The story has been told so often that the headline virtually
writes itself: GARRITY SCORES (fill in the blank) IN NOTRE DAME
LOSS. "There's no one we play against who's better than Pat
Garrity," said Indiana coach Bob Knight, after his team defeated
the Fighting Irish 91-80 on Dec. 3, despite 24 points from
Garrity. "It was the Pat Garrity show this afternoon, and he did
whatever he wanted," said Seton Hall senior forward Donnell
Williams, after Garrity scored a career-high 37 points,
including 31 of Notre Dame's final 41, in a 64-58 loss to the
Pirates last Saturday.
But while Garrity, a 6'9" senior forward, is well on his way to
winning his second consecutive Big East Player of the Year
award, and though he is likely to leave South Bend as the most
decorated Irish basketball player since John Paxson in 1983, his
college career appears destined to go down as a disappointment.
Through Sunday, Notre Dame had gone 47-49 during Garrity's
career, and with this year's edition 9-6, 3-4 in the Big East,
odds were he would move on to the pros without having played in
an NCAA tournament game.
Though he's not one to assign blame--"The hardest thing about
losing is feeling responsible for it," Garrity says--only three
other players have averaged double figures in scoring during his
tenure in South Bend. "I think losing really eats away at him,"
says Jaimie Lee, Garrity's girlfriend and a senior All-America
volleyball player at Notre Dame. "I was talking to him on the
phone during semester break, and he was speaking in this
monotone. I asked him if he wasn't feeling well. He said, 'No,
I'm just so frustrated. We just don't win.'"
Garrity's anguish isn't surprising, given his disdain for any
kind of failure. He wasn't a top 100 recruit coming out of Lewis
Palmer High in Monument, Colo., but he has made himself into a
better player than most of the guys who were rated above him.
Although he long ago assured himself a lucrative future in the
NBA, perhaps even as a lottery pick, Garrity maintains a 3.7
grade point average as a premed major. Last semester he aced the
first two tests of a biology class he took on a pass-fail basis
but found himself stressed out over his final term paper. "I
just hate to do badly at anything," he says. "It's almost an
Garrity, who led the Big East in scoring through last weekend,
with a 24.1 average, may find life to be easier in the NBA,
where he won't have to contend with double teams and junk
defenses. He got a glimpse of the future last summer while
playing for the U.S. at the Under-22 World Championships in
Australia. Garrity not only led the Americans in scoring (11.8),
but he also spent more time on the bench than he was used to. "I
think I still played pretty well, but it was a big change," he
says. "I wasn't expected to score 20 points a game. I could just
be in the flow and play team basketball. It was kind of nice,
COLOR PHOTO: DAVID WALBERG Garrity searches in vain for a winning formula.[Pat Garrity holding beaker and pipette]