinson Jr. dunks against Rutgers during the second overtime of a First Four game in the NCAA men's college basketball tournament Wednesday, March 16, 2022, in Dayton, Ohio. Notre Dame won 89-87 in double overtime. (AP Photo/Aaron Doster)

PA in the PIT

Atkinson was back on campus this week following his audition earlier this month in the Portsmouth (Virginia) Invitational Tournament, an NBA showcase for college seniors.

In three games, Atkinson averaged 6.7 points and 4.0 rebounds per game. He shot .563 from the field (10th overall) and .500 from the foul line. In his lone season with Notre Dame, Atkinson averaged 12.5 points and 6.9 rebounds in 27.6 minutes. One of five Irish to play in all 35 games, He shot .587 from the field and .750 from the foul line.

Follow South Bend Tribune and NDInsider columnist Tom Noie on Twitter: @tnoieNDI. Contact: (574) 235-6153.