#20 Jonathan Peoples- 6-3 / 215, Bellwood, IL-
Peoples was a steady hand off the bench last year for the Irish and should serve the same role this year. With McAlarney out during the Big East schedule, Peoples gave Coach Brey some quality minutes when Tory Jackson needed a breather. A three-star recruit, Notre Dame beat out Northwestern to land him two years ago.
Jonathan played in 26 contests last season, averaging 6.4 minutes a game. He should get about the same amount of action, since both K-Mac and Tory can play the point. While Peoples can play shooting guard, Coach Brey is more likely to have Ryan Ayers or others fill in when either McAlarney or Jackson is on the bench.
#40 Luke Zeller- 6-10 / 239, Washington, IN-
Luke entered the program as a heavily recruited prep star. Indiana Mr. Basketball and McDonald's All-American, Zeller was a four-star recruit out of high school. He also received scholarship offers from Stanford, Kansas, Illinois, and Missouri. Needless to say, there were some high expectations for Mr. Zeller. Entering his junior season, Luke has yet to add a effective inside game with his strong outside shooting.
Last year, he started the first 16 games and played in all 32, averaging 3.8 points and 2.2 rebounds in 12.4 minutes a game. He will be the main substitute for Luke Harangody and Rob Kurz down low. If this year's version of Zeller (an inch shorter and somewhat more agile) can contribute steady minutes off the bench, the Irish will be ok. With two very good starters, all we need from Luke is a guy off the bench who can get rebounds and still threaten the defense inside. He has the talent, now is the time to become a legit Big East forward.
Tomorrow I will focus a little more on our key players, starting with 6th man Zach Hillesland.