Monday, October 27, 2014

McDuffie is not an issue, but hoops recruiting might be

My head keeps telling me to be patient with Jim Christian’s recruiting. My heart is wondering what’s going on. This weekend another major target -- Markis McDuffie -- committed to Wichita State. It is not that McDuffie is some sort of program changing talent. It is also normal to lose out on a primary target. The problem is that Christian missed out on so many of his targets and let other seemingly interested targets fade away.

As much as I question the process, it is only fair to remind myself (and everyone else) that Christian has yet to coach a game at BC. As disastrous as the recruiting seems, how the team performs on the court trumps everything. The product on the court will also give an immediate boost to recruiting. Proving he can coach and win in the ACC will open doors more than showing up at a bunch of high school gyms.

When he was hired I predicted Christian would be ok but not a BC lifer. I hope I'm right, but I also hope that he leaves BC better than he found it. To do that, he's got to make sure the 2016 recruiting process goes better than this haphazard cycle.


blist said...

it feels too much like Donahue -- pushing away highly thought-of recruits at the start. Then again, holy mother of God, the kid wants to go to Wichita State over BC? I know basketball is foremost in his mind, but whoa. Maybe the problem is in the evaluation of who may come here -- the type of kid we want -- before even making offers.

Big Jack Krack said...

The type of kid we want, plus John Mahoney and Admission Staff = recruits slipping away to Wichita State, etc.

Donahue couldn't recruit very well, but he couldn't coach either.

Hopefully Mr. Christian is much better in the coaching department.

BCDoubleEagle said...

Wichita State went 35-1 last year; BC finished 8-24 last year.

Wichita State went to the Final Four in 2013; BC finished with a losing record that year.

Wichita State is ranked #11 in the preseason poll; BC has not been ranked in years.

Wichita State's average attendance was 10,732 last year; BC's was 4,007.

Why WOULDN'T this kid pick Wichita State over BC?

Ry said...

The idea that Mahoney is making the door too narrow for good talent to fit in is really ridiculous.

eagleboston said...

I am not enthused or optimistic about BC basketball in the short term. BC will unlikely ever be a force in the new ACC. What are the chances that Duke, North Carolina, Louisville and Syracuse will all be down in the same year?

BC Double Eagle is right. No one goes to the games. No one cares. Conte Forum is like a mausoleum. No decent player in his right mind would play basketball at BC in the current state. If you can't play for a great team, you at least want to play on a team that people fill the arena to see. There are over 100 programs with better fan support than BC so it is no surprise at all that recruits are looking elsewhere. Plus, we are a hockey school, Bball will always be the second fiddle winter sport. Recruits know that and opt for the schools where basketball is king.

If Christian can develop the players he does have and put together some wins, that will attract better players. But right now, the recruits are taking a wait and see attitude. Yes, the short term is bleak, so there is no point freaking out about every lost recruit. BC is going to have way, way more losses in the short term. Give Christian time to develop players and earn some wins and then the recruits will notice. Oh, and it would help if somehow BC could get better fan support. Players want to play before crowds, not empty arenas.

CT said...

God help us if we are more a hockey school than a bball one. No offense, but competing against 50 or so hockey schools for goodness. Not hugely difficult.

I agree with the above...this is more about Wichita State than BC. The good news is that...wait...oh yeah, we still haven't seen the guy coach. So there's that.

Save the hockey rah rah for BCI. They're one of about 12 people wh really really care.

EL MIZ said...

i dont think this is entirely fair for a few reasons.

first, Christian has been taking swings at legitimate top 100 recruits. McDuffie plays at a HS powerhouse, had offers from legitimate programs, and chose a program that is currently "elite". as spelled out by Double Eagle, this is a team that was undefeated for most of last year, went to a final four, and is the biggest show in town. we also missed out on Jared Terrell, who wound up going to Louisville, and Sharma, who went to Stanford. its not like we are losing these guys to Iona and BU; moreover, he has shown that he's willing to go toe to toe with the biggest programs. Donahue simply didn't do that.

second, and this plays into number one, but our program is at the absolute bottom of the barrel right now. perception is reality. turn a game on and you can count the number of SuperFans in the student section. last year was a disgrace with respect to attendance. going after elite players means you will be up against elite competition. elite competition packs the house and sells out games. we are going to need to get the program back to some modicum of respectability before we close that gap. that said, i'd rather the staff swing and miss on guys who are 4-star recruits and top 100 players than load us up with low D1 afterthoughts. even if guys are promised playing time, that playing time is going to come in front of about 200 students and like 2000 total fans. i'd think some of these high schools play in front of bigger crowds.

third, Christian has had some success with recruits so far. how many targets has Christian missed out on? since the summer he closed on two transfers (he missed on Anthony Mason's son and maybe one other), landed a freshman over the summer who was from the West Coast and had offers from legit Pac 12 schools, and has 3 recruits currently committed, 2 of whom had offers from elite schools (Turner from Arizona State, Northwestern, Stanford; Millon from FSU, Stanford, Harvard, Creighton). if you are going after more legitimate prospects, you are going to miss out on some, whether you are Duke or BC, no school gets everyone they put an offer out on. so far Christian has missed, but he is swinging on guys that BC hasn't swung at in years.

i have no idea what to make of him as a coach so i have no real opinion there, but Christian built a good staff with respect to recruiting and has gone after guys we should want him to be going after. that we are missing out on some is par for the course. hopefully we can rebound to some level of mediocrity this year and it helps for 2016 recruiting and beyond.

Claver2010 said...

"God help us if we are more a hockey school than a bball one. No offense, but competing against 50 or so hockey schools for goodness. Not hugely difficult. "

Hate to break it to you but that ship sailed when Dudley left BC.

When is the last time BC basketball outdrew BC hockey?

Joseph said...

"Why WOULDN'T this kid pick Wichita State over BC?"

My guess would be that he likes the term "athlete student" better than "student athlete". Nothing wrong with that if that is what he wants, but not the BC way.

Joseph said...

"God help us if we are more a hockey school than a bball one. No offense, but competing against 50 or so hockey schools for goodness. Not hugely difficult."

How many kids play high school BB vs play hockey? Does that have any influense on your point?

eagle1331 said...

Hard to judge a guy before he coaches a game, but Christian has seemed liked an underwhelming hire since day one and comes off as unexciting in his few public appearances representing BC. I don't know what he's like 1 on 1 with a recruit or his family, but he's certainly not Adazzio, who was also came off as a disappointing hire, but whose personality makes you want to run through walls.

If I were a recruit, I certainly would not be interested in playing at BC right now for a plain jane coach that has no track record of being able to perform at this level and several years of rebuilding ahead in the program. That seemed to be lost on Don when he made this hire. At least an exciting coach would have given the program a little boost on its way to a return... now, if he doesn't perform right away, we will continue to take steps backwards.

FakeShalomTfree said...

Based on the attendence over the past few years, i consider myself in the minority of BC alumni and fans who will watch hoops during good times and bad, but it has been painful. This program has a huge hole to dig itself out of, in terms of goodwill with its fanbase and credibility with coaches and potential recruits. Despite its academic reputation and conference affiliation, BC is still a tough sale in an era where mid-major teams are making the final four and playing in front of full arenas. However, i'm glad Christian has a staff of proven recruiters, unlike his predecessor. I agree with Eagleboston that the program will attract better players if Christian could develop his talent and string together some wins, but i refuse to believe hoops will always play second fiddle to hockey. With all due respect, college hockey is a niche sport, and with BC drawing students from all over the country, the attraction to basketball is a more natural one for incoming freshmen. Unfortunately, the current student body and recent alums have been tortured by the Donahue regime and the latter years of Skinner (which were also painful in case any of you forgot).

Bravesbill said...

"My guess would be that he likes the term "athlete student" better than "student athlete". Nothing wrong with that if that is what he wants, but not the BC way."

Geez Joseph, condescending much?

Hoib said...

Many good comments here. It seems the thing most in Christian's favor is that there are certainly low expectations amongst the faithful. He's got nowhere to go but up. I'll be happy if he can get these guys to do a few basic things. Get in proper defensive position, same for rebounding, and maybe run a successful pick and role.


Here's a suggestion for you. Why don't you rank the ACC hoop teams based on their GPAS, then we will all feel better when we come in last again this year in the won lost standings.

As for now I'm going to continue to enjoy the football season. I hope Christian is paying attention to way Daz does things.

Joseph said...

Advice for Bravesbill and Hoib: see if you can trade your education and the academics at BC for someplace like Alabama or Ole Miss. You would be thrilled to have your school represented by their type of players. Maybe try for NC or FSU where they have such upstanding programs that all can be proud of. How about Louisville or Uconn. Like them better? Sorry if you are offended by a post that is based on the belief that BC would still be one of the best universities without the big league sports. I love the sports but that is not the reason that I attended.

Mr. Tambourine MAn said...

Someone should go back through ATL's comments on Donahue's atrocious recruiting his first year here and compare the tone to his Christian analysis. IIRC Anderson and Clifford might have had a legit offer from one or two top-tier conference schools, and Anderson's came later after he really blossomed after committing. And Donahue was recruiting for a program that had not been an embarrassment for several years. His others:

Moton: At Brandeis now?
Rubin: Awful
Jackson: Skinny guy, too slow, can't handle, lightly recruited
Daniels: 5'5", no offers?
Odio: Any D-1 offers?
Caudill: Recruited highly as a freshman in HS, then development focused primarily on girth and he had no real offers
Heckmann was a late add and maybe had another offer.

Christian on the otherhand seems to have landed two recruits with several major conference offers, plus Diallo from last year who everyone seems pleased with and one late bloomer. If he misses on some big recruits, you know, I think he'll be able to find a few Eddie Odio's towards the end of the process.

And this is to a program that has been absolutely terrible.
He's light years ahead of Donahue.

Losing a recruit to Wichita State is a LOT different than Donahue losing them to places like Valpo and Western Kentucky. Not to mention that Donahue lost those types of battles consistently.

Not sure why ATL has an agenda with Christian. I wasn't thrilled with the hire either, but show some consistency in your analysis. Its year 1, in year 1, Donahue had an "ace recruiter" in Joe Jones as well, and somehow didn't land great recruits, Donahue didn't even try.

Thomas said...

The condescending attitude you have reflects poorly on you as an individual and poorly on Boston College. When I read, "My guess would be that he likes the term "athlete student" better than "student athlete". Nothing wrong with that if that is what he wants, but not the BC way," I was actually a little embarrassed to have attended the same school as you.

It doesn't even matter if it's an accurate depiction or not - it very well might be - keep that stuff to yourself.

Joseph said...

Sorry Thomas, but I'll make my own decisions as to what comments I'll make just as you have. You apparently don't like to be told as it is because it doesn't fit your concepts. Well, truth be told, I believe strongly in saying it like I believe it. And, I don't quite agree with the win at all costs because my ego is so tied up with BC athletics that I choose to forget the goal of the University.

BCDoubleEagle said...

In making your assumption that the young man in question is more of an "athlete student" than "student athlete," you've overlooked the possibility that he might simply be interested in pursuing a course of study that our beloved BC does not offer. For example, Wichita State has a college of engineering, and BC does not. BC, despite its many fine qualities, remains a relatively small school with limited offerings compared to a larger state university.

Hoib said...


FYI, UNC has consistently ranked ahead of BC for years in USNWR rankings.

I think the reason you went to BC is to drive we sports loving Alums crazy.

ORDEagle said...

I think I understand and agree with Joseph. I am sure Wichita State is a fine school in its own right, but any objective analysis would say BC is a better, more prestigious institution. Much like that analysis would say Yale is that over BC. I think the point being we have a much better shot at landing an elite recruit if he values what BC has to offer - not just basketball but basketball in a major conference and the opportunity to earn a degree at an upper echelon (fact not opinion) university. If the recruit does not value that, then realistically, we have no chance to land him and therefore we shouldn't even bother recruiting him once we learn that. Joseph assumes, and I think correctly, that basketball was the single most important criteria. Daz has made it clear that he is recruiting a certain type of player - he uses the BC Guy label - that values the school as well as playing football. I agree that we have to find those guys and recruit them - even if we have to go against Duke and Vandy and Stanford and Northwestern and Rice and Georgetown and ND to get them. By the way, SMU and VCU two other offers McDuffie have have engineering schools. I'm just saying...

ATL_eagle said...

Mr Tambourine:

I was probably more patient with Donahue's recruiting. In part because he was recruiting a type -- shooters, offensive guys. Donahue didn't go for the elite guys and neither did Skinner. Christian is and he's not getting them. My fear is also in part because of Donahue's failures. There is also the issue of dumping Falzon in favor of McDuffie and then not getting McDuffie. Finally, I part of my issue is also based on my lukewarm feelings towards the Christian hire.

Hoib said...


So why doesn't Yale have a great basketball team. So why did Ryan Anderson Leave BC for Zona. These young guys only care about ballin. The rest is just spin.

EL MIZ said...

a top 100 basketball recruit who played hoops at a nationally renowned hoop powerhouse in HS is going to assess schools based on how good their basketball team is. his development as a basketball player and possibility for playing in NBA/overseas is and should be his primary concern, who are we kidding? McDuffie is going to major in Basketball, not engineering and not Philosophy. Joseph, if I had to guess, McDuffie seems himself not as a "student-athlete" or an "athlete-student" but as an "athlete who plays basketball for a college because there is no suitable minor league basketball league for 18 year olds."

i have no problem whatsoever with BC losing recruiting battles for the guys we are going after. Duke, North Carolina, Louisville et al lose these battles all the time - its what happens when you recruit good players. Donovan Mitchell went to Louisville and will play for national championships, and we are going to seriously bemoan his loss and wonder why he didn't want to play against BU in front of an 800 person crowd in Conte in December? i would guess part of the reason we were sitting 4 deep at AAU games for guys like Mitchell, Sharma, McDuffie, etc was to be in the gym for high profile programs and to plant seeds (with the coaches and the players) for 2016 and beyond.

the reaction here is puzzling - its as if we have no commits. i don't want to defend Christian since i haven't even seen him coach a game (although I did see him at the Clemson football game and said hello, he seemed like a nice guy), but we have SIX commitments since he came on board in april, or one per month. McDuffie was the first recruit who took an "official" who didn't commit, the other 6 did.

this post could be re-titled "trend of top 100 players committing to national powerhouses over an 8-24 conference bottom dweller which sells out one game a year is troubling." let's just see what he does with Donahue's players, and see how the rest of the class shakes out before we start diagnosing the trends. we are at the bottom. we can't go any lower.

Hoib said...


Right on as usual. If we are to be competitive in the best league in the country by far, we will need NBA caliber players. The last one we had was Jackson. It will be hard enough to get them for all the reasons you sighted, so we shouldn't put any additional limitations on ourselves. Just play by the rules, and no further.

Joseph said...

"FYI, UNC has consistently ranked ahead of BC for years in USNWR rankings.

I think the reason you went to BC is to drive we sports loving Alums crazy."

I think that you might know to what I was referring. The "ghost" courses" known to all and condoned.

I went to BC to get and education and to learn how to blance the good things in life. Also, it is fun to get to own people like you by getting into their heads so deeply. You have no monopoly on loving BC sports and judging from the sheer tiny size of the alumni that post on all the sports blogs, you are in the minority. tens of thousands of Eagles and tens of bloggers.

Joseph said...

Hoib, listen to ORDeagle and el Miz. They say things much better than I do, but the understanding of sports in the life of students is obvious. If you need NBA quality players at BC who can only be admitted by dropping our standards, then I feel sorry that you need this sort of affirmation of your worth. Bc is not Kentucky. BC is not Lousisville. BC is not FSU. And I hope that the university leaders never lower academic standards to satisfy those that want to reduce the motto of "ever to excel" to something like "ever to excel (except in the main reason for existence).

With the right organization BC can be competitive in every sport and academics too. Success breeds success. It looks like DAZ can do it. York has proven over and over that he can do it. It may take time but it can also be done with BB.

Hario said...

Bball team is in a tough spot right now. It is not surprising to lose these kids to better bball teams right now as Miz said, especially since our program is at an all time low.

We will have to start winning on the court to actually win off the court and get these kids to come. But sadly its also painfully obvious we cant win in the ACC without high end talent.

It's a pretty vicious cycle we are caught in.

For year 1, Xtian's on the court coaching will be far more important than what transpired over this past summer

Mr. Tambourine MAn said...

ATL, is it fair to say that Donahue didn't go after elite prospects? That's not how I recall his tenure. That's not how I remember his "Elite Camps" where he brought in local talent. Not how I recall the recruiting of Alex Murphy who choose to redshirt a year at Duke over BC after a full court BC press. What about Kaleb Joseph? Or the ridiculous Hoffses interview posted here where he thought BC had a good chance with numerous local big time recruits, maybe even Terrell???, and none even had us in their top 5. What about BC supposedly backing off Auguste? And I don't really recall a major negative columns after Donahue lost recruits he personally visited and offered to Valpo and Western Kentucky (though I may be being unfair on the last point, I haven't searched the archives).

I think Christian was a weird hire by Bates, but his recruiting so far has been pretty good for his first couple months on the job with a few misses especially given state of program at the moment. We'll see on Falzon, let's hope he's not a Heslip.

But overall, the coverage of Christian has seemed to jump negative at the first sign of trouble for a guy who has been here since April. I can't believe I'm saying this, but I think you were more cautious about going negative with Spaz, a hire you had far more reason to disapprove of.

Christian has won pretty much everywhere he's been, but he doesn't have that signature tourney win or run that generates media attention. I'm hoping that Bates saw a winner who will get his break here, and that a few years from now we'll look at these types of posts as similar to your disappointment when we hired Daz. We'll see.

Mr. Tambourine MAn said...

Don't know how to edit a post, so just to be fair, calling Christian a "winner" at TCU is an overstatement. But they did show improvement over his time there and it is a school with no history of basketball success.

At Ohio and Kent State, he had eight years of 20 win seasons, and only once fell below 2nd in conference (3rd), so against his competition, historically he stacks up well.

Bravesbill said...

Joseph, you're flogging a straw man worse than Obama does. No one is calling for BC to lower academic standards and only recruit NBA type players. The conversation was about McDuffie choosing to attend Wichita State over BC. Who are you to judge what he decides. He's going with the option that he believes will be best for his future success. Your comment was truly a display of snobbery, arrogance, and elitism.

Joseph said...


First, I like Obama and he has done a lot for this country and would have done more were it not for the obstructionists that have decided that destroying him is more important than running the government. Your comment about our president Your comment was truly a display of snobbery, arrogance, and elitism.

Second, McDuffie did what McDuffie did because he thought it best for him. His goal is obviously to treat his higher level education as a training camp for the next level. That is ok, but that is what it is. It has nothing to do with being a student first and an athlete second. Nothing could be more obvious. It does not make him evil. It simply states the obvious about his reason for attending a college. How this is elitist is beyond me. maybe you should have chosen Wichita State for their proven academic reputation.

Hoib said...


Joseph said...

Hoib: a troll is preferable to a small minded, narrow minded short sighted traitor to the essence of his chosen university. Sports to bolster an inadequate ego is a sad way to live. I would rather be called a troll by the likes of you than get my only feelings of worth from vicariously living sports victories as if they were your own.

blist said...

I don't know what the back history is here but I pretty much read Joseph saying BC is a more prestigious school/better education than Wichita St. If that's not true, we should shut BC down, b/c why pay $60k a yr?
I also know I love BC sports, but I don't want the value of my degree being degraded by UNC-like of FSU-like b.s. trying to have great teams.

CT said...

Well Joseph, your 4:14 comment's first paragraph sort of says it all. But I would prefer not to agree with people based on SPORTS only. But it probably feels good to be a minority for once.

These recruits, hockey included, have different interests and different personalities. Hell, I chose BC over other similar schools because the weather was terrific the one weekend I came up from Atlanta (ironically).

Everyone has a different story. It would be wise not to stereotype. Except for a select few, most understand that college athletics is the last stop on the train.

Whether you meant to or not, you sound like someone from, you know, Notre Dame.

Like I said above, let's see this coach in action. He lost on dudes who are legit. Rome wasn't built...well, you get it.

Hate to re-break it to Claver2010, but my point wasn't about attendance, but about...never mind. As I've said many times, BC has no excuses in basketball. Our guys aren't leaving after a year or two. And what better way to build a program than a dash of recruiting fit to scheme and continuity?

eagle1331 said...

I love how people are arguing about a decision made by a kid who none of you know.

Maybe he has family there? Maybe he wants to live somewhere else for a little while? Maybe they have a degree we don't offer? Maybe he didn't feel chemistry with the coaches or team?

There are tons of reasons why this kid could have chosen to Wichita State over BC; it doesn't have to be because he cares more about the "athlete" part than the "student" part of the phrase. It is pretty ridiculous to draw that conclusion and get in a blog argument regarding something.

While we're at it, I'm not a dentists, but anyone want to have a fight over why 9 out of 10 doctors recommend Sensodyne, and not the 10th? He must have cared more about his creative writing class than his tooth care career. What an idiot.