Ben Hansbrough spent most of his life being overshadowed by his older brother in most people's eyes. After all, his older brother happens to be Tyler Hansbrough—the poster boy of college basketball of recent years.
Lucky for Notre Dame fans, Head Coach Mike Brey looked deeper on the family tree and found himself a gem. After transferring from Mississippi State, the younger Hansbrough joins a Notre Dame team looking for revenge.
Why even recruit high school players when you can just feed off transfers from top programs? Brey saved himself a whole lot of extra trips on the recruiting trail by picking up not only one transfer in Hansbrough, but another in G/F Scott Martin from Purdue.
A highly touted prospect coming out of Valparasio (IN), Martin always had Notre Dame in his sights. But after not finding what he wanted with the Boilermakers, Martin has decided to take his game to South Bend.
After flying under the radar and getting little respect in the National Rankings in past years, the Fighting Irish finally were given their opportunity. They were ranked No. 7 to start off the year, and were dealing with high expectations for a change.
After all, they were returning the Big East Player of the Year in Luke Harangody, and most of the rest of their team except for forward Rob Kurz.
The No. 7 ranking was as happy as the story would get though, and the season ended with a semi-final loss at Madison Square Garden to eventual champion Penn State.
Graduating four seniors is never a good sign for a team when talking about their future, but for Notre Dame, it could be a good change.
The Irish have been stuck with a brand of play that involves lots of three-point shooting and almost no defense. With the additions of Hansbrough and Martin, the team looks more athletic and intimidating defensively.
Yes, I used defense and Notre Dame positively in the same sentence.
Hansbrough will take over in the starting lineup for three-point specialist Kyle McAlarney (15 PPG, 3.4 APG.) Although K-Mac was a fan-favorite, Psycho T Jr. brings a more versatile game to the lineup, and will provide more height and better defense at the guard position this year.
Martin will most likely play out of the three position this year, and occasionally see time at the four—spelling Tyrone Nash and Harangody if needed. He brings a slasher-type game to the Irish, which they have been desperately missing in past years. Look for Martin to be a key role in the Irish's offense this year, as he loves the offensive side of the ball.
Without the expectations of a top-10 team, the Irish are right where they love to be. There are still a few questions to be answered about next year's Irish squad, but with the addition of the two transfers and what they can bring to the table, Mike Brey has to be a happy man.