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The 2021-22 season didn’t start like it would be a memorable one for Notre Dame. Starting the schedule with a 4-5 record will do that. Then, the Irish rattled off winning streaks of six, four and five and stayed in contention for the ACC regular-season championship almost to the end. Their resume was enough to be selected for their first NCAA Tournament since 2017, and a pair of wins to get to the round of 32 tied a nice bow on this 24-11 season.
Before this iteration of the Irish goes its separate ways for good, there were some team awards to give out. The informal presentation was held at Rolfs Athletic Center. When you look the winners, there probably won’t be any surprises if you followed this team closely from the beginning. Let’s take a look at which players were rewarded for being the best of the best for the Irish this past season:
Rookie of the Year: Blake Wesley
Dec 18, 2021; Indianapolis, Indiana, USA; Notre Dame Fighting Irish guard Blake Wesley (0) shoots the ball in the first half against the Indiana Hoosiers at Gainbridge Fieldhouse. Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports
Wesley declared for the NBA draft after one year, but not before leading the Irish with 14.4 points and 1.3 steals a game.
Best Defender: Cormac Ryan
Mar 18, 2022; San Diego, CA, USA; Notre Dame Fighting Irish guard Cormac Ryan (5) and Alabama Crimson Tide center Charles Bediako (10) fight for a loose ball in the second half during the first round of the 2022 NCAA Tournament at Viejas Arena. Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Ryan was second on the Irish with 0.9 steals a game and led all regular players with a defensive box plus/minus of 2.4.
Rebounding Leader: Paul Atkinson Jr.
Jan 29, 2022; South Bend, Indiana, USA; Virginia Cavaliers guard Reece Beekman (2) goes up for a shot as Notre Dame Fighting Irish forward Paul Atkinson Jr. (20) defends in the first half at the Purcell Pavilion. Mandatory Credit: Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports
Feb 9, 2022; South Bend, Indiana, USA; Notre Dame Fighting Irish forward Paul Atkinson Jr. (20) grabs a rebound over Louisville Cardinals forward Roosevelt Wheeler (4) in the first half at the Purcell Pavilion. Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports
The Yale transfer led all players with 6.9 rebounds a game and 2.5 offensive rebounds a game.
Assists Leader: Prentiss Hubb
Dec 18, 2021; Indianapolis, Indiana, USA; Notre Dame Fighting Irish guard Prentiss Hubb (3) passes the ball while Indiana Hoosiers forward Trayce Jackson-Davis (23) defends in the first half at Gainbridge Fieldhouse. Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports
The senior had 4.0 assists a game to pace the Irish for the third consecutive year.
Leadership Award: Nate Laszewski
Mar 18, 2022; San Diego, CA, USA; Notre Dame Fighting Irish forward Nate Laszewski (14) shoots against the Alabama Crimson Tide in the first half during the first round of the 2022 NCAA Tournament at Viejas Arena.Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Laszewski’s 99.3 defensive rating per 100 possessions led all regular players.
Most Improved Player - Dane Goodwin
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – NOVEMBER 23: Dane Goodwin #23 of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish goes for a layup against the Chaminade Silverswords during the 2021 Maui Invitational basketball tournament at Michelob ULTRA Arena on November 23, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Notre Dame won 90-64. (Photo by David Becker/Getty Images)
Goodwin’s shooting likely factored into the decision to give him this award. His field-goal percentage increased from .431 to .504, and he improved from .352 to .458 from 3-point range.
Most Valuable Player: Entire roster
Dec 20, 2021; South Bend, Indiana, USA; Notre Dame Fighting Irish starters (left to right) guard Blake Wesley (0) forward Nate Laszewski (14) guard Prentiss Hubb (3) guard Dane Goodwin (23) and forward Paul Atkinson Jr. (20) take the court for the game against the Western Michigan Broncos at the Purcell Pavilion. Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports
Mike Brey decided there was enough unity to give this award to the entire team. Anyone disagree?