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October 16, 2013

Eric Atkins

Jerian Grant


JEFF FISCHEL:  I'm joined by the Notre Dame backcourt.
Jerian, is there a better backcourt in the country than the two of you?
JERIAN GRANT:  Personally, I don't think so.  At the end of the day, we're going to have to go out there and prove it.  I think we've established ourselves as one of the better backcourts.  I think we're going to have to do that again in the ACC.
JEFF FISCHEL:  Eric, go ahead.
ERIC ATKINS:  Yeah, I feel the same way.  I definitely feel like we are one of the best.  We're definitely going to have to go out there and prove it this year, playing against some great guards in the ACC.
JEFF FISCHEL:  We'll take questions.

Q.  Jerian, with your brother Jeremi, what has the conversation been like?  Any personal battles between the two of you?
JERIAN GRANT:  Yeah, you know, we talk every day.  We're just excited about being able to play in the same conference again.
I get to go down there and play against him again.  Personally we both want to have great seasons, we want our teams to have great seasons.
He's looking forward to getting a lot more minutes this year, being able to show people what he can do on a consistent basis.

Q.  What do you anticipate being the biggest change in this move?  Will it be the culture of the gyms you're going to, the style of play?
ERIC ATKINS:  In my opinion, it will be the culture of the gyms.  In the Big East we played at a lot of schools that had NBA arenas.  Sometimes it wouldn't be as packed.
I feel like in the ACC, they're all like college‑based arenas.  That's definitely going to have a different feel to it.  They're always going to have more of a home‑court advantage I feel like.
JERIAN GRANT:  Yeah, I think it's going to be a little different.  In the Big East, you're seeing a lot of games that were in the 40s and low 50s.  You turn the TV on, the building ACC is scoring 75, 80 points.
It's going to be different with the contrasting styles a little bit.

Q.  Can you talk about replacing the winningest class in school history, especially a guy like Jack Cooley.
JERIAN GRANT:  Jack was a double‑double every night guy.  I don't think we have any one person that's going to do that this year.
As a committee, I think definitely guys are going to be able to step up and do that.  Garrick Sherman is going to be more consistent this year, get a lot more minutes on a consistent basis.  That's definitely going to help us.
ERIC ATKINS:  I think we're definitely going to have to do it as a team.  The rebounding that Jack provided for us, hopefully Jerian's and I's class can finish as the most winning class in Notre Dame history.
JEFF FISCHEL:  You went 25‑10 last year.  Eric, what are the goals this season for this team?
ERIC ATKINS:  One of the goals is, again, to get an NCAA bid in this new league for us, just to be successful in the new league.  It has a challenge of its own.  Then to make a run in the tournament.  I think that's the biggest key for us.
JERIAN GRANT:  Yeah, coming into a new conference, we feel like we have to reestablish ourselves.  That's something I think we're going to do and be able to do this year.
Then it's tournament time, it's time for us to get a win, make a run in there.  I think that will really be able to tell how we did in our season.

Q.  You touched on the different cultures of the gyms.  Are you coming in with the attitude of just kind of dipping your toes in the water at the start of the season or do you realize you just have to dive in head first?
JERIAN GRANT:  Well, yeah, our first ACC game is against Duke.  We have to come ready right away.  It's going to be a huge game for us to make a statement.
I don't think there's no dipping your toes when you're playing against Duke.  It's all in.
ERIC ATKINS:  We have to dive in right away, opening up with Duke.  The ACC didn't make it easy on us at all opening up with Duke.
I think that's good for us.  We get the premiere team in the league to start off with.  It can only be good for us.
JEFF FISCHEL:  I'm going to talk to Mike Brey this afternoon.  The guy is always like positive energy.  Is that what he's like for you?
JERIAN GRANT:  Coach Brey is a positive coach.  If guys make mistakes, he's telling you what you can do better next time, not how bad you did.
He's always smiling, making jokes.  He brings a lot of energy to the guys.  I think that helps a guy get better.  Coach Brey tells them what they're good at instead of telling them what you're bad at.
ERIC ATKINS:  In my opinion, Coach Brey is a great coach because he's a confidence‑giver.  Everybody feels like they can play their own game, letting us do so.
JEFF FISCHEL:  I talked a lot about how you distribute very well, but you also protect the ball well.  How important do you consider sharing and also making sure you're protecting the ball?
ERIC ATKINS:  That's huge for us.  That's part of the culture and being a guard under Mike Brey, is protecting the ball and being good with it.  He instills that in us very early.  I think it just carries on year after year.
JERIAN GRANT:  Yeah, taking care of the ball, it's really tough.  With Coach Brey, you're not going to be on the court much if you can't take care of the ball.  That's the main focus for all his players.  As you continue to do a good job with that, you're going to continue to get a chance to play.
JEFF FISCHEL:  Sometimes you get on hot streaks.  Jerian, I don't think I've ever seen anything like the hot streak you were on against Louisville.  Describe that.
JERIAN GRANT:  Your teammates give you confidence.  The guys are giving me the ball, telling me to go make a play.  When your coach and your teammates have confidence in you like that, it boosts your own confidence.  You think any shot you shoot is going in.
ERIC ATKINS:  I've never seen a streak like Jerian got on against Louisville.  I can't say I've ever done anything like that, but it was amazing like that.
JEFF FISCHEL:  Thanks for come by, guys.  Good luck to Notre Dame this season, the first year the Irish are in the ACC.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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