Former Notre Dame basketball stars return to South Bend

After a rough 2018-19 campaign, former Notre Dame basketball stars returned to their roots and checked out the new facilities on campus while spending time with current players.

Pat Connaughton. Jerian Grant. Bonzie Colson. Demetrius Jackson. Zach Auguste. If thinking of those guys back on the court for Notre Dame basketball doesn’t give you the chills, you don’t have a pulse.

It happened Monday as the core that led the Irish to back-to-back Elite 8s in 2015-2016 returned to check out the new ‘digs’ as well as get back together to shoot around.

If you haven’t already heard, Notre Dame put in an entirely new basketball facility — Rolfs Athletic Hall.

Dedicated in May of this year, the former Rolfs Sports Recreation Center has been turned into a world-class basketball facility for both the men’s and women’s basketball teams. The 77,000-square foot complex has anything and everything one could ever want or need, including multiple gyms/courts, video rooms and locker rooms.

In the facility tour led by Associate Athletic Director Aaron Horvath, everyone was shocked by just how great the new practice facility truly is — including the former players.

Connaughton, Grant, Colson — they all something great to say about it. Whether that was due to their “experiences” in what was affectionately dubbed “The Pit”, or what have you, each likened it to NBA-quality.

The practice/workout itself looked to be led by Connaughton and Grant, just as they ran them back in their day. There was some basic shoot-around, some 1-on-1’s, some situational drills, you name it.

Incoming sophomore Robby Carmody made an appearance and looked sharp during some drills, which is great to see, as he suffered a season-ending shoulder injury last season. Senior TJ Gibbs was also there, but came in sweats and was just a spectator.

From the Milwaukee Bucks to the Orlando Magic, various NBA teams were represented during Monday’s practice. That says nothing but good things for Notre Dame looking forward.

Having NBA-caliber guys around the program does wonders for the younger, current players and that should hopefully come to fruition this season.

A 2018 top-100 recruit like Robby Carmody can gain a ton from a battle-tested, Eastern Conference finalist in Pat Connaughton.

Bonzie Colson has bounced around from team-to-team thus far in his short NBA career and who knows what that is like better than Jerian Grant and Demetrius Jackson. Grant and Jackson have valuable NBA experience that can do wonders for Colson — who has potential in the league.

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Whether or not Connaughton can organize this and make it a yearly thing is something that is yet to be seen, however, the fruits of Connaughton and his former teammates’ hard work is already being realized.