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October 12, 2013

Vasturia brings versatility

Steve Vasturia first started to endear himself to teammates during the recruiting process.

Back then the freshman Notre Dame guard was a precocious high school junior playing pickup during an unofficial visit. Veteran point guard Eric Atkins noticed some innate traits during those informal sessions, well before Vasturia was a known quantity in recruiting circles.

Playing in such a fashion attracted Irish coaches to Vasturia in the first place. They would snag a commitment shortly after that first visit to campus, a snug match if there ever was one.

“He’s very comfortable with the ball in his hands, getting a rebound and pushing it full court,” Atkins said. “He has a very high basketball IQ. For somebody to be handling the ball, I think that’s the first thing that you have to have. From the first time I ever watched him play he showed that right away.”

Being more than just a shooter has head coach Mike Brey putting more responsibilities on Vasturia right away.

Often during practice Brey will move freshman point guard Demetrius Jackson off the ball and have Vasturia initiate the offense. Vasturia did plenty of that at St. Joseph’s Prep in Philadelphia en route to scoring 1,764 career points while shooting 89 percent from the free throw line.

Vasturia 20.5 points, 7.1 rebounds, 2.4 assists and 2.1 steals per game as a senior. That in itself is a testament to the well-rounded game that made him the No. 108 prospect overall according to Rivals.com.

Brey plans to leverage that versatility as time goes on.

“Steve can do both,” Brey said. “When we play with Eric and Jerian (Grant), Eric’s the point guard but Jerian is the quarterback sometimes too and Eric spots up. I think the same thing can happen with Demetrius and Steve moving forward in our program. Steve really has a great feel for it and we’ve done that.”

Vasturia, for his part, just shrugs and accepts whatever the coaching staff throws in his direction.

Handling the ball is nothing new. Same goes for working off screens and knocking down jump shots. Chasing around Jackson, Grant, Atkins, Pat Connaughton or V.J. Beachem in practice has old hat by now.

Basically, Vasturia will do anything and everything.

“It’s nice to be able to handle the ball a little bit,” he said. “Basically, anything I can do to help the team. Whatever coach needs that’s what I’m gonna try to do. If I can work on that to get better, that’s the plan.”

When the 6-foot-6, 207-pound guard got here in the summer he would rely on lessons learned in high school to get through certain situations. Sometimes it would be a difficult class, other times a portion of practice.

Now he has more or less put all that behind to face whatever Brey and staff puts on his plate.

“It was an awesome, fun career in high school but I know this is a whole different challenge,” Vasturia said. “I just want to keep that going and try to contribute any way possible.”

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