Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Fool me once...

Sean Williams and Akida McClain are gone. No sympathy for them from me. The guys I feel sorry for are Jared Dudley and Sean Marshall. This was shaping up to be a good season. It still can be (I’ll explain in a minute). First let me address what it means to McClain, Williams and unfortunately, Al Skinner.

McClain is done with big time basketball. He was a limited tweener to begin with. Now with this baggage and no eligibility to transfer, he will have to find something else to do. The kid just blew a world class education, tons of potential good will and a chance to play a game at a high level for another season. But he is clearly too stupid or doesn’t care. Three strikes and you are out.

Sean Williams is a little different case. I’ve written about him and his travails before. What surprised me was the reaction I got from his family. They sent me emails saying that they shared my frustrations and were doing everything they can to get through to Sean. Sean could have left BC after his first arrest, yet his family made him keep his commitment to BC. And he shined. His play last March was outstanding. He was really putting it together this year. Now he goes and does something stupid…again. This may seem cold, but BC is no longer the place for Sean. It sucks too, because he has the dangerous combination of undeveloped talent and no maturity. He needs to be in college. Sean will play basketball again. He’s probably still a first-round draft pick. But he has a lot to learn. He doesn’t have enough talent to get by in the NBA. He will need focus and dedication to ever get off an NBA bench. My hope for his family is that this is the final kick in the ass wake up call he needs. But I have a funny feeling he’ll get drafted, sign a good but not great contract, ride the bench for a season or two and be gone from the NBA in three seasons. To get by at the highest level you need to be either extremely skilled, or very skilled, hard working and focused. Sean is very skilled, but clearly lacks the other keys to NBA success.

This is really bad news for Al Skinner. This sort of thing has happened too much during his tenure. Al’s philosophy is pretty simple. He is not a baby sitter. He is not a rah-rah guy. He is not a salesmen. He has an eye for talent and a good scheme. He and his talented staff identify kids on the periphery, offer them a chance to compete at the highest level and let them be. In many cases this formula is perfect. Troy Bell, Craig Smith and Jared Dudley are the three best examples. But this philosophy is not just about stars. Role players like Jonathan Beerbohm, Uka Agbia and Louis Hinnant are perfect examples of guys who took their chance and ran with it. However, the ugly flip side are guys like Andrew Bryant, Ryan Sidney, Jermaine Watson, and now McClain and Williams. They all blew it and no one kept them in line. Al should now adjust his philosophy. If he is not going to babysit then he needs to focus on character and maturity during the recruiting process. Al is well liked and successful but if he doesn’t adjust, things will become increasingly uncomfortable for him at the Heights.

Now early today, I predicted BC’s finish. I think a 5-6 finish would be quite an accomplishment now. But the team can still finish strong. McClain is no real loss. We played without him for long stretches the past two season. Williams is a bigger loss, but as well as he’s played he is not irreplaceable.

Here are Williams' Per Minute Averages for his key stats:

Points = .38, Rebounds =.22, Steals =.04, Blocks = .16

Now we won’t be able to duplicate his blocks. But Dudley and Rice should pick up his steals. Dudley and Oates will also have to get some of his rebounds, but the guy who should really benefit is Shamari Spears. Here are his key per minute averages:

Points = .36, Rebounds =.27

So, if Spears gets more minutes and maintains his productivity, he should fill in well for Williams. But that is a lot to ask for a Freshman.

I have no idea how this team will react. Let’s hope it brings them together and they play great basketball for the next eight weeks. It could go either way, but Dudley and Marshall deserve a good ending.


flutie22phelan20 said...

First of all, I feel bad for Dudley and Marshall, who were busting their ass this year; and Duds is one of the smartest, most hardest working players we'll ever see at BC. This damages his chances of going out with a great season, and that pisses me off.

Beyond that, I will say this: I don't think either Williams or McClain should be kicked off the team just for marijuana use...but, let's face it, this has to go well beyond that. Smoking alone does not equate to big trouble at college, there has to be something more.

I was in the class of '04, with distinguished classmates Ryan Sydney and Andrew Bryant. Some of the crap I saw them pull was absolutely unbelievable, and anybody that graduated with me will tell you the same.

I guess my rambling point is: Skinner knows about all of this. I will not say he doesn't care, I think he does...just not enough to do anything about it. He does not have a handle on the kids in his program off the floor. As you correctly wrote, he views his job as providing the platform for the kids to succeed--if they do, and many have, great. If they don't, their fault. Unfortunately, that's not how it works--keeping the kids in program clean off the court is part of the job, and it's a part that Skinner has shown zero aptitude at.

Skinner has accomplished more on the floor than any of his BC predecessors...but the kids in his program either make it, and do well, or flat out don't. No in between. That needs to change, fast.

O-Line U said...

This is obviously a terrible outcome. However, Al Skinner has done nothing wrong. No one should point any fingers of blame at him. All blame for this unfortunate turn of events falls squarely on the shoulders of Williams and McLean. They blew it (no pun intended). Thankfully, our school and coach have the integrity to do what they feel is right. And, for the record, I'm sure there is more involved than a little weed-smoking. I just hope the rest of the team rallies around Skinner, Dudley and Marshall and continues playing well.

On an unrelated note, Jags is doing pretty well on the recruiting trail.

Dports1 said...

J-Wat doesn't belong in the aforementioned "troubled" group. Its true, he had his share of incidents, such as jumping out of a window to avoid an assailant, and the red flags followed him from high school screaming that he had an attitude problem. BUT. He played all four years, developed from a crappy me-first, head-down, psycho dribbler, into a solid, contributing, role player who was absolutely clutch from the FT line in crunch time. And he would spell Hinnant in running the point from time to time. All-in-all, he was more of a "glue guy" than Oates is.

Deacon Drake said...

Sean Williams may be one of those people just not cut out for college. I'm sure he'll make a decent run of things in the NBA, as there are several non-star players that weren't equipped for college. These players all come with baggage and risk (i.e. Ricky Davis, Stephen Jackson), but are proof that potential and talent (in that order) are what most GMs crave to fill seats.

I really think the only reason McClain was given a third chance was because they wanted to give Williams one last shot. It would have looked quite Calhounish had they forced one out and not the other.

flutie22phelan20 said...

I think it's wrong to absolve Skinner of any and all responsibility for this. Talk to some kids that are at BC now, everybody knew what Williams and McClain were up to...meaning that the coaching staff did too, or they had their heads in the sand. Part of the job description is running a clean program, and Skinner's teams have had some serious issues with that--frankly, we're lucky we weren't Baylor Part II with Sydney and Bryant. I agree the players deserve the lion's share of the blame, but it's time for Skinner to change his hands off approach or find a new job.

DS said...

Drug testing. Do any of yall think that Williams might have failed one of the random drug tests he was subjected to?

It is a day of mourning for BC bball fans.

Dorn76 said...

This is not good news for BC hoops. Williams presence will be missed in a big way inside. However, as I said to a fellow member of the Class of '98 this morning, it isn't such a bad thing to have the "questionable character guys" off of the team. If BC wants to join the ranks of Duke and UNC, with top tier education and athletics, we are going to have to pay attention to this....I can't stand Duke, but have you ever heard of one of their guys getting out of line, or UNC for that matter...This looks a bit too much like the Jim Calhoun school of recruiting, where he believes he can reform anyone, and if not, he can let them off the hook when they screw up. Bravo BC for cutting ties with these two....I have alot of respect for former coach O'Brien for turning BC football into a perennial bowl team, with graduation rates among the best in the nation. I think it was USA Today that did a story about combining graduation rates with the winning percentages of NCAA Division I football programs, and BC came out on top. That should be the model the basketball team is following. I hope Skinner is the guy to do that, but his track record in this area is troubling.

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