|McAlarney happy to be back at Notre Dame|
|Written by Admin|
|Wednesday, 20 June 2007 14:38|
``Not as much as him,'' a reporter said, referring to Irish coach Mike Brey.
``That is true,'' Brey said. ``That is true.''
With that, McAlarney broke the ice as he sat down to talk about what happened to him since his arrest Dec. 29. That's the night a state trooper found marijuana in his car during a traffic stop near campus hours after a game.
The university initially suspended him from the team indefinitely, then was dismissed from school on Jan. 22. After applying for readmission, he will be back playing for the Irish this season.
Asked to talk about what happened the night of his arrest, McAlarney said: ``What is there to talk about? I made my mistake, got arrested, that was it. The hardest part for me was waking up the next morning and tell Coach Brey.''
McAlarney's lowest point came when his arrest became news ``because I knew I embarrassed my family and my school.''
McAlarney, who already had entered a pretrial diversion program, was initially angry at the university's punishment, knowing that many schools wouldn't have been so severe.
``But when you really look into it and see the big picture, this is why I came to Notre Dame - the kind of respect people who graduate from here get,'' he said. ``That's why it is the school that it is. That's why they have the standards that they have.''
A day after then-No. 22 Notre Dame lost to St. John's at Madison Square Garden in January, Brey flew back to New York to meet with McAlarney and his family to try to persuade him to return. The talk worked.
``That showed me and my parents the loyalty he has to his players and what a family this is while you're here in this basketball program. That's something I didn't want to miss out on,'' McAlarney said.
McAlarney, 19, who is from Staten Island, N.Y., concedes he thought briefly about transferring.
``But when I really looked deep into it, there was no other school for me,'' he said.
McAlarney started the first 12 games of his sophomore season, averaging 10.3 points, as the Irish got off to an 11-1 start. He said he watched all the Irish games on TV but had to turn the set off at times when his team struggled.
``There were times I would get aggravated and just walk away and be like, 'Man, if I was there?''' McAlarney said.
``Now you know how I feel,'' Brey said.
McAlarney said he isn't worried about fitting in with Tory Jackson, the freshman who took over as point guard.
``I never saw myself as a point guard or a shooting guard. I always saw myself as a guard,'' McAlarney said.
Brey said he respects the way McAlarney accepted responsibility for his actions.
``As I've said to people here in the community when they ask me if McAlarney is back, I say, 'He's back and it's going to be a great story,''' Brey said.