NCAA Hoops: Hansbrough leads No. 9 Notre Dame

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NCAA Hoops: Hansbrough leads No. 9 Notre Dame

Sunday, Feb. 6, 2011
2:44 p.m.

Associated Press
SOUTH BEND, Ind. Ben Hansbrough for Big East player of the year? How about national player of the year, an award his brother won two seasons ago?

Notre Dame coach Mike Brey started the drums beating for his team's emotional leader after Hansbrough scored 25 points despite a tough start to lead No. 9 Notre Dame to a 76-69 win over Rutgers on Sunday.

"When you step back a bit, look at this, and get away from the preseason hype machine, certainly he is a Big East player of the pear candidate as well as national player of the year," Brey said. "Flat out. I mean, we are in the Top Ten and he has driven us into that position and we are in the hunt for the league title. It is starting to be really evaluated. Some people say 'Let's see what he does next game.' Well, he did it again."

After a slow start, Hansbrough took the game over. At one point he was 2 of 8 from the field, including 1 of 7 from beyond the 3-point line, but he used his drive-the-paint style to draw fouls and ended up making 11 of 13 free throws in a game that saw Notre Dame score only twice from the field in the last 8 minutes.

Hansbrough blamed part of his slow start on the early starting time.

"I think that was part of it, a Sunday game at noon," said the younger brother of Tyler Hansbrough who was chosen national player of the year for leading North Carolina to the national championship in 2009. "But you always have to be ready to play, and I don't think we were completely ready to play at the very beginning. We weren't ready to slide our feet and Coach Brey got on us a little bit."

Rutgers coach Mike Rice didn't put up much of an argument with Hansbrough receiving some honors.

"Hansbrough?" he questioned. "He just took the ball and manhandled us."

Jonathan Mitchell, who led Rutgers with 24 points, said Hansbrough "does a great job of using his body and using your weight against you to create fouls. Notre Dame did a great job of attacking us."

The Irish (19-4, 8-3) reclaimed sole possession of second place in the Big East behind No. 4 Pittsburgh and will host No. 15 Louisville on Wednesday.

Scott Martin had 14 points for Notre Dame and Tim Abromaitis added 10.

Jonathan Mitchell scored 24 points for Rutgers (12-11, 3-8) while Dane Miller added 11.

Rice wasn't about to argue about a big discrepancy between teams at the free throw line. Notre Dame was 27 of 34 the Scarlet Knights were only 8 of 12.

"You don't do anything with the referees in the Big East," he said. "They have their own fraternity. You just leave them alone and make adjustments and for the last two weeks we have. Believe me, some of those were fouls."

Brey said he knew Rutgers would be a tough opponent despite the records.

"It is just the ebb and flow of Big East play," he said. "I have not been happier about a win. You can kind of get into (a mindset) of what should happen because of the records, but Rutgers has tough kids and that's a group that beat us last year. They kept game pressure on and it was a hard game for us. We had to figure out how to get out of there. It was good for our group because we are going to be in a lot of these games the rest of the season."

Brey has pretty much let his five seniors play the bulk of the minutes recently.

"Today was a day for our old guys to win the game," he said. "We would make a mistake but they did not panic, they just moved onto the next play. We got the ball to the right guys at the foul line."

Notre Dame pulled away from a 7-7 tie with a 17-6 run that included five straight points and a nice assist by Hansbrough. The Irish stretched the lead to 25-15 before a 3-pointer by the Scarlet Knights' James Beatty started a 7-0 run and got Rutgers within 25-22.

Notre Dame led 37-33 at halftime with Hansbrough scoring 10 points.

The teams battled evenly in the second half before two free throws by Martin started an 8-2 run that made it 51-43 with 12:36 to play. Consecutive 3-pointers by Rutgers made it a two-point game before a layup by Hansbrough sparked an 11-2 run that gave the Irish a 62-51 lead.

Box score
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High School coaches 'leave no stone unturned' in helping players explore next level

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Photo at top: Loyola Academy assistant coach Paul Pryma extends his hand toward a Steinmetz High School player during pregame introductions on Feb. 21. (Andres Waters/MEDILL)

High School coaches 'leave no stone unturned' in helping players explore next level

By Andres Waters
Special Contributor to CSNChicago.com

After Loyola Academy held off rival New Trier 43-40 to win the 2017 Zion-Benton regional championship, Ramblers head coach Tom Livatino had a special message for his players.

"That's the best celebration that I have ever been a part of," Livatino said. "Because everybody was completely about love. You guys love each other and we all can tell. I'm really, really proud just to be one of our coaches."

While the speech was a powerful way for Livatino to tell the players of his appreciation, he and other high school coaches engage in something much bigger to show players how proud they are: college recruiting.

In addition to time spent planning and practicing, coaches also sacrifice countless hours each week helping their players find opportunities to play at the next level.

"It's a really long part of the process, but to be honest, it's a part of the job that I absolutely love," Livatino said. "We demand so much of our players in every aspect. And, from a basketball standpoint, the least I could do is everything in my power to help them out."

Less than 48 hours after the Ramblers completed their season with a loss to Evanston Township in the Waukegan Sectional semifinal, Livatino was back in his office holding individual meetings with each player.

Starting with the 10 departing seniors, Livatino discussed the factors that go into choosing a college for high school athletes.

His conversations with the two players who already committed, senior guards Ramar Evans and Matt Lynch, focused on how they felt about their next steps. With the others, Livatino asked whether they wanted to play at the next level and, if so, which schools they wanted to attend that shared an interest in them. The conversations held with the Ramblers' juniors are very similar.

"I wasn't just looking for basketball, I was looking for a fit academically and socially," said Lynch, who committed to Division III St. Norbert College. "[Livatino] said St. Norbert would be the best fit for me. It fit everything I was looking for."

Read the full story at Medill Reports Chicago.

CSN Chicago, in partnership with Northwestern University,  features journalism by students in the graduate program at Medill School of Journalism. The students are reporters for Medill News Service. Medill faculty members edit the student work. Click here for more information about Medill.

From dunks to deliveries: Former No. 1 pick LaRue Martin's unlikely success story

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Photo at top: La Rue Martin poses for a photo at a National Basketball Retired Players Association event. (Photo courtesy of La Rue Martin)

From dunks to deliveries: Former No. 1 pick LaRue Martin's unlikely success story

By Elan Kane
Special Contributor to CSNChicago.com

LaRue Martin Jr. thought his future was set. The Portland Trail Blazers had drafted him No. 1 overall in the 1972 NBA draft. Money and fame awaited.

Fifteen years later, he started work as a UPS driver, struggling to find uniform pants that fit his 6-foot-11 frame.

"There is life after sports," Martin said. "Period."

It's been 45 years since the draft and Martin, a former Loyola University star, is now the UPS Illinois district public affairs and community services manager. He is labeled by many as one of the biggest busts in NBA draft history, but he is fine with that designation.

"I don't believe in saying anything negative, you have no control over that," Martin said. "I took care of my family, did what I had to do and I'm the type of person I can't dwell off the negatives. I can't. I kept my head up high and moved onto a positive mode of life and it has treated me very well."

Martin averaged 5.3 points and 4.6 rebounds in 14 minutes per game in just four seasons with the Trail Blazers. He blames his low numbers on his lack of playing time, but many believe he was just not good enough.

"He didn't get playing time because he [stunk]," said Boston Globe sports columnist Bob Ryan, who has covered the NBA for decades. "[Former No. 1 overall draft pick Michael] Olowokandi didn't do much but I think he did more than that."

Martin is used to the criticism.

"As a young man, reading the papers all the time, that bothered me, I must admit that," Martin said. "But I hold my head up high now because I've been very successful in the corporate world."

Read the full story at Medill Reports Chicago.

CSN Chicago, in partnership with Northwestern University,  features journalism by students in the graduate program at Medill School of Journalism. The students are reporters for Medill News Service. Medill faculty members edit the student work. Click here for more information about Medill.