The mood on the Chestnut Hill campus of Boston College is a bit numb when it comes to the hiring of the new Men’s Basketball Coach Jim Christian. There is a strong feeling that Athletic Director Brad Bates could have and should have been able to do better with the hire for an Atlantic Coast Conference program that is on the brink of irrelevance.
However Tuesday afternoon was the time for Jim Christian and Brad Bates to present themselves to the media at Boston College and introduce a new era of Boston College Men’s Basketball.
The questions for Jim Christian and Brad Bates were surprisingly softballs compared with some of the ire on the Boston College fan base on social media.
Christian presents himself as a hard nosed-basketball coach with a somewhat thick Long Island accent that comes off as honest and down to Earth. One of the lighter moments was when he accidentally said “hell” instead of “heck” and had to remind himself that he was now working at a Catholic school, which elicited some laughter from the press assembled.
Christian referred to Boston College as a “dream job” and seemed in love with the school. Earlier in his prepared statement, he wished the hockey team luck as they travel to Philadelphia for the Frozen Four and encouraged Johnny (Hockey) Gaudreau in his quest for the Hobey Baker award.
The new head coach talked about focusing on identity and development among his players. He remarked that he will continue his practice of an “identity board” at practice, which could only get me thinking about this. I literally still don’t know what he was talking about.
Speaking of identity, Christian wants players that fit the “culture” and “talent” that Boston College requires. Christian also advocates a “win-now” mentality that includes the current Boston College players. He mentions that “nobody should be hungrier than a senior”. In terms of replacing the transferring Ryan Anderson, Christian said that he wouldn’t want to just give a scholarship to a “body”. Right answer.
Christian also had 16 player interviews today and looked suitably tired. The fact that Christian is putting this much effort into getting to know the players is reassuring. Of course, it doesn’t look like he’ll get Ryan Anderson to change his mind, but at least he’s trying. On the question of Olivier Hanlan, it sounds like Christian is heavily recruiting him to stay but wouldn’t give a direct answer to the question at the press conference.
Probably one of the more exciting things from the press conference for Boston College fans is Christian’s criteria for his assistant coaches. Christian acknowledged that he has never recruited on the ACC level and therefore wants “established” ACC recruiters with New England ties and the ability to acquire players on the national level. Christian noted that he went to the Final Four and scouted some possible fits.
Various reports have both Maryland’s Scott Spinelli and former FAU and St. John’s assistant Mike Jarvis II in talks to become part of the Boston College coaching staff. This is a sea change from the Steve Donahue staffs where there wasn’t even an ounce of experience on the bench of a major conference school.
Jim Christian seems like a really nice guy that is dedicated to making Boston College better. Obviously I think the feeling from the beginning on Christian is that he is not a bad coach but rather Boston College just simply underwhelmed with its hire that is certainly a fair criticism.
My view on Jim Christian is positive and optimistic. I think Boston College might just be his niche. He genuinely loves the environment and gets what you have to do to build at BC: bring in New England recruits that can play at ACC level.
Shabazz Napier just won his second national championship at UConn after playing his high school ball in Massachusetts. Boston College needs to be able to compete for these recruits and hopefully that is what Jim Christian is planning on doing. It sure seems like it.
All Boston College fans can do right now is follow Jim Christian’s limo driver’s advice and “pray” for him.