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Luke Harangody: The Overlooked

by Andrew Force | February 2nd, 2009

Facing the African giant, Hasheem Thabeet, the small town kid from Indiana suckered his foe to the baseline. Lesser men had cowered when faced with Thabeet’s arms, long and fear provoking as Medusa’s snakes.

From the baseline the five-inch shorter Luke Harangody evaded those frightful arms with his patented spin move, releasing the ball while still spinning. He concluded the single lutz just in time to witness the ball fall through the net. Two more points for the conference’s leading scorer. More importantly two points were banked for Notre Dame.

Luke Harangody is not afraid of, not unaccustomed to facing bigger, badder dudes. His older brother Ty consistently beat and battered “Little Luke” during their countless competitions growing up. Ty was a football player for Indiana University before an injury cut his college career in half.

While this certainly was not always enjoyable for the younger Harangody the physical and psychological pounding molded Luke into the persistent, unflinching warrior he is today.

Alas Harangody is no Rudy. He has physical gifts that few fans acknowledge but all opponents respect. It takes more than heart to become the Big East Player of the Year.

His footwork is incredible. The 255-pound young man continually adds to an already expansive repertoire of post moves.

The dude gets anywhere he wants on offense.

He does not set up on the low blocks as often as he begins 10-12 feet out on the baseline or smack dab on the elbow. It seems “The Big Swivel” prefers to face up his defenders and employ the kaleidoscope of moves.

This year Luke has begun to use a running hook shot. It looks like a watered down version of Patrick Ewing’s career. Unlike Big Patrick, Harangody’s move is not a travel every single time.

The Notre Dame center does not have the length of Ewing or the grace of Kareem, but his wide powerful shoulders grant him a decent amount of space between his release point and the defender.

The same shoulders serve as battering rams, guided squarely into the chest of the enemy. A combination of hidden strength and delicate touch earns Harangody plenty of “easy” buckets.

Like every Indiana kid since John Wooden, Harangody can shoot. His jumper may not be classically beautiful, but it must be guarded. From the baseline extended, the elbow or even just inside the arc, Harangody quickly raises his arm in the shape of a flamingo’s neck. Right in line with the shot his arm guides the ball towards the rim like an inverted bowling arm.

The slightly unorthodox shot also enables Luke to convert often from the line. By February Harangody converted the second most free throws in the Big East. Many times the occasionally brutish Big Swivel draws contact.

And the foul better be called, or Harangody begins an unending dialogue with the offending official.

He has extended conversations with officials, which appear to be polite clarifications but occupy too much time and energy of the team’s leader. The talks always end pleasantly but it’s a dangerous tree to climb.

While this bickering is anything but endearing, it reveals what may be Harangody’s greatest contribution to the team. His investment.

Luke is all-in. There is no debating that. No observer could question his determination, his drive to carry his team across the finish line victorious. The physical dedications and emotional commitments are constant, unwavering, and inspiring.

Winning is a must for the grown man affixed with the nickname Bamm-Bamm. Every phase of the game in which he can have an impact, he does. And never is there a moment during which Harangody coasts.

Seventeenth century British Author Thomas Fuller said, “An invincible determination can accomplish almost anything and in this lies the great distinction between great men and little men.”

While Luke Harangody is undeniably little by Big East basketball standards his unbelievable determination makes him a great man.

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