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Notre Dame’s John Mooney Has His Boarding Pass

And he’s ready to take your boards away

NCAA Basketball: Illinois at Notre Dame
Nov 27, 2018; South Bend, IN, USA; Notre Dame Fighting Irish guard D.J. Harvey (5) Illinois Fighting Illini guard Aaron Jordan (23) Notre Dame Fighting Irish forward John Mooney (33) and Illinois Fighting Illini forward Giorgi Bezhanishvili (15) fight for a rebound in the first half at the Purcell Pavilion.
Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

Based on early returns it seems evident Notre Dame, which relies heavily on three guards, is ultimately dependent on the performance of 6-9 John Mooney, one of two All-ACC selections left from last year’s 15-member all-conference club. (The other was Louisville’s Jordan Nwora, a preseason All-American in 2019-20.) Both made third team.

In a decisive loss at North Carolina in the teams’ season opener, Mooney had 10 points and led his squad with eight boards as the Irish were outrebounded by 20. Perhaps more telling, all eight of Mooney’s rebounds came on defense. In an easy win over Howard Mooney had 18 points and 16 rebounds, six on offense.

Notre Dame was 13th in the ACC in total rebounds last year, seventh on the offensive end. To better balance the perimeter contributions of Prentiss Hubb, T.J. Gibbs and Rex Pflueger the Irish must do better attacking and protecting the boards.

Mooney led the ACC with 11.2 rebounds per game in 2019, most since Maryland’s Jordan Williams (11.8) in 2011. Should Mooney, a senior from Florida, repeat that achievement, he’d be the first to pace the conference in rebound average in consecutive seasons since Duke’s Shelden Williams in 2005 and 2006.

This is Notre Dame’s seventh season as an ACC member. Over its six completed conference seasons, an Irish player led the league in rebounding three times, a Duke player two.

Until Shelden Williams came along, a Duke player topped the ACC in rebounds per game only twice – Mike Lewis in 1966 and 1968. The league recognizes a tie for leadership in 1978, but in fact Wake’s Rod Griffin averaged 10.03 rebounds while Mike Gminski grabbed 9.97.

WHEN BOARD IS EXCITING
Players Who Led the ACC In
Rebound Average Since 2014
Season Player, School Per Game
2014 Jabari Parker, D 8.7
2015 Tonye Jekiri, UM 9.9
2016 Zach Auguste, ND 10.7
2017 Bonzie Colson, ND 10.1
2018 Marvin Bagley III, D 11.1
2019 John Mooney, NC 11.2