Saturday, February 28, 2015

Woo Hoo! We won!

That's how it is supposed to be! BC played well in nearly all aspects of the game and beat NC State comfortably. If BC came to play, the Wolfpack clearly did not. This is the same NC State that beat Duke and UNC. Clearly they expected to coast and ran into a focused BC. The best takeaway from the game was that BC played the full 40 minutes and didn't let the W slip away.

-- Defensive rebounding. The best part of the defense was limiting second chance. Leading the charge were our guards. I don't know if Christian told them to hang back and crash the boards, or if this was just a random day, but it made a huge difference.
-- Not folding late. Admit it: when Clifford fouled out with plenty of time left, we all got a bit nervous. But BC converted enough free throws and didn't make too many mistakes.
-- Hanlan stays hot. He didn't score 30, but he still played really well. His early 3s set the tone. He also did more defensively than he's done of late.

One win can make a huge difference. I now believe the guys can make it two in a row when they take on VT Tuesday.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Hockey take game one from ND

BC took an early lead against Notre Dame and then held on for the final two periods for a critical 2-0 victory. McChosen and Tuch scored the goals and Demko made 35 saves. The two teams meet again on Saturday.

Tweets of the Week

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Themes of Spring Practice

Spring Practice is here and Addazio has a lot to accomplish. He keeps telling the media what he's building long term, but in the short term BC needs to use these few practices to lay the foundation for next season's offense.

The presumptive favorite remains Darius Wade. He was the more sought after recruit. He is the only QB on the roster with playing experience and he has the most upside. When talking to the media, Addazio will occasionally slip and let the world know that it is Wade's job. However, in preparation for this set of practices Addazio seems to be keeping an open mind with regard to Flutie and newcomer Elijah Robinson. I expect Wade to win the job and be our starter next season. But he needs to show that he's up to the job this spring. Despite looking around, Addazio did not bring in a 5th year QB over him. The staff calmed themselves about rumors regarding a Wade transfer. Addazio is basically all in on the young QB. Now Wade needs to show improvement and leadership and get this team ready for the rest of spring ball and summer workouts. If he stumbles, Flutie seems like the next guy up.

The Offense
Addazio couldn't have been more clear on Signing Day that this was not Ryan Day's Offense, but rather his. And it will remain his scheme under new Offensive Coordinator Todd Fitch. But that is also easier said than done. The logistics and dynamics of having a new play caller will impact the team. They start working the kinks out now in practice. Addazio wants to run, so that is not going to change. But the Fitch/Wade combo should lead to more passing and explosive plays from the passing game. Hopefully we will see that in the Spring Game.

In all his recent interviews, Addazio is sure to mention the young, inexperienced offensive line. I don't know if he is purposefully lowering expectations or has real concern. It is probably a little of both. Regardless of what the coach fears, I am not worried about the OLine. Harris Williams should be back and healthy in time for the season. The other guys have more experience than the media is letting on. Bowen played a lot last season and looked good in jumbo packages. Baker also looked good in limited duty. Potential Center Frank Taylor remains the most untested. But I think OL is the one area where a good position coach can make a huge difference with the available talent. Justin Frye put together very solid squads his first two years at BC. I have complete faith he will do it again with the guys he has available. Will they dominate? Maybe not, but I am sure they will run block well enough for BC to remain competitive and productive.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

How is Hanlan's hot streak impacting his draft prospects?

Olivier Hanlan tested the waters for the NBA Draft last year and wisely decided to return to BC. With his midseason slump it seemed like he would also spend his Senior season at the Heights. Now that he's on fire, many -- including me -- are speculating that he'll enter the Draft this spring. But it is far from a sure thing.

According to Draft Express, Hanlan is still not among the Top 100 Prospects for this Draft. Draft Express also slots him as just the 21st best Junior. (Draft Express updates their rankings daily.) ranks Hanlan as the 89th best prospect.

Now neither site is a guarantee nor do they address the needs that various NBA teams may have for a scoring combo guard. It is also likely that their rankings are lagging behind the growing consensus regarding Hanlan.

There is still plenty of basketball to play and Hanlan's final weeks will impact how NBA teams feel about him. For selfish reasons I don't want him to leave, but also think it is probably in his best interest. How high is he going shoot up the boards? Maybe he'll become a borderline 1st round prospect. If that is his status, he might as well return, get his degree and try to become a first-round lock.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Something special and something miserable

Olivier Hanlan is in the middle of a hot streak that has rarely been seen around BC. He scored 39 against Pitt despite getting double-teamed on nearly every possession. Yet his heroics were not enough as BC lost 71-65. The best thing about the past two weeks is that any concerns about Hanlan's shooting is over. His percentages from 3 and on FTs have improved and are reverting to his norms from the past two years. The guy is an elite offensive player, regardless of the coach, the system and certainly the players around him. This team is terrible. I would say just give the ball the Hanlan, but that is what they are doing at this point. The problem comes when the other guys have to play defense, grab a rebound or pass. BC was in a big hole early just from stupid plays from Brown, Heckmann and Clifford. If not for Hanlan this team would be completely unwatchable.

The depleted bench cannot score. We know that. But against any team with size, we are cooked. Carney plays hard but is over matched. Odio has athleticism, but is still not a complete player.

Heckmann is a mess. When he's off, he needs to get closer to the basket and help on the boards.

Brown's stats are bit misleading. He was our second leading scorer, but did not have a good night. The turnovers and whining to the refs hurt the team.

As the season comes to a close, I am going to keep watching to see what Hanlan might do next. I am also aware that these might be his last few weeks as an Eagle.

Freshman ineligibility not good for BC

The Pac 12 and Big Ten are considering (but really trying to build national consensus) on a plan to make all football and basketball freshman ineligible. They are doing it under the guise that this is best for the student athlete. That's nonsense. This is just another move by coaches and administrators to get power back from the athletes and to a lessor extent SEC Football. Based on our protest vote against paying athletes, I am sure BC will gladly join the movement, but I think it is bad for the athletes and bad for BC.

As much as I turn a blind eye, football and basketball players are exploited in the current system. The education they receive is watered down and at times a complete academic fraud. There is very little free market movement and most of these guys don't belong in college and don't want to be in a classroom. The NFL and NBA get a free developmental league and the colleges get money and exposure. The majority of the college athletes get nothing. In an ideal world, there would be real basketball and football minor leagues and college sports could operate as an alternative path, like they do in baseball, hockey and soccer. Restricting players in those two sports gives guys without options, even fewer options to develop their skills or find their true value. If you really are an elite star and good enough to play at 18, shouldn't you be on the field getting better and raising your value? Sitting for a year -- even if you are still practicing and going to class -- stunts the growth of the truly elite.

While the Pac 12 and Big Ten and probably many members of the ACC believe that this will restrict the SEC's dominance, I think it will just lead to more corruption and that hurts BC too. In theory limiting freshman play will lead to more talent distribution. But really I think the SEC schools will just churn their freshmen in other ways. More of these permanent redshirts will come down with "career threatening" injuries while practicing and be out of the Bamas and LSUs of the world after one fall, while BC sticks with our underperforming recruits. I also think you will see more players graduating high school early so that they can speed up their time to the pros and still remain young. You see players in hockey graduate and enroll early at times. Now imagine this on a national scale. Enrolling 16 and 17 year-old high school juniors will favor schools with less academic rigor and schools that are closer to the athletes home. That again favors the SEC programs in the talent rich sun belt states.

Kevin Garnett spurred a movement of NBA prospects skipping college altogether in the mid '90s. Then the NBA instituted its age limit rule and we've seen an influx of one and done players. While I don't think it is the main reason we've struggled in basketball of late, I think BC was certainly better off in the no college era than the one and done era. When the best 5 to 10 prospects are skipping college and going straight to the NBA, it makes the playing field a little more even. Kentucky and Duke are still going to get the best players who want to take the college path, but often times those guys were more raw and less of a sure thing. I hope that an ineligible rule would spark a movement of the tops prospects to the D-League or overseas, but I fear it will just mean the best basketball players will still go to Duke and UNC and just skip their senior year of high school. BC's not going to come out ahead in those scenarios.

One of BC's tools for success has been player development and education. If other schools are forced into more serious development and education paths via new rules, it takes away one of our advantages.

I don't know if any of this will pass or lead to further schisms in college sports. I just hope that BC does what's right for our student athletes and athletes in general.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Recruiting confusion

Word broke this evening that BC picked up a commitment from Georgia Defensive Back Ronnie Blackmon. But before I could put up some sort of "another Eagle in Atlanta" post, the gossip changed.

After the smoke cleared, it seems like a Rivals reporter jumped the gun and a 247 recruiting analyst is saying it is not a done deal yet. This is another example of how the recruiting process is broken. If the schools were just allowed to address recruiting as it happens, there wouldn't be a cottage industry around it. Under current rules, a school cannot talk about a specific recruit until he signs a Letter of Intent. Would it harm anything if BC were able to clarify what happened with Blackmon? Of course not! The back channels from assistant coaches to recruiting writers gets the news out there anyway.

Despite the hedge from 247, the news on Blackmon is still good. He's a very good prospect in a need position in a territory we are trying to grow. I hope he does commit soon. This class is picking up a lot of momentum, and he could help rally some more prospects.

Hockey get crucial win in Beanpot Consolation game

Normally I don't care about the Beanpot Consolation/3rd place game. If we don't win the whole thing, most BC fans rationalize the Beanpot as an unimportant non-league tournament. Monday night BC finally wrapped up its delayed 2015 Beanpot with a OT win over Harvard. And it was a win BC had to have. This team is very bubbly and needed another W with regards to ranking and resume. Now the must-win games shift to the series against Notre Dame. We always want to beat the Irish, but this year the team needs the wins to help keep the post-season thoughts alive.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

LSU sweeps Baseball and other links

The Baseball team got an early test this season by taking on LSU in Baton Rouge. It wasn't pretty. The Tigers swept the series and BC's bats never heated up. The team has a few days off before taking on Nebraska-Omaha Friday night in Florida.

Future Baseball Eagle Dominic Hardaway is putting in long days getting ready for college baseball.

Softball had a great weekend and improved to 11-3 on the season.

Women's Basketball lost to Florida State.

We know about the guys who committed this weekend, but here are some of the other guys who visited campus this weekend.

More details are coming out regarding the strange murder of former Eagle Nate Fox.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Addazio's New England

For years BC coaches whispered that there wasn't enough talent in New England to build a champion. While Addazio still continues recruiting ACC territories and the Midwest, he's clearly a believer in the local talent. Saturday he added two more members to his 2016 class and both are from New England.

The first verbal of the day was Connecticut Tight End Scooter Harrington. This is a good pickup for BC even though we had an in (both of his parents are BC grads). Harrington is expected to play Tight End, but certainly has enough athleticism to play in other spots. His dad was Defensive Lineman in the 1980s.

Massachusetts OLineman Sean Ragan also committed to BC. He plays for Brian St. Pierre at St. John's Prep. 

Both join Massachusetts Tight End Danny Dalton as members of the 2016 class. Early verbals to BC will probably draw interest from other programs, but Addazio has been very good at keeping kids committed, especially the locals. 

No D against ND

I can't figure this team out. I keep thinking that one thing is the problem and then in the next few games the issues will be something different. Saturday it was the Defense. Defense was supposed to be a focal point The D even improved for long stretches. Yet it was the problem in the loss to Notre Dame. The Irish are highly efficient on Offense, but they aren't this good. A few thoughts:

-- Too many easy baskets. We didn't turn the ball over very often, but nearly all the TOs lead to Notre Dame points. They scored at will close to the basket. Where was the help for Clifford?
-- Don't think about Colson. As frustrating as it is to watch a couple of Mass kids wipe the floor with BC, that really doesn't fall on Christian. I love Al, but keeping Colson around was one of the things that hurt the program. Papa was not a great recruiter and couldn't fill the void left by Cooley and Coen. Notice that Colson Sr never caught on again with a college program -- not even with one of Skinner's old assistants. I hope we start getting the best players in New England but our current rosters is not a mess because of our current coach.
-- Hanlan keeps rolling. He didn't score 30, but Hanlan still played well. Notre Dame tried to minimize his driving and instead he hit a bunch of 3s. Too bad we wasted another good game.

We wasted a good Hanlan game and a good Clifford game. Maybe against Pitt things will be better.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Tweets of the Week

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Spring Practice media attention and other links

Addazio spoke with ESPN regarding the beginning of Spring Practice and the change in Offensive Coordinators. I will have more on Spring Ball in the next few days.

The ACC named Liv Westphal Scholar Athlete of the Year.

Andy Gallik finished in the Top 10 bench press for Lineman at the Combine.

The Thunder traded former Eagle Reggie Jackson to Detroit. He clearly hit a ceiling this year and lost OKC's faith. I still think he can be a very good player in the league. Let's hope he makes the most of his time with the Pistons.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Hanlan can't do it alone against 'Noles

We've had plenty of one-man teams before. Dana Barros was called on to do a lot while at BC. More recently Tyrese Rice needed to lead a young and mediocre BC group. But I can't think of a better player surrounded by worse talent than our current set up with Olivier Hanlan and this BC roster. Wednesday night he scored 32. The rest of the team scored 28 in BC's loss to Florida State. While the continued losing turned the season into a painful chore, I hope Hanlan keeps up his scoring barrage. It might be our only hope to steal a game or two. Other thoughts:

-- Brown in a funk. Aaron Brown continues to make terrible decisions all over the court. The forced, bad layups are obvious, but he also made mistakes on D. Someone else besides Hanlan needs to score but I don't think it is going to be Brown.
-- Weird minutes. Magarity's absence puts Christian in a bit of a jam, but I still couldn't get a handle on why we were playing the guys we played. Owens was okay...but 30+ minutes? FSU is tough matchup for us. Maybe going a bit smaller with more minutes for Batten would have made sense.
-- Defensive letdowns. Some of FSU's 3-point shooting was luck, but BC also didn't play great D. Too many open looks and too many mental errors.

In the coming weeks there will plenty of speculation on Hanlan's future. The good news for BC fans is that his options are not great. Christian is going to have to sell him hard that staying will be best for his long-term career.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

The BC Pep Band welcomes youngest member

This video made the rounds Monday and I wanted to share it. 

From BC's Facebook page:

A 6-year-old has joined Boston College Bands, playing along with the Pep Band on his recorder at every Boston College Athletics hockey game. Andres Jay was recently invited to conduct the BC Fight Song. (Video by Max Prio '16, Exposure Productions)‪#‎WeAreBC‬

Great job by the Pep Band for getting this kid involved. Also, thank you to Andres' parents. The key to being a life-long fan, is getting them while they're young!

Monday, February 16, 2015

Can't win

Jinxes are a fun cop out, but maybe there is something to this team being cursed. How else do you explain Heckmann's point blank layup at the end of the first OT not going in? BC's couldn't keep up the momentum in the second OT and lost to Miami. Heckmann's play was bad -- Brad Daugherty was incredulous that he didn't dunk. But it wasn't the sole reason BC loss. I do think there is something to playing closer games. Maybe the luck will turn. Here are some other thoughts.

-- The Heckmann play. Lost in the missed layup was the great play design. Christian made a great call. The 'Canes focused on Hanlan, our guys spread out and Heckmann had a clear path to the basket. I tell myself that with better recruits, that design wins the game.
-- Terrible shooting. It is amazing that BC pushed this game as far as it did with such a bad shooting afternoon. No one could make a basket and plenty of misses were near the rim.
-- Where were the students? I hoped that students might use the snow and double header as an excuse to come to the game. It seemed like they used the unique time and weather to stay away. The team won't be better until most of current students are gone, so I understand people not caring. However, they missed a fun, free game.

What are your thoughts? Leave your thoughts and feedback in the comments section.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Make Monday's Doubleheader a 'thing'

Boston's latest snow storm forced BC to reschedule both the Men's and Women's Basketball games to Monday. The Men's game against Miami will start at 3:00 pm and the Women's game will start 30 minutes after the Men's game ends. The key aspect of the unique event is that admission is free! I understand that many fans won't be able to make it. However, students don't have the same excuses. This means that ALL STUDENTS SHOULD GO TO THE GAMES!!! There is no real reason not to go. "The teams stinks." So what? These are games they can win. They need your support. Maybe a little bit of fan support can push them over the top. "But it's cold. I can't get there." Most of you don't live that far from Conte. Even if you live off campus or Newton, you can make it. Just trudge through the snow. It will be warm in the building. "I have other things to do." What else do you really have to do that can't be done later? As I have said in the past, none of you really realize what busy is. It won't be the same after graduation. Take advantage of these moments now!

But it is not enough to just go to the games. You all have phones. Take pictures. Tweet it. Put it on Facebook. On Instagram. Or whatever else you might do. Get this trending. Make going to BC basketball games fun again. Make it a thing. Monday will be a slow news day and a slow sports day. If everyone in Conte starts cheering and making noise and taking pictures, it will be a game and moment you won't forget.

I don't know if the team will come through, but you can. Get there, make noise and have fun.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Reading too much into the Lonnie Jackson news

Lonnie Jackson was supposed to be the example. The Christian staff saw him as a guy who had a few good skills but didn't develop enough physically or in his game to be an ACC player. They felt that was a failure of the previous staff. But he was also supposed to be someone who could lead the transition from Donahue to Christian. While other guys transferred or seemed out for themselves, Jackson was a guy who bought in to the new guys. He was ready to have a big year. Maybe he's a different type of example now that he's leaving.

This story has a different ending if Jackson doesn't get injured. If healthy, he would probably be a contributor right now and finishing his career at BC. Instead he and Christian's staff are moving on. Jackson can finish his degree and pick the right spot to play next year. His dad's quote seems like he doesn't care about location, just playing time. I am sure he will find somewhere.

For Christian, this creates a problem and an opportunity. Even if he wasn't a game changer, Jackson potentially provided some leadership, a shooter and some roster balance as a 5th year senior next season. They can find talent to fill his minutes and points, the question is whether it will be another 5th year, a traditional transfer or another incoming freshman. Ideally it would be a low-risk, high reward 5th year. That would keep the balance. We won't know until later in the spring when the transfer market shakes out.

Best of luck to Lonnie. I am sorry it never came together at BC for him or the other guys in Donahue's mega recruiting class.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Tweets of the Week

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Christian: “We stopped playing"

Jim Christian seems frustrated. I don't blame him. As I wrote Wednesday night, this team is not talented enough to play well for 30 minutes and still win. They need full effort, for the full game and on each possession. If you watch Christian in the huddle, he's not really a screamer. He has the more sarcastic, passive aggressive way of trying to get through to the players. I don't know if it is going to work, but he's not holding pack with his criticism.

From the Globe:

“We stopped playing,” Christian said. “We basically stopped playing. We stopped guarding. They got layups. We were awful in transition defense." The timeout wasn’t to send a message. To Christian it was already clear. “They know,” Christian said. “They know. It was way before that. I mean, that game was over at that point.”

“I hate to say it, but for me, it’s eye-opening as we move forward with our program, we have to have guys who have more invested in winning, in doing what it takes year-round to be a good basketball player at this level, because you’re playing against guys who, every single day, wake up and challenge themselves to the highest level.”

The Herald:

"We didn’t lose this game on offense. We lost this game on effort.”

The Heights:

“We stopped guarding, we gave up on transition defense, and that’s what our team does down the stretch.”

I don't know if this team will check out completely, but at least we know Christian will be pretty candid about what's going on with his team.

Dudley does it all

We are in the middle of a Jared Dudley renaissance. The Clippers gave him away in the offseason and I worried his meaningful NBA career might be over. Thankfully I was wrong. Dudley has proved critical to a surprising Milwaukee team and now playing better, is getting media attention again. If you're a Dudley fan, this podcast with ESPN's Zach Lowe is definitely worth a listen. In it he talks about role with the Bucks, his health, life on the road and his future. He's serious about being a college coach and you can tell from his comments that he's already thinking about recruiting and scouting. I know he's going to be successful when he does make the transition. Let's hope it is at BC.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Good looking uniforms, ugly basketball

Once again BC wasted decent stretches of basketball with poor efforts, lack of hustle and dumb mistakes. Even when facing an unmotivated Syracuse, BC lacks enough talent to win when playing poorly. After playing decently in the first half, the team faded in the second half. The throwback uniforms were a nice touch, though they seem wasted on the crowd and opponent. Embarrassingly you could see free t-shirts draped over seats in Conte that went unclaimed. I keep telling myself that winning will solve many of these issues. It will, won't it?

-- Turnovers against the 2-3. I understand how 'Cuses D forces long, bad shots and controls the board, but how were we so bad passing? Clifford and Heckmann both had some head scratchers.
-- Clifford's offense. Ellis said that Clifford lacked confidence on his mid-range shots. I don't know if it is that simple. He used to be a good shooter. Those shots from the high post should be gimmes.
-- Good movement on defense. In looking for a silver lining, I did want to note that the defensive execution is improving. We still get overpowered, but there are fewer mental errors or guys missing assignments.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Offensive staff finally settled

During his Signing Day press conference, Steve Addazio got surprisingly defensive regarding next year's offense. He sort of dismissed that the change in Coordinators would impact the team and noted that it was his offense and he touched every aspect of the program. In fairness to Addazio and Day, our offense has looked more like Addazio's Florida schemes (heavy on power) than it ever looked like Day's variation on Chip Kelly. The team and scheme should probably look very familiar next year with Todd Fitch calling plays.

Fitch has plenty of experience calling plays. His past -- with mobile QBs in the spread -- will also mesh well with what Addazio wants. Overall I give Addazio credit for handling the search well. He lost his OC somewhat unexpectedly, looked around and decided his best option was promoting from the current staff. For those who fear that BC went cheap, backfilling Fitch's position spot with Brian White indicates otherwise.

I thought White might make it up to BC, but as a play caller. The fact that he's coming as a position coach confirms that BC's giving out competitive staff salaries. A veteran guy like White, who has been a coordinator and worked at various Power 5 programs, had options. He picked BC to come back to New England and to work with Addazio again. That's great validation of where we are headed. White also fits well with BC's needs. He's recruited Florida, recruited the Midwest, and with ties to Harvard and Notre Dame, understands that BC recruits have to put in time in the classroom.

I was sad to see Ryan Day go, but think Addazio handled this offseason's staff changes well. We kept continuity on offense and upgraded our recruiting.

Monday, February 09, 2015

Who's going down?

We know all the reasons the basketball team is not winning. But I want to remain optimistic. I still think they can pull a few more games out. Olivier's getting hot. Magarity's coming back. The D is improving. The worst part of the schedule is over. Let's all drink the Kool-Aid together! I want Christian to finish strong and give us hope that there are good things to come. I ranked the remaining games in order from Most Winnable to No Way in Hell. Share your thoughts in the comments section.

1. Syracuse. Hanlan is still hot. It is at home Syracuse is checked out now that their season is over. We might break out special uniforms.

2. Miami. Almost beat them last time. It is at home. The cold might get to them a bit. They are not playing as well as they were in during the first game.

3. Wake Forest. The final game of the regular season. "Senior Day" for three starters. By this time we will have built up some confidence. We will want to play hard going into the ACC Tournament.

4. Virginia Tech. Not a good team. Also in transition. Late start so crowd will be sparse. Good matchup for BC if Hanlan gets hot.

5. Pitt. Another game BC should have won. On the road this time, but still a relatively good matchup. Should be low scoring and give BC another chance to steal a win.

6. Florida State. Another mediocre ACC team. Not a great matchup physically for BC and is also on the road.

7. Notre Dame. BC was terrible in this game yet still made it interesting. The crowd should be decent at Conte. Revenge factor. Notre Dame factor.

8. NC State. It is at home. NC State can score, but are not great defensively. They may take BC lightly.

I think we win at least three of these remaining games. We have had too many close calls not go our way. Something's got to give.

Sunday, February 08, 2015

Sox to honor Frates and other links

New Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred will be among the many attending the Red Sox-BC game in Spring Training. He will be there to honor former Eagle Pete Frates. Both teams will wear No. 3 logos in Frates' honor and BC will wear throwback jerseys.

Women's Hockey remained undefeated by shutting out UConn.

Softball beat George Mason 5-1.

On Friday night, Hockey beat Merrimack.

As BCI noted Jim Christian offered 2016 recruit Wenyen Gabriel.

Saturday, February 07, 2015

Tar Heels too big for BC

The first 20 minutes gave me hope. BC capitalized on UNC's mistakes and handled their runs. For a moment it felt like this might be the game. Yet the Tar Heels controlled early in the second half. BC made another charge late but it was not enough. The announcers gave BC plenty of credit for doing a lot with a little, but that doesn't make this any less frustrating. A few other thoughts:

-- We miss Magarity. He sat out again with a concussion and it made a difference. Magarity is not a great defensive player, but we could have used his size and his ability to draw out big men.
-- Awful outside shooting. We need Hanlon and Brown to chuck it. It is our only offense. But we are not going to win many games going 5 for 23 from 3.
-- No bench. With Magarity out of the rotation, it hurts our depth, but only getting four points from the bench is terrible. Owens and Odio have to have more impact on the game. They are both athletic enough to be better around the rim.

Friday, February 06, 2015

Tweets of the Week

Thursday, February 05, 2015

Are bigger recruiting classes better for BC?

In his first two full recruiting classes, Steve Addazio signed 53 players. That doesn't include the six (and counting) 5th years transfers he used in both those classes or the two transfers that came in his transition class (Louie Addazio and Matt Patchan). That sort of roster churn is very familiar to SEC schools, but it is unprecedented at BC.

A host of factors contributed to this churn (most having to do with attrition and neglect under Spaz) but it created a huge opportunity for Addazio to remake the roster. For comparison, the closet BC ever came to the 53 commitments in a two year period were 48 recruits that surrounded Jags' one full class. He recruited 30 in 2008 and the transition classes on either side both had 18 commitments. If you just look at the Rivals database for examples of one BC coach bringing in his own two classes, the most ever brought in during a two year period was 44 commitments ('03-'04 under TOB and '10-'11 under Spaz).

The good news about this much churn is that it enables a sweeping talent upgrade (assuming you recruit the right players). The bad news is that it leaves a team very young and almost perpetuates a cycle of big classes. With big classes, you'll have more attrition. When forced to play young players, you are not spreading out that one scholarship over five years. When you accept more 5th year transfers, you have to replace them annually. Churn works for many schools but is still new to BC. While it may create more challenges in graduation rates and player development there is no reason it cannot succeed at BC.

Assuming normal attrition, Addazio's next class should still be big. It won't be 25 guys, but should be 20 or 21 commitments. Who knows what comes after? Will attrition spike? Will the redshirting finally slow down the churn? As long as Addazio keeping finding talent and winning, I don't think BC fans will mind the big recruiting classes.

Wednesday, February 04, 2015

Another frustrating loss for Hoops

How do you judge an ugly loss? BC basketball has produced so many over the past few years, we've had plenty from which to choose. Wednesday's loss to Notre Dame wasn't extraordinary. It was just frustrating. BC did enough things to make it close, but did all its good at the wrong times so that the game was lopsided throughout. Even late as they made a run they couldn't get out of their own way. Hanlan was on fire, having made four straight 3s, yet his teammates ignored him on two straight possessions late. How does this happen? Here are a few other thoughts:

-- Hanlan needs to take over early. I used to blame Hanlan's slow first halfs on Steve Donahue's offense. Not anymore. It is clear that Hanlan doesn't always assert himself early. Whether he is trying to be a distributor or is just lacking the killer instinct, it is hurting BC. He needs to drive from the first possession and just maybe BC won't constantly be playing catchup.
-- Missing at close range. The number of layups and putbacks this team misses is crazy. Since we cannot finish, maybe these guys should think about restarting the offense on occasion.
--Turnovers from the bigs. Magarity is our best passing big man so his absence was felt. In his place Clifford and Heckmann both made plenty of bad and stupid passes.

A week ago, I thought BC turned a corner. Its been terrible basketball since. If they are going to salvage this season, it better start soon.

Making sense of Signing Day

Steve Addazio signed his third recruiting class (only his second full class) Wednesday. All the rumored BC verbals came through leaving little surprise or drama to the day. Although it was another large class and filled plenty of needs, the group of players was not highly regarded by the various recruiting services. Here are the rankings:

Rivals: 46th nationally | 10th in the ACC
Scout: 57th nationally | 11th in the ACC
247: 57th nationally | 12th in the ACC
ESPN: Not ranked and outside the Top 40

I have never really cared about the rankings, so I am not going to start now. What I care more about is BC's ability to identify the players they want and then close on them. Addazio is great at that. Most of these guys camped at BC before verballing and we didn't have any stragglers or guys who flipped away from BC.

Addazio spent a good chunk of his press conference emphasizing geography. He's spent two years building a class within five hours of campus and focused on recruits within three hours of campus. This left former BC strongholds in the Midwest relatively under recruited this year. Once again, I don't care where the recruits come from as long as they produce. TOB liked to hit Cincinnati and it paid dividends for a decade. Addazio made his career at other schools picking off New England, so it only makes sense that he thinks he can build a BC class here. For years BC coaches slagged off Massachusetts football for lacking depth and top end talent. Addazio doesn't share that belief and he's betting his future on it.

The other news of the day was the arrival of 5th year transfer Evan Kelly. 5th years are always welcome and I expect another one or two over the summer.

With this class, the roster is now Addazio's. It's young and raw, but it is all his. If he is going to be a great coach, he will need these kids to be great and out perform their rankings. I think they can, but only time will tell.

I will have more on the recruits in the coming days.

Hockey loses Beanpot opener

Even as the team struggled early in the season, I always expected the guys to come together for the Beanpot. Boston's annual tournament is when York teams kick it into high gear. Well that won't happy this year as Northeastern knocked BC out of the Beanpot Final. It will be the first time in six years BC won't play for the championship.

BC will play Harvard in the consolation game Monday. If they make a run this year, it will be without the Beanpot title.

Tuesday, February 03, 2015

BC steps up Signing Day coverage

Wednesday is nation Letter of Intent day a.k.a. Signing Day in college football. Traditionally at BC that has meant a press release with player bios and a short press conference at the end of the day. While that probably seemed fine and appropriate to most of us, it wasn't what the big boys of college football were doing. This year the school is taking it up a notch and hosting a live show online starting at 7:30 a.m. ET. Meter and Cronan will host and break news while Mutryn and Jamie Parker field questions and interview coaches.

These sorts of events may seem a little much, but there is a plan to it all. A small minority of BC fans follow recruiting closely. Events like this appease them, but they also start to fan the flames for other BC fans who traditionally don't pay attention to recruiting. By making a big deal out of it all, the hope is that it becomes a bigger deal and that passion translates into better support and that translates into better recruiting. I don't know if it will work but it is nice to see BC trying something new and stepping out of the Dark Ages with regards to marketing recruiting. Watch the show Wednesday morning and enjoy.

Monday, February 02, 2015

A few quibbles with Bates' latest letter

Brad Bates released a letter on Friday explaining scheduling and addressing the 2015 schedule. I applaud his willingness to address issues in such a public manner, but there are a few things that don't ring true. The three big issues I question are the demand for seven home games, the FCS opponents and the non-conference games.

  • Seven Home Games. I am sure that in surveys and focus groups, most BC fans and ticket holders said they want seven home games. However, ticket sales and our inability to sell out during seven game homestands says otherwise. Does the feedback from ticket holders carry any caveats? Because most of the anecdotal stuff I hear is that people want seven games, but don't want bottom feeder opponents. Until BC reaches a point where ticket demand indicates that we can support a seven game schedule, I question that Bates should keep forcing it. Guarantees for that seventh opponent are going to become more and more expensive. Maybe BC should settle for six home games every few years and go get a payout as a road team from a major program.
  • FCS opponents. Bates mentions New Mexico State cancelling at the 11th hour and forcing the Howard issue. The official cancellation may have been 11th hour, but Bates knew it was highly likely months ago. If BC really wanted to find a respectable replacement for the Aggies, they could have been more proactive in their scheduling. I suspect they hoped to pressure New Mexico State to keep the game or pressure their conference to provide another FBS patsy. Since we couldn't get an FBS patsy we decided to pay for an FCS one. I think it was all a calculated risk to help a young team. I don't have a problem with Bates or Addazio for doing that. I just prefer they were a little more forthright about the whole thing.
  • Non-conference games. Bates implies that teams were afraid to schedule BC. I am sure that was the case for some of the programs we contacted. However, BC also didn't agree to take on all comers. You cannot say people are afraid to play us and not employ your own any time/any place attitude. 
Scheduling is tough and will only get tougher. Other than playing BYU, I think our best future solution might be playing non-conference games against ACC teams. Wake and UNC are going to do it. Why not us? It is less expensive than other opponents. The fans will see familiar names on the schedule and selection committees will reward those games over lower-level FBS teams. The only downside is potential confusion with regards to ACC divisional races. Yet complaining about that is a nice problem to have. If we lose to say Pitt in an out of conference game yet still win the Division, you won't hear BC ticket holders complaining. 

There are no Patriots without a BC guy

Before the dynasty and before they became the model NFL franchise, the Patriots were Billy Sullivan's baby. Sullivan was a character in every sense of the word and if the hadn't put together an ownership group for an AFL team, there would be no professional football in the Boston area today.

Sulivan graduated from BC in 1937 and then went on to a series of jobs that sound more like adventures. He worked PR for BC, Notre Dame and the Braves. He started the Jimmy Fund and had a variety of entrepreneurial projects. Unlike many of the other NFL owners, Sullivan wasn't rich, so there was always a robbing Peter to pay Paul aspect to the Pats. He moved the team around Boston until the stadium was built in Foxboro. He sued his partners in the '70s, lost a fortune on a Michael Jackson tour in the '80s and eventually sold the team and then won a suit against NFL in the '90s for the limitations they put on him during the sale.

If Sullivan hadn't lost his shirt, I don't know if he and his children ever would have built what Kraft did. But without Sullivan getting his taste of the business side of football at the Heights, there is no trophy case in Foxboro now.

Sunday, February 01, 2015

Beanpot postponed and other links

The Beanpot will have to wait one day, as the organizers have pushed the Semis to Tuesday. The weather related delay won't impact the Women's Beanpot, which will also start Tuesday.

Huge recruiting news over the weekend as Addazio flipped the Connecticut Player of the Year Zach Allen to BC. Allen previously verballed to Northwestern. He fills a huge position of need on the Defensive Line and continues BC's progress in Connecticut.

The Maxwell Club named newly arrived Eagle Elijah Robinson the New Jersey Player of the Year.