What Notre Dame basketball fans should expect of a Shrewsberry-coached team.
Don’t tell coach Shrewsberry that this is a transition year for the Irish after going 11-21 last season. “Just come and watch. Don’t come in with preconceived notions of what this team is, what this team may be, what people say this team is. Come make your own judgments about us,” Shrewsberry said after his first Notre Dame basketball media day.
Spending time with Brad Stevens means that this Irish team is going to defend. Though he spent one season with legendary Division III head coach Mac Petty at Wabash College, he learned about tough-minded defense. If coach Petty was known for anything, he preached defense. You didn’t spend much time on the floor in Crawfordsville without defending.
It stands to reason that there will be many rotational variations early in the Notre Dame basketball season as Shrewsberry tries to figure out what he has and who fits best on the floor together. The 2023-24 version of the Irish is young; they will likely play six combined freshmen and sophomores.
Another aspect of Stevens’ and Petty’s influence we should see is ball movement. Expect the Irish to be free to shoot the basketball, but look for quality shots. “I want them to have the freedom to take shots but also know that we’re looking for great shots, not average, not just okay, we are hunting for a great shot at every possession,” Shrewsberry added. “And I’ll show those guys clips, ‘hey, this is just an okay shot, right? You could probably make this, but let’s continue to move the basketball and hunt for great.’
Most importantly, coach Shrewsberry is confident his guys will put forth maximum effort. “I don’t coach effort, and I don’t have to. I don’t have to say a word about effort to these guys because they are playing extremely hard and compete,” Shrewsberry said.
Coach Shrewsberry understands how to rebuild a program. He led Penn State to its first NCAA appearance in over a decade and built IU-South Bend into a competent NAIA program. He also sat under some great basketball minds.
It’s hard to say how well the Irish will do this year, but they’ll leave everything on the floor every game. Coach Shrewsberry will make sure Notre Dame basketball players do.