Harangody bypasses draft to remain at Notre Dame

Published 12:46 am Tuesday, June 16, 2009

SOUTH BEND, Ind. — Forward Luke Harangody withdrew from the NBA draft on Monday, deciding instead to return to Notre Dame for his senior season and a chance to become the school’s leading scorer.

Coach Mike Brey said he would have supported Harangody no matter what his decision, but is thrilled he will return.

‘‘We have a great nucleus next year and I know one of Luke’s goals is to get back to the NCAA tournament.’’ Brey said. ‘‘He also has the chance to carve a unique place in the long and storied history of the Notre Dame basketball program.’’

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Notre Dame, coming off a 25-8 finish in 2007-08, began last season ranked No. 9 and had high hopes of putting together one of its best seasons in years. But the Irish stumbled through a seven-game losing streak in the middle of the season and finished 21-15 and lost to Penn State in the National Invitation Tournament semifinal.

The 6-foot-8 forward was the one consistent bright spot for the Irish, averaging 23.3 points and 11.8 rebounds last season to lead the Big East in scoring and rebounding in consecutive seasons. He was the league’s player of the year in 2008.

Harangody, who had 792 points last season, needs 738 points next season to pass Austin Carr as Notre Dame’s leading scorer. He needs 370 rebounds to pass Tom Hawkins as the school’s leading rebounder. He had 401 rebounds last season.

He took part in the NBA predraft camp last month in Chicago and worked out for at least eight teams.

‘‘I believe that the past several weeks have been a great learning experience for Luke and his family,’’ Brey said.

Harangody planned to meet with the media on Tuesday to discuss his decision.

He is the third straight Irish player to return to school after initially declaring for the draft. Chris Thomas in 2003 and Torin Francis in 2005 also returned after putting their names in the draft. The last player to leave Notre Dame early was Troy Murphy, taken with the 14th overall pick in 2001 by the Golden State Warriors.