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Notre Dame Basketball

Grad Transfer Guard Matt Allocco Goes In-Depth in Notre Dame Decision

April 22, 2024
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Notre Dame basketball received its first Transfer Portal commitment last week as Princeton’s Matt Allocco announced he would play his final year in South Bend. 

The 6-foot-4, 197-pounder had family ties to Notre Dame, so it made sense for Micah Shrewsberry to pursue the Ohio native, given his experience as Allocco averaged 12.7 ppg, 2.9 rpg and 3.3 apg last season for the Tigers. 

Yet, Allocco had to make sure the Irish program was for him as he was looking for the opportunity to win in his final collegiate season. 

“I wouldn’t say I was set on Notre Dame,” Allocco told ISD. “It’s a tough decision, especially for a grad transfer. You have one year to get it right. The most important thing to me was having a chance to win. I know last year wasn’t what they wanted or expected, but we have a lot of guys back. Hopefully, I can add a little experience, someone who can make shots, handle the ball and defend.

“The more time I spent there with the coaches, the training staff, the weight room and the players, the clearer it became.” 

Allocco should be a name Notre Dame fans recognize as his uncle, Frank, won a national title on the gridiron in the blue and gold. 

And yes, it’s why the decision became easy for Allocco once he saw Shrewsberry’s vision for the basketball program. 

“To start, I had been a fan of Notre Dame my whole life,” explained Allocco. “I have a couple of uncles who played football there, so I have grown up on campus and being a fan. That definitely played into it, but outside of that, I believe in what Coach Shrewsberry was preaching and what he thinks the program could be. I want to represent the university and continue to build the great tradition of the program.” 

What will Allocco bring to the program? Well, it starts with that veteran presence. Allocco is currently the only player on the Irish roster with NCAA Tournament experience. 

“A guy who has been through it,” Allocco stated. “Won games and been to the NCAA Tournament. Everyone on the team can play. I don’t think you’d be playing at Notre Dame if you weren’t a good player. Hopefully, I can come in and help out however I can. Whatever Coach says, if that’s the best thing for the team to win, then that’s what I’m going to do.” 

Notre Dame went 13-20 in 2023-24 and Allocco is well aware the Irish weren’t close to making The Dance, but he also saw the program grow. 

On paper, the Irish are expected to have one of the best backcourts in the ACC between Allocco, Markus Burton, Braeden Shrewsberry and incoming freshman Sir Mohammed. 

The opportunity to help a young team get to the NCAA Tournament is a challenge Allocoo quickly embraced. 

“You have to be excited about that,” Allocco said. “I hear the noise that the team is young and maybe they aren’t ready to win yet. With the year they had last year, I think they are ready to win. I think everyone is hungry to go out and have a great year. I couldn’t be more excited about that because once you experience it, there’s nothing like it.

“To have an opportunity to go back would be even sweeter.” 

During his visit, Notre Dame’s practice facility quickly caught the eye of Allocco, which included some of the artwork inside Rolfs Athletics Hall. 

“That was pretty special,” Allocco said of the practice facility. “As soon as you walk in, they have a big picture on the wall of one of my best friends growing up, Dane Goodwin. He’s a Columbus kid and I’ve known him since I was in second grade.

“The facilities are unbelievable. It’s second to none. I‘ve never seen anything like it. How could you not take advantage of everything they have there? I’m super excited to get there.” 

Allocco knows there will be an adjustment period when he arrives on campus as he’ll need to learn new teammates and a new program. The challenge of learning how to lead and finding a role is also what has him excited. 

“I don’t want to come in right away and try to take over or act like I know everything,” said Allocco. “I don’t. I’m going to a new program. There’s going to be a lot of learning from me, and hopefully, the rest of the team can learn something from me. It’ll be a little bit of give and take. 

“I think one of my great qualities is communicating. When guys need to be pushed, I can do that, but when they need an arm around them, I can do that too.” 

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