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Notre Dame Basketball

Why Notre Dame was the Perfect Fit for Nikita Konstantynovskyi

May 15, 2024
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Nikita Konstantynovskyi needed one visit to Notre Dame to determine it was the place for him. 

The Monmouth graduate transfer visited with Micah Shrewsberry and the Fighting Irish program last weekend and gave his commitment to Notre Dame on Tuesday. 

“It’s a great environment and Notre Dame is a big-time school,” Konstantynovskyi told ISD. “I love everything that the school can offer me. It’s a great basketball program with great coaching staff and just amazing people.” 

Shrewsberry came up big on the visit as his conversation with the 6-foot-10 power forward not only left an impression, but left Konstantynovskyi comfortable with how his final year could play out. 

“When I was talking to Coach Shrewsberry, he was honest and told me what he expects from my game,” explained Konstantynovskyi. “He showed a lot of clips of how he saw me play on the basketball court and my job. Everything I heard from him met my expectations for my next spot and led me to Notre Dame instead of other schools.” 

Konstantynovskyi averaged 9.3 ppg and 8.1 rpg last season for Monmouth while shooting 52.6 percent from the field and 65.2 percent from the foul line. The Kyiv, Ukraine native also tallied six double-doubles and finished in double-figures in rebounds in eight games last season. 

Notre Dame’s emphasis on the defensive end plays to Konstantynovskyi’s strengths, but he can also add an important piece to the program in the form of leadership. 

“I’m a pretty versatile player and I can do everything you need to do on the basketball court,” stated Konstantynovskyi. “A part of my game is defense, getting rebounds, being physical around the rim, engaging my teammates and being the vocal guy. Since it’s going to be my last year in the NCAA, I need to be more vocal and set the tone on defense.” 

Leadership is something Notre Dame missed at times a year ago as Shrewsberry had almost a completely new roster, which included a lack of a true veteran presence. 

Konstantynovskyi has experienced the ups and downs of college basketball. Notre Dame will be his fourth school after stops at Northeastern Oklahoma A&M, Tulsa and Monmouth. Those stops have allowed Konstantynovskyi to become a better player, as he’s soaked in the experiences and knowledge of a younger player. 

“I’ve played with older teammates, so I’ve learned a lot from them,” Konstantynovskyi said. “Year by year, I’ve realized how important talking is on the basketball court and being on the same page as your teammates. It’s very important to be locked in and execute the plays.” 

The Notre Dame coaching staff played a significant role in his Konstantynovskyi’s decision, but so did his time around the team as he was able to pick their brains on the Irish program. 

“I had a workout with Notre Dame and I also talked to Braeden Shrewsberry,” Konstantynovskyi stated. “I had a great conversation with him. I asked a lot of questions about the program, teammates and how he likes it so far. He was incredible in his first year. 

“It definitely helped me to realize what I can expect from them. I asked all the questions and it was great. I can’t wait to see them.” 

As for Notre Dame’s facilities, Konstantynovskyi saw everything he needed to see.   

“It’s a very nice facility,” explained Konstantynovskyi. “They have everything that you need. I liked the training room, weight room and the locker room. I did a little tour of the facility.

“I was there only one day for my official visit. I did as much as I could. We did a little tour of the campus, so they showed me everything I could have done in a small period of time. I’m excited about the opportunity.” 

It’s been a journey for Konstantynovskyi as he made the tough decision to leave Ukraine to play college basketball in America. It wasn’t necessarily a goal to play in the ACC in his final season, but it’s a challenge Konstantynovskyi believes he’ll be ready to take on. 

“My goal coming to the United States was to prove to myself that I could do much better than I expected,” said Konstantynovskyi. “Going to the American Conference and competing with Cincinnati, Houston and Memphis was a big jump from junior college. I transferred schools, saw different environments and had to deal with a lot of coaches, so I’ve had a lot of things behind my back. 

“I truly did not know I would play my last year in the ACC. Why I made this decision is because of Coach Shrewsberry and the coaching staff and how they explained my role on the team. Nothing is guaranteed, but I liked how they manage the team and what their expectations are for the next year.” 

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