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:
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.