Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Sharing Donahue's optimism

The coaches predicted a last place finish for BC basketball. So did the media. Maybe I am missing something, but I agree with Steve Donahue. I think we will be a good basketball team. Not best in the conference and probably not a bubble team, but competitive. We won't finish 12th in the ACC. Here is why I am in a "half full" mood:

Returning talent
Donahue is bringing back 75% of his offense and most of his minutes. The only significant contributor he has to replace is Humphrey. Even though last year's team wasn't good, the natural progression should pay off. Historically when big BC recruiting classes mature, there is a nice bump in Year 2. The Bill Curley class improved by six wins in their second year and finished above .500. The Antonio Granger/Woodward class (even without Herren) improved by 10 wins in their sophomore year and made the tournament. The Rakim Sanders/Raji class improved by eight wins and made the tournament. Of course those improvements were also impacted by other players who were not part of the super-sized classes, but the point remains. Natural maturity will pay dividends this year.

Improvement on the road
BC was 8-9 at home. 4-4 in ACC homes games. Yet we didn't win one road game all year. I doubt that will happen again. Especially when you factor in some of the close losses. Maturity will be a big factor as will dumb luck.

The second year in Donahue's system
I think Donahue is a very good Xs and Os guy and a good teacher. But I felt at times he was over managing the games. The players didn't think for themselves or find the natural rhythms of the offense. But that was to be expected. He was teaching all of them the offense. There wasn't any holdover who could help the players while on the floor. This year they will have more experience and push the tempo more...sort of like Donahue's first season.

The new guys and a healthy Heckmann
While not as highly touted as some other ACC freshmen, Rahon and Hanlan will contribute early. Heckmann had some great moments last year but a variety of health and playing issues made him a non-factor down the stretch. If he is healthy and focused, he will more than make up for the missing Humphrey.

3, 3, 3, 3...
We will shoot and make more 3s this year. It will surely cost us a game when we go ice cold, but I expect it will help us steal and surprise some teams too.

Please let it be better
Some of my optimism is just playing the odds. Some of this is buying into what Donahue is selling. But I admit, I also just want it to be better. Football season has been so painful, we need some non-Jerry York generated excitement around the Heights. I think these guys will do it even if the rest of the ACC doesn't.


EL MIZ said...

i agree 100% ATL. i watched most BBall games last year on my laptop, and thought Heckmann was clearly our best player early in the season. he got mono and was never the same. Anderson & Clifford give us talented bigs, which every team needs, and i really like think our guard play will be above average. daniels is super fast, jackson is a good shooter, and the 2 freshman have skills. i am particularly excited to watch Hanlan; he had one play in Spain where he rebounded the ball, dribbled it up court, hit full speed and toasted everyone and finished at the hoop for an and-1. a 6'4 guard with those skills who's the fastest guy on the team -- lets see what he can do over the course of a full season. GO EAGLES we are in desperate need of a turnaround.

@timstwrt said...

Has Donahue learned anything about defense since last season? I'd even accept as an answer "the definition of the word."

Sal said...

I don't think there's a ton of pressure on Donahue to win a lot of games this year, but if there is only a marginal improvement (say, win 1-3 more games?), or no visible improvement at all, do we start calling for his head? Again, I like Donahue so far, even after last season, but how hot do we think his seat will get?

Big Jack Krack said...

Show improvement this year, but for sure be competitive next year.

@timstwrt said...

If they're not a solid NCAA team next year, the seat should be scalding. Despite what GDF and Donahue would have people believe, the cupboard wasn't bare. If he has four years to institute his style with his players and can't get it done, then he's not going to.

That said, Anderson and Clifford (and to a lesser degree Jackson and Heckmann) showed some real promise last year, and I hope this team can be a force next season.

EL MIZ said...

Agree with BJK -- Donahue went 21-13 in year 1, which tends to be overlooked. Last year was horrible but we played 7 freshman, Humphries, and a grad student.

I expect improvement this year (around 500) just based on the logic of ATL's historic #'s -- curley's team improved by 6, granger/woodward by 10. we were 9-22 last year, a 6 win improvement would put us at 15-16. that is where i hope to be.

but no doubt -- next year, with last year's 5 freshman as juniors and this year's 2 freshamn as sophomores, we should be contending in the ACC. if not, especially with Gene no longer here, Donahue's seat will be red hot.

EL MIZ said...

just looking at the schedule, before we even get to conference play we should have 7 or 8 wins at least:

FIU, Bryant, Penn St, Harvard (didn't they just dismiss their 2 best players?), st francis, new hampshire, holy cross, dartmouth.

in conference we were 4-12, so an improvement there to 7-9, plus the 7-8 out of conference wins, should put us in the neighborhood of 14-17 wins. if we finish below that there are major issues with the coaching staff.

Unknown said...

One thing is for certain - Donahue is a real coach. Animated, teacher, wants to win, and so far I'm fairly happy with his recruiting. He does need a defensive coach to help him however, which I'm not sure if he has addressed or not. Unlike another coach at BC who seems to be terrible at all of the above. Fire Spaz!

Pearl Washington said...

This is a joke right. 3 tourneys in 13 years of coaching.

No recruits this year except they might get a 6"5" project that is choosing between Seton Hall, UTEP and us.

the 21-13 was with 5 seniors and a first round pick

Daniels and LoJack are not ACC players

Pray Hanlan and Rahon are good. The ACC stinks this year but next year it will be a monster.

SU, Pitt, Maryland, FSU, Duke, NC. NC State , UNC will all be monsters next year. GT will be better. So 10th place next year.

And if Cliff breaks out NBA here he comes.

Might be worse sitch than Spazaroni

EL MIZ said...

"might get a 6'5 project choosing between Seton Hall, UTEP, and us."

yea, like BC has NEVER ever once gotten a guy that flew under the radar. not a 6'6 forward who chose BC over creighton and san diego state (jared dudley) or an unrecruited 6'5 PF from so cal (craig smith).

all i know about Donahue is he got an Ivy League team to the sweet 16 which is far as Skinner got his Big East champs and his other good squads. Donahue won 20+ games with the same team that Skinner won 16 with the year before. i'm willing to give him this year and next to see how good this team will be.

jordan daniels can't play in the ACC? funny i remember our only win against a ranked opponennt last year (FSU) daniels had 21 pts (4 3-pointers) 5 assists 3 steals.

lonnie jackson (9 points 3 reb 2 ast 40% from 3)put up better conference numbers as a freshman than tyrese rice (8 pts 2 ast 1 reb 39% from 3) but he can't play either.

i'll give you that odio and caudill don't look like ACC players. but BC doubled the amount of good guards it has vs. last season and is going to have a very nice guard rotation -- jackson and daniels both bring skills to the table, hanlan is the best athlete on the team and biggest guard, and rahon looks like an all-around player.

@timstwrt said...

Let me get this straight, Miz...everyone here expects the players to progress and get better than last year, and yet you want to credit a five game difference from one year (Skinner) to the next (Donahue) to Donahue's exceptional coaching? Put the kool-aid straw away.