Notre Dame Hoops’ Social Media Trailer Ironically Characterizes Micah Shrewsberry’s Happy Valley Departure
Between the production of “Hoosiers”, the pedigree of Larry Bird, and Reggie Miller’s long-standing prowess for the Indiana Pacers, there’s no doubt that the state of Indiana’s historical basketball lineage runs deep.
As an Indianapolis product, former Penn State men’s basketball coach Micah Shrewsberry grew up, played, and coached in the Hoosier state for a combined 38 years. After developing the Nittany Lions into an NCAA Tournament group for the first time in 12 seasons, Shrewsberry elected to return to his roots and take Notre Dame’s vacant head coaching gig last Friday.
In addition to citing the chance to go back to Indiana as “special” in Dave Jones’ interview with the Fighting Irish’s new leader last week, Shrewsberry also lauded his new program’s historical pedigree from a hoops perspective.
“I understand the history of Notre Dame basketball,” Shrewsberry told Jones. “It was just a special opportunity.”
Comparing Penn State and Notre Dame basketball is largely a second-fiddle argument for two athletic programs steeped firmly in tradition on the gridiron. However, with 37 NCAA Tournament appearances, 17 Sweet Sixteen berths, and seven Elite Eight visits, calling the move from Happy Valley to South Bend as “lateral” from a basketball standpoint would probably be debunked.
Based on Notre Dame’s longstanding track record on the hardwood, which Shrewsberry cited as a leading acumen for undertaking the rebuilding effort, putting together a hard-hitting promotional material after his hiring should’ve been an easy ask from the program’s social media team.
But instead, Notre Dame basketball’s Twitter account posted a sappy, yet ironic, 30-second trailer to share the news of Shrewsberry’s commitment before even pushing out an official announcement.
For the video’s first 10 seconds, the camera pans across the Fighting Irish’s iconic “Play Like a Champion Today” sign hung outside the football squad’s locker room leading into the tunnel. While the storied mantra implemented by former mentor Lou Holtz is an institutional staple in South Bend, it hardly relates to the basketball program.
Moreover, the video’s next portion includes a smaller version of a homemade “Believe” poster, inspired by Apple TV’s hit series, “Ted Lasso.” During the Nittany Lions’ six-game postseason run throughout the Big Ten Tournament and the Big Dance, Shrewsberry used the mantra to feed the unit’s underdog mentality. Across the stretch, Penn State reached its first Big Ten Tournament Championship since 2011, while also winning an NCAA Tournament matchup for the first time since 2001.
The team’s newfound, late-season success resulted in the Happy Valley community rallying around the presence of meaningful March matchups for the first time in over a decade. Between clips of Jalen Pickett, Seth Lundy, and Andrew Funk all smacking the gaudy yellow sign after marquee victories, the popular saying turned into more of a Penn State basketball slogan than a product of Micah Shrewsberry.
While Shrewsberry undoubtedly deserves credit for willing the Nittany Lions to recently unforeseen heights, an over-performing group marked by four veteran transfers and a pair of longtime program mainstays in Seth Lundy and Myles Dread deserve to call the program’s “Believe” tagline their own, rather than it being claimed by the head coach who decided to jump ship.
Later in Shrewsberry’s interview with Jones, Notre Dame’s new headman described basketball in Indiana as a “religion”.
If hoops at his fresh landing spot is truly as special as Shrewsberry claims it to be, it should’ve been quite simple to develop an exciting clip upon his official hiring that encapsulated the prestige that lies within the walls of Purcell Pavilion.
Instead, the Fighting Irish’s media team reverted back to Notre Dame football to draw interest, while also bringing attention to a phrase that will forever be associated with Penn State hoops’ 2023 postseason surge as a whole, not just Shrewsberry.
If anything, it showed that Notre Dame basketball is just Notre Dame basketball. It’s probably not a “religion” as Fighting Irish football is on fall Saturdays in Indiana, and as Penn State football acts during the same time frame in Pennsylvania.
It depicts, that in all likelihood, Shrewsberry simply wanted to return to his home state — and there’s no shame in that. But, selling a “historical” product based on external, unrelated elements is simply ironic.
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