Monday, August 21, 2006

Andy Katz email exchange

Like most fan bases, BC followers often feel slighted by the national media. Even before we joined the ACC, it often felt like ESPN’s basketball coverage was based on Duke, North Carolina and then everyone else. The lone exception in Bristol has been Andy Katz. A Massachusetts native, Katz has often given BC more time than his peers. His news and analysis on the Eagles is usually more insightful than stuff available in the Globe or Herald. In addition to giving time to BC basketball, Andy is also willing to give time to a BC blogger. In this email interview, we talk about his connection to the school and his expectations for this year’s team.

ATL_eagle: BC basketball fans often feel overlooked by the national media, so your reporting and insight into the program is always appreciated. How have you built your relationship with Al Skinner and his staff?

Andy Katz: Essentially by being myself. I get along very well with people. Al is one of those people that doesn’t always let a lot of folks into his inner circle. But once you sit down and just talk to him you find that he has an engaging and infectious personality. It’s no secret that my father is a professor at Boston College Law School. He has been there for 38 years. So I grew up around the program. That helps with my familiarity with the place.

ATL_eagle: We know you have Boston roots and a BC connection (your father). Were you a fan growing up?

Andy Katz: I was a fan. I went to BC basketball camp for years through the Tom Davis and early Gary Williams years. I used to go to Roberts Center and the Complex all the time. I remember shagging rebounds at times for Jay Murphy and Martin Clark.

ATL_eagle: Skinner's assistants finally got the credit and opportunities they deserved. Are you surprised programs haven't expressed interest in Al? Is his style and demeanor the real reason he is overlooked by fans and the national media or is it something else?

Andy Katz: If Al wanted to I was certain he could have pursued Virginia. But Al is a man who is comfortable with his surroundings. He’s an East Coast guy, more so a southern New England/New York person. I’ve always thought he would be the perfect NBA coach if he ever wants to go that route.

ATL_eagle: While fans liked the new hires, many are concerned about the major turnover in assistants. Are we putting too much emphasis on the role Coen and Cooley played in BC's recent success?

Andy Katz: Probably. Be patient with Pat Duquette. He knows basketball. He has tremendous relationship skills. He’ll get it done. I wouldn’t fret.

ATL_eagle: After a decade of going after "diamond in the rough" types, it looks like the 2007 recruiting class will be filled with well-known, heavily-recruited players. Do you attribute the shift to the change in staff, the need for a higher level of talent in the ACC or is it just that BC's recent success is gaining traction with the blue chippers?

Andy Katz: It’s more of a case of the ACC and the recent success. But BC will still look for the hidden gems when it can get them.

ATL_eagle: I’m expecting a big year from Jared Dudley and think he'll thrive now that he doesn’t have to defer to anyone. Am I overestimating his ability or the role that Craig Smith played in Jared’s success?

Andy Katz: No, Dudley is the type of player who can score regardless of who is next to him. It might be tougher without Smith, but Dudley finds a way to get to the basket. I’m not sure there is a better player using the angles around the basket.

ATL_eagle: Do you think Sean Williams can develop into a 30 minute a game player and contribute something on the offensive side of the court?

Andy Katz: Not sure. He is working on his offensive game. But he has to improve on his low-post moves. If he does then the Eagles have a real shot to get deep into March.

ATL_eagle: I know you have BC in your top 20? Do you think this team has enough talent to win the ACC or potentially make the Final Four?

Andy Katz: The Eagles won’t beat out North Carolina but I see no reason why they can’t fight for second with Duke, Georgia Tech and Maryland.