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January 23, 2007With each passing game-as Kyle McAlarney sat on the Notre Dame bench in street clothes-there remained a glimmer of hope that not only would the sophomore point guard remain in school, but possibly return to action before the season concluded.
Several media outlets began reporting Monday night, after the Notre Dame basketball team had reached New York in preparation for Tuesday night's game against St. John's, that McAlarney had been dismissed from the University less than a month after his arrest for possession of marijuana.
McAlarney was arrested at 1:38 a.m. on Dec. 29, shortly after scoring a career-high 21 points in a 50-point victory over Rider.
McAlarney played in the first 12 games for the Irish, averaging 10.3 points and 5.4 assists in nearly 30 minutes of action per game. His assist-to-turnover ratio was 65-to-26. He was making 46.4 percent of his three-point shots and 82.4 percent of his free-throw attempts.
When he was arrested just hours after nailing a career-high seven three-pointers, McAlarney was playing the best basketball of his brief collegiate career.
His arrest and subsequent suspension forced freshman Tory Jackson into the starting lineup. Jackson has done an admirable job, but McAlarney's absence was a blow to the team initially, and a shortcoming in the long run without his consistent outside shot.
Now, there will be doubt as to whether McAlarney ever plays another game or spends another day in a Notre Dame classroom. He would have to re-apply and be approved for admittance this summer at the earliest.
As recently as one week ago, Irish head coach Mike Brey declared McAlarney's intent to graduate from Notre Dame.
"Absolutely, absolutely," said Brey when asked if McAlarney was committed to "making it work at Notre Dame."
"Kyle McAlarney wants to be a Notre Dame man, wants to be a Notre Dame graduate," Brey said. "That's the one thing that has not wavered through this thing. He wants to be here, he wants to come back, and I think he wants to come back and make up for an error in judgment."
McAlarney was arrested for marijuana possession, reckless possession and possession of paraphernalia-all misdemeanors.
According to the Notre Dame student handbook-du Lac-possession or use of illegal drugs (marijuana, cocaine, heroin, etc.) "shall be subject to disciplinary suspension or permanent dismissal."
McAlarney had enrolled in classes for the spring semester.
"I have every reason to believe he will be back playing with us," said Brey on Tuesday, Jan. 16. "When that will be, we'll see."
McAlarney continued to practice and travel with the team as he awaited a decision from the University's Office of Student Affairs.
Word of McAlarney's dismissal came down prior to Notre Dame's flight to New York Monday. He did not accompany the team on the flight.
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