Notre Dame basketball made noise in March last season and the Irish gained momentum when Nate Laszewski returned to school after going through the NBA draft process.
The 6-foot-10 forward provides much-needed offense and rebound for a team that has virtually no experience in the position.
Junior Matt Zona played 23 career games but averaged just 4.1 minutes a night and then the two Notre Dame freshmen never set foot in a college game.
Laszewski’s career averages of 9.0 ppg and 5.5 rpg should easily be topped as he feels his game has really increased over the past few months.
“I needed to go through the process,” Laszewski said after Notre Dame’s final summer practice. “My dream is to play in the NBA and pro basketball so it was amazing training in Vegas and being there with Blake (Wesley) was awesome too. It’s been a really good few months work and not just the process, but the development of my game.”
The decision to return to Notre Dame was an informed decision as Laszewski worked for NBA teams and received valuable feedback from the NBA world as well as those around him, including Mike Brey.
“Ultimately I had a few training sessions with teams and after talking with Coach Brey and my family and going through the process I made the decision to go back to school.” , said Laszewski.
Laszewski pushed himself in Vegas and the Irish should take advantage of that as he will bring a more aggressive mindset to the ground this year, but Brey should also have a motivated player. The Jupiter, Florida native saw where he needed to play professionally and it wasn’t lost on Laszewski as he spoke on Tuesday.
“I think being able to compete every day against these guys who are up to really high first-round picks and NBA guys – you’re in the gym with them every day, so you have to compete every day,” Laszewski explained, “I think that’s an important aspect of my game that has helped me mature and have that mindset to come to work every day.
“I’m definitely more aggressive with my shooting and making more plays on the dribble. Be more involved as a leader in my role within the team.
Leadership is another area Laszewski has evolved in the past few years and it’s something he will continue to focus on in his final year at Notre Dame.
“Yeah, over the last few years I’ve taken steps to use my voice more, both on the pitch, but also off the pitch with the guys,” Laszewski said.
“I’ve never really been super calm on the court, but off the court I’m a bit more reserved. Once I get comfortable with people, then more stuff comes out, but that’s something I’ve been focusing on for the past two years.
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