Photo by Rick Kimball/ISD
Notre Dame Basketball

John Mooney Hoping Irish Can Flip The Switch In February

February 1, 2019
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The rise of John Mooney is the story the nation doesn’t know about as Notre Dame (11-10, 1-7) has struggled in ACC play. Mooney is averaging 14.4 points and 10.8 rebounds per game but also has a streak of seven consecutive double-doubles. 

The junior forward is also just one of six major conference players averaging a double-double and leads the ACC in the category with 13. 

Mooney didn’t say he expected to lead the conference in double-doubles, but he put in the work leading up to this season. 

“You have to be confident in your game,” Mooney stated. “Personally, I worked hard this offseason, but it’s a testament to my teammates and coaching staff for putting me in position for it to be like this. We’re not even close to being a finished product, but guys are getting better. Hopefully, it can transition into some wins.”

Notre Dame beat Boston College 69-66 on January 12th and then lost the next five games. The Irish head to Chesnut Hill on Saturday and look to flip the switch.

“We had a rough stretch in January with some of the best teams in the country,” explained Mooney. “Sometimes you have to tip your hat. It’s time to flush it. We have a whole lot of ball to play. We have to get ready for February starting on Saturday.” 

Two of Notre Dame’s losses were to No. 2 Duke and No. 3 Virginia, which didn’t come as a shock, but Mooney knows the Irish can’t look over a beaten up Boston College squad. 

“This conference every game is going to be a tough game and close,” said Mooney. “You can’t really underestimate anyone. We have to take it one game at a time.”

The Irish also played five games at home in January and while home court is nice, head coach Mike Brey is looking forward to getting back on the road. 

“Sometimes you get on the road and circle the wagons a little more,” Brey said on Thursday. “You’re loose and you can play. The last two games we had a great crowd and all these people there. You almost feel you have the weight of the world on you. I think our young guys felt that at times. 

“It’s probably good for us to be away from our building for a while. Our fans were unbelievable. We didn’t give them enough to cheer for.” 

Mooney echoed Brey’s statement and felt a new attitude could do the young Irish some good. 

“That’s one thing we talked about and we have to develop that ‘road dog’ mentality we’ve had in the past few seasons,” Mooney explained. “It’s up the older guys to convey that message that it’s here now. It’s definitely good to get a different change in scenery.” 

It’s also not been a secret Mooney has been banged up the last few games as he deals with a sore ankle. Brey has limited practice reps at times for his star forward and it makes sense as the Notre Dame has been devastated by injuries during the first three months of the season. 

“As the season goes on, your body feels the wear and tear,” said Mooney. “Some things you did in the offseason you have to cut back a little bit right now. The game is the most important thing. You put so much energy into a game that you might not have it in between games. You have to come up with the same work ethic every day.” 

 
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