THE LATEST pastime
of the Harangody brothers can be characterized as schadenfreude for the Digital
Age: They entertain each other by exchanging links to YouTube videos,
"usually," says Luke, "of someone getting hurt." The most
recent, e-mailed from Ty, a junior at Indiana and the elder by 20 months to
Luke, a sophomore power forward at Notre Dame, stars a TV correspondent at a
mule race called Fór-Mula in rural Brazil. The newsman has foolishly chosen to
report from a spot on the edge of the fenceless, dirt track; 18 seconds into
the clip, his peppy Portuguese commentary is cut off when he's blindsided by a
hard-charging mule making too tight a turn. "The guy just gets rocked,"
Luke says, smirking at the mere mention of it. "We tend to find that stuff
equal comedic gold to the Harangody boys should not be shocking. Physicality is
central to the family identity. The boys' grandfather George had his teeth
knocked out while playing center on the offensive line at Michigan State in
1946; their father, Dave, played tight end for Indiana; and Ty was a tight end
for the Hoosiers until a torn right ACL ended his career during his sophomore
season, in 2006. Luke, whose 6'8", 251-pound body seems ideally suited for
the gridiron as well, has willed himself into an All-America candidate for
Notre Dame's 14th-ranked basketball team, which has established its credentials
as an NCAA tournament sleeper by battering teams on the interior and hitting
41.1% of its three-pointers.
have been a better name for the sport Luke and Ty played growing up in
Schererville, Ind. They had epic one-on-one battles on their backyard court,
which bordered the out-of-service train tracks leading toward the oil
refineries 14 miles north in Whiting, where their parents were raised. Those
games gave Luke something Notre Dame coach Mike Brey calls his "motor,"
a relentlessness born of being a little brother that, Brey says, "I don't
want to do anything to put a governor on."
With a style that
thrives on contact—he has gone to the line 185 times, the fourth-highest total
in the physical Big East—Harangody has steamrollered Big East opponents with
21.0 points and 10.3 rebounds a game for the Irish, who were 24--6 at week's
end. His biggest games have come against some of the league's toughest teams.
He had 29 points and 16 rebounds against West Virginia on Jan. 3; 32 points and
16 boards against Connecticut on Feb. 13; and went for 40 and 12 versus
Louisville on Feb. 28. He now appears to be a lock for conference player of the
it," Huskies coach Jim Calhoun says. "His numbers are outrageous."
To Calhoun, there's really no one else in the game to compare him with.
"He's a very, very odd player. His game is very unorthodox. An NBA [scout]
asked me about him, and I just said, 'I don't know. He doesn't play like anyone
That Harangody is
sui generis accounts for much of his appeal. "He's got a lot of
characteristics, or funny quirks, that make him a very recognizable figure in
college basketball," says junior forward Zach Hillesland. Among them are:
the flushed intensity of Harangody's game face; the hair growing straight out
of his head in all directions, almost porcupinelike; the nimbleness of his feet
for a big man; the jablike hook shot with which he regularly scores; and the
fact that his truncated nickname is a favorite of college basketball analysts,
who've gone gaga for 'Gody. All of it has made the northwest Indiana native an
unlikely star in a conference known for its urban character and whose last four
top players were Carmelo Anthony (of Baltimore), Emeka Okafor (Houston), Randy
Foye (Newark) and Jeff Green (within the Capital Beltway in Maryland).
sometimes, Do I belong in the same category as them?" Harangody says.
"There's no way. My game is not nearly as nice as theirs were. The way I
play is not always pretty, and people joke about that, but every time I step on
the court, I'm going to try to play harder than you. And that's how I'll beat
ONLY 20 months
ago, Harangody doubted he could even beat anyone on the Irish roster.
Two-on-two pickup games in the summer before his freshman year were such
debacles that he called his father and admitted, "I'm in over my head."
The single-minded muscling that had made him a star at Andrean High was
ineffective against college athletes, and he was getting schooled by then
junior forward Rob Kurz.
that Luke kept saying," his father recalls, "was, 'I'll be a bench
player for four years, but at least I'm going to get a degree from a great
university and get a good job afterward.'"
resigning himself to being a scrub, though, Harangody kept on working and made
adjustments, mixing in enough finesse with his ferocity that, by the time Notre
Dame played its first exhibition game of 2006--07, he led the team with 17
points off the bench. He had his first double double in the Irish's second
regular-season game, a loss to Butler. Later that month, Brey summoned
Harangody to his office to discuss moving him into the starting lineup—only to
have Harangody recoil at the suggestion. "I didn't see myself in that
position," he says. "I was just a freshman, and the team was so close
that I didn't want to step on anyone's toes." Sensing it would be the best
thing for Harangody's psyche, Brey tabled the thought, but not before he
uttered a line he may never have to use on another player: "At some point,
though, we're going to have to start you."