SOUTH BEND, Ind. – The journey has had a few bumps and a change of location, but in his final season of college basketball Garrick Sherman has gotten to the level where he wanted to be when it began.
Sherman, a 6-foot-11 fifth-year senior from Kenton, leads Notre Dame’s men’s basketball team in scoring (14.3 points a game) and rebounding (7.9 a game). He has been the leading scorer for the Fighting Irish in seven games, with a high of 29 against Iowa, and their leading rebounder in 13 games.
The only missing piece of the puzzle has been team success.
The Fighting Irish have spent much of the season around the .500 mark after losing then-leading scorer Jerian Grant to academic issues 12 games into the season.
“Personally, it has been kind of a breakthrough year for me, I guess. It’s been kind of disappointing for our team,” Sherman said last week. “The opportunity kind of presented itself this year and I was able to take advantage of it.”
Sherman was a first-team All-Ohio player at Kenton, where he is the career scoring leader and averaged 23.6 points and 15.8 rebounds a game as a senior.
He chose Michigan State over Notre Dame coming out of high school and played two years for the Spartans. As a sophomore, he started 17 games, but the majority of those came early in the season.
After the 2010-2011 season, he asked Michigan State for his release in order to transfer. His two preferred destinations were Notre Dame and Butler, and when Notre Dame wanted him he jumped at the chance.
“Notre Dame was my second choice (out of high school) so I’m happy to get a second chance here. As soon as Notre Dame said it was interested, I knew this was the place for me,” Sherman said.
After sitting out the 2011-2012 season because of transferring, Sherman led the Irish in scoring twice early last season but saw his minutes drop drastically by mid-season. Then came a nationally televised game against Louisville.
Sherman hadn’t played in four of the five Big East games just before the Louisville game and didn’t play a minute in regulation against the Cardinals. But in a five-overtime game that kept a lot of people up late to watch, he scored 17 points, pulled down 6 rebounds and had a tip-in to send it to a fifth OT.
“That was one of those breakthrough games. It’s something that I’ll always remember. It was kind of unique thing, an opportunity you don’t get every day and I was able to capitalize on it,” Sherman said.
Sherman was 6-feet, 4-inches tall in seventh grade and 6-9 by the time he started high school, so he has always found himself play in the post.
Currently he is playing with a chipped bone in one of the fingers on his shooting hand. Just another thing to battle through in a position that comes with a lot of contact in major college basketball.
“It’s a wrestling match for 40 minutes. It’s like that every game,” Sherman said. “There is a lot of hand checking called out on the perimeter but as you get closer and closer to the rim less and less gets called. It ends up being a battle.”
After college he would like to play basketball professionally, either here or in another country.
“Definitely. I hope to get to the summer league and see where it goes. If it’s overseas or something, I at least want to give it a chance,” he said.
The career path he hopes to follow when basketball ends probably makes him stand out on Notre Dame’s campus as much as the now-famous on social media beard he has had the last two seasons.
In the future, he sees himself trading post moves and picks for planting and plows. He hopes to continue a family tradition of farming that stretches back seven generations in Hardin County. His family farms 2,200 acres and raises pigs from infancy to feeder pigs.
“It’s definitely something I want to get into. Whenever the ball stops bouncing for me, that will be something I’m interested in,” Sherman said.