- Andy Katz, ESPN Senior Writer
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Luke Harangody chose the sure thing of being a Notre Dame great over the uncertainty of where he'd go in the NBA draft when he decided to return for his senior season with the Irish.
As of midday Monday, Notre Dame coach Mike Brey still didn't know which way Harangody was leaning. But an hour before the 5 p.m. ET deadline, Harangody told Brey he was returning to school. Brey said in a text simply: "Gody to return!"
Brey said he would have supported Harangody, who has a chance to become Notre Dame's all-time leading scorer, no matter what his decision, but is thrilled he will return.
"First of all, we are thrilled that Luke has decided to return to Notre Dame and be a part of our program for his senior year," Brey said in a statement later Monday. "I believe that the past several weeks have been a great learning experience for Luke and his family. He has handled this as a man and I am very proud that he went through this whole process.
"Luke has had my full support from day one and whatever final decision he made, I was doing to support him," Brey said. "With that being said, I am excited that he is going to be back. We have a great nucleus next year and I know what of Luke's goals is to get back to the NCAA tournament. He also has the chance to carve a unique place in the long and storied history of the Notre Dame basketball program."
Harangody won the Big East player of the year in 2008 when the Irish made the NCAA tournament. But a seven-game losing streak in the middle of last season led to the Irish missing out on the NCAAs and Harangody finishing out of the chase for player of the year honors behind co-winners DeJuan Blair of Pitt and Hasheem Thabeet of Connecticut.
The 6-foot-8 forward averaged 23.3 points and 11.8 rebounds last season to lead the Big East in scoring and rebounding in consecutive seasons.
With 1,823 career points, Harangody needs 738 to break Austin Carr's school record. He has 949 rebounds and needs 370 to become Notre Dame's all-time leading rebounder, too. Harangody has 1,036 Big East points. With 370 points, he could eclipse the record of 1,405 set by Syracuse's Lawrence Moten. He also needs 162 more rebounds to become the all-time leading rebounder in the league.
Boston College's Troy Bell is the last Big East player to win the conference player of the year award twice. He did it in 2003 by himself after sharing it two seasons earlier with Notre Dame's Troy Murphy. Murphy, Connecticut's Richard Hamilton, Georgetown's Patrick Ewing and St. John's Chris Mullin have all won two Big East Player of the Year awards.
Harangody, who slimmed down during the draft workouts, will lead a formidable Notre Dame team with transfers Scott Martin (Purdue) and Ben Hansbrough (Mississippi State), making the Irish a player for a top four finish in the Big East.
Harangody planned to meet with the media on Tuesday to discuss his decision.
Andy Katz is a senior writer at ESPN.com. Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.
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