Can John Mooney be who Notre Dame basketball needs to step up in place of Bonzie Colson?
Since Colson went down with a broken foot, Notre Dame basketball has struggled. It’s been no easy road for the Irish in conference play, losing four straight and dropping to 3-4 in the ACC. Of course, this hasn’t been all due to the absence of Colson. Matt Farrell has also missed a few games as well as D.J. Harvey.
The injury-plagued Irish have lost a lot of depth but none as detrimental as the loss of Colson. The question has been; who will step up in light of the loss of his 21.4 points and 10.4 rebounds per game?
Many players have improved their level of play but it still hasn’t been enough. Farrell has been asked to be the main scorer. A tweaked ankle has prevented him from that. Temple Gibbs has increased his role slowly but surely. Elevating his game, it’s clear that he will be the future in South Bend. And of course Martinis Geben has made the biggest jump averaging a double-double in league play. Yet the Irish still need more.
What John Mooney Brings
The answer could be John Mooney. We wouldn’t have seen the recent increase of minutes if it were not for Colson going down. With more minutes, it seems like Mooney is quietly becoming what Notre Dame recruited him for. The 6’9” forward is a solid defender.
A block in each of the last three games is the presence the Irish need alongside Geben. With his athletic stature and quickness, he can be a solid defender especially when matched up against a slower forward.
One of the reasons Mooney was recruited was his ability to shoot. Many didn’t expect him to be a shooter but with the smooth form he has, he can be extremely comfortable outside of the arc. When the Irish’s offense starts to look stagnant, Mooney can keep the movement with how good of a cutter he is.
The biggest factor Mooney brings right now is his ability to stretch out the court. If he can’t be a threat outside of the arc, he can while crashing to the glass. Some pick-and-roll action with Farrell or Gibbs could be deadly.
With extra playing time were starting to see Mooney’s value in rebounding. Combining for 25 boards in the last four games he has taken some of the pressure off of Geben. As much as it would benefit the Irish to have more 22 point/17 rebound games from Geben, it’s simply unrealistic.
Mooney is no Bonzie Colson. That doesn’t mean that he can’t be the push the Irish need in his absence.