Beneath the Spotlight
Students stormed the court in celebration after Notre Dame’s victory over Connecticut on Sunday, January 30. On the next Saturday, the team fell to Syracuse in New York. While we’ve become accustomed to watching these student-athletes on game day, this portrait looks at the life of junior business majors Torin Francis and Chris Quinn in that time in between - the time behind the scenes.





The Rev. Paul Doyle presides at a team Mass in the locker room before the Connecticut game. The altar is constructed of stacked coffee tables.

Sunday night: Sweet Victory.
ND 78 - Connecticut 74


Sunday after the game: “By now, I’ve gotten used to interacting with the media,”says Torin. “Having to do so much case work in my business classes has helped my public speaking. I used to be nervous. It’s become a piece of cake.”



Monday night: Chris and a handful of teammates went to a nearby high school gym to watch the junior varsity game of St. Joe High School freshman Marcus Johnson. “Marcus hangs around the Joyce Center and shoots around with us a little bit,”says Chris. “We promised we would go see him play.”

Battling a respiratory infection and facing two tests on Tuesday, Torin didn’t go. But he might as well have. “One of my teammates went, Omari Isreal, and he said everybody kept coming up to him and asking for his autograph thinking it was me,”laughs Torin.


Tuesday : These two business majors and junior co-captains spend plenty of time together. They have had at least two classes together every semester and often work together on group projects. “Often we’ll go straight from class to the gym. Sometimes we talk about school instead of basketball,”says Torin.


They spent Monday night from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. in the Mendoza computer lab with another business student working on a quantitative analysis assignment on multiple regressions for Professor Debra Desrochers. “We were trying to figure out which region in a company had the highest sales and why,”says Chris. “We were looking at factors like advertising expenditures and employee ratings.”


“During the season I find that I eat with my teammates pretty much every day whether it’s on campus or off campus,”says Chris. “It’s more of a schedule thing. After practice, it’s 7:00 or 8:00, and everybody’s kind of like, what are you doing for dinner?”

In his rare hours of free time, Torin likes to relax with his teammates—going to the movies, the mall or out to eat. Torin says, “When you hang out together, it brings you closer on the court.”


Thursday: Chris lives in a quad in Morrissey Hall with transfer student Brendan Reichardt and varsity football players Anthony Fassano and Jamie Ryan. Says Chris, “living with two big guys, yeah, sometimes it feels like the walls are closing in on you.” Torin worked his way up the room pick list in Knott Hall to land a single this year.


The team practices six days a week, not to mention weightlifting, film sessions and team meetings.


Torin didn’t start playing basketball until he was 14 years old. “I was 6 foot tall then and everybody kept asking me, ‘Do you play basketball?’So I decided, ‘OK, I better play basketball.’”Torin’s mom is from Jamaica and didn’t play sports. But she helped him find a mentor to work with him every day after school in a neighborhood gym. By 18, Torin had honed his skills. He was 6’11”and a Parade High School All-American.



Chris started playing basketball in early childhood. When he was in kindergarten, his mom was his coach in a YMCA basketball league. But he also played football and baseball until high school when he turned his focus exclusively to basketball.

Chris: “There’s times when it just seems I’m so overwhelmed with things to do because of basketball and class work. Sometimes it seems like everything is going on at the same time. But I’ve been able to do a lot better with the stress this year, especially as far as time management and getting work done a little earlier if I need to.”
Friday: The team departs for New York.
Saturday: Road loss. Syracuse 60 - ND 57


The normal schedule on the road is that they take a charter flight out the evening before the game. They’ll have a shoot around in the arena in the morning and then celebrate a team Mass together. They will eat a team meal four hours before the game and then spend a couple of hours relaxing in the hotel before heading to the arena. After the game, they head straight to the airport and charter back. Sometimes they get in around midnight; other times it’s 3:00 a.m.

Chris: “I don’t think I have ever gotten to a point where I’ve been disappointed with basketball. The only times where it gets a little tough is after losses if you don’t feel you played up to your standards. It’s hard for that week or so that you have to live with that. After a loss, I just wish that we could play another game the next day just so we can get back out there, but sometimes that’s not the case. I think that it’s something that can prepare you for the real world. You know you are going to have ups and downs no matter what you do. And it’s important that you are able to withstand those. It can build some of your character.”

Photos by Matt Cashore (’94)
As told to Mary Hamann
Copyright © 2005 University of Notre Dame All Rights Reserved Last Updated on: May 27, 2005