Notre Dame Basketball: Connaughton, Grant Earn Invites to NBA Pre-draft Combine


Irish duo take next step to NBA dream

We may have all believed that Notre Dame seniors

Pat Connaughton


Jerian Grant

were NBA caliber players, but now that may be one step closer to becoming a reality. Each has confirmed they have been invited to the NBA pre-draft combine, which is typically reserved for those believed to be the top talent that will be taken in the Draft.

Grant tweeted out the news on Saturday morning, and Connaughton later confirmed the news via a text message with Irish247. 

The news is no surprise for Grant, whose bloodline runs deep in professional basketball. His father Harvey Grant, uncle Horace Grant and brother Jerami Grant all have NBA experience. Jerai Grant, the eldest brother, is playing professionally overseas. He’s expected to be a mid-first round pick.

For Connaughton, the adventure has been a little bit different. He was drafted by the Baltimore Orioles and signed to a professional baseball contract, but returned for his final season of basketball. The Orioles were aware of his decision, as he made it known immediately even though some said it would hurt his value in baseball if they knew he wasn’t “committed” to baseball.

But Connaughton felt he needed to return to redeem a terrible 2014 season, and he and Grant did just that. After winning the ACC Tournament, they helped lead the Irish to their first Elite Eight appearance in 30 years, coming up one shot short of making the Final Four.

Grant was named a first-team All-American while Connaughton was named third-team All-ACC. Connaughton has put baseball on hold until after he comes to a conclusion about where his basketball career will take him although he has made it clear he would like to play both sports–something you rarely see at the professional level anymore.

The combine will be held in Chicago May 12-17, and will be the first time since 2005 that the Irish have had two participants. Chris Thomas and Torin Francis both took part, but Thomas went undrafted, and Francis returned to Notre Dame for his senior season. Notre Dame hasn’t had two players taken in the same draft since 1992 when LaPhonso Ellis was the fifth overall pick and Elmer Bennett went in the second round.

Next: Turner and Westbeld Look to Take Next Step