Notre Dame men's basketball coach Mike Brey said he is hoping for a happy ending for Jerian Grant.
Grant, the Irish's leading scorer, was suspended for the spring semester because of an academic issue after averaging 19 points in the first 12 games this season.
The news of Grant's suspension became public Sunday when the senior guard posted a statement on the team's website, and Brey discussed the loss of Grant Monday in a teleconference.
"I love Jerian Grant, and I am really confident that I'll get to coach him again," Brey said. "I think this is going to end in a great Notre Dame story."
Brey wouldn't go into detail on when he found out that Grant would not be eligible to play for the rest of the season and said he was able to discuss the situation Monday because it was the official end of the fall semester.
Grant, who was on track to earn his degree in sociology in May, can apply to be readmitted to Notre Dame toward the end of the spring semester. If the 6-foot-5, 203-pounder is allowed to return, he would be able to play with the Irish during their trip to Italy in August and would apply for a fifth year after graduating in December to be able to finish his eligibility next season.
"Jerian was treated like any other student, any other student-athlete, was able to finish the semester and post as good of grades as he could," Brey said. "He's really a very solid student. He certainly made a mistake, and he knows that. He'll be in position to graduate in December. He's got to go through the process and the reapplication and all of that. We know that is a process we got to go through."
The lose of Grant is similar to when Notre Dame lost guard Kyle McAlarney after the fall semester in the 2006-07 season after McAlarney's arrest for marijuana possession.
McAlarney was able to return to the school the next season and was a captain in his final season with the program in the 2008-09 season.
"I think it is going to end like the Kyle McAlarney story," Brey said. "I firmly believe that."
Brey said he talked to Grant on Sunday about what the guard will do during his time away from the program with options that include Grant working out and helping coach at Brey's and the guard's alma mater, DeMatha High School in Hyattsville, Md. Grant could also help coach with his AAU program, Team Takeover, or go visit his uncle, former NBA player Horace Grant in California.
"One of the things that his mother and I talked about is he needs to get a job," Brey said. "He needs to work. I think that is part of growing up and learning from things."
As for Notre Dame, Brey said the team will have learn what it is without Grant, who was a first team All-Atlantic Coast Conference preseason selection and, and along with being the leading scorer, also led the team in assists per game (6.2) and steals (24).
"There's no question that when we get back (Thursday), I want to talk to our guys about how we recover from devastating blows, losing guys, injuries, suspensions," Brey said. "The interesting thing about most of this nucleus is they kind of witnessed two of them (the loss of Tim Abromaitis to a knee injury in the 2011-12 season and the loss of Scott Martin to a knee injury last year.
"This one's going to be the hardest for two reasons. Jerian is so involved with everything we do on the offensive end of the floor and we're trying to negotiate a new league."
Notre Dame closes it non-conference schedule on Sunday against Canisius and starts ACC play at home against Duke on Jan. 4.
Brey said he is still figuring out his starting lineup and rotation without Grant, only eliminating Cameron Biedscheid – who it was decided would not play this year to preserve a year of eligibility before the season started – and Eric Katenda – who is still recovering from a knee injury.
Biedscheid may not be part of the Irish’s plans is upcoming seasons either as reports surfaced Monday evening that he would request a release from Notre Dame in order to transfer. The university had no comments on the reports.
"I've thought about (the starting lineup and rotation) a lot in the last 48 hours," Brey said. "We have experience in Tom Knight, obviously Tom Knight was the stop-gap measure last year when Scott Martin went down. The other thing that has been interesting for us is we've played small to start games and that has helped us get off to pretty good starts. When we get back starting (Thursday) through the Canisius game, I think we have to have an open mind to evaluate everything as far as who starts for us.
"For some of them that haven't played much, (Freshmen Steve Vasturia and former New Haven standout V.J. Beachem), they are coming back very excited and should be. We have confidence in them that they can really help us."
For more on how Notre Dame will adjust without Grant, read Tuesday's Journal Gazette or return to www.journalgazette.net after 3 a.m.