Recently, I had the great opportunity to interview current Notre Dame senior and basketball star John Mooney.
Mooney is entering his senior season at Notre Dame, currently averaging 15.7 PPG, 13.9 RBG, and has led Notre Dame to a 10-6 record so far.
What’s his goal? To make the NCAA Tournament, a goal many college athletes can’t accomplish.
Mooney and I chatted about his memories at Notre Dame, his goals, and what it takes to get to the NCAA Tournament.
“I love everything about Notre Dame,” Mooney said. “It’s become a second home. I can’t imagine going anywhere else.”
Mooney first arrived on campus in 2016, a 3 star-recruit out of Altamonte Spring, Florida. Mooney was recruited by a lot of different schools, and actually committed to Florida before commiting on August of 2015. On September 6th, 2015, Mooney officially committed to Notre Dame University.
One of the biggest reasons Mooney joined Notre Dame? Head Coach Mike Brey. Brey has been apart of Notre Dame for 19 years now, since 2000. “Coach Brey is everything I expected and more- a coach that lets you play free while demanding your best each and every day,” Mooney stated. “He and his staff have helped me become a better player over my four years here.”
Mooney has had quite the ride at Notre Dame. The Irish went 26-10 his freshman season, making the NCAA Tournament and advancing to the Elite Eight. The next season, Mooney went 21-15 and made the NIT Tournament, but did not make any tournaments his junior season.
When asked about how far he thinks this Notre Dame team is capable of going this season, Mooney responded with: “As far as we want. Our goal is to get to the NCAA Tournament. I definitely think we can if we finish games better. If we can make plays down the stretch, we can definitely make a run.”
Notre Dame is sitting at 10-6, a record many think could be improved with some better finishes to their game. “I think we are playing a lot better than our record shows,” said Mooney. “Most of our losses could have easily been wins but we just couldn’t finish. Our mindset is to keep playing our game but really focusing in on the last few minutes of each game.”
Notre Dame has some huge ACC games coming up, and must be locked-in every game to get to Mooney’s goal: A tournament appearance.
Mooney has had many remarkable memories at South Bend, but his personal favorite was Notre Dame winning the Maui Invitational his sophomore season. “It was an awesome experience with some great teammates,” Mooney said.
Mooney has shown his love to Notre Dame, with the fans and everyone in the College Basketball world giving back the love. When asked about if he would do anything differently at Notre Dame, he simply said “No Sir! Go Irish!” A true response from someone who loves Notre Dame Basketball.
Mooney’s career at Notre Dame will always be remembered, and not just by Notre Dame, but by College Basketball fans everywhere. A great player, but more importantly, an even better person & teammate.
Mooney, after college, plans on entering the NBA Draft, or playing overseas somewhere as a professional. The bar Mooney has set for him and his team is high, but it’s a goal they can all accomplish.