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Notre Dame Basketball

Micah Shrewsberry Focused on Excellence and Defense at Notre Dame

March 30, 2023

It will be a few months before anyone finds a true feel for Notre Dame basketball under Micah Shrewsberry, but the new head coach for the Fighting Irish has a clear vision for the program and it starts with excellence. 

Shrewsberry has only been on campus a few days, but he’s watched Marcus Freeman’s team practice, Niele Ivey’s team compete short-handed, a fencing National Championship and students walking to class. 

“You see people pursuing excellence and that’s what we want to do and that’s what we want to be about,” Shrewsberry explained on Thursday morning. “That’s what we’re going to do here. I want this. I’m a college basketball guy. I love college basketball because you get to be around people pursuing excellence.

“That’s what our team is going to be as well. That’s how we’re going to play. We’re going to pursue excellence on a daily basis. We’re going to try to grow as players, grow as people and we’re going to become the best versions of ourselves.” 

The Indiana native led Penn State to a record of 23-14, including a Round of 32 appearance and Shrewsberry will be tasked with building a basketball culture from the ground up. 

Step one will be filling out the roster and the second step will be setting a tone in his third year as a head coach in a major conference. 

“I can get into strategy and talk about basketball all day,” said Shrewsberry. “That’s me. I’m a basketball coach. The things that really stand out to me that we’re going to do as a program, we’re going to play with discipline, toughness and play together.”

It might sound simple because it is, but they are also principles the Notre Dame basketball program has lacked for over five years. 

Shrewsberry knows year one won’t be perfect and he knows he’ll need to embrace growth from his team and himself. 

“If you do that, you give yourself a chance every single night,” stated Shrewsberry. “That’s all I’m asking. Nobody is going to be perfect. I”m not going to be perfect. I’ve been a head coach for two years. I’m not going to be perfect and I’m going to make mistakes. They’re going to make mistakes and we’re going to grow together.” 

In addition to his own thoughts, Shrewsberry has already picked Mike Brey’s brain on what it takes to win at Notre Dame. 

“The one thing that’s good here is you have a great blueprint,” Shrewsberry said. “Coach Brey had a lot of success here. I got the chance to talk to him about some things and he laid the foundation for the success that you can have, so we want to follow that, but we do want to do it in different ways.” 

Perhaps the most significant difference Notre Dame fans will see from Shrewsberry’s team will be an emphasis on defense. 

“If you ask about me, I’m a defensive guy first,” Shrewsberry explained. “It didn’t always show up this year, but I did care about defense. I think that gives you a chance to win. We have to have a defensive system, a defensive foundation to give yourself a chance to win.” 

Shrewsberry will also be looking to develop skilled players out of high school or the Transfer Portal. The emphasis on roster development will be on talent, but also basketball IQ. 

“Basketball-wise, I really value skill,” stated Shrewsberry. “I really value guys that can dribble, pass and shoot. Guys that can think the game and can play on their feet and can think on their feet and make decisions really quickly. You’re going to see a lot of that.

“Before you get to all that, it’s a program built on player development and built on improvement. If we have guys that want to get better, we’re going to have something in place for you. Even if you don’t want to get better, you’re going to get better by being around us. If you do, then you can really take your game to the next level.” 

The next few months will be busy as Shrewsberry builds his first roster and he expects it to be one that embraces the journey of getting back to the top of the ACC. 

“If we’re growing and getting better as individuals, then we’re getting better as a team,” said Shrewsberry. “That’s what we want. We want our team to get better. We want to peak in March.” 

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