JR Konieczny Embraces Being A Hometown Hero
Before South Bend (Ind.) St. Joseph small forward JR Konieczny committed to Notre Dame on August 18, it had been nearly two years since the Fighting Irish landed a high school basketball commitment, going back to the 2018 class.
Konieczny knew that and was proud to commit to the local school.
The 6-foot-7, 195-pound three-star prospect earned an offer from Notre Dame in late July and visited campus a week later. After a couple more weeks, he decided to was time to shut things down and commit to Notre Dame.
"It felt like home," Konieczny told Blue & Gold Illustrated. "It was the right fit right off the bat. That's why I committed early. The coaching staff is amazing. Coach Brey, Coach Balanis -- all of those guys. They made me feel like it was more of a family atmosphere more than any other coaching staffs that I've been around.
"They're just amazing people, fun to be around. I love the facilities there and academically, it's Notre Dame. I get to play in the ACC and it's right in my backyard. It will be pretty cool for sure."
Konieczny took another visit to Notre Dame in August in which he informed the coaching staff of his commitment to the Irish.
"I met with all of the coaches on campus," he said. "We went into Coach Brey's office and sat down and talked. I told him that I was fully committed to the University of Notre Dame and everyone got excited. It was a cool moment for sure."
Konieczny's high school is just down the road from Notre Dame and his house is only 15-20 minutes from campus. As just a high school junior, Konieczny will have two years to play in front of local Notre Dame fans and build up a following from Irish fans during the high school basketball season.
"It's amazing, honestly," he said about the proximity of ND to his home. "With the city of South Bend, hopefully I'll have a little bit of a fan base -- building that up the next few years."
Konieczny looks to embrace the role of a hometown hero kid.
"I'm fully committed. I'm not going anywhere," he said. "I'm ready to get to work and make a run at a national championship."
The state of Indiana's 2021 basketball recruiting class is very strong. Another local product is blowing up on the recruiting front, and Konieczny looks to recruit his peers to Notre Dame.
"One of my best friends is Blake Wesley. We've been texting back and forth about teaming up in college. He's a big fan of Notre Dame too. He said that he really likes Notre Dame. I'm going to keep texting him. I'll definitely try to get Blake and Caleb Furst to team up with me. That would be really good for sure."
Konieczny is listed as a small forward on his Rivals profile, but he does not like to label himself with a specific position. During his Notre Dame visit, the staff showed Konieczny some tape of past Notre Dame players that they think he resembles.
"They brought out some video of Steve Vasturia, Pat Connaughton, and Scott Martin, who is actually one of the assistants there right now," he said. "They showed me some film and those guys are kind of position-less. That's how they see me. I can fit into any position, but I'm one of those guys who can play position-less basketball."
Konieczny picked Notre Dame over other offers from Bradley, Butler, Creighton, Iowa, Miami (Ohio), and Valparaiso.