Irish hoops team takes practice to the people

The Notre Dame men's hoops team held its first-ever off-campus open practice under coach Mike Brey Tuesday night at The Salvation Army Ray & Joan Kroc Corps Community Center in South Bend.

Fans young and old stood in line to get an up-close sneak peek at this year’s basketball team.

And the young ones didn’t have to wait long at all to get a little closer than they had expected. After warm-ups, Irish head coach Mike Brey held a brief huddle with his team, and then signaled for a handful of youngsters in the crowd to “join the layup line.”

Three-footers and six-footers alike shared the court and took turns at the hoop.

Then the Irish broke into their normal practice. Full speed. Full effort.

"Coach Brey made it a point to say that today is a work day. It's not an off day,” said Notre Dame guard Scott Martin. “We're in here going through our normal stuff, and getting ready to go for our game on Monday."

The open practice was a big deal to the Irish players, who said they take it as a personal responsibility to take the game back to the people and help grow the sport.

They also understand the spectators aren’t the only ones getting something out of the experience.

"It always makes you feel good to know that you're having an inspiration and an impact on someone's life, really, from the thing I love to do--play basketball,” said Irish forward Jack Cooley. “Having other people see that and get enjoyment from it, it makes me happy."

Notre Dame starts the new season on Monday at Purcell Pavilion when they take on Quincy at 7p.m.

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