Wednesday, March 01, 2017

The safest job in basketball

Regardless of what BC does tonight, Jim Christian's job is safe. Even if the team looks lifeless in its last two weeks, Jim Christian is safe. No show the ACC Tourney? Safe. It really doesn't matter at this point. Jim Christian is coming back next year.

Most of the security comes from a lack of true leadership. Brad Bates is out and his replacement won't be around to make a timely decision. Father Leahy and BC obviously have the power to make a move on Christian whenever, but they won't. Unlike Addazio, who has plenty of detractors and people he's pissed off, the basketball program is faced with apathy. Many people care, just not enough and not nearly as many as those that care about Football.

I've never been thrilled with the Christian hire, but this has been worse than I thought. Barring a small turnaround with the remaining schedule, there has been no signs of life or improvement. His talent is marginally better than Donahue's but the execution is just as bad. With Donahue you could point to a frustrating, but statistically defensible Offense. With Christian, both Offense and Defense are bad. Scott Spinelli keeps beating the bushes for any talent, but do you trust JC and the staff to develop it?

We can debate the idea of an immediate firing, but we are stuck for another year. I do have a little hope. It is based on the belief and faith that the new AD will not repeat Bates' basketball mistake. The new AD will hopefully have time and a plan and deliver a clear message with a new hire. Until then we are left with another lame duck year with Christian.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Landry talk and other links

Campus Insiders consider Landry one of the most important returning players in college football.

Former BC Offensive Coordinator Kevin Rogers abruptly retired from William & Mary. Rogers and Addazio are very close. It will be interesting to see if Rogers returns to BC in some sort of advisory role.

This site Kavalec as he prepares for the draft. [EDITED: That got autoocorrected as I rushed late at night.]

Monday, February 27, 2017

Will the AD change impact Addazio's recruiting?

When Addazio ended the season with a win streak, it gave his recruiting a shot in the arm. He flipped Dillon and pulled off a few other late signings. It seems like that momentum has waned. BC lost a key Massachusetts target over the weekend and a Michigan QB target to Michigan State. While it is still very earlier in the recruiting process, it is concerning to strike out on local talents. Maybe things will turn around, or maybe the looming AD change has dulled Addazio's momentum.

Negative recruiting is a fact of life. One of the best things to say to a kid is that a coach at another school won't be there all four years. When a coach has a contract and some momentum like Addazio has, it should be easy to counter that argument. But the AD change undermines Addazio's defense. The commitment that the school has given Addazio in the past year now doesn't mean much. A new AD is going to want to bring in his own coaches and signal to the fanbase that things are changing. The easy way to do that is with a new coach in the school's most high profile sport. Addazio will have to win and probably win big to buy time with his new boss. Another 7-6 season doesn't create much goodwill.

The new hot seat then becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. Addazio needs talent to improve but talent won't come because they are afraid of a coaching change.

We've seen this before. Spaz's last recruiting class was very thin. (In hindsight it did prove to be productive.) I want Addazio to find all the talent he can. Get that cupboard full either for himself or his successor. If he can't turn recruiting around then it becomes one more reason for the new AD to make a change.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Jared Dudley speaks out on BC Basketball

While there is an occasional critical tweet during a game or season, in general, alumni BC athletes don't openly criticize the school. I don't know if they keep their mouths shut out of loyalty or not caring, but it tends to work in BC's favor. Fan complaints can be dismissed among BC's leadership because we don't know the whole story. A former player -- especially one who has had success beyond BC -- is harder to ignore. That is why Jared Dudley's comments on Saturday were so welcome.

The former ACC Player of the Year took to twitter to discuss BC Basketball's problems. What's interesting is that he didn't really take on the players or Christian's coaching. He address two issues that the new AD should address. The first is the lack of a basketball culture inside the Athletic Department. Dudley was disappointed that it took so long to recognize Barros and Bagley. We should celebrate our hoops history more than we do. The school also needs to do more so the Basketball Alumni feel more connected to the school. Their network is not as strong as the similar one among football and hockey players.

Dudley also touched on facilities. Any regular reader knows this is a recurring theme. Dudley knows that we don't need to win the facilities arms race. But we do need to look like we care about our student athletes. Any AD candidate worth hiring will figure out our facilities issues on the first campus tour. The challenge will be can that new AD raise enough money and push through all the BC and neighborhood road blocks.

The irony of all of this is that a player like Jared Dudley didn't come to BC because of how we treat our former players. He didn't come to BC because of the facilities. He came because we were the only major conference to offer him a scholarship and he had something to prove. We need more highly motivated players who have a chip on their shoulders. That is what will change BC Basketball. I just want to make sure that when we do get enough of those players, we also have the infrastructure that allows those teams to reach their potential.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Basketball's can't seem to break bad habits

BC lost again on Saturady. This time to Virginia Tech. Losing isn't new. BC has now lost 12 in a row. Losing to Virginia Tech isn't new either. BC lost to them earlier this year. But what worries and frustrates me is that this team is not getting better and not showing signs of improvement. For example, here are some of the recurring issues from the season that happened again Saturday:

-- BC started really slow, giving VT a comfortable lead
-- BC's defense was terrible and never really adjusted. VT shot nearly 67%
-- The bigs got in foul trouble and going small was a problem defensively.
-- Not enough scoring from the role players.

In the coming weeks there will be plenty of talk about Christian's future. Does he deserve another year? Should BC leave his status up to the new AD? Christian deserves to be fired. He won't be, but he does deserve it. This team doesn't have enough talent and the talent that is there is not getting better. The Defense is inexcusably bad. But I don't know if it matters. I don't think BC will hire a new coach during the AD transition. So all we are left to do is wait and hope for a sudden breakthrough.

Friday, February 24, 2017

Hockey is in a big hole

BC Men's Hockey is in a rut. With their lost to UMass Lowell, they are not even a bubble team. They are on the outside looking in. They now need to win the Hockey East Tournament if they want to get into the NCAA Tournament.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Don't make the "AD from the outside world" mistake

The Athletic Director's job is pretty complex. An AD deals with millions in revenue. Represents the school in a partnership worth hundreds of millions (the ACC). Leads an operations team that must pull off dozens of huge events each year. The Department also must sell and raise money. Then there is the human management aspect of being in charge of staffers, coaches and hundreds of athletes. Wearing all those different hats makes things comparable to a CEO. Other colleges have recently tapped CEOs from outside the sports world to lead their Athletic Departments. I hope BC doesn't make that same mistake.

Michigan, Notre Dame and Texas have all hired non-traditional ADs recently. All looked to accomplished business types to take over their huge departments. Other smaller profile schools have done it too. In most cases the results have been bad. Even the arguable best -- Notre Dame -- has still had problems. Too often the outside CEO is not used to the bureaucracy, politics or spotlight that comes with the job. Given that BC just had an AD who didn't adjust to our internal politics, I don't want another leader who struggles with the same mistakes. Each failed AD can set back our program another three or four years as we slog through a bad hiring cycle.

Any good CEO delegates. So I am sure BC could rationalize hiring an outsider and letting him/her put more experienced college admins around in supporting roles. But even with a team of staffers, there are two areas an AD cannot delegate: hiring and firing coaches, and raising money. Even if we don't promote someone who has done it at a Power 5 level, I still want someone who has hired a coach before. And I also want someone who has raised money. Raising money is tough. You have to grovel, beg and stroke egos. Bates didn't care for it and that is part of his downfall. Our new AD cannot be so proud or stubborn. He or she is going to have to sit through the dinners, play those rounds of golf and burn up phone lines. It is not fun or glamorous, but that is the job. 

BC could have taken a risk four years ago. That time has gone. Now get someone who understands the job and is willing to embrace it. Not someone who is just learning and adapting.