Sunday, February 17, 2019

BC wins on night to honor Curley

The best part of BC Basketball's Sunday wasn't a much needed win. Instead it was seeing the school honor Bill Curley. The 90s star saw a banner hung to the Conte rafters and many of his old teammates to be part of the celebration. On the court BC handled Miami for the most part, although it was a sloppy and ugly game.

Miami was very physical, yet the refs weren't blowing whistles constantly. Instead it lead to uneven and chaotic play. Bowman was recovering from the flu and missed lots of shots. Pop, Mitchell and Chapman filled the void.

Friday, February 15, 2019

RIP Jefferson Crowther

There are many people who aren't BC athletes or coaches, but who are adjacent to BC in some way who become part of the fabric of Boston College. Jefferson Crowther was one of those people. The father of Welles Crowther, Jefferson had become a fixture of the annual Red Bandanna game and a key voice in telling Welles' story. He passed away Wednesday.

Like his son, Jefferson's impact will be felt at BC for years to come.

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Winning basketball games is good

Because I came out earlier this year as a Fire Jim Christian guy doesn't mean I want to see BC lose. The win over Pitt was nice, especially given the short bench and fluky injuries again. Hell, if BC goes on some sort of run I might even admit I was wrong. However, I don't think they will win enough games to justify another year of Christian. But for now congrats to all on beating Pitt.

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Is it finally time to hire Ed Cooley?

This is the second part of a series to look at the future of BC Basketball.

BC has hired basketball coaches twice since firing Al Skinner. Both times BC could have hired Cooley. (He interviewed during the Donahue process. He supposedly withdrew his name before any interview when BC fired Donahue.) While BC struggles to recruit and win consistently, Cooley has had the best stretch at Providence since the late '80s/early '90s. Cooley is a proven head coach, has strong BC ties and New England ties and can recruit. He would seem to be a no-brainer. Yet there are plenty of BC fans who really dislike the idea of Cooley coming back to BC.

The problem with Cooley is two-fold. One he is closely associated with Skinner. That should be a good thing, but others see it as holding onto the past and trying to recreate something that is long gone. The other is the idea is that Cooley is just a recruiter and nothing more. His Providence teams are always talented but lose games they shouldn't and rarely make postseason runs.

Cooley has also made very public statements about never wanting to leave Providence and Providence being home, but I think we could still get him to come to BC. It would be expensive, but making the jump to the ACC at a place where he is known would be hard to turn down (this assumes, BC doesn't nickle and dime him on salary, staff and expenses).

While I do see Cooley's upside as limited, I would gladly welcome him back. I don't think he would win national championships at BC, but I do think he would have us in the NCAA Tournament every year. Considering where we are now, that sort of winning would be welcome.

Addazio lands Mass star OLineman

The consensus best player in the state and one of the best lineman in the country committed to Addazio Tuesday. Kevin Pyne is huge and rated highly by everyone. Given BC and Addazio's track record, he should develop into an elite OLineman. But aside from what he can do on the field, Pyne confirms that Addazio's pitch still works and that the potential lame duck status is not hurting recruiting.

Now that Addazio's passed that test, the next hurdle will be how he recruits New Jersey. With Campanile laying the ground work, Addazio picked up lots of New Jersey talent. Let's hope he can do it without his recruiting ace teeing things up.

Don't overreact to the York extension

BC announced an extension for Jerry York Tuesday. Of course reactions varied. Some loved the idea. Some hated, but most -- like me -- didn't understand the urgency. In the end, I am not going to take Jarmond to task for extended a BC legend. The Men's program is in a slump, but York has more than earned the right to fix things and leave when he wants. Perhaps the extension will help give elite recruits a little more comfort that they will actually play for York vs his eventual replacement.

Monday, February 11, 2019

Does Thad Matta's baggage make him a better or worse fit for BC?

This is the start of a series to look at the future of BC Basketball.

BC Basketball has a long history of great coaches...Chuck Daley, Tom Davis, Gary Williams and Al Skinner. But other than Bob Cousy, none of the BC greats arrived at The Heights as an established A List name in College Basketball. Now as BC looks to fix its Men's Basketball program, there is an A List candidate floating out there who happens to have a prior working relationship with our Athletic Director. That guy is former Ohio State Coach Thad Matta. But Matta is not a typical elite coach waiting to jump back into the Rat Race. In fact, there are so many issues surrounding Matta, that some wonder if he will ever coach again. Because of Matta's unique circumstances, I don't know if he is realistic for BC, a disaster waiting to happen or just the right guy at the right time.

What you might not know
Matta's decline at Ohio State wasn't your typical guy loses touch with age, can't coach, can't recruit stuff, you often find when a long-time winner is fired. He is only 51 and won more than 20 games in 12 of his 13 years in Columbus. Matta's struggles late were primarily due to his health. About a decade ago, he had a failed back surgery that left him with a permanent limp and made sitting, standing and the grind of traveling painful. Although he was fired from Ohio State, it was painted by some in the media as a relief to him.

Last year he had the Georgia job. They made an offer and he supposedly accepted (there was even pictures of him at the Athens airport after the interview in all sorts of UGA gear). But before the contract was signed and announced, he turned Georgia down. The narrative was that he and his family had a change of heart.

This doesn't sound like a guy who wants to get back into coaching. And more recent articles all paint him as happier and healthier than he's ever been.

But the idea that he keeps interviewing for jobs, leads me to believe he hasn't closed the door on coaching forever.

The Jarmond question
Matta moved away from Columbus after he was fired. And supposedly has hard feelings how his final days played out. Clearly there is acrimony with Ohio State AD Gene Smith. But how does he feel about Martin Jarmond? Would his prior working relationship with Jarmond make him and his family feel more comfortable at BC than they would working for a different AD?

Also, would Jarmond even want to hire Matta. His mentor clearly felt Matta wasn't not capable of coaching Ohio State. Jarmond would know nearly everything Smith knows about Matta. Would he draw completely different conclusions than his old boss?

Would it even work?
Matta can coach. He's recruited elite players. He worked at a Catholic school prior to Ohio State. His list of former assistants is beyond impressive and shows he knows how to build a staff. BC could provide access to an elite conference without the immediate pressure cooker that might come from taking a different P5 job. He has never had a losing season as a head coach. As Coach K, Boehiem, and Williams near retirement, he would quickly become one of the most accomplished guys in the conference. There are so many reasons to make this move and spend more money than BC has ever spent on basketball. But...would it even work? If Matta is going to turn BC around, he would need drive, passion and energy. That is not a BC issue. That is a elite basketball issue. If Matta's heart is not in it, this will be a bad experience for both sides.

I don't expect Matta to be BC's coach next year. But Martin Jarmond owes it to BC and himself to at least reach out to Matta and see if he is ready to coach again and if coaching at BC makes more sense to him than the other jobs he's considered.

Saturday, February 09, 2019

What matters: Loss to Cuse, Bowman benching or hot seat talk?

Basketball lost another ho-hum game to Syracuse. BC hung for a while, got in a big hole, cut the deficit but never really threatened. We've seen it before. We've seen it against Syracuse. The D was inconsistent and no one really exploded other than Bowman. Which is connected to...

Christian announced before the game that Bowman would not start due to undisclosed violation of team rules. I don't know what Bowman did. I don't know if the punishment worked. I do know that this sort of tactic has not been used much by Christian. So why now and why Bowman? This comes off as ineffective at best and desperate at worst. I hope it was worth it, but when the team keeps losing, we don't know.

When and how this ends is going to become the most consistent storyline of the next month. Pete Thamel grouped Christian in his coaches hot seat column. He didn't speculate on replacements or a number of wins that would save JC. It seems like the biggest issue is that BC needs to shake its basketball malaise. Thamel is pretty plugged in at BC, so I think this is probably not a great indicator of Christian's future. But the speculation is more interesting than anything happening on the court. 

Thursday, February 07, 2019

Two looks at BC talent

Tuesday the final official signing day happened but it wasn't big news for BC. They added one New Jersey lineman. That left BC as the 12th ACC team in Rivals and in 247. But that system has proven meaningless as BC is always 12th or 13th or 14th in the ACC and still finish 7-6. We are not blowing doors off. But the higher ranked ACC recruiting classes aren't either (hello Miami, Florida State and Virginia Tech). Did those teams feel that much more talented than BC? Do they ever? Other than Clemson, there is rarely an ACC team we face where I feel like they have an overwhelming talent advantage.

If you are looking for validation that BC has a better feel for their talent needs and development, how about looking at the Combine invites.

This also doesn't account for other guys who have a good chance of getting drafted even without the Combine (Jeff Smith). BC is finding and developing talent. I do believe that talent wins. I do believe in bigger stronger faster. But these recruiting systems are flawed and not a perfect predictor of anything. I don't trust Addazio with a clock, but I do trust him looking at high school kids and projecting what they can become.

Addazio is also good at managing the roster and is working 5th years right now too. BC's roster will be better than most in the ACC, not the 12th or 14th best.

However, there in lies the problem. BC has all these Combine level players, yet can't win at an elite level. That's on Addazio too. He's a great recruiter and a pretty good developer, but he's not a great coach. At seven years, I don't think that is going to change either.