Sunday Sit Down: Pat Connaughton talks Irish, painted toenails, more

He’s the second-leading scorer and leading rebounder for the No. 9 team in the country and ready to finally make some memories in the postseason. Notre Dame's Pat Connaughton joins for this week's Sunday Sit Down.
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He’s the second-leading scorer and leading rebounder for the No. 9 team in the country, ready to make memories in the postseason and … use some karaoke crooning to get a date? Before a Wednesday game at Louisville, Notre Dame’s Pat Connaughton joined us for this week’s Sunday Sit Down. Eight seconds left, game on the line—which current college basketball player do you want taking the big shot? You can’t pick a teammate.

Connaughton: Can I decline to answer if I can’t pick a teammate?

Come on, I’m testing your overall college basketball knowledge.

O.K., then I’ll say (Duke’s) Quinn Cook. If he’s open for 3, he’s usually making it.

Who do you want defending the big shot? Also can’t pick a teammate.

Can I pick myself? I’m not a teammate of myself.

Why is your team better than people think?

Because of the team chemistry we have. We went through some stuff last year, we were off the radar to say the least. When you go through something of that magnitude, if you stick together, things can go pretty well.

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What one weird thing do you keep in your backpack or basketball bag?

What if I just carry around my sneakers? You know, if I cleaned out my backpack, which I don’t really use anymore, I’d find a bunch of beads. I have a bunch of little girl cousins, they used to paint my toenails and stuff, and they’d make beaded bracelets and there are so many beads everywhere. It’s kinda embarrassing …

But you’re O.K. with sharing this?

Hey, I’m comfortable with my masculinity.

Who’s your favorite follow on Twitter?

No. 1, for funny and inappropriate reasons, is @DDockett, Darnell Dockett, the defensive end for the Arizona Cardinals. [Editor's note: Dockett was released by the Cardinals this week.] His Twitter location is “doing doughnuts in my lambo” and he says a lot of absurd things. No. 2, which is more user-friendly, would be @CuteEmergency, where they tweet out things about puppies and stuff. Those are pretty opposite ends of the spectrum.

Who’s your celebrity crush?

Jennifer Aniston.

You know, I’m surprised some people have said this just because she’s not, like, 20.

Well, obviously she’s gorgeous but more than that, her roles in movies make her one of the most perfect, likeable, un-hostile people of all time. And, I mean, she looks better than some 20-year-olds.

Best dunk you’ve done or seen live?

The best I’ve seen would be my teammate Jerian Grant when he dunked against Georgia Tech. Just the way he jumped, he hit the kid he was dunking over and ending up eating off the rim basically, because he was so high. And he was surprised. It was funny. The best I’ve done would be last year, when (Duke’s) Jabari Parker tried to block me but I got around him. I don’t know how, I just closed my eyes and did it.

Favorite March Madness memory?

To be honest March Madness has not treated me very well. My favorite memory is probably going to be made this year.

You’re an NBA GM with the first pick in the 2015 draft—who are you taking and why?

I’m probably going to take (Wisconsin’s) Frank Kaminsky, because of his ability to play both inside and outside.  

In their primes, are you taking LeBron or Kobe?

Kobe, 100 percent. He’s cold-blooded, ruthless and in his prime, no one wanted to go up against him. He was just mean.

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​​What’s the dumbest mistake you’ve ever made on a basketball court?

One time we were scrimmaging, and the loser was going to have to do extra conditioning. To this day, I still think the clock people messed up because I refuse to believe it was all me. I looked up and the clock had two seconds on it. So I wound up taking a half-court shot … when there were actually 12 seconds left.

A perfect lead-in to my next question: What is Coach Brey’s favorite phrase or saying to yell at you guys in practice?

He loves using the word “partner” a lot. The funniest part is that he’ll use it for a good or bad thing. Most of the time it’ll be a good thing like, “Way to go, partner!” But then there are times when he’s yelling at you, you’re in trouble and then he tacks on a “partner” to the end and you get confused. Because it’s supposed to be a good word but then … it’s not.

Which venue do you most want to play in?

I’d love to play in Cowboys Stadium or one of those football stadiums. It might be kind of biased, because that’s usually where the Final Four is, but yeah.

I’ve been waiting for someone to say, “Where the Final Four is being played.”

Yes, Indianapolis this year, right? Lucas Oil! I’m in.

Who on your team would make the best coach someday and why?

Jerian Grant. Obviously he comes from a basketball family, so he’s really knowledgeable about the game, but also he has the ability to gain respect from players. In coaching, Xs and Os are obviously very important, but if you have players willing to run through a wall for you, you go a lot farther in this business.

Which teammate are you singing a karaoke duet with, and what’s your song of choice? 

Again, definitely Jerian Grant. We’re both seniors, so it would be funny to see us up there, side by side, dancing. The song would probably be, ‘I Need a Girl (Part 2).'