Tuesday, March 19, 2019

BC keeps wasting everyone's time: Jim Christian returning for 6th year

There will be no official statement. No vote of confidence. No explanation. Maybe there will be a friendly article Wednesday or Thursday, but BC is bringing back Jim Christian for another year. This is the BC way now. We just waste our players', fans' and even coaches' time. Because barring some sort of miracle, we will be having the same discussion a year from now about Jim Christian. His record at BC is 62-100 (18-72 in ACC games) and he is very likely losing Ky Bowman from a team that just went 5-13 in ACC play. Maybe the freshmen really over perform. Maybe he tightens things up schematically. Maybe there are enough shakeups with the ACC middle class to unlock a spot for BC to elevate just a bit. That's a lot of maybes. The odds are the guy who has been a Power 5 coach nine years and only finished above .500 two of those seasons will probably be below .500 again.

In their leaks, BC was sure to slip in that the school is dedicated to building up the resource for basketball. That's not news. They've been actively raising money for basketball for a while now and will make announcements on what the enhancements are once they reach a gift threshold. But I don't believe better facilities is ever going to make a difference with this staff. We've seen enough missteps and poor efforts to know that this isn't just about a basketball practice facility.

Martin Jarmond is out there talking to the people. I am sure he will hear complaints and have established talking points (injuries, taking time to build, etc.) but I think he is going to face a lot of cynical donors and fans. And a year from now we will be talking about a rebuild with someone else that could have started this spring.

Friday, March 15, 2019

Christian rumor dump

If is Friday night and Jim Christian is still the Men's Basketball coach at BC. As I've been saying, the longer this goes on without any news means Christian is staying. I don't know what will happen, but here is a sample of things I've heard. None of this is verified by anyone in the BC Athletic Department. (I try to get official answers from BC whenever I think they will provide one. I know they won't say anything during a coaching change.) Some of these items even contradict each other, but that is how it is when dealing with this sort of chatter.

-- The assistants have been fired
-- BC was preparing a buyout payout for Christian on Wednesday
-- The assistants have thought this was coming for a while and have been looking for new jobs
-- Jarmond really likes/liked Christian and was openly defending him and this season to donors as recently as Christmas time
-- Jarmond looked frustrated on Senior Day as did Father Leahy
-- The basketball alumni do not care for Christian
-- There are fundraising efforts going on for improved basketball facilities
-- If there is a change, BC will look to traditional BC and BC-type names
-- The extension makes Christian safe
-- The extension is not punitive to BC
-- Christian is well liked among some of the bigger basketball donors

I know BC doesn't have to say anything if he is staying but the recruits might need to know and the fans are going to want some sort of explanation.

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

And now we wait

Frustration and speculation at the end of the football season nearly reached a breaking point. In three weeks we went from Game Day back to seven wins. The media kicked the hot seat talk into overdrive and Addazio people (apologists, agents, and friendly media) talked about his lack of a contract. And no news came from BC for days. When they finally got around to the extension, people joked that it read like a hostage letter. But even with all the talk, there was still a reasonable argument for not firing Addazio (recruiting, winning seasons, etc). There are no justifiable reasons for keeping Jim Christian.

But we don't know if Jarmond will make a move. As I tweeted, the people closer to BC think Christian is safe while the people more removed -- fans, media, agents -- think he is gone. What we have learned from Addazio is that the longer there is no news, the more likely Christian is coming back.

Since Gene left, BC is pretty tight lipped about these things. Don't trust leaks or gossip. I will share what I hear, but even then be skeptical. Also remember the Donahue twist, where he was telling people he was coming back only to be fired the next day. When a head coach is not getting a straight message, than no one is.

I have made it clear that I want to start anew. I hope Jarmond agrees and has a plan to get BC basketball back on track.

Sunday, March 10, 2019

What to make of Mike Rhoades?

I think we've all been through enough coaching changes to know how this game works. At times the school floats names to see if the fan base is receptive. BC did that under Gene but doesn't anymore. Other times the media speculates and sometimes agents and people close to a guy float a name. That's how I first heard of Mike Rhoades as a potential Jim Christian replacement.

Rhoades is the current VCU head coach. VCU used to be seen as a great proving ground for coaches. Yet Shaka Smart is on the hot seat in Texas and Will Wade is in the middle of an FBI sting, so the VCU stamp of approval means a bit less. However, Rhoades seems very different from both of those guys. He was a D3 head coach for many years and then turned things around at Rice. Unlike Wade, he's not known for being an ace recruiter. Instead he is considered more of a scheme guy and developer of players. And unlike Smart, it seems he adapts his games and system to his roster and is not so dependent on press, press and more press.

I don't know anything substantial about Rhoades. I do prefer his profile to Christian's, in that he doesn't come to BC with a failed stop on his resume. He's had natural progression and is very experienced and still relatively young. If we are going to take a risk on someone, he seems to have a decent upside.

As to why his name is being floated? Maybe his season has been such a success and surprise, he is trying to leverage it now. Maybe Wade left a mess at VCU too and he is expecting issues. Who knows? But if anything, Rhoades is a reminder that there are plenty of guys out there that BC can and should talk to if we make a change.

Saturday, March 09, 2019

The debate on Jim Christian seems to be losing steam

Two weeks ago there were plenty of vocal defenders of Jim Christian. After Saturday's loss to NC State, there are fewer BC folks advocating for him to return. Perhaps it is the current losing streak. Or maybe people are frustrated with the lack of energy and hustle on a Senior Day. Twitter isn't always the best focus group, but the casual fan has shown their lack of interest in Christian's product by not going to games. Yet none of it really matters. There are only two BC folks with any real power on this process. They are Martin Jarmond and Father Leahy.

After the NC State game, i was on twitter saying this is now Jarmond's call. From all I have heard, he has the autonomy to make the final decision. Plenty of others say he doesn't and it is Father Leahy's decision. I guess we will soon find out what they think of Christian and if they also have a plan to return BC Basketball to respectability.

Friday, March 08, 2019

Former BC assistant Preston Murphy caught in ties to bribery scheme and why it matters

Creighton put Preston Murphy -- who worked as an assistant under Skinner and Jim Christian -- on administrative leave while they investigate his ties to the College Basketball-FBI saga. There are no known reports of Murphy breaking any laws or NCAA rules while he worked at BC. But this is still important to BC and BC Basketball.

One thing this FBI investigation has proven is that paying players is rampant in college basketball. I don't know if BC is doing it or has done it, but plenty of P5 schools have been caught red-handed. If BC is not cheating, than we are playing with one hand tied behind our back while the big boys buy the best players. If we are cheating, then this is all that more pathetic, because we are not getting good ROI on any pay for play. But this system is clearly corrupt and clearly broken and the Murphy news should be a reminder to BC that our only move is to lead for NCAA change. While I am for paying players, I believe BC's leadership is not. Either way, BC should take a stand and lead to real reform...whether it be legal payments or true amateurism that is strictly enforced and violators are punished. Until then guys like Murphy will keep getting caught in the middle.

Wednesday, March 06, 2019

Don't be afraid of mid-major coaches

The last two basketball hires have not been successful. (Depending on your perspective, you could say even worse about them.) Because we're a bit snake bitten, you see some fans wanting to avoid the same mistakes that got us here. Many are hoping BC avoids an up and coming name from a smaller program (mid major) and instead hires a more established, proven coach. While I don't mind spending on a more established name, I don't think BC should avoid mid-major coaches. Outside of Cousy and Chuck Daly, nearly all our successful coaches came from what would now be considered a mid-major program. Take a look:

Al Skinner -- Rhode Island
Jim O'Brien -- St. Bonaventure
Gary Williams -- American
Tom Davis -- Lafeyette
The primary challenge Donahue and Christian had in making the jump from mid-major to BC was recruiting and talent. Donahue looked for certain specific traits and guys who were under the radar. In the end, that plan didn't work for him. Christian went after more traditional p5 talent. His problem was not finding enough of it to compete. If we go the mid-major path again, the coach just needs to have a plan for finding talent and maximizing it against some of the best players in the country.

Ironically, what I like about hiring a mid-major guy is that in theory, he has coached enough games to know how to manage and scheme at an elite level. Yet I would say the Xs and Os have been disappointing for both our past coaches (Donahue could never develop a D and Christian screwed up many late game situations). 

In the end, if we don't follow the mid-major path, we limit our pool to big names and assistant. At this point I don't want to rule anyone out.