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Hardwood never too far from Mike McGlinchey's mind

SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- Mike McGlinchey may have a bigger rooting interest in the NCAA tournament than most of his Notre Dame football teammates: His roommate is Irish junior guard Steve Vasturia, whose team faces Michigan on Friday night in Brooklyn, N.Y.

McGlinchey and Vasturia were actually opponents in high school, with the tackle starring on the hardwood for William Penn Charter against the touted Vasturia, then at St. Joseph’s Prep.

He may be entering his second spring as a starter on the Irish’s offensive line, but McGlinchey hasn’t completely left behind the hardwood, as he takes part in winter pickup games with some of his football teammates. The 6-foot-7, 310-pound McGlinchey was named the Irish football team’s best hoops player on ESPN.com this week, a race that has apparently been a source of contention among the program over the years.

“We get after it a little bit sometimes, we like to play pickup games in winter training,” McGlinchey said. “We don’t obviously play during the fall and take any risks like that, but yeah, we have some fun with it. We get after it a little bit out there and guys talk smack and everything. It’s fun.

“I had a lot of success playing basketball in high school and I ultimately chose to play football. Basketball was one of my first loves so I enjoyed playing it a lot.”

McGlinchey said that in high school a few colleges threw him invitations to their hoops teams as a means of recruiting him to the gridiron, but he knew he would be a college offensive lineman and not a tight end, so he never seriously considered a two-sport college career.

Other notable names McGlinchey faced in high school included Villanova point guard Ryan Arcidiacono and Duke forward Amile Jefferson.

“I like to shoot the ball -- there wasn’t a shot I didn’t like out there,” McGlinchey said of his game. “I liked to play both inside and out. I played kind of like the 3 through 5 in high school and was able to do a lot of different things with the basketball. Obviously I was like 50 pounds lighter, but that’s the way I played. I was a good shooter. I would pass the ball. I never did anything fancy. I wasn’t overly like a rim-rocker or anything like that, but I played fundamental basketball and I had some success with it, I think.”

McGlinchey mentioned safety Max Redfield, receiver Corey Robinson, retired defensive lineman Doug Randolph and fellow O-lineman Hunter Bivin as some of the better basketball players on the current team.

Former Irish players Everett Golson, C.J. Prosise and Tyler Eifert have all drawn significant praise for their basketball skills, as well.

So, too, has McGlinchey’s fellow starting tackle from last year.

McGlinchey was saying he appreciated being named the football team’s best basketball player when team SID Michael Bertsch chimed in to say that it was only because Ronnie Stanley is no longer on the roster.

“Ronnie thinks he’s the best at everything,” McGlinchey cracked of the likely first-round NFL draft pick, “so it’s not any surprise that he’s defending that.”