Photo by Rick Kimball/ISD
Notre Dame Basketball

Beachem Ready to Embrace Hostile Environment

January 17, 2017

VJ Beachem has seen a lot of success during his time at Notre Dame, but the 5-0 start to ACC play this season is something very few expected. The senior forward is more than pleased with the quick start but also knows conference play is a very long season.

“It’s a great feeling,” Beachem said on Monday. “You feel like you just want to keep playing and you want to play today. We have to come back to work today and keep working. It’s a good feeling to see where we are at and how our hard work has paid off so far.”  

The Irish will head to Tallahassee for a showdown of the ACC’s top two teams on Wednesday and Beachem believes his squad will embrace the challenge.

“I think our experience – we’ve been in a lot of tough situations not only this year but in the years before,” stated Beachem. “Just the fact we always believe we can win, no matter the situation. On the road, at home, down five or ten, it doesn’t matter.

“We love it. We feel like our backs are against the wall because it’s just us and maybe like 20 fans. We love that feeling and it represents our brotherhood.”

We love that feeling and it represents our brotherhood. - VJ Beachem
Big games are why Beachem came to Notre Dame and Wednesday will be a great test for the program.

“They are a really good team,” Beachem said. “They are really long and really athletic. They are well-coached. It’s another great ACC team and we have to be ready to play. We have to get off to a great start on the road.”  

Matt Farrell stole the show during Saturday’s win against Virginia Tech with a steal at half-court in the final minutes. Beachem felt it was coming and it didn’t surprise him that his point guard was able to pull it off.

“I kind of saw him creeping up and then he just dove on it,” Beachem explained. “I think he did it the Colorado game too. He said he did it like five times in high school. It was a crazy play.

“It just represents exactly who he is. The tough grittiness and willing to do anything to help our team win. When he did it, I was like ‘Yo, it’s lit’. I thought he was going to try to lay it in, but he passed it off the TJ.”  

With the three road wins to start ACC play, the Irish sit at No. 15 in the country. Beachem believes the Irish are a Top 10 program, but he isn’t about to get caught up in January rankings.

“I am not surprised at all,” said Beachem. “We aren’t really ranked that high ever. It’s something we try not to worry about. If we keep winning and playing the way we are, then everything will take care of itself.

“I think what we’ve done so far, but we still have a lot of work to do. It’s only a third of the way through ACC play and we’d love to be in the top one or two at the end of the season.”

It’s also no secret Beachem has struggled on the offensive end of the floor in recent weeks, but the bench has picked him up. The improved bench play is something Beachem saw coming in the summer and it’s helped led Notre Dame to a 16-2 start.

“We knew we had a really good team, but we have a really deep team,” said Beachem. “We can play eight or nine guys and everyone is ready to go. It’s a huge strength of ours, especially when we were coming off only one day off.

“I don’t want to judge any of my old teammates or these guys, but I think Coach Brey is playing these guys more and has a little more belief in these guys, because of what they’ve shown every day in practice.”
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