The Notre Dame basketball team has gotten off to a disappointing 8-4 start through the opening stretch of the season, including losses to Indiana State and North Dakota State at home. However, the biggest loss of the season might have come Dec. 22.
Due to academic issues, Jerian Grant is no longer enrolled at the university. Irish Sports Daily reported the news via Twitter:
Nicole Auerbach of USA Today provided a statement from Notre Dame head coach Mike Brey discussing Grant's dismissal:
ND coach Mike Brey, who has dealt w/ suspensions/injuries before, says re: Jerian Grant: "This one is going to be the hardest."— Nicole Auerbach (@NicoleAuerbach) December 23, 2013
Mike Brey: "I love Jerian Grant, and I’m really confident I will coach him again.— Nicole Auerbach (@NicoleAuerbach) December 23, 2013
Tom Cole of the South Bend Tribune continued:
Brey expects Jerian Grant to be readmitted in time for summer school and foreign tour of Italy.— Tom Noie (@tnoieNDInsider) December 23, 2013
In an official statement on the Notre Dame website, Grant blames himself and takes full responsibility for his actions. While it is commendable for Grant to have done so, the void that his absence leaves on the team will be hard to fill.
The senior guard was leading the team in points and assists per game with 19 and 6.2, respectively, through 12 games. In his final game with the Fighting Irish, Grant finished with 18 points against No. 2 Ohio State in a 64-61 loss.
The Irish are currently playing their first season in the ACC and already had a tough hill to climb to finish inside the top five of the conference, which they were projected to do by the media, according to the ACC's official website.
Following the loss of Grant, players like Garrick Sherman and Pat Connaughton will be asked to carry the load even more than before. With both players averaging more than 13 points per game, the Irish still seem capable of making noise in the ACC.
Grant did close his statement with a mention of returning to Notre Dame to finish out his education after the spring semester:
It is my full intention to return to Notre Dame as soon as possible following the 2014 spring semester. I intend to do whatever it takes to earn my degree and finish out my college basketball career here. I understand that there is a process that I must go through in order to come back to school and I will be patient with that process.
While it is unclear whether Grant will ever suit up for the Irish following this announcement, it is clear that they have big shoes to fill with him gone for the rest of the season.