Former Notre Dame guard Steve Vasturia is not done with his basketball career.
In the same way that the Medford, N.J., native, turned into one of the winningest players in Irish history, the 6-foot-5, 210-pounder is now trying his hand at professional basketball.
“Just keep working hard. For me, I’ve probably been written off by a lot of people,” Vasturia said. “I just want to keep playing.”
That journey started last month at the Reese’s College All-Star Game at the Final Four in Phoenix. Vasturia scored a team-low five points on 2-of-8 shooting in the East’s 121-90 win over the West. Vasturia added one rebound, one assist and two steals in 18 minutes.
This week, Vasturia is participating in the Portsmouth Invitational Tournament, a four-day, twelve game tournament in front of representatives from every NBA team.
Former Irish guard Pat Connaughton played in Portsmouth in 2015. It was a step toward becoming the 41st selection in the NBA Draft.
“It’s a great opportunity for me,” Vasturia said. “Not everybody gets a chance to go there. I’ve talked to guys like Pat, and I’m going in there and just give it everything I’ve got. The way I play I have a chance to maybe turn some heads. I’m excited about it. It’s pretty cool. It’ll be nice to play some basketball again.”
Vasturia struggled in his PIT debut Thursday, finishing with four points on 2-of-8 shooting to go along with five rebounds, four assists and four turnovers in 26 minutes.
His team takes the floor again Saturday at noon. All games can be streamed live on the PIT website.
The two-time Notre Dame captain averaged 13.1 points and 3.9 rebounds a game this past season and played a prominent role on both teams that reached the Elite Eight.
Notre Dame set a three-year program record for wins during his sophomore, junior and senior seasons (82). He was the team’s most reliable free-throw shooter — he holds the school record for single-season free throw percentage (91 percent) and ranks second all-time in career free throw percentage (85.3 percent) — and was a tenacious defender.
His most likely destination seems to be overseas, where many former college players make a career.
“I’m lucky enough to have the chance to even have the chance to play professional basketball,” Vasturia said. “I’m just going to try and enjoy it and do everything in my power to work as hard as I can and try and keep playing, wherever that might be.”
Vasturia said he’s already talked to his former Irish teammates that are now playing professionally. Connaughton is with the Portland Trailblazers of the NBA, Demetrius Jackson is with the Maine Red Claws of the NBA’s D-League and Zach Auguste is with Muratbey Uşak Sportif of the Turkish league.
“It’s really going out there and working hard and just doing what you’ve been doing for your whole life,” Vasturia said. “Just trying to enjoy it. It’s a great opportunity and I’m just going to do everything I can to show people what I can do.”