Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Getting the Brady Heslip stuff out of the way

BC plays Baylor on Thursday in the first day of the Charleston Classic. While the storyline should be BC's potential improvement and the chance to test themselves against a ranked team, I suspect many will focus instead on Baylor Guard Brady Heslip's awkward departure from BC before he even played a game.

Heslip gained national attention for his hitting nine 3-pointers in the NCAA tournament last year. He also started all year for the Bears and was one of the nation's best shooters. That wasn't a surprise to BC hoops fans. During his redshirt season at BC, Heslip was rumored to be the best shooter on the team. He supposedly could make a shot from anywhere in the gym during practice. But we never got to see him actually play for BC. Heslip was officially a rare midyear early entree in basketball. Skinner and staff decided to redshirt him and preserve four years of eligibility. Al was fired that Spring and Heslip transferred after the season ended.

While some Heslip's family members took to the internet to complain about Donahue's treatment of Brady, I don't think our -- at the time new -- coach did anything purposely wrong. He gave assessments to each player and told him what they each needed to improve on and what his initial plan was. Most guys bought in. Others did not. This happens with any coaching change at any college sport. Some new leaders will sugar coat things to keep people around. Other coaches are more frank and forward as to motivate or set expectations. I don't know firsthand what Donahue said and in hindsight, maybe he should have taken a different approach with Heslip, but Brady Heslip departure doesn't really change much about where were are today.

Heslip is a great shooter and has improved his quickness and physique since leaving the Heights. He might have made the difference in getting Donahue's first team into the tournament, but I don't think he would have carried last year's team. This season is still a big question mark. I am glad he's had success and I hope he plays well on Thursday but I don't look back at what could have been. It is not fair to Donahue. Heslip, like Rakim Sanders, Matt Humphrey or Jordan Daniels won't be the reason we rise or fall. All were good players, but none are program changers. The key for Donahue is progression and the continued search for a guy who can change things for BC.

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19 Comments:

At 9:42 AM, Blogger @timstwrt said...

I'll never understand what Donahue's done to get complete immunity from this site.

 
At 9:57 AM, Blogger MUD said...

Irish Catholic with a good attitude, interviews well, was accelerating his career when he arrived at BC, young, energetic, doesn't make excuses; I feel like any reasonable blogger/reporter would give the guy a little bit of time to build the program.

Let's get excited for Baylor tonight! Go Eagles!

 
At 10:17 AM, Blogger MUD said...

Thursday I mean. I'm so excited I thought today was Thirsty Thursday.

 
At 10:17 AM, Blogger Tim said...

timstwrt-
BC fans generally seem more forgiving of the bball coach than the football coach. Al Skinner and Tom O'Brien both ran parallel good-but-never-great programs. Skinner was lauded for his consistency, while TOB was villified for plateauing. Go figure.

 
At 10:42 AM, Blogger @timstwrt said...

It's an interesting comparison, but I don't think it's quite accurate. I think Skinner plateaued at a higher level, actually...but there's probably a negligible difference there. More importantly, it's odd that you characterize Skinner as "lauded" and TOB "villfied," when Skinner's the one who got fired.

 
At 10:46 AM, Blogger TheFive said...

Al Skinner won the Big East. Al Skinner was national coach of the year. Tom O'Brien did neither. They did not reach similar levels of achievement

 
At 11:03 AM, Blogger FWRR said...

I agree with Tim (Stewart). It just seems like there's some major parallels between Donahue and Spaz.

1. Poor recruiting...Besides Anderson and now I guess Hanlan I don't think Donahue has brought any ACC talent to this team (similar to Spaz's 2012 and 2013 classes).

2. Transfers...both have had a ton of guys leave, especially players that they inherited. The Jags' 2008 class has become nonexistent and Donahue in year 3 is still seeing guys leave (Sanders, Elmore, Heslip, Noreen, Ravenel, Humphrey, Daniels).

3. Direction of the program (in the win column). Spaz went on the downward trend and now his time is up. If Donahue can't turn it around by next season I think Bates should get his own guy in.

I'll agree that Donahue is a good face for the program and definitely seems like he knows how to coach. I'm just not at a point where I'll be giving him a free pass.

 
At 11:25 AM, Blogger Mr. Tambourine MAn said...

I'm optimistic about the Don. I thought Rahon and Hanlan looked lightyears more ready than the previous class in terms of playing at the college level. Anderson is going to continue a nice tradition of very smart, tough BC PFs from Curley, Abrams, Dudley, Smith (prob more before my time). If Clifford stays healthy, he seems like he's really improving and it takes centers a while.

Next season, the main guys will be juniors. Hanlan and Rahon will have a full year under their belt.

Don said give him 50 games before we start judging, I'll do him one better and give him 2 full seasons.

But next year, we need to be a tournament team, or I'll start to worry. And any injuries that come down the pipe will really not be an excuse, Don has left himself with little wiggle room at the PG position and C/PF. If someone gets injured and we have no one to step up, that's on him.

Who knows, maybe they'll surprise us this season. In 2010, BC came out and really shocked Texas A&M in their early season tournament and put down notice that they were for real. They didn't have the depth to make it happen, but that was a fun team that made huge improvements from the year before. Maybe we'll see the same thing this year.

The Bell, Harley, etc squad that turned things around under Skinner went to Italy for the summer. Maybe we'll see the same thing here.

Go Eagles.

 
At 12:13 PM, Blogger Tim said...

timstwrt-
I was referring to BC fans' reactions to the two coaches (mainly as expressed in message board postings). I was not talking about GDF's views of the two coaches. Hence, the fact that GDF fired Skinner but did not fire TOB (just allowed him to walk out the door to an intra-divisional rival, that's all) is irrelevant to my point.

 
At 12:25 PM, Blogger JBQ said...

Heslip is very good and there must have been a reason that he left. He was recruited by Skinner and obviously got the idea that Donohue was not interested. 9 3-pointers in a big game is quite a calling card.

 
At 12:26 PM, Blogger JBQ said...

Heslip is very good and there must have been a reason that he left. He was recruited by Skinner and obviously got the idea that Donohue was not interested. 9 3-pointers in a big game is quite a calling card.

 
At 12:30 PM, Blogger Danny Boy said...

Thats the confusing thing. Everything about Heslip's game translates to what the Don usually tries to do (think his years at Cornell and his first year here before he had to slow things down for the young kids).

This feels like an ego thing.

 
At 2:24 PM, Blogger ModA36 said...

Last year after a game Coach Don came to the Hi Howaya room to give a speech and some Q and A. His speech was quite impressive. He handled some softball "questions" like "talk about Dennis Clifford's progress." I asked him whether the press reports that he didn't want some of Skinner's guys, specifically Heslip and Ravenel, were true. He appeared to be somewhat agitated, said he doesn't pay attention to the press, but he gave a half hearted "we wanted them to stay" and said "we would have made it work." My takeaway was that he didn't want them to stay nor did he want to be criticized for them leaving.

 
At 4:50 PM, Blogger Knucklehead said...

They both ran GREAT programs given the fact that both went to the post season consistently and never had NCAA violations. In the end it got stale with both, no doubt.

Donahue gets a pass because the hoops program is working its way out of the doldrums, literally.

The new football coach will get the same treatment as Donahue if he was as successful at his previous coaching job as Donahue was at Cornell.

 
At 5:13 PM, Blogger mod10aeagle said...

Of all those guys who have left the program since Donahue took charge, Heslip is the only one that bothers me, because he seemed like such a good fit for what Donahue is trying to build. The team really needs a sharp shooter that can work himself open. I thought Rubin might develop into that guy after his freshman season, but he's incapable of creating separation and can't set and release quickly enough to get quality shots off against an aggressive defender. Otherwise, I agree with Knucklehead, Donahue gets time to rebuild, as will Spaz's replacement.

 
At 5:19 PM, Blogger C. Scanz said...

It's not even close. Spaz has had 4 full seasons of accelerating decline. He was on the staff and at least partially accountable for recruiting before he took the reigns. His in-game play calling and adjustments, or lack thereof, are abhorrent. Speak to former players or check their twitter comments and you see another issue. His recruiting is also getting worse by the year. Oh, and he took over a team coming off back to back ACC appearances.

Donohue came from the outside. He was left with 0 recruits. His best player left early for the NBA just as a team of all freshmen entered. While we stunk last year, we were more competitive in the ACC than others have credit for. He also appears to be very knowledgeable and a good teacher.

I do not believe he should get a pass forever, but let's see if Steve can get to the tournament next year with juniors and see how he fares in the 2014 recruiting class.

 
At 9:20 AM, Blogger PercDM said...

C. Scanz, Donahue wasn't left with 0 recruits. He didn't inherit a bare cupboard, it became bare when he got the job. He immediately lost Sanders, Heslip, and Noreen. He then went on to lose Ravenal, Elmore, and Humphrey. Four of those five players could have been major contributors when they left. Sanders and Humphrey were starters before they transferred.

BC basketball didn't have to get this bad, and that it did is on Donahue and Gene. With that said, if Donahue makes the tournament next year, it will have worked itself out. If he doesn't, he has got to go.

 
At 9:34 AM, Blogger @timstwrt said...

The basketball program was literally in the doldrums? BC basketball was in a part of the Atlantic or Pacific Ocean affected by the Intertropical Convergence Zone, a low-pressure area around the equator where the prevailing winds are calm? The problem's bigger than I thought.

BC basketball wasn't in the doldrums, literally or figuratively. We had been in the Tournament 5 of the previous 7 years. The idea that we were in terrible shape is a line of bullshit that Gene's been feeding people since the day he fired Skinner.

Donahue took everything in the cupboard, threw it on the floor, then said "the cupboard's bare." Not literally.

I have no real issue with Donahue, although his teams seem even more allergic to defense than Al's were. I certainly hope that he is successful, and there are reasons to think he will be. I have many issues with the way Skinner was and continues to be treated, and with the fact that this site continues to enable the myth that Skinner was terrible and Donahue had to start from scratch. It's simply not true.

 
At 10:19 PM, Blogger John said...

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