Sunday, February 14, 2010

Is this rock bottom?

I've always said this blog captures the highs and lows, but this stretch of basketball beyond a low and I think this loss may be rock bottom. In my mind a low is when things don't go your way or the pain of a close loss. This group of guys is just not fun to watch. They don't play smart. They don't play hard. They don't play in a style that is fun to watch. They don't work as a team and don't seem to like each other. Worst of all, they don't seem to care. Now the barring a miraculous finish, we will finish below .500 in conference play. I guess the biggest part of my frustration is that they played decently in the first half and then put up a 17-point stinker in the second half. These are my hollow thoughts. Leave yours in the comments.


Likes:
-- Ravenel's effort. He not an ideal big man, but he played hard. Maybe he's a piece to the puzzle next year.


Dislikes:

-- Very little flexing. Every time Sanders hits a long 2, or Jackson takes it to the hole or Trapani shoots off a screen we get further and further from what we need to do. We need a set offense and these guys are selfish and impatient when we have the ball.
-- Seven offensive rebounds. How does this happen? A big part is guys chucking it before anyone is in position. Another big part is effort.
-- Challenging their shot blockers. You don't have to just shoot jump shots when facing a bunch of swatters. However, going one on one or driving into traffic won't get it done. You need to screen the bigs over and over and wait for the high percentage shot.
-- Terrible bounce passes. This is an effort and focus issue again.

I dream of a spark or turnaround, but the secondhand stuff I am hearing leaves me pessimistic. My guess is that this season will remain a jumbled mess. Hopefully we and Al will see enough to figure how to make it work next year.

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25 Comments:

At 1:29 AM, Blogger Big Jack Krack said...

When you have been around as long as I have, you kneew that this would "remain a jumbled mess".

The AD has to be looking at this train wreck. He got rid of a pretty good women's coach - it's getting to be that time on the mens side.

Otherwise it's goodbye Gene as far as I'm concerned. He's looking like a Peter Principle guy all the way.

 
At 8:46 AM, Blogger BCMike said...

I know Bill's blog isn't exactly a haven for Pro-Gene guys, but I have a hard time putting this loss/season on GDF.

Al has gotten away with recruiting "diamonds in the rough" and sculpting them into legit D1 players who just wanted it more than the other guy.

Currently, we have at most three D1 guys, Reggie Jackson, Joe Trapani, and occasionally Rakim Sanders.

Southern isn't one. Dunn isn't one. Ravenel isn't one. I have hope for Elmore, but he's not there yet, either. Biko Paris shouldn't be allowed on a basketball court for BC or any other team for the good of the game.

I don't know if Heslip is one or not, but unless he sprouts a foot and a half during the summer and fall, we're going to have the same size issue we do now next year.

 
At 9:22 AM, Blogger BCguy said...

It was 13 second half points. I refuse to count the 4 points in the last 39 seconds.

Biko Paris-Could he start at a decent JuCo?

Josh Southern-Why couldn't the shoulder injury have kept him out longer?

Reggie- he has potential

Trapani-Good player, not strong enough to be covering a 4 every minute of the game

Corey Raji- Where were you?

Elmore and Ravanel have potential.

Sanders is the most talented player, however he doesn't play like it

Roche is decent, but not an ACC 3 or 4. He's playing out of position, he should be a 2 guard.

Dunn plays hard, but he's not good enough to be an ACC center.

What the hell did Al say at half time?

 
At 9:28 AM, Blogger HZMLS said...

This is just embarrassing. I don't know if firing Al Skinner is the answer but GDF needs to really evaluate this team.

 
At 10:32 AM, Blogger JERZeagle said...

I don't care about turning the diamonds in the rough to great players. Why not just recruit guys who are good right out of high school? There is no reason why BC cannot get a top 25 recruit every year for basketball. It is such an easy sell. Look at what Crawley has done in one year. She got 3 top 50 girls to come to the school with open arms.

Skinner doesn't engage the student body, and quite frankly, he doesn't care. He is an NBA coach, he would be perfect coaching the nets where no one even bothers showing up to the meadowlands. The only reason why the 04-05 and 05-06 teams got conte rocking (other than their records) was that the guys on those teams loved BC and the campus could feel it.

 
At 10:55 AM, Blogger TBSBC03 said...

This conversation is ridiculous every time it comes up. There's a block of our fans who have never liked Skinner, want a coach who's more media-friendly and demonstrative and runs an offense that's more asthetically pleasing. So, now that we're in a down season, the long knives come out. Some of you have a pretty outsized sense of where our program fits in the NCAA universe.

We've been in the tournament seven of the last ten years. When did that last happen at BC? I'll save you the googling...it's never happened. I'm as frustrated as anyone with how out of sync this team is, but Skinner has earned the benefit of the doubt.

Finally, who do you think's lining up for this job? I'm sure Bill Self and Roy Williams will be jostling for position to coach at a small academically-focused school in a half-filled arena.

 
At 11:05 AM, Blogger BCMike said...

Just like any school, when the hoops team is winning and/or is ranked, they will pack Conte.

You put a crap product out on the floor, the crowds just aren't going to come.

I'm just saying that I don't really see '11 being any better than '10, and while I'm not a huge hoops recruiting expert; unless we get a big change in that arena we're not going to be good again any time soon.

 
At 1:05 PM, Blogger joey said...

Leave Al alone.

For all the recruiing dorks Southern, Rakim and Biko were suppose to be players.

Go back to recruiting diamonds in the rough.

For all you guys who want to replace Al I submit to you Mr. Todd Lickliter who is 36-48 at Iowa.

The grass is not always greener. 8 (it should be 8 they got screwed Troy's senior year) out of ten years in the NCAA ain't bad.

 
At 1:44 PM, Blogger matthew2 said...

BCGuy -- Sanders is the most talented? Really?

In Sanders, I see a guy that can't dribble under control, doesn't commit to rebound, is slow-footed, is a mediocre outside shooter, and has a poor basketball IQ. He is an average defender at best.

He might show some talent if he moved his game closer to the basket, but we know that is never going to happen.

Think about guys on our team playing on other teams... I think Jackson is clearly the most talented.... maybe Rakim is second by default.

 
At 1:52 PM, Blogger Dan said...

** cough cough **

Spring practice starts March 18th
Spring Game April 24th

** cough cough **

 
At 2:29 PM, Blogger BCMike said...

Joey--

Rakim was the Gatorade POY in RI (Reggie in CO), Biko's recruitment went from ice cold to red hot and back again after USC recruited players to replace him and he then (and only then) decommitted and came to BC.

Southern, as you stated, actually did have the most impressive list of offers of anyone: Kentucky, Wake, Michigan State, Tennessee, and others. How or WHY he got those I'm still not sure of.

 
At 3:06 PM, Blogger BCGP said...

The reason all of our touted recruits look like they have no idea what's going on is because they have a coach who has no idea what he's doing, no continuity, and no direction. They look lost because they have nobody instructing them and teaching them what to be doing. Little known fact. Junior and Senior year, Jared Dudley ran the drills in practice and drew up plays during the games. This is a fact. Skinner can recruit and that's it. Just watch the games. Skinner provides no instruction.

 
At 3:54 PM, Blogger CT said...

I think the pro-Skinner vs. Anti-Skinner debate comes down to expectation. Yes 7 out of 10 invites to the NCAA is good. Losing early so often is not. Diamonds in the rough are good. Missing on them is not.

I'll say it again: BC basketball SHOULD be better than it is. Yeah, we're all happy to go dancing most years, but underachieving once there not only seems to indicate a ceiling, but also has less recruiting advantages attached if Skinner focuses on the underrecruited rather than the big-names, who, more often than not, turn out pretty well. Few schools on an equal footing are recruiting the same guys (Southern excepted).

BC doesn't have a great graduation rate for its bball team, does it? It has its fair share of off-the-court problems with the program. People lament the fact that we're an academic school, which means so much less for this basketball program that it's not an excuse.

This season was lost awhile ago. The staff has done as poor a job as the guys on the floor. Skinner has indeed earned slack in the rope, but how much? If you're like many on here who seem to be content with where we are in the bball universe--we could be so much better--then I guess it's a lot of slack. For other who have higher expectations for a program with really no prohibitive obstacles to success, 1st round losses in the NCAAs aren't satisfying. Again, expectation.

The window for Skinner is closing. There are others not named Williams and Self who are pretty good coaches who would love the chance to coach in the ACC. Or, we can be having this conversation in two years.

 
At 4:57 PM, Blogger TBSBC03 said...

CT,
I just don't think that's a fair reading of history. The ceiling for our program today is decidedly higher than it was when O'Brien left, so expectations have risen accordingly. That's fair. But, the fact is that this is one season, and the people who want Skinner gone now are the same ones who've never liked him to begin with. I think next season's the test. If he can't get this team on the same page by next year, then maybe it's time to start thinking about moving on. I'm not arguing that Al gets a lifetime pass because we went to the Sweet Sixteen once. I am saying that he's earned more slack than this.

I also don't understand the significance of the supposed smoking gun about Dudley drawing up plays. Anyone who's seen one half of BC basketball in the last decade knows that Skinner gives his players a lot of freedom to create within the flex, to his credit or detriment depending on where you sit.

 
At 7:12 PM, Blogger CT said...

TBS, okay, that's fair. I'm confused by the sentiment from some that Skinner is the only option--I've read many times on here that we'd be starting all over again after he leaves. What? I'm also confused when people say that BC isn't a good destination for basketball coaches. Plenty of good academic schools in tough conferences are simply better than BC. My biggest frustration, and I'm glad you enunciated a window at least, is that I see so many alums satisfied with merely being invited to the NCAAs. We can do better, you know. The ceiling is higher after the end of O'Brien's tenure for sure, but, imho, not high enough and Skinner certainly lacks that defining win--O'Brien had one at the least--that could carry this program higher. So, maybe the frustration is not simply about this season.

I never wanted Skinner gone. Right man, right time. Like TOB. I suppose when you think BC could actually win a national championship in basketball (not as realistic in football), or at least make a Final Four like other nontraditional bball schools have done recently--then you're disappointed with a track record that indicates no ability to be great. But I'm aware that many if not most BC alums are satisfied with merely being competitive.

 
At 7:22 PM, Blogger eaglephile said...

TBS- I think that Skinner had his chance with this crop of players, especially considering he didn't bring in a single recruit last year. Now I suppose I have not really ever been a big fan of Al, but I do believe he's really made BC hoops competitive/relevant nationally. However I think it's time to move on.

 
At 8:18 PM, Blogger Charles said...

I think the issue is more with player development than recruiting as far as this junior class goes. While the class lacked a marquee recruit, the offers received by Paris, Southern,Sanders, etc. were respectable. What's been frustrating is the lack of consistency and development over the past few years. The lack of leadership, patience and maturity has been more than evident throughout this season- even before it was a lost cause.

While the blame ultimately rests on the players themselves, you can't help but question the coaching staff and their role in player development.

 
At 8:34 PM, Blogger Dports1 said...

The argument that BC is an academic school carries no weight. Below is a list of so-called "academic schools" from major conferences according to the US News rankings. Its self-evident that these schools don't suffer athletically due to rigorous admissions and academic standards:
4. Stanford
10. Duke
12. Northwestern
17. Vanderbilt
20. ND
21. Cal
23. Georgetown
24. UCLA
25. UVA
26. USC
27. Michigan
28 UNC
28 Wake Forest
34. BC
35. Georgia Tech

Of these 15 schools, 6 (Duke, UNC, Wake, Georgetown, UCLA and Georgia Tech) have had a better 10 year run than BC under Al. 3 schools (Michigan, UVA, Vanderbilt) generally have been worse than BC from 2000-2010 but have had their moments. Northwestern is just putrid (2009-10 notwithstanding). And 4 schools (Stanford, ND, Cal, USC) arguably have achieved success comparable to BC.

So lets put that argument to bed. BC athletics is hamstrung by factors not necessarily within the coach's control, but those factors do not include academics and admissions standards.

 
At 9:45 PM, Blogger joey said...

Dsports

Duke, UNC, Wake and GTown are Hoop schools. Nothing else matters there. Easier to get the blue chip academic guys there.

Don't compare UCLA to us in anything.

Gtown and GT are city schools that are allowed certain to entertain recruits that would never et into BC.


Jeff Goodman had a cryptic remark tonite in his blog

Needham (16.2 ppg, 5.6 apg) has come in and made an instant impact for the Stags .

``He’s terrific,” said Cooley, who knows a thing or two about talent evaluating after teaming with Bill Coen at Boston College. ``He’s a lead guard who can really play. He’s tough, fast, can finish and is a leader. He’s been the difference-maker.”

``He makes you look like you can coach,” added Cooley.

Don't sleep on the assistant coach weakness. Goodman just called our assistants out.

 
At 10:31 PM, Blogger S. Andon said...

I was at the game on Sunday and I think the worse part was realizing once we were down 4, then 6 points, the game was over. It seemed like an eternity between FGs during a stretch in the second half (maybe because it was).

But even with the finish to the first half by Jackson, it was painful to watch the painfully slow bleed that was the second half effort.

 
At 10:59 PM, Blogger matthew2 said...

Dports... Villanova has some good academics too

I agree with your point.... BC being an academic school IS NO DEFENSE as to why we suck.

I'm pretty sure we aren't turning down 5 star recruits that can't spell BC. I'm sure that we would welcome them.

 
At 12:17 AM, Blogger Claver2010 said...

Rock bottom implies that it won't get any lower....

 
At 9:46 AM, Blogger TBSBC03 said...

Dsports: When you say that USC, Cal, and Notre Dame have "arguably acheived success comparable" to BC in the last ten years, what would that argument look like? Those teams have each been to the NCAAs five times and the Sweet Sixteen once. So, yes, that's "comparable" to our 7 NCAA/1 Sweet Sixteen, if by comparable you mean "worse than." The problem with insisting things are self-evident is when people decide to look into it for themselves.

 
At 10:45 AM, Blogger Dports1 said...

Matthew2: I pulled the rankings from USNews National Universities. Nova wasn't on there but I won't disagree that its a good school with a great hoops program.

TBSBC03: By "self-evident", I mean that glancing at the list you can make an argument that each school, save for NW, has had winning programs with NCAA appearances in the past 10 years. Some are clearly better than others.

My point was not to debate the strengths of ND, Cal and USC vs. BC, just that an argument could be made by each school's fans.* The difference between 5 and 7 NCAA appearances is minimal when none of the teams reached final fours or was a top seed (1 or 2). For argument's sake: USC knocked BC out of the NCAAs twice, won a conference tourney (2009) and had players drafted #3 (Mayo)and #9 (DeRozan). ND ended BC's 20-game win streak in 2005, has had 3 POYs (Murphy x2, Harangody) and any ND fan will argue superiority over BC in anything. As for Cal, well, I can't make an argument for them so I'll drop them into the class of UM, UVA and Vandy.

My point remains: BC is middle of the pack among the "academic" schools in major conferences and cannot claim academic standards as hindrance to its hoops program.

*I'll take the BC side of any argument against those schools.

 
At 12:05 PM, Blogger Opinionater said...

Do you actually need any more evidence, that what we have is a, to put it politely, a "dysfunctional" BC basketball team?! By team, I include all coaches and players---with possibly one exception. That would be Tyler Roche. Though short on talent, he is comes up "large" in the "heart/effort/loyalty" category. My respect for him has grown over this season as he accepts his diminished role and continues to exercise the responsibilities of his status as Captain, with class!

But back to the dysfunctional 2010 squad...I am amazed at previous bloggers absolving Al and placing the blame on the assistants---laughable!! The issues continue--poor recruiting, poor game management, players not understandingor accepting their roles, etc. etc. The accountability falls at Al Skinner's doorstep---he is the Head Coach is he not?!
The other aggravating theme, or consensus of opinion among BC hoop fans is the acceptance of mediocrity. Get in the tournament x of y years is "good enough", and gives Al Skinner a "lifetime pass"?! This frame of mind is frustrating if not infuriating.
As if "getting in the tournament" erases all the fumbling and bumbling (not being able to break a press, execute an inbounds pass without tossing the ball 90 feet into the backcourt, losing to the Northeasterns, Maines, Harvards,questionalble recruiting record, failure to cultivate a level of alumni and fan support of the program, etc. etc., ad nauseum. We (BC) deserve better, we can do better than that!

 

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