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May 2, 2012

Abromaitis denied 6th year

Tim Abromaitis' college basketball career is officially over.

Abromaitis, the two-time Irish captain who scored 1,137 points and ranks 38th on Notre Dame's all-time scoring list, has been denied a sixth year of eligibility by the NCAA.

"What he did academically here is just flat-out off the charts," said Irish head coach Mike Brey of Abromaitis. "And what he meant to our program…The ambassador that he was, the great role model that he will always be…

"He's disappointed, but I think he's kind of excited about the next phase, getting in shape, going to Europe, and then making a run at the NBA after a year in Europe and getting that leg to 100 percent."

The three-time Big East scholar-athlete of the year suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament just two games into the 2011-12 season. Notre Dame had hoped that Abromaitis' academic prowess - he has earned two degrees - would help sway the NCAA into granting him a rare sixth year of eligibility.

"He's kind of the epitome of what our program is," Brey said. "Guys that come in and are in with both feet. They can get better and maybe do things they never thought they'd ever do, which is the feeling for Abro and his family. I don't know if they ever pictured him being the level of a player that he became."

Ever after suffering his season-ending injury, Abromaitis continued to play his role as captain of the 2011-12 team. 

"He did a heckuva job for us this year for us," Brey said. "Behind closed doors, he was a big brother helping guys with stuff. Just an amazing run of what he did here in all phases.

"He's off the charts academically, he improved and came out of nowhere to become a first-team all-Big East candidate, and he's the guy that everybody wants their daughter to marry. Every dad wants their daughter to bring home Abro. It's too good to be true."

Next up is another sixth-year candidate, Scott Martin, who could receive notice from the NCAA any day. Of course, that's what they said in mid-March.

Martin's case would appear to be a bit more promising with family issues pertaining to his father's previous illness coming into play.

"I understand the process and them needing some more documentation to put everything together," Brey said. "But it just seems like this has been longer than it should have been to get a decision on him. All we can do is sit tight and hope for the best. I still believe we have a really strong case. We were led to believe that, and I'm still going to bank on that.

"From the vibe we got, we felt there was a great chance we'd have a decision early this week, and I think we're going to go past that now, and I'm not sure we'll have a decision by the end of this week. I've kind of just flushed timetables now. I guess they'll get to us when they can get to us."

Martin's return would add to an already deep roster for the 2012-13 season, featuring big man Jack Cooley, and guards Eric Atkins and Jerian Grant. Pat Connaughton will rejoin the basketball mix after pitching for the Irish baseball team this spring, and Michigan State transfer Garrick Sherman will be eligible for the upcoming season.

Alex Dragicevich (transfer) and Mike Broghammer (injury) are gone from last year's roster, but Tom Knight and Joey Brooks return for their senior seasons, and incoming freshmen Cameron Biedsheid, Zach Auguste and Austin Burgett will compete for playing time.

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