Thursday, March 11, 2010

Looking back at the lost season

Al Skinner on this season:

(Credit to the ever improving and very good BC blog on WEEI.com.)
“I am a little disappointed in this year’s club. There are a number of different reasons for it. We had some injuries throughout the season, there were some lineup changes. A lot of inconsistencies throughout the year. And so we just weren’t able to bring about any consistency in our club. I’ve always been able to have some stability within my team and there wasn’t enough of that this year for a number of different reasons. Some due to injuries, some due to matchups and just trying to improve play. So hopefully it is just one of those years. I think potential is a terrible word for coaches. I think this team has potential, but I have to help make it work and get with them to coordinate that. The biggest thing is hopefully we can stay healthier next year because we have all these guys returning so if we can stay healthy I think we can improve on this year.”

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68 Comments:

At 11:59 PM, Blogger NG21 said...

Al Skinner: 1 Sweet Sixteen in 10 years...we have seen his own "potential" for a decade now....when will "barely above average" ever end for this program? At least Al actively courts past players, current students, alumni, and the media to build up enthusiasm in the program...oh wait hands off Al doesn't...

 
At 12:22 AM, Blogger CT said...

My thoughts on the potential for this program have already been enunciated, though I'm sure GDF loves loyalty above all else, so...uh...how's the hockey team doing?

Al blames injuries and, um...let's see...he speaks many words but says very little. That quote reeks of "I don't know what happened. Everybody regressed."

The good news is that one Sweet 16 in 10 yrs is a 10% chance for recruits...but, when he misses next yr, it only slides down to a 9% chance. If that's not a recruiting tool, I don't know what is. Hopefully, Mr. Target is the next Joe Trapani. Oh, wait....

See you guys at the Frozen Four!

RIP Merlin Olsen.

 
At 12:58 AM, Blogger Harry Collins said...

Gimme a break with all you spoiled brats. How did Tim Welsh do for Providence? How did Billy Gillespie do for Kentucky? How did Steve Lappas do for Villanova? How did Norm Hill do for St. John's? How did Bobby Gonzalez do for Seton Hall? How did Tommy Amaker for for Michigan? How did Mike Brey do for Notre Dame? In our conference, how are Seth Greenberg, Sydney Lowe, Oliver Purnell, Frank Haith, and Leonard Hamilton doing? Not as well as Skinner has over the years, and it's not even close. Oh yeah, but those guys call timeouts a lot so it looks like they're really coaching. I could go on and on, the NCAA landscape is littered with coaches who can't approximate Skinner's accomplishments at BC, which isn't exactly rich with hoop history, campus support, local fan interest or area prep talent. I mean, c'mon.

I'm so tired of the few fools on this blog who repeatedly call for Skinner's head, and now point to one subpar season. You know, BC made the NCAA tournament last year and won 22 games. That's kinda, sorta an accomplishment for a lot of programs. A LOT of programs. Just ask the folks down in Blacksburg, Raleigh, Miami, Atlanta, Charlottesville and Tallahasee. They didn't go last year. Or the year before. If you want to run Skinner out of town, then maybe UNC should shitcan Roy Williams as well, he's having a worse year with a quite a bit more talent (7 McDonald's All-Americans). Whatta friggin joke.

 
At 1:16 AM, Blogger NG21 said...

Harry Collins...keep rationalizing Al year after year...I remember that NCAA game last year, we were embarrassingly blown out by USC by 17 points. How many people on this site honestly believe an Al Skinner recruited and coached team will make a Final 4 in the next 5 years? Anyone? And yes that is a primary way this fan measures success over a 10-15 year coaching time period. I don't measure program success on whether we won 2 regular season games more on average than programs like UVA or Miami.

 
At 6:20 AM, Blogger eaglephile said...

Skinner is "a little disappointed in this team." What were his expectations going into this season without bringing in 1 recruit?! A high seed in the NIT?

 
At 6:25 AM, Blogger Kevin said...

2 disappointing seasons in 3 years.

Good job Al, especially for us native Marylanders, who have a team in College Park that is better then anyone I've seen it several years.

 
At 8:44 AM, Blogger Erik said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

 
At 9:18 AM, Blogger Patrick said...

Harry Collins...Skinner has done enough at BC that the Ath Dept. should excuse two poor years out of the last three. On that we agree.

But your list of coaches, give all of us a break. Let's go down the list of coaches within the city of Boston. Bill Coen's Northeastern team --- would have blown us out. Tommy Amaker's Harvard team --- dominated us. Pitino Jr.'s BU team --- one game short of making the NCAA tourney by winning the AmericaEast, also would have beaten us this year.

We were the forth best college basketball team in the city of Boston this year. FOURTH FREAKIN BEST IN THE CITY OF BOSTON. We would not have been competitive in a college basketball beanpot.

That's garbage, and it can't continue. I don't care how many tournament appearances Al has had. This team has been generally awful since Coen and Cooley left (compare our season to that of Northeastern and Fairfield), and it's time to bring one of them back as head coach if next year is another repeat.

 
At 9:44 AM, Blogger Eagle88 said...

I've been a season ticket holder since 1993. This was the most frustrating campaign in that time.

I had been a "Skinner apologist", but maybe that was because I remember that Jim O'Brien had some atrocious seasons. The Maine game changed my mind, because it made me recognize how stubborn Al really is. He thinks the system will work, but it doesn't when someone named Bell, Smith, Dudley, or Rice can't bail you out. He made NO ADJUSTMENT to win that game. None whatsoever. Does he really miss Bill Coen and Ed Cooley that much? It would seem so.

The atmosphere at Conte is pathetic. Prime seats regularly sit unused, and we wonder why the students won't embrace this program when they're confined to the end zones and upper deck? No sellout for UNC? Less than 4K for the home finale?

Clearly something must change. Al's taken it as far as it can go. Please, Gene, make a really bold move here. Maybe Len Elmore, Jay Bilas, and even Dick Vitale will say it's a crime, but anyone who is part of the disheartened base will feel like something's being done.

 
At 9:53 AM, Blogger Erik said...

Not sure why my post, which was BC-area related, was removed.

Patrick, we scrimmaged against Northeastern in the fall and beat them

 
At 10:25 AM, Blogger BCMike said...

Skinner has earned the right to stay after two stinkers in the past three...

But if he doesn't:

1) take us to the NCAA's and
2) win at least one game in the tourney

I think it may be time to turn the page.

 
At 10:25 AM, Blogger BCMike said...

(the above comment means for next year)

 
At 11:02 AM, Blogger Harry Collins said...

That's fine, you nitwits can keep posting your uninformed Skinner bashing, but show me another program at BC's level (and by that I mean stay away from blueblood programs like UNC, Kentucky, Duke, Kansas, UCLA, UConn etc.) that has had comparable or greater success to Skinner and BC over the past 10 years or so. Go ahead, show me. Show me another program with at least 7 20 win seasons, 7 NCAA tourney appearances, 1 NIT appearance and a Sweet 16. Start with the conference. Trust me, nationwide, you will only need 1 hand to count.

And gimme a break with the tournament runs. If Skinner has some wacky run to the Final Four next year, does that shut all you fools up on that issue? Is that your litmus test for a sainthood? If so, then surely you have already canonized the likes of Mike Davis (jumped before he was pushed at Indiana), Paul Hewitt (done nothing since for GTech), Jim Brady (fired by LSU), all middling coaches whose resumes pale in comparison to Skinner's but for a shit luck couple of back-to-back March weekends.

And the armchair coaching of you idiots is laughable. "Not enough timeouts!" "No in-game adjustments!" Hey maybe Sidney Lowe, Seth Greenberg, Frank Haith et al should take a cue and stop calling all those timeouts, and leave their players to make plays. Maybe they would win a few more games, maybe actually make the NCAA tournament. It's hard to have a tourney run when you don't get a goddamn bid.

 
At 11:09 AM, Blogger Erik said...

We do need roster help. Sure it can be blamed on Skinner, which is fine, but it explains our results as much as timeout usage or the flex.

Our top 8 players are best suited for a 2,3,or 4 position. Our only natural point guard and our only natural center are our 9th and 10th best players.

That doesn't help us. We've got so many people playing out of position.

Our best chance for improvement next year is if Brady shows he's a natural point guard with legit D1 skills, and if Noreen keeps growing taller and can bang down low. If Brady is a shooting guard and Kevin wants to play an outside game then I'm not too confident in seeing improvement. After that it's the guys' ability to improve themselves and master the Flex through repetition.

 
At 11:13 AM, Blogger Marzetti Family said...

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At 11:22 AM, Blogger Harry Collins said...

One more thing...to underscore how myopic you Skinner bashers are, I'd like to put you to the test. You all think there are better coaches out there. OK, BC's program is at a level where, if they make the NCAA tourney in a given year, it's as an at large with a seeding between 6-11. With that premise, when the bids come out on Sunday, pick 6 coaches of 6 teams that you think are "good coaches", or at least better than Skinner. And here's the tricky part - pick a #6, a #7, a #8, a #9, a #10 and a #11. Have the balls to post your picks, and we'll see how many of you pick more than 3 winners.

I think the results will show how tough the NCAA tourney is outside of the 1-16, 2-14, 3-13 and 4-12 games, which everyone's secretary can predict. Anybody can beat anybody outside of those top seed First Round games, and even with them there are usually a couple of upsets. As I have said before, for teams like BC, the fight's on from the opening tip, regardless of team pedigree, and deep runs are more matchups and luck than anything. You don't make the tourney if you can't play.

I'm curious to see if any of you pussies take me up on this.

 
At 11:26 AM, Blogger mod10aeagle said...

Probably the most common praise of Skinner is about his knack for turning under-recruited players into legitimate D1 all-stars and turning a collection of unknowns into a fairly efficient team. Maybe he's just been lucky with some of those guys, maybe it was his former assistants and other staffers who found diamonds among the playground litter. I don't know. But this squad has none of the those guys. Zero. Not a single ball handler, shooter, blocker, shut-down defender, uber high-IQ baller ... just very little to work with. Yeah, "potential" is a bad word for coaches, especially when you have none.

 
At 11:33 AM, Blogger Claver2010 said...

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At 11:34 AM, Blogger Patrick said...

Harry, the entire premise of your question is bs and you know it. You can't just assume that "BC's at a level where they're seed range is from a 6 to 11." Really? I seem to recall BC being a 3 and 4 (twice) in recent years. We're not in a mid-major conference with a seed ceiling. What's to prevent us from being a top seed? Recall that Craig's senior season, had we not started out 0-3 in conference, we would have been a 2 (or, hell, if we beat Duke in the ACC Championship game).

But you're right, the appropriate measure is tournament appearances. And we've missed the tournament in 2 of the past 3 years; we were lucky to sneak in last year after nearly pissing away the middle of the season, and four years ago we made it only because Jared Dudley was a once-in-a-generation player.

The "at least Skinner is not as bad of a coach as Frank Haith or Syndey Lowe" argument is garbage. Let's look around at schools with similar profiles to BC. Vanderbilt - better coach. Villanova - MUCH better coach. Notre Dame - much worse coach. Virginia - to be determined. Wake - probably even. Providence - worse. St. Joe's - much better. Seton Hall - not sure, I doubt we'd be better than they've been over the past three years in the Big East. St. John's - well, they don't have one. Dayton - much better coach. Pittsburgh - much better coach. Sienna - such a good coach that they're now a peer program.

BC has it's natural limitations (empty seats and academic standards), but so does just about every school. Skinner works within those and does nothing to change them (and at least the former could be changed). He also is a poor in-game coach, and to the extent we have a defense it has been in the bottom of the conference for five-straight years.

Keep telling yourself that's not troubling. There's a reason why you're the only one who's rabid in Skinner's defense right now. And it's not because the rest of us are blind.

 
At 11:40 AM, Blogger Anwar said...

Harry, in my opinion, your argument focuses on the wrong points. Skinner's situation is very analogous to TOB. Sure, we can run the ball up the middle and find consistent mediocre success, or we can open up the playbook so that we can attract blue chip recruits, have a chance to win if we're behind, and play for the ACC championship. Skinner runs the offense that we ran in high school. It's also the offense that stays in high school. An offense like this doesn't attract blue chip recruits, nor does it give us the opportunity to achieve consistent success against the higher level ACC programs. With the talent that we have, and that we have the potential to get, it's hard to make an excuse for this. When we lose to Maine and Harvard (2 years in a row) in sports other than hockey, there is no excuse. I wholeheartedly believe that if Steve Donahue was our coach, we wouldn't be in this situation. Yes, it's always good to look at our position relative to our peers, but it's equally important to ensure that we're playing at our full potential. After Dudley left, I was his OL btw, it's hard to make the argument that we have.

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

Erik:

The removed post was quasi-BC related and basically an ad for a burrito shop. I obviously will promote plenty of BC-related businesses for free but that seemed a little too much. Just check with me next time.

 
At 12:18 PM, Blogger Harry Collins said...

@ Patrick - "What's to prevent us from being a top seed?" Uhhh...maybe Duke and UNC? I think they have some modest tradition, recruiting, and fanbase advantages over BC, as does NC State, Wake, GTech and Maryland for that matter, who we beat fairly consistently in the ACC standings.

You're proving my point by listing all those schools, just about all have worse records than BC over the past decade. You are subjectively saying "better coach," but how about using objective criteria, like 20 win seasons and NCAA tourney appearances? And citing mid-majors? C'mon, mid-majors can put together a decent team, maybe 2 seasons in a row, because only 5 guys play the sport. If you are lucky enough to get 2 guys who can play, then you can string together 2 good seasons in a row, like George Mason a few years ago. Gonzaga is the only real exception to this rule, and they are now so established, that they are not really a mid major.

A 10 year run of success is a pretty good sample size for me, which is why I defend Skinner. This year was the first underachieving team for Skinner in a very long time. I am not going to take him to task for the 07-08 season, BC lost two 4-year starters that year, including the ACC POY (Dudley), and 2 talented frontline guys to dismissal (Williams and McLean). That's 4 of the top 6 in the rotation, with only mercurial Rice and crappy Roche returning. Everyone and their mother knew it was going to be a rebuilding year with all the freshmen coming in. Here's a newsflash for you: just about every program rebuilds once in a while, even UNC this year despite 7 McDonald's All-America's.

As for NCAA seeding, my point is that 6-11 is generally where all 2nd tier BCS conference teams end up as at large qualifiers. Yes, occasionally, BC and their ilk will have a great year, compete or beat the likes of Duke and UNC in conference, and get a Top 4 seed, but that has been and will be a rarity. I mean, how many times has it happened in BC's history? I can only think of two times in 30 years - 2000-2001, and 2005-2006, a #3 each time if memory serves.

One more thing...I expected someone to scream "Villanova." Villanova is not BC's peer. Nova has some significant advantages over BC, the similarity in school makeup notwithstanding. Nova has a much better and much longer hoops tradition (multiple Final Fours and a National Championship), a much more rabid fanbase, much better street cred (Philly is a college basketball town with the Big Five tradition), and Philly preps are much, much better than Boston preps (Kobe Bryant, Rasheed Wallace, Rip Hamilton, etc.). It is far easier to recruit for Villanova than BC, no doubt. Providence and Seton Hall are better comparisons, and both are in far worse shape than BC despite Final Four history at each school.

 
At 12:43 PM, Blogger Daniel said...

I never thought I'd have to post on this blog until I saw how ridiculous Harry Collins is.

Do the eye test buddy. What do your eyes tell you? Is BC getting any better in basketball, or is it getting worse almost every year? Do you really think this team is going to be better next year?

If you answer Yes to any of these questions, you're not paying attention. This team sucks, a lot. Some is on the players, most is on Skinner's failure to actually coach.

We lost to Maine this season, that should pretty much tell you all you need to know about the state of this program.

Gene needs to go out and hire Fran McCaffrey, who I guarantee could coach circles around Skinner.

 
At 1:07 PM, Blogger Galvin said...

I would love to get Fran McCaffery. Harry, I think your points are actually pretty valid (but your tone makes you sound like a crazy, cantakerous meanie). We have inherent disadvantages compared to the big-time programs, yet the BC program has had considerable success over the past decade - to the point where seasons like this make us very angry because we expect better. I understand we have made only 1 trip to the Sweet Sixteen, but as you have pointed out, deep NCAA advances are incredibly difficult. What makes this year so bitter is that this year was supposed to be different. We have talent (just not at the 5 spot) and the kids didn't perform. That really is on Skinner and he is not very good at placating the fanbase. Also, his offense is boring and predictable. When he has the pieces to run it, it can be brutally efficient. When he doesn't have the pieces he continues to run it and won't make any adjustments. The guys seemed disinterested and lacking in passion. That starts up top - gotta put some fear in 'em.

 
At 1:10 PM, Blogger Harry Collins said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

 
At 1:13 PM, Blogger Harry Collins said...

@Patrick, @Dabniel:

Let's go with the Skinner bashers' 2 main propositions, that he is a bad "in-game" coach (whatever that means coming from all you folks with years of coaching experience), and he can't recruit. Ok, if he can't coach and he has no talented players because he can't recruit, then how the F did he become the winningest coach in BC history and one of the winningest coaches in the country the past ten years? How the F has he navigated his teams to all these 20 win seasons and NCAA bids?

OK, BC lost to Maine this year (URI and Northern Iowa are real deal teams, no shame there, and Harvard had a player better than anyone on BC and a lot of other ACC teams). The Maine loss is definitely a bad loss, nexcusable. But look around... UNC lost to College of Charleston. Georgetown lost to Old Dominion. Notre Dame lost to Loyola Marymount. UCLA lost to Cal State (and Portland and Long Beach State). Vanderbilt lost to Western Kentucky. Louisville lost to Western Carolina. GTown, ND, Vandy and Louisville are all NCAA tourney teams (or close), and UNC and UCLA has much more talent than BC. I grabbed that information in about 2 minutes, I'm sure there are many, many more examples. Crazy upsets happens, it's called college basketball.

Wind back the clock 12 months and it's the same guys calling for Skinner's head, so this season has nothing to do with anything. You guys are spoiled because you probably did not suffer through all the bad BC years as I did. You are delusional to expect BC to be significantly better with someone else - careful what you wish for. I am just as anxious as anyone to see BC in the Final Four someday, but I am also realistic enough to know Skinner has done a great job at BC, not a good one.

As for next year, the talent is there, it all depends on whether they can bring in a point guard. If they have a real point guard, and slide Jackson over to his natural 2 position, then BC is a 20 win, Top 25 team and in the NCAAs, there is no doubt in my mind. You can have your timeouts.

 
At 1:20 PM, Blogger Ry said...

to Patrick's point that all schools have to deal with academic standards:

BC is one of very major conference D1 schools where the admissions office actually exercises control over the admission of recruits. the list is short and includes the likes of stanford, duke, northwestern, and notre dame. duke is a true outlier in this group as far as performance goes. at other schools the coach hands the admissions office a list and the letters go out. this is what the jim o'brien flap was all about. we are operating at a distinct disadvantage when it comes to talent at all times and we don't have the pedigree to stand on as a recruiting tool that notre dame or duke does.

 
At 1:24 PM, Blogger Patrick said...

HC- I am not calling for Skinner's head now, nor have I in the past. In fact, I thought salvaging an NCAA team out of Dudley's senior season was one of his best coaching jobs. But our team has been on an undeniable slide south --- that is, undeniable to everyone except you.

So, let's take your comparisons seriously. I think an apt comparison to BC is Vanderbilt -- a team without much basketball history in a competitive conference that has high academic standards. Kevin Stallings has been the coach there since 2000. Excluding his first three years (as anyone would fairly do for Skinner as well, given the mess they both inherited), let's measure since 2002-03. Stallings has had 5 20 win seasons, 4 NCAA berths, and 2 sweet 16s. Vandy had a poor season in 02-03, but since that time their worst conference record is 7-9. What's more, Vanderbilt is trening upwards, as BC trends down.

Sure, Villanova has a tad more history and certainly more support within Philadelphia than BC does within Boston. But when Jay Wright took over there, they were a peer school. Now they're not. Why?

Let's also look at Sienna, where Fran McCaffrey is coach. He's been there for 5 years, and four of those have been 20 win seasons. His teams have made the 2d round twice, and will likely do so (at least) again this year. One 20-win team lost by two in their conference final. Also, Sienna is better than we are. I don't care what conference they play in.

If you think that Skinner is a good in-game coach, you're blind. I don't know what else to tell you. He runs the same scheme year after year, and does a pretty good job developing players to run it (note: I would have said great, until this year's junior class which has consistently regressed). The scheme is inflexible, and it will not be changed no matter the score. I do not view that as a virtue. We have not been able to play effectively against full court pressure in a decade. We have not had a successful inbounds play since Jon Beerbohm roamed Conte. We do not play good defense --- ever --- and we literally never play good perimeter defense.

Skinner has had an above-average tenure at BC. There's no doubt about that. There's also no doubt about where his tenure is trending. Also, Skinner's failure to recruit anybody for this year's freshman class tells you one of two things: (a) it was a complete failure that he explained away by claiming that the team was good enough as is; or (b) he actually thought it'd be better to bank the scholarships because the team was good enough without adding anybody. Either way, the decision was horrible. And it's indicative of the state of this program.

 
At 1:51 PM, Blogger Harry Collins said...

OK, my challenge to come up with a a coach at a school at BC's level (i.e., below the blue bloods) who has enjoyed comparable success to that of Skinner has led only Patrick to offer Vanderbilt. As I said, you can count them on one hand. Yep, Stallings has done a comparable job, a very good coach (who I'm sure has his knucklehead detractors on Vandy blogs), but take away this clunker of a season and Skinner has the edge in my view over the same span. In any event, the comparison is close. Nova does not have a "tad" more history than BC for the reasons I discussed above, they have much more history, including an NC. Speaking of Nova, Jay Wright came in after woeful Steve Lappas, which is an apt name to bring up. He is precisely the careful-what-you-wish-for replacement I fear when Skinner moves on. As for Fran McCaffrey, all I can say is "caveat emptor." For every Jay Wright-type success story from the mid-majors, there's a counterpart Dan Monson, Bobby Gonzalez or Fran Fraschilla, guys who have disappointed or fallen flat on their faces at the higher level.

You guys don't like Skinner's style, you're bored with it. You guys are spoiled, you've tasted all this succes and you want more. I get that. But I don't agree. Skinner has had exactly 2 disappointing seasosn for me in his entire career at BC (this year and the 2002-2003 season). Every other year he has either met expectations or exceeded them. That's my definition of a good coach, and unless and until this becomes a pattern, I'm not changing my position.

 
At 2:09 PM, Blogger NG21 said...

Harry,

I think you have the biggest Boston inferiority complex in the history not only of BC but Massachusetts. Can some one please dispatch Andy Katz to Harry's living room and have him write his annual "those plucky BC diamonds in the rough at BC may surprise some people column" 8 months early.

The whole coach A may be better than coach B is a fools errand because it is all dealing in hypotheticals.

The whole point of the first post on this string is that there is a body of work of Al's 10 years both on the court and in the way he promotes the school and "one point guard" is
not going to change Al in the way he runs the program. All of the glamour programs UCLA, UK, Duke, etc all at one point had a coach that took them to that proverbial next level. Al is not that guy, he should be thanked for the solid work he has done and we should move on as a program.

 
At 2:24 PM, Blogger morrina said...

How about the dismaying choice of line-ups in this game, particularly in the last 5 minutes. I know Trap, Raji, and Jackson were not having good games, but to leave those other guys on the floor to try to win the game???!!! I don't get it. I basically don't think Skinner cared if we lost. He also left Southern in for an eternity when he was having the worst game of anyone. Why???

 
At 2:33 PM, Blogger Kevin said...

@Harry Collins:

Gary Williams and Maryland. He literally has nothing there as far as recruiting, and yet he's on the verge of running Maryland VERY deep into the tournament.

And please, don't use so much obscene language, it makes you look idiotic.

 
At 3:23 PM, Blogger Brian said...

First time commenter. How much of college basketball "coaching" is actually recruiting? I would argue a lot. Getting Reggie was a pretty big get and it was great to see Al leverage the success of the Craig/Jared squad to get him. And I hope he is great next year. That said, why do we still have to rely on the whole "diamond in the rough" theory? I don't buy the academics argument. There was an interesting article in SI awhile ago about the Harvard team and the type of talent that they were going after, and getting. If we can't compete with Harvard in recruiting then something is quite wrong. Yes, they can sell a Harvard degree to kids but we can sell ACC exposure and competition. I think the program history (not as it relates to Harvard) argument is overrated as well. Kids care about now, especially in this media crazed age.

 
At 3:33 PM, Blogger joey said...

Kevin

Idiotic. Gary Williams. He got lucky because the ACC s-cks this year. Otherwise he would have been 7-9 or 8-8 like has 5 of the last 6 years.

 
At 3:47 PM, Blogger BCMike said...

Harry--

Leave the internet tough guy and vulgarities at home. We can have a discussion without all parties sounding belligerent.

My question to you re: Skinner is this...at what point do you hold him accountable for not living up to expectations? You argue that Skinner is doing a more than adequate job and that we should all be very happy with what he's done so far.

My point is this: even the most ardent Skinner supporter will agree that two out of the last three years have been stinkers. How many out of how many years are acceptable for you? Three out of four? Five out of six? Seven out of ten? I'm just curious if, and when your tipping point for Skinner is.

As I said above, I think he's done enough to warrant being back next year, but if he tanks it again and doesn't get BC to the NCAA's and win at least one game, that's three stinkers if four years. Not acceptable most places--blue blood or not.

 
At 4:00 PM, Blogger John said...

BC had a bad year and the ACC is terrible this year. Terrible.

Where do we go from here?

My guess is down, unless Al can bring in some good assistants. He's awful.

 
At 4:08 PM, Blogger bobble said...

Harry I agree with all your points.

Don't blame poor attendance on Al, the hockey team is competing for an NC, as they do every year, and their attendance is just as bad. That is not Al's fault it is students and fans.

 
At 4:41 PM, Blogger Matt said...

Is there anything that can be done about the seating at Conte to bring the students closer to the Court? Several NBA teams also play in arenas that host hockey teams, and none of them have the huge gap between the baseline and the fans. What's the deal? We need to get our students on courtside that faces the cameras. Watching BC games on TV is borderline embarrassing.

 
At 5:16 PM, Blogger Harry Collins said...

BC Mike, don't call me an Internet tough guy. If you do, then I'm gonna smack you upside the e-head.

As for my tipping point, it's probably 3 underachieving years in a row, maybe 4 depending on how underachieving. Right now, we're not even close to that. Right now we have 1, which based on Skinner's career, is most likely an aberration. And that's my whole goddamn point. You don't start talking about the job security of the winningest coach in program history after 1 underachieving year. He has a little bit of a track record that gives him a pass in my book.

OK, now it's quiz time for you. You tell me, what year can you point to (before this year) in which BC underachieved? 2 years ago when the team lost everyone, including McLean and Williams unexpectedly? If that's your position, then my rejoinder is that everyone knew 07-08 was going to be a rebuilding year. By definition, "rebuilding" means putting the pieces back together, and that's what happened. They made the tourney with all underclassmen + Rice. That wasnt a pleasant surprise for you? If the likes of UNC and UConn can have rebuilding years in 2010, then I think lil old BC can have one in 2008.

So let's be candid here. This whole discussion is not about substance, it's about style points. There are a bunch of yahoos out there like you who have never liked Skinner, who don't like his unconventional style, despite the fact that its plainly successful and drives all the other teams nuts. No, you guys want more "fire" from your head coach, you want more "in-game adjustments," and you want more timeouts so you can run for a beer at the commercial breaks. That's fine, just be man enough to admit it's all about style when people like me call you out on the carpet. I'm sure we can look back at the posts on this blog from a year ago, and the same people were whining about the same things, even after a 22-win, NCAA appearance with almost all underclassmen. Gimme a break.

 
At 5:44 PM, Blogger blist said...

Harry, drop the cussing, you sound like some grumpy old man with one too many martinis in his belly.

As for me, I want to give Skinner the benefit of the doubt, but this season was pretty awful, effort and coaching wise.

 
At 5:59 PM, Blogger Harry Collins said...

I was joking Blist

 
At 6:21 PM, Blogger Ry said...

i have a philosophical question here, regarding expectations.

what exactly are the expectations of our basketball program? and from where are we deriving them?

i understand disappointment with only having one sweet 16 appearance, considering we have had talent that should have done. what in our program's history leads us to have expectations of achievement beyond what we have seen? aside from the early to mid-80s, we have never put together teams that have consistently achieved significant success.

did skinner create these expectations? or are they result of living in the acc? a sweet 16 appearance is a great goal, and i don't think there's anything wrong with aspiring to be there...that should be the goal. but i don't think we have any real right to be upset about not getting there unless you think you are legitimately one of the 16 best teams in the country...and i don't see anything about our program that should make us "expect" to be in that position with any regularity.

 
At 8:14 PM, Blogger Bravesbill said...

Harry, your challenge is completely idiotic given the fact that not many coaches outside of the "blue blood" schools have coached for 10 years at the same program. Further, your challenge doesn't consider the strides teams have made in recent years. If they sucked at the start of the decade and are good now, they are eliminated from any consideration. Also, your challenge eliminates any program that has had any success in the NCAA Tournament at any point in the history of the game. Look at Nova. You eliminate them from consideration just because they were good in the '80s. They were horrible for a very long time before Wright came around and transformed the program. If St. John's coach or the University of San Francisco's coach transforms their teams into consistent Top 25 teams year after year, will they also be eliminated from consideration because they were good 40 years ago, and thus have a "tradition?" Finally, your challenge is idiotic because all coaching opportunities are not made equal. All the successful mid-major coaches wouldn't stand a chance in your challenge because they do not get to the Tournament every year. If they do, they have no shot of winning. Al has an inherent advantage in this respect in terms of recruiting, etc. Throw Al in the mid-majors, and it's very likely that he does squat with them. Bring in a mid-major coach that is successful (but would be eliminated from consideration in your challenge because he is a mid-major coach like St. Mary's coach), and he could probably do just as good, if not better job than Al. If you would like me to provide a list of schools, that are not true bloods, but that have had their programs transformed the past decade due to their coaches, I can provide quite a long list if you like.

 
At 10:07 PM, Blogger eagleboston said...

Look, I'm far from a Skinner fan but I think we need to give him one more season to see what he can do. I too am frustrated that we lost to teams that had no business being on the same court with BC and I do get angry that Skinner allows teams to go on huge runs without trying to break momentum with a timeout. But, he has earned the right to see what he can do with next season's senior class.

Harry, I hope you were not calling for TOB's head a few years back as he was the "winningest coach" in BC football history.

How many days until spring football? I am going through some serious withdrawal pains and I need my pigskin fix.

 
At 10:46 PM, Blogger Lenny Sienko said...

The Butler Bulldogs won at least 20 games and reached postseason play eight of the last ten seasons, including five NCAA Tournaments and a Sweet Sixteen Appearance.

They had two coaches during that period: Todd Lickliter (now struggling at Iowa) and Brad Stevens-

Here's Stevens' 3-year totals:

Butler (Horizon League) (2007–present)
2007–2008 Butler 30-4 16-2 1st NCAA 2nd Round
2008–2009 Butler 26-6 15-3 1st NCAA 1st Round
2009–2010 Butler 28-4 18-0 1st NCAA

Butler: 84-14 49-5
Total: 84-14

 
At 11:00 PM, Blogger Lenny Sienko said...

The Xavier Musketeers have been A-10 Tournament Champs 4 times (1997-98, 2001-02, 2003-04, 2005-06), and appeared in the NCAA Tournament 20 times, including two appearances in the Elite Eight (2003–04, 2007–2008). They are the only non-BCS school to be listed among the top 20 most valuable college basketball programs in the US.

They did this with a revolving door for coaches, who included: Thad Matta (Ohio State), John Groce (Ohio), Bob Staak (formerly of Wake Forest), Skip Prosser (formerly of Wake Forest), Pete Gillen (formerly of Providence College and The University of Virginia) and Sean Miller, now at Arizona.

They are currently 24-7 under first year coach Chris Mack.

 
At 11:19 PM, Blogger Harry Collins said...

Bravesbill, yeah, I guess you're right, it is kind of a loaded question, because coaches who are not as successful as Al often get fired and don't get to coach for ten years. I guess in that regard it's a self-fulfilling prophecy, if you keep winning, your AD usually keeps you on the job. I guess that's the goal after all, to be successful. So....you're saying get rid of him because he's successful....hmmmm.

As for your "list of schools that have had their programs transformed the past decade due to their coaches," wouldn't BC be on the list? He would if he called a few more timeouts to satisfy all you armchair coaches, huh?

Hey, what you nitwits say doesn't really matter anyway, the people that know a thing or two about college hoop agree with me, Skinner has done a great job and will be the coach at BC for as long as he wants, unless and until he has 3-4 losing seasons in a row. Then, and only then, will there be a discussion about a change among the actual decisionmakers. I mean, do you really think if BC goes 12-19, 5-11, next year GFD will can him? No way. Absolutely no way. Come talk to me in 2013 if there is anything to talk about.

Now go root for Paul Hewitt and marvel at all the timeouts he calls.

 
At 11:41 PM, Blogger matthew2 said...

anyone touched on these points, I'm sorry if they did... in response to a couple points I saw while perusing...

Gary Williams' accomplishments at Maryland far exceed most coaches, including Al Skinner.

And also..... I don't think admissions standards are really an issue at all with the bball team. There have been more than a couple criminals on the team in the past decade. Also, many of the ones that are not criminals are from from "intellectuals".

 
At 1:55 AM, Blogger Ry said...

sean williams scored over a 1400 on his SATs...criminals don't necessarily have to be stupid.

if you think the guys who actually make it in are bad, imagine ho wbad the rejects must be.

al's contract runs through the 2012-2013 season. i doubt highly that BC cuts him loose before then

 
At 2:21 AM, Blogger matthew2 said...

I won't say it didn't happen because I don't have proof... but I would really like someone to prove it to me that he actually scored that high on his SATs. I'm curious as to the source of that info.

 
At 2:25 AM, Blogger matthew2 said...

http://www.realgm.com/src_fromtherafters/121/20070627/what_does_sean_williams_baggage_look_like/

thats the closest I could find.... a third party saying he got 1280. I still have trouble believing that, but 1280 is not over 1400.



And again... I don't think BC is turning away any prospects because of grades or character. If Al likes them, and they meet the minimum SAT requirement to play D1, I'm sure that they get their acceptance letter.

 
At 9:02 AM, Blogger Thomas said...

Harry, what about the REPEATED failure to inbound the ball versus the press? The inability to get your players in the right spots for 2 seconds to get to the ELITE EIGHT?

Maybe I'm missing something, but the TOB and Skinner styles/situations are eerily similar. Both have taken programs with little to no history and made them into consistent winners/overachievers/whatever you want to call them. As fans, we should both commend them for their job and be thankful for what they've brought to the program. But there comes a point(and I really wish I could remember that exact moment I thought this for TOB) when you realize that they have taken the program as far as they themselves can take it. Does anyone here REALLY think that TOB would've had BC in the ACC championship game back to back years, or ranked #2 in the country? Or would his conservative in-game coaching have caught up with him at some point, costing us a game or two?

The argument works both ways... Does anyone think Jags would have taken a BC team without Matt Ryan and the foundation that O'Brien left there to #2? Of course not.
It's a shake of the dice either way. We could get a new coach and he could take us to the promised land, or he could run us right back into irrelevance(at which point, the only decision we'd have is how much money it would take to rehire Skinner).

To fire Skinner after one terrible season, I think, is foolhardy. But to accept poor job performance indefinitely based on past success is equally nonsensical.

 
At 10:38 AM, Blogger BCMike said...

"OK, now it's quiz time for you. You tell me, what year can you point to (before this year) in which BC underachieved?"

Two years ago they also underachieved. Yes, they lost a lot of starters, but it's up to the staff to recruit and train the boys so that you're always "reloading" instead of "rebuilding". This year UNC DID underachieve, despite losing their starting five that won the NC. No one expected them to win the NC again, but they fell flat on their face. More was expected of them.

BC holds the "honor" or being the team with the most NCAA tournament wins without a final four appearance. I would give anything just to get back to the sweet sixteen, but we are miles away from that. When you had some of the teams that Al had, MORE was expected of them. There was some ridiculous talent that Al, to his and his staff's credit, brought in and more accurately, developed. However there's only so many diamonds one can find in the rough and barring a big impact from the incoming class (after bringing in no one last season), unless Al gets us to the NCAA's and wins a game I believe he's fairly on the hot seat.

 
At 11:36 AM, Blogger joey said...

I have a question for the Skinner haters.

This year was it the coaching or is it the fact that Jackson, Southern, Biko and Trapani can't guard my 2 year old?

And last time I checked you recruiting geeks were ejaculating over the Southerns and Biko's of the world that finally "Skinner had recruited some 3 stars or 4 star" or whatever the Rivals geeks declares them.

You can't make chicken soup out of chicken ......

The only thing you can fault him for is overestimating the Junior class talent level and skillset because plain and simple they are not BCS conference caliber.

Need to get some players in here and we are at a tremendous recruting disadvantage.

 
At 11:44 AM, Blogger Bravesbill said...

Harry, most coaches are not with the same program for 10 years because either they get fired (as you pointed out) or because they get a better job at a better program (which you failed to recognize). Al did a nice job of rebuilding the program like TOB but both of them could not get BC over the proverbial hump. If you want to wallow in a persistent state of mediocrity, that's your right. I'd actually like to see BC take it to the next level (i.e. a Sweet Sixteen every couple years and advancements past that). Teams like George Mason, Gonzaga, Xavier, Bradley, Tulsa, Southern Illinois, Temple, Kent St., Butler, UAB, Nevada, St. Joe's, UW-Milwaukee, Utah, Wichita State, Davidson, and Western Kentucky all have appeared in the same amount or more Sweet 16s than BC has in the past decade. That my friend is quite sad. And you have asked how many times BC has had a disappointing season. Why don't you also ask how many times BC has had a disappointing run in the NCAA Tournament.

 
At 2:31 PM, Blogger DustBowl said...

matthew2 -- are your doubt about sean williams' intelligence based on your preconceived ideas about the abilities of athletes? or, worse, based on racial bias?

hideous either way.

 
At 3:53 PM, Blogger matthew2 said...

dustbowl -

I appreciate your awareness of racial bias, but it's not relevant here.

My assessment is based on going to school with him, and interacting with him on more than one occasion in social settings. While his immaturity was his number one fault, I assure you that he wasn't turning heads with his intellectual abilities.

My assessment is based on knowing when, where and how he chose to "break rules"... and the very inopportune times that he decided to do such things.

My assessment is based on knowing people involved in athletics (both athletes and employees), and the stories that they told about "big time".

This is not the forum to go into greater detail, as I feel that it's inappropriate and counterproductive. But if you ever run into matthew2 at a bar sometime, but him a beer... that would be a good time for a story or two.

 
At 4:59 PM, Blogger DustBowl said...

matthew2, nice try, but I'm not buying that noise

 
At 8:36 PM, Blogger Harry Collins said...

So little time...

@Bravesbill, success in the tounament and success overall are two different things, the tourney is all about matchups and luck, outside a handfull of games in the first round involving the top seeds, every game is a dogfight, that's why it's so hard to get to the second weekend. I remind you, 65 teams make the tourney, and 49 are gone before you can say "Marc Molinsky." Yes, random teams make the Sweet Sixteen every year, but cherrypicking a few mid-majors that have done it over the years proves nothing except that you know how to use Wikipedia or Google. Why don't you apply those skills to the rest of the conference? Other than Duke and UNC (maybe Maryland), I don't believe any other ACC school has been to the Sweet Sixteen more than BC over the past decade.

@BC Mike, do you really think BC should have made the NCAA tourney in 2008 after unexpectedly losing their entire junior class? Really? I file that season under the category "meets expectations" - they were predicted to be a bottom tier team, and that's where they ended up, while bringing in and playing a number of freshmen. "Reloading" is a term for the bigboys like Kentucky and Duke. Every school has rebuilding years, you just haven't seen many of them at the Heights because Skinner has been so consistently good.

@Thomas - I am so tired of people with these armchair coaching criticisms of Skinner, while ignoring the overall body of work. I mean, should Jamie Dixon be vilified for allowing Scottie Reynolds to run through his team for a layup 2 years ago, propelling Nova to the Final Four? Is it Calipari's fault his team missed all those free throws against Kansas? How about Rick Pitino not defending Grant Hill in the Regional Final all those years ago? Did those coaches "suck"? OK, Skinner teams have had trouble beating the press and inbounding the ball, I find that frustrating as well. But they still keep on beating people. I'd rather have it that way than BC inbounding and beating presses with ease, and always missing the tourney like VTech and NC State. I actually agree with the rest of what you said, and have been saying the same thing for a while. The situation is a little like TOB, both coaches are victims of their own success. Things feel stale with Al, just as they did with TOB. I wouldn't mind seeing Al move on, just as I didn't mind seeing TOB move on. But it gets my back up when I hear some of the buffoons on this blog say Skinner "sucks" and "can't coach." My god, that is ridiculous, the proof is in the pudding. Skinner has not done a good job at BC, he's done a great job. Maybe after he does move on, and BC devolves into a perrenial ACC non-contender like NC State and Virginia, or an also-ran like Florida State and VTech, then you nitwits will appreciate him a little more.

 
At 10:21 PM, Blogger bcmurph said...

Harry,

so little time...I've got 3 words for you...

Ever to Excel

 
At 1:52 AM, Blogger Bravesbill said...

Uh Harry, I named all the mid major schools that have gone to the Sweet 16 the same amount of times or more times than BC has in the past decade. That speaks volumes about BC's program. Having SIU go to the Sweet 16 more than BC is just flat out pathetic.

 
At 6:12 AM, Blogger Michael said...

http://www2.journalnow.com/content/2010/mar/11/acc-cover/sports/

The move to the ACC was a mistake for everyone.

 
At 1:21 PM, Blogger matthew2 said...

thats fine dustbowl, I don't care what you believe.

this all started with me asking someone to give me proof that SW has a brain in his head. And no one has even attempted to do that.

you believe what you want, and I'll believe what I want. I just hope the foundation for your belief is solid.

 
At 8:44 PM, Blogger JDShagger said...

BC has already devolved into a perrenial ACC non-contender.

Dudley found BC, not the other way around. I think that may have been the same for Smith and Marshall - no telling how many others. It's time for people to really look at Skinner. His best assistants are gone - and he has really fallen off as a result. He can't recruit and he's "on the BC tit". He'll milk it as long as he's allowed to milk it.

 
At 2:07 AM, Blogger Harry Collins said...

Bravesbill, you make it sound like they hand out Sweet Sixteen appearances like lollipops. The ACC as a league only had one Sweet Sixteen team last year. Only one the year before as well. Look it up, Wikinerd.

Why don't you pick a couple of teams (below the 4 seeds) which you think have coaches so much better than Skinner. Let's see if they make the Sweet Sixteen, tough guy. That's a watered down version of my challenge, which I note no one had the stones to accept.

 
At 2:08 PM, Blogger Dunkaroos 4life said...

It's an interesting debate and I can see both sides (even though I personally would love to see Skinner go). Anyway, 2 points that should be thought about to add some structure to the debate:

1) The "underachievement" argument--how often has Skinner's team has underachieved relative to expectations--isn't a great measure of his accomplishment over time. If he's recruited poorly or fails to draw the right mix of talent to the program, then of course expectations are going to be low. He shouldn't get a check mark just because he is able to meet low expectations.

2) Harry gets hammered for defending Skinner. I don't like Skinner, but also recognize that "firing Skinner" doesn't necessarily mean any improvement. The debate about keeping or firing him is meaningless unless you talk about the potential alternatives. And like it or not, the Athletic Dept. apparently thinks that the alternatives aren't good enough to justify replacing him. I'm not really sure what I think, but it sounds like many other people haven't really thought about it either.

 
At 3:29 PM, Blogger matthew2 said...

Thanks Dunk-a-doofus for stating the obvious.

 
At 4:06 PM, Blogger Harry Collins said...

There's a case in point every day. Iowa canned Todd Lickliter this morning, who some of you may recall was the "next great coach" out of the mid majors a few years ago (after a successful 6-year run at Butler). Couldn't cut it at the major level like a lot of others, three losing seasons and he's gone. So again, for all you yahoos thinking the Siena or Cornell coach is going to step right in and lead BC to the promised land, careful what you wish for.

 

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