Dec 5, 2014; Chestnut Hill, MA, USA; Boston College Eagles head coach Jim Christian applauds his players against the Providence Friars during the second half of the Boston College Eagles 69-60 win over the Providence Friars at Silvio O. Conte Forum. Mandatory Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports
Does Boston College basketball have themselves on a path to escape from this dark period in program history? Unfortunately, it may be too soon to tell. It is going to take several components coming together for Boston College to even be competitive in the Atlantic Coast Conference once again.
All this takes into consideration that the conference is difficult, full of good teams that will make any rising program work very hard to crack the upper echelons of the standings. It is not merely a matter of starting to win games again, but winning games against some of the best teams in the nation on a regular basis.
1. BC has to recruit better. Boston College’s talent deficiency relative to the rest of the ACC is stark, and it does no favors that the previous coaching staff was not able to develop almost any of the players at all. In Al Skinner’s more successful years, the Eagles had players who were decent recruits talent-wise that got coached up the right way. Skinner’s late recruiting was hit or miss, noting that he did get Brady Heslip, but also had a year where he got shut out.
Aside from a precious few, the Donahue-era recruiting was abysmal, and as we see even now, only so much can done with this roster. In fact, it was Donahue’s roster construction that was his most central rationale behind his downfall. Boston College went after not only the same type of players, but the wrong, same type.
Coaching the players and developing talent is a huge part of it, but the players have to have talent in the first place. Recruiting is the single most problematic element of this program right now, at least as it concerns on-court performance. Jim Christian will not be successful if this is not quickly changed.
It would appear that Christian’s staff has netted some notable players for next season already, but this needs to be a sustained, annual effort.
2. BC has to learn how to close games. This goes for the football team as well.
In the previous five seasons plus this half-season, how many times have we seen Boston College basketball blow a lead or an otherwise winnable game? It is going to happen to every team from time to time, but with the Eagles, fading out down the stretch is almost expected. That is why games like Syracuse last year are extra fluky.
So far, not so good of an outlook there. The only solution to this component might be roster turnover.
Boston College Eagles
3. Realistically, BC needs a lull at the top of the ACC to give us an opening. How much more clear can that be? When Duke, North Carolina, Virginia, Notre Dame, and Louisville all look like top teams, and with Syracuse and Miami lurking in the wings, that is a lot of teams jockeying for the top. Boston College might be able to cut down a few with both at the top of their games, but not all of them.
A strong ACC makes the conference look good, but it’s not so good for the little guy, and right now, we’re the little guy. This is not going to change in the near term.
Of three main elements that are needed for the Eagles to be successful again in the ACC, two are not expected to turn favorable for Boston College any time soon. The third could, but it will take years before we see any results from it.
This streak the Eagles are on at present is not totally unprecedented; there just is not much of a path out of it for Boston College basketball in the short term.