August 23, 2008

Zeller, Irish capture gold in Ireland


The Notre Dame basketball team is in Ireland for a two-week exhibition tour, and senior center Luke Zeller has agreed to document the trip for

The Fighting Irish return four starters from a team that went 24-8 and advanced to the NCAA Tournament, and they are ranked in the preseason top 10.

The Irish finished up the trip 6-0 after Saturday's 90-65 victory over the Icelandic National Team. Notre Dame point guard Tory Jackson got the gold ball trophy for the game after posting five points, six rebounds, three steals and two assists. Shooting guard Kyle McAlarney was the MVP of the tournament after averaging 26.5 ppg.

Here is Zeller's 10th diary entry:

By Luke Zeller
Notre Dame senior

We played well again. The tournament MVP went to Kyle. That was no surprise.

I played pretty well (eight points and three rebounds). We were up big, so it was tough to stay in the flow. We tried to ignore the score and just keep playing. We do a good job of staying with it. We kept rotating guys and staying with our style and working on our sets and defense. Coach Brey does a good job of keeping us focused and into it. That's the last time we play until November, so we needed to work on everything.

To be 6-0 and have played against national teams is something we can be proud of and build on from here. You can't go better than 6-0.

It was another good atmosphere. There weren't many fans for Iceland. No Iceland ladies either, unfortunately.

There was a game after ours, Ireland vs. Poland, and we had to stay and watch that because there was a ceremony afterward. We all got gold medals for winning the tournament. That's a good thing to have in international competition, a gold. It's one more step in the right direction. We've got a long way to go, a lot of dreams to chase this season.

The game against Iceland was the earliest we've played during the trip, but it wasn't too bad. We had breakfast at 10:30 a.m. No salmon (ha ha ha). The hotel we're staying at has a regular breakfast. It's about as close to an American breakfast as you can have. I had eggs and bacon. It's not crispy bacon. It's almost like ham. But it's good.

There's a banquet reception tonight in conjunction with the tournament. They're calling it a barbecue, but after what we've seen them call barbecue already on this trip we'll see what this ends up being. I'm ready to be disappointed.

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