Assessing the Impact of Jerian Grant’s Dismissal From Notre DamePosted by Christopher Kehoe on December 23rd, 2013
Notre Dame’s already diminishing ACC chances took an even greater hit over the weekend when star guard Jerian Grant was dismissed for the remainder of the season for academic reasons. Grant was averaging 19.0 PPG and 6.2 APG for the 8-4 Fighting Irish and was largely considered one of the best guards in the ACC and the country. The 6’5″ senior was shooting 51.8 percent from the floor, 40.8 percent from three, and was clearly a major cog in coach Mike Brey’s attack. Grant, in conjunction with Notre Dame, put out a brief news release Sunday regarding his dismissal. He was apologetic and mature in addressing the public, taking full responsibility for his actions and saying he hopes to be back in an Irish uniform next season. In the release he said, “I take full responsibility for my lack of good judgment and the poor decision that I made. I have no one to blame but myself for the situation.”
Notre Dame has had some struggles out of the gate, losing an uncharacteristic November game for the first time in Brey’s tenure and most recently blowing an eight-point lead with less than a minute to play versus Ohio State on Saturday. The loss of a team leader in Grant will set the Irish back even further with ACC play rapidly approaching. Look for McDonald’s All-American and freshman combo guard Demetrius Jackson to start playing heavier minutes and establishing himself more often on the offensive end. Senior guard Eric Atkins will likewise need to be more aggressive in looking for his shot and take on more responsibility in Grant’s absence. Don’t be surprised to also see the continued ascent of fan favorite Garrick Sherman shouldering a more extensive burden of the offense.
Notre Dame is not likely to finish in the top four in the ACC without Grant in its lineup, but given some of its struggles already, they were facing an uphill battle in that respect anyway. In the league pecking order, the Irish appear to be a level or so below Duke, North Carolina and Syracuse, and are scraping for a leg up on Virginia, Pittsburgh and pleasant surprise N.C. State. Optimists view the silver lining in the way Grant has maturely handled the situation, disappointing though it may be; but with all of the negativity emanating from the P.J. Hairston saga in Chapel Hill, Notre Dame can count itself lucky that this is a clean break that doesn’t drag on and infect the team with endless speculation. The Irish as presently constructed will be the team with which it joins the ACC this season.