Another loss, another day where Notre Dame basketball's head coach is openly questioning the effort of some of his players. One has to wonder just how long this particular talking point can go on before it starts to blow back on Micah Shrewsberry.
At least for now, the fist-year head coach seems to have the support of those around the program. Even if the Fighting Irish are seeing some serious growing pains. Those in South Bend knew that this season wasn't going to be an easy one.
Shrewsberry is building from scratch. The same way he was building from scratch when he came over from Penn State. It's still a little unnerving to see the head coach talk about players getting benched because they weren't trying hard enough.
Notre Dame basketball still establishing a culture
As unnerving as the lack of effort talk is, it popped up again when the Fighting Irish dropped a Wednesday night game to the Miami Hurricanes, 71-59. At times, Notre Dame looked every bit a match for a Hurricanes team that came into the season looking like a lock for the NCAA Tournament.
At other times, especially in the first half, the Irish looked bad enough that Shrewsberry decided to sit some guys on the bench. And leave them there, even when their fresh bodies might have helped the team fight to the end a bit better.
"I was just disappointed in our effort level to start the game in the first half," Shrewsberry said after the game.
It was apparently that lack of effort to start the game that led Carey Booth and Kebba Njie to only play 12 and 14 minutes respectively. Neither played a single minute in the second half. Not even when it looked like Notre Dame basketball could make a run of they had fresh bodies in.
After the game Shrewsberry said there was "zero thought" about putting either back in.
We're going to hear more about this over the court of the rest of the week, but having two players who have been big contributors this season sitting an entire half is not good. It's not the "fixed culture" Shrewsberry claimed the Irish had in the game after that loss to The Citadel.
Growing pains are one thing. Players quitting on the team mid-game is something else.