Beachem, Vasturia A Winning Pair
Two of the winningest players in Notre Dame basketball history will take the floor for the final time Wednesday night at Purcell Pavilion.
V.J. Beachem and Steve Vasturia will be honored for Senior Night prior to the game against Boston College, capping two historic Irish careers.
“These are two of the greatest winners in the history of Notre Dame basketball. Flat out,” head coach Mike Brey said.
Beachem, a 6-8 wing, is averaging a career-best 15.1 points per game for the Irish (22-7 overall, 11-5 in the Atlantic Coast Conference). Vasturia, a 6-6 guard, is averaging 13.8 points per game.
The two captains add different elements. Beachem is perhaps Notre Dame’s best athlete and has become a deadly outside shooter. Vasturia is arguably the team’s best perimeter defender while adding a steady hand on offense.
Their rise to prominence has coincided with three of the best seasons in Notre Dame history. Playing in the best basketball conference in the country, Beachem and Vasturia — a pair of former four-star recruits — have been part of the best three-year stretch in program history.
The Irish tallied a program-best 56 combined wins in 2014-15 and 2015-16 en route to back-to-back Elite Eight appearances and have 22 wins this season, a total of 78 victories in that stretch.
“You look at their record and the wins that they’ve accumulated over their career,” Brey said of the 1,000-point scorers. “Also what they’ve done in the ACC Tournament winning a championship and what they’ve done being part of back-to-back Elite Eights and wins in the NCAA Tournament.
“Steve Vasturia and V.J. Beachem, they may be the two best winners in the history of Notre Dame basketball.”
Vasturia has been the picture of consistency for the Irish. He made his starting debut in January of his freshman season, then entered the starting lineup for good in February against Boston College. The Philadelphia native has not left the lineup since, making 110 consecutive starts for the Irish. Vasturia is the fourth Notre Dame player to start 100 consecutive games in a career.
Vasturia is one of 10 finalists for the Jerry West Award, which goes to the best shooting guard in the nation. He is seventh on the list of active career scorers in the ACC with 1,326 points and fourth in career assists with 310.
On the Notre Dame career charts, Vasturia currently ranks second in free throw percentage (85.0), 11th in three-point field goals attempted (492), 14th in steals (123), 19th in assists (310), 21st in three-point field goal percentage (36.8) and 29th in scoring (1,326).
According to Notre Dame sports information, Vasturia and Chris Thomas (2001-05) are the only Irish players to score more than 1,300 points, record 300 assists and shoot better than 85 percent from the free throw line.
Beachem, meanwhile, has started 66 games in his Irish career. He made one start his freshman season, then came off the bench all 33 games as a sophomore while playing 14.6 minutes per game.
He surged into the starting lineup last year as a junior, starting all 36 games and playing a leading role in the team’s NCAA Tournament run. The Fort Wayne, Ind., native entered his name in the 2016 NBA Draft, but did not hire an agent and opted to return for his senior season.
Beachem currently ranks 45th all time in points at Notre Dame (1,132) and 14th in games played (125). His 40.4 percent three-point shooting ranks 12th all time in program history.
Note: Fifth-year senior forward Patrick Mazza will also be honored Wednesday night. The walk-on from Glen Ellyn, Ill., also was a walk-on for the football team from January 2014 through January 2016. The 6-10 Mazza has played in three games this year in mop-up duty.