That moment came
in the second week of January, when Brey finally swapped Harangody for then
sophomore Luke Zeller on the first team in practice. Senior guard Colin Falls
flashed his coach a look that said, It's about time!
averages of 11.2 points and 6.2 rebounds were promising, but his continued
willingness to improve fueled his breakout as a sophomore. He cut his body fat
from 15% to a lithe 8% by doing extra cardio workouts with the team trainer and
by following a healthier diet, and as a result his minutes jumped from 20.6 a
game to 28.8. Gradually he has extended his range on the floor, unveiling a
lethal midrange jumper to counter taller opponents. UConn's 7'3" center
Hasheem Thabeet held Harangody to 14 points on 5-of-23 shooting when the teams
first met on Jan. 5. In the rematch on Feb. 13, Harangody scored 32 with an
array of jumpers, drives and old-fashioned dirty work, telling his father
afterward that the critics who said he was helpless against height "could
kiss [my] a--."
In Notre Dame's
loss at Louisville two weeks ago, Harangody even hit the first three treys of
his career, en route to his career-high 40 points, suggesting that his
development continues. He will be back in South Bend for at least one more
college season, he says, and Kurz adds, "It's kind of scary, to think of
how great a career he could have if this [improvement] keeps up."
Harangody's game has blossomed, so has his personality. The public is familiar
only with the Harangody who has transformed himself into an angrily focused
warrior, often after listening to the Braveheart soundtrack in the locker room.
"That's a totally different person," he says of his on-court demeanor.
"I see it as, out there, I have to be mean. But when I'm off, I can go back
to being on regular terms."
Certainly Brey did
not know, entirely, what he was getting when he recruited Harangody; their
phone calls were so awkward and one-sided that the coach had his daughter teach
him how to text message, so he could pursue his shy prey that way. Harangody's
sociable parents—Dave is a commodities broker at the Chicago Board of Trade,
and Peg is the principal at St. Michael School in Schererville—would listen in
agony as Luke mumbled a series of "Uh-huhs" over the phone to his
college suitors. "We would be like, 'At least say yes, instead of
that,'" says Peg, "but that's how he is. I think it takes him a while
to get used to people, and trust them enough to open up."
In his second
season as part of a close-knit Notre Dame team, Harangody looks very much at
ease. He has partnered with junior guard Kyle McAlarney to become the Irish's
resident pranksters. They both pack masks in their road bags—'Gody's is an evil
clown, McAlarney's is the Jigsaw Killer from Saw. Says junior forward Ryan
Ayers, "You have to get back to your hotel room before [Harangody] does
because he'll get your roommate to let him in, then hide in your closet and
scare the heck out of you." Walk-ons are particularly vulnerable targets
for their stunts: Forward Tim Abromaitis was ambushed by the masked duo in his
dorm room over fall break. And during Notre Dame's winter recess, McAlarney
devised a plan to slip a laxative to freshman Tim Andree—and used 'Gody to
covertly powder Andree's pink lemonade at a team dinner. (For the record, there
is no residual resentment; Andree and Harangody plan to room together in the
Then there are the
pratfalls, a comedic device that is strictly Harangody's idea. He'll take an
intentional dive in front of a crowd, say, at the mall in Mishawaka, Ind., or
at a nonbasketball event in the Joyce Center, just to break up the monotony. On
an after-midnight run to a nearby IHOP in December, some teammates dared
Harangody to approach a table of girls, say a line from A Night at the Roxbury
("'Sup? You from out of town?") and then fall. He chickened out in
mid-sentence, beelined into the men's bathroom, accidentally slamming open a
loose door in the process, "and then walked back to the table, where we
were dying laughing, in like two seconds," says Hillesland.
In this arena may
lie the lone downside to Harangody's newfound fame: As he approaches his first
NCAA tournament as Notre Dame's highest-profile player, it will be difficult to
pull off his slapstick act anonymously. "Even recently, he's had to tone it
down," says Hillesland, "because he's getting so recognizable. He can't
just walk into a drugstore and trip anymore. People will know who he is."
Such are the trade-offs of stardom. The bigger you get, the more intense the
scrutiny. Imagine the horror if a spill like that were to end up on