BC finally made it official and announced their new basketball practice facility. The Hoag Pavilion will be dedicated exclusively to men's and women's basketball and use some of Conte's current footprint and expand beyond Conte a bit. It is good news but not entirely surprising since the plans have been circulated for nearly two years as the project engaged donors looking for significant gifts. While it is exciting to get caught up in the bells and whistles of the new building ("six courts!" "their own weightroom!) there are a few things that won't get mentioned in the press release nor will friendly college hoops writers touch.
1. The fundraising exceeded goal and project grew as Kraft got involved.
COVID could have killed this project. Father Leahy could have killed this project. Pat Kraft could have killed this project. The past year was an institution stepping into the unknown. Could you still raise significant money? Would sports revenues be slashed so deep, that a new capital project would be unfeasible? Is basketball an important enough program to warrant the investment? The answers to those questions were all good for BC fans. Fortunately not only did Kraft push forward with what started under Jarmond, he expanded the project and the fundraising. Because he is not as public and because he took over during a unique year, Pat Kraft is still a bit unknown to most of the BC community. Yet he showed he can connect with the right donors and showed that he understands the sports landscape. And he also showed he can adapt to BC's own internal politics. Those are all good signs for the future of BC Basketball and BC Athletics.
2. The impact of the facility on winning basketball is probably a bit overstated.
College sports is an endless arms race. BC needed the upgrade. It serves as a nice selling tool and gives our athletes in both programs the chance to get better. But buildings alone don't equal winning. The lack of a dedicated basketball facility has been used as a crutch by our basketball coaches for a decade. As you see players jumping programs left and right and watch as the best talent bypasses college all together, a nice new gym and workout space is probably not at the top of mind for most players. Playing time, preparing for the next level, connecting with the coaching staff, developing your game, exposure and winning are the primary factors as they decide where to play. This helps but what Earl Grant does as a coach will be ten times more important. He needs to develop talent and then outcoach the other side. A shiny new gym is just a small piece of that puzzle.
3. The plan for Conte will be the next be announcement.
BC takes its time to make things official. The plan, approvals and money all need to be in place. The next big item is the renovation to the rest of Conte. Some of it will be cosmetic and some will be to make a better fan experience for basketball and hockey. Because those sorts of renovations will impact the gameday experience for BC Basketball, they will almost be as important as the practice facility.