Wednesday, May 19, 2010

When do we start worrying about basketball recruiting?

May 19 marked another Letter of Intent day for college basketball. BC signed no one. With one month at BC under his belt, Steve Donahue is still without a committed recruit for 2010. That wouldn't be a big deal for a new coach if the problem wasn't already compounded by the recent transfers out of the program and by Skinner's empty 2009 recruiting class. At this point Donahue needs some warm bodies for practice. Because we still have good returning talent, Donahue doesn't need a high ceiling, impact player in this class...just a potential contributor. If he gets a player or two now and finds a transfer to join the program, he can avoid any pitfalls after the Jackson and Ellmore class graduate.

I still really like Donahue and his potential, so I am not worried yet. However, if by September we don't have any recruits or transfers I think Donahue will have built himself a big hole. If he wants to build something at BC and prove he can transition from the Ivy League, he cannot let the program bottom out in his second or third season. It will be used against him on the recruiting trail and will kill momentum and interest among BC fans. He needs to leverage Jackson and show improvement each year to gain wider credibility. That will be tough if he is playing a team of freshmen and sophomores in 2013.

So I will do my best to remain patient and stay on the Donahue bandwagon...let's hope there are some diamonds in the rough who feel the same way this summer.


G.A. said...

How is Skinner not having any recruits in 2009 relevant.
2010 widely regarded as a deeper class, so Skinner put his eggs in that basket. Until the BC community decided to throw Skinner under the bus, the three kids signed were pretty highly regarded.
12 of 13 schollies were filled in March. Now 7 are filled.
Two kids signed for 2011: both with mid-major offers and Ivy offers.
BC is going to suck for at least three years. Maybe it was necessary to fire Skinner, but enough of the "cupboard was empty" narrative.

Erik said...

G.A. -
Our class this year wasn't that great. It was okay, but not exactly scaring any of our ACC opponents.

I'm sure our staff will keep working hard to get some good players, whether it be this year or next year. You can't set a road map now and expect it to stick. If we can win this Nov, Dec, and Jan then we'll have a good shot and landing some quality players for 2011. With all the openings, we may end up with a good class in 2011 or 2012 by promising kids immediately playing time and the possibility of scholarships to a group of AAU teammates who already like playing with each other.

blist said...

6 year contract and self-interested coach means he'll be aiming to peak around years 4-5, which means he has no problem with the next couple of years being bad, I think (cynically, obviously). It also took him ages to get Cornell decent, didn't it?

Mr. Tambourine MAn said...

I think we all have to be thankful that Jackson decided to stay. If he thought only of himself, I could see him thinking that a senior year of him, Elmore, and a bunch of freshman isn't worth his time.

Are we certain that he's a lock to stay? Considering his talent level, he could probably leave in the summer and still have lots of opportunities, and he'd have to sit out a year whenever he leaves. If the 2010 cupboard is bare and he's looking at a senior year of him, elmore and a bunch of freshman, wouldn't he have to consider leaving?

Mr. Tambourine MAn said...

Also, good point G.A. in response to all the Skinner bashers, he had recruits coming in. Noreen even garnered UNC interest (though this seemed to be a little desparate on their part after a surprise loss of two PF/C recruits). Only thing is, I think ATL wasn't actually claiming it was all Skinner, it is a combo of no recruits in 2009, Coach D running off some players, and some transferring/decommitting. While not the sole cause, that 2009 "class" is a major factor here.

Anyway, I've heard the "cupboard was left bare" refrain elsewhere, but not here.

Big Jack Krack said...

I don't know what to think about the state of our men's basketball program - it's just not a good program. I was not happy with the direction that we were headed.

I thank Coach Skinner for his good years, but have felt for a couple of years that he was simply mailing it in. When his good assistants left, you could see the drop-off in recruiting.

I think Donahue will go after some local and New England talent, as well as some national - but it will take some time, unfortunately. This is on GDF as much as Donahue. I believe they are sincerely trying to change the brand - literally.

I think we need a little luck in the next few years to land some good, solid players, who in turn will encourage other good players to come and join them. Maybe we'll get lucky with a few transfers as well.

This CAN happen - but will it?

TheFive said...

There's no doubt that the basketball program under Skinner was in a downward arc --- this year's team was quite disappointing, and had the talent and experience necessary to be a NCAA tournament team.

Unfortunately, in the 1.5 months following Donahue's hire, that downward arc has accellerated to the point that the program is in deep, deep trouble. Programs can be crippled by even the mildest form of probation; and we have effectively voluntarily placed ourselves on probation by failing to recruit a single scholarship player in two consecutive seasons. Perhaps Donahue turns that around before school starts in September, but there are very few ACC-level recruits left out there (and, unfortunately, I don't think Jared Dudley is "walking through that door).

As things currently stand, BC will be lucky to reach double digits in wins in either of the next two years. There are 6 scholarship players on next years team, and only 3 the year after that. I don't care if Donahue is the best Xs and Os coach in college basketball, you simply cannot win with those numbers --- and having a class of, say, 8 freshmen next year is no way to success in the ACC.

The program last year under Skinner appeared to be in an irreversible slide to mediocrity. It is now approaching "one of the worst basketball teams at the BCS level" over the next two years. There has been no upward arc to that trendline, and if Donahue doesn't turn it on in recruiting, there won't be anytime soon.

Raj said...

Donahue's cornell pedigree and feeding off of this last tourney runs will pretty much be non-existent after next year with the recruits. So Donahue better make some moves this year.

I dont think we'll win for 2-3 years, and our fan base wont support him, no matter how well he performed at Cornell. I mean look at what skinner did for us, and everyone was happy to run him out of town.

Forcing out Heslip and Rakim, two people who could at least compete against ACC level talent will prove to be the biggest losses this year. If they had stayed, who knows what the other recruits would have done.

Jackson wont transfer, because he wont get the touches or the minutes at another ACC program. He loves the spotlight and loves the ball, he isn't going anywhere. I just hope Donahue teaches him how to run an offense.

Ryan said...

Where is everyone getting this "forced out" nonsense? Do any of you have proof of this? Or maybe they just left because they didn't like the style of play Donahue was bringing. This stuff happens when coaches get fired.

Also, I sincerely doubt Donahue forced out Rakim with 1 year left. Dude may have been lazy and underachieving, but I'm sure Donahue would have taken him over the alternative of nobody.

mmason said...

Let's watch what Coach Joe Jones brings to the team in the coming weeks. He may be the key man in building the next class of players, and his rep is that he is a remarkably fine recruiter.

Lenny Sienko said...

Does anyone know if the recruiting trip to Australia ever made it off the ground?

Oz and Europe are all that's left for recruitment at this point.

mod10aeagle said...

Well, Eddie Odio is coming to save the day in 2011!

Ry said...

This stuff happens when coaches get fired.

i'd love to see proof of this. what other BCS conference team has had a coaching change followed by this kind of drying up of talent? i'm gonna need more than one example before i am convinced that what is happening at BC is normal, because i don't think it is.

Mr. Tambourine MAn said...

"Jackson wont transfer, because he wont get the touches or the minutes at another ACC program. He loves the spotlight and loves the ball, he isn't going anywhere. I just hope Donahue teaches him how to run an offense."

If Jackson is as good as all are saying, he can get plenty of touches at a major conference program. If he isn't, then we have major problems for next year. I'm not saying he'll leave, but he'd have to take a look at the next two years and seriously consider it. Especially if 2010 continues to be a goose egg recruiting wise.

Going forward, I think a good/disturbing example of where we may be headed is Indiana, but without the history that helps right the ship. After Sampson left, that entire program was blown up with most of the scholarship players either leaving or graduating. Crean has had a lot of trouble putting it back together (I think this is year 3 of the rebuild). Keep in mind that that's a storied program and Crean is a highly respected coach/recruiter, so it could be harder for Coach D since we don't have the history to offer. Very few great players dream of playing in Conte, but a lot probably dream of being a Hoosier.

I also think Indiana serves as a good example of why we need to cut him some slack, its just hard to start recruiting in April at a completely different level. I don't think Crean pulled a great class out his first year, there wasn't enough time. I would think you build recruit relationships over years, not months and everyone Coach D had relationships with probably wasn't an ACC level recruit, he was a Cornell level recruit. It would take a good amount of luck (and hard work) to pull in top flight recruits now, especially since his entire staff was also seeking Ivy level recruits and wouldn't have the necessary player relationships either.

2011 will be more telling. I don't agree with the "down year will kill our ability to recruit" arguments, look at Skinner's early teams, they were terrible through no fault of his own, but he was able to turn it around with solid recruiting after a few years.

Sorry for the long-winded nature of this.

Lenny Sienko said...

The Australian Institute of Sport is "one-stop shopping" for hoops recruits. They have training facilities for the national team and under 20 and under 18 teams, which makes them the major source for US college programs, such as St. Mary's (5 Aussie players).

The students, equivalent to our HS Juniors and Seniors, are in residence at the training facility. This gives them an extra two years away from home in the maturity department. They can adjust better to campus life, basketball, and studies.

mod34b said...

I don't think Heslip was an ACC player... Great Gym rat shooter, but not quick enough to get a shot off in ACC play. It seemed like Skinner brought him in a s bandaid to cover up his pathetic recruiting efforts.

where is the talented Mr Heslip going? Utah State, Boise? (he also claims G'town, but i highly doubt that one)

same for Papa Samba that he is not coming to BC, is any big hoop school beating a path to his door? doesn't seem like it.

The presumptive loss of Noreen, is a different story.

Raj said...

Jackson is good, but whether he can be the focus point of an offense is questionable. He is an explosive athlete who's a great slasher. I think we are in trouble this season.

Heslip visited Oregon, yes?
Whether he was quick enough to get a shot off the dribble is one thing, but whether he could run the point better than biko, i'd like to hope so. And with reggie and rakim (tear) driving, that leaves some open shots on the perimeter. We need shooters don't we or is 28% shooting from 3 ok with everyone?

I do think a down year still kills us recruiting wise, only because look at what skinner recruited- low value big upside. So his classes were not highly touted but still ended up being great performers for the system. I'm not sure Donahue will/can do the same. And coming off his miracle run at Cornell, we need to take advantage of the buzz now.

Also new 6'7" guy who weighs 175. Someone needs to eat.

Ry said...

agreed raj...what finally turned it around for skinner was having troy bell produce after not even being recruited by the schools in his own wasn't a recruiting coup, it was a signee producing in spite of expectations