Mount St. Joseph's Eric Atkins picks Notre Dame
Mount St. Joseph's point guard Eric Atkins is headed to the Big East.
Atkins, the Baltimore Catholic League Player of the Year, committed to Notre Dame last night.
The 6-foot-2, 165-pound junior chose the Irish over UMass, Virginia, Virginia Tech, Vanderbilt, Virginia Commonwealth, Indiana and Ohio State, according to Zach Suber, Atkins’ AAU coach on D.C. Assault.
Atkins made an unofficial visit to South Bend this weekend. Suber wasn’t surprised that he committed soon after returning to Maryland.
“He was going out for his second visit there just to get a better feel of the school and campus and players and coaching staff,” Suber said. “The first time he went out was for a quick trip, basically watching a basketball game. He was pretty excited about going out to Notre Dame this time.”
Atkins averaged 22 points, four rebounds, three assists and two steals per game as a junior and led the injury-ravaged Gaels to a 21-13 record. The Irish will lose starting point guard Tory Jackson after this season, opening the door for Atkins to compete for the job as a freshman.
“He’s going to get his chance to play a lot in his freshman year,” Suber said. “But like anything else, you can’t be promised anything. You’ve got to earn your minutes. But he will have an opportunity to compete for it. ... They just liked his whole basketball demeanor. They thought he can fit right in to their system.”
Atkins, a Baltimore Sun All-Metro selection, needs to gain weight and add strength before arriving at Notre Dame, but Suber believes he’s up to the task.
“He’s real excited,” Suber said. “I think he’s glad the process is over and now he can move on and focus on gaining weight and getting stronger. ... I think his leadership skills have gotten tremendously better. He’s improved his outside shooting and he’s just a savvy player altogether when it comes down to it.”
Check back with Recruiting Report later for more on Atkins’ decision.
Baltimore Sun photo of Eric Atkins by Monica Lopossay / February 27, 2009