The last three months have been a wild ride, starting with Notre Dame's trip to the NCAA Tournament, where we advanced to the second round. The tournament experience was great. It was a dream come true to play in the NCAA Tournament and the culmination of a successful career. People tend to think about football first when it comes to Notre Dame, but I think we gained respect by playing in the NCAA Tournament. It had been over 10 years since we had been there. Notre Dame has a proud basketball tradition and hopefully we kind of got it back to where the incoming freshman can keep it going.
It was amazing to see how it changed from the Joyce Center being half-full my freshman year to selling out every game my junior year. The crowd support was great and really made it a tough place to play. It was tough for teams in the Big East to fly all the way out to Indiana and then play in front of that kind of crowd and that kind of environment. So it was a definite home-court advantage for us.
The basketball season ended and after sitting down with my parents and coaches, I felt that it was a good decision for me to leave school. It was a great relief to make the announcement official. It felt really good. Because one day I would say I was going to leave and the next day, I was going to stay so it was great to finally have this big decision done with.
I went right from school to come here to L.A. and work out. It's a little bit different than South Bend. You get to see the sun out here and L.A.'s a beautiful place. All I really have to do now is play basketball, which is a great thing for me.
Troy Murphy led the Irish to a first-round win over Xavier in the 2001 NCAA Tournament. AP Photo
There's a small group of us that do our conditioning together -- myself, Kenny Satterfield
from Cincinnati, Gilbert Arenas
from Arizona and Jason Richardson
from Michigan State. We usually run at 8 in the morning, from 8-9 over at UCLA. Then we play from 9-11. Then we lift sometimes from 2-3 and then work out again from 4:30 or 5 again until 6:00. It pretty much takes up your whole day, but it gets you in shape and it gets you ready.
It's fun to be on my own out here. My mom's not that far away -- she lives in Arizona. She's been out here a couple times and it's a short flight. It's a lot like Notre Dame here, actually. I lived by myself at Notre Dame too. It's tough sometimes, but it's fun. During the little time I'm not working out, I sleep, I like to shop, go to the beach. I go down to Venice beach, which is nice because being in South Bend, we didn't see the water too much. I had to stay at summer school the last couple summers so I really didn't have any chance to go to the beach. Mostly I just hang out.
I want to get this over with. I want to find out. It's tough because you don't know where you could be. You could be on either side of the country. I kind of want to just know and then start finding a way I can contribute to whatever team I'm going to. Ideally, I'd say I want to go to a veteran team where I can have the opportunity to contribute right away. But I'll be excited to play wherever I'm drafted.
For the next three weeks, I'm concentrating on just doing well in my workouts, being in the top shape that I can be in, playing the best that I can play and just putting forth the best effort that I can with these workouts.
It's such a young draft this year and I feel I'm ready to make a contribution to the team before a lot of the other guys because I have more experience playing in big games than some of the other guys. I've just played in more basketball games. I think those three years of college will be very beneficial to me next year as I try to adapt to the NBA game.