The last time he was a member of the Notre Dame men’s basketball team during the regular season, guard Jerian Grant had the luxury of leaning on others to handle the leadership lifting.

This month, all of that landed on his shoulders, and a semester away from the squad seemingly better prepared the steady but often silent Grant for the task.

When last seen in an Irish uniform, Grant was seated in the Madison Square Garden media room, the lone Irish player asked to dissect how an eight-point lead with less than a minute to go slipped away in the Dec. 21 loss to Ohio State. He did his best to answer how everything went wrong, all the while knowing that he soon would lose more than a game.

In the hours that followed as the Irish scattered for their homes over Christmas break, Grant returned to northern Indiana on a half-full team charter, packed the belongings in his apartment and headed out on the long drive home back to Bowie, Md.

Having committed an “academic misstep” during the fall semester, Grant spent the spring semester separated from the university. Re-admitted in the spring, Grant returned to campus in June for summer school.

A leadership void greeted him. Gone from last year’s group that without him staggered to a 15-17 finish, 6-12 in the Atlantic Coast Conference, were fifth-year senior captains Tom Knight and Garrick Sherman. Grant’s roommate and closest friend on the team, Eric Atkins, graduated in the spring as the only three-time team captain in program history.