No One Believes in Boston College Except Boston CollegePosted by KCarpenter on October 21st, 2011
ACC Operation Basketball was a rough day for Boston College fans. They had a hunch and an uneasy feeling in their collective, metaphorical gut, but no one likes to have their fears confirmed. The basketball team was picked to finish last in the ACC by the media at Operation Basketball. It was a shot to the mid-section, but one that wasn’t unexpected. While the Eagles finished sixth in the conference last season, they did so thanks to a team made up of four seniors and a junior who left early to become a first round NBA draft pick for the Oklahoma City Thunder. The Eagles of last year are no more.
With a tiny cast of returning players, coach Steve Donahue kind of went nuts on the recruiting trail. He picked up nine freshmen and two graduate school transfers. The recruiting class is neither highly rated nor greatly heralded. The assembled ACC media were more than happy to give Donahue a vote of no-confidence. Of course, here’s the thing: Donahue’s team was picked as a bottom-feeder team last year and still easily beat expectations. There is something about his style of play that turns off pundits and makes them dismiss his teams.
In a pre-media day article, Jeff Goodman spotlighted BC and asked the players about these expectations of others. Danny Rubin, who suddenly qualifies as one of the team’s veteran leaders, brushed it off: ”We heard that last year. People said we weren’t supposed to be that good… I don’t really listen to it.” It’s true, they did say that last year, and the Eagles certainly proved them wrong(-ish). But this year, the task is certainly more difficult, and judging from the other quotes in the article, this team knows it’s in for some rough times. That’s okay, though.
Donahue thrives in people not believing in him. Last year, he quietly supercharged the offense of a decent but unexceptional Al Skinner team and turned it into one of the most efficient offenses in the country. In the ACC, only Duke had a better offense. Without bringing in any new players, Donahue made that improvement. Now, Donahue is bringing in his guys, players with height and the ability to pass and shoot. The fact is, despite all the doubters, Donahue seems thrilled to build this team from essentially scratch. To rebuild the team in his stylistic image. He seemed thrilled at Operation Basketball. “It’s a blast. It’s pure coaching. It’s why you get into it,” he said. Talking about all the freshmen, he added, “they’ll go through a brick wall for you and then ask questions later.” It’s a good thing too. As confident as Donahue seems, keeping his ultra-green team from finishing in the conference basement might be as hard and painful as going through several brick walls.