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Troy Bell

February 25, 2003 Columns No Comments


Bell the new Boston College All-Time Scorer

by Phil Kasiecki

In last Wednesday night’s 80-69 win at Providence, senior guard Troy Bell became the all-time leading scorer at Boston College. Bell entered the game just 6 points shy of Dana Barros’ mark of 2,342 career points, and broke the record when he swished a pull-up three-pointer with 10:25 left in the first half. With a season-high 33 points, he broke the record in seven fewer games than Barros and will finish at least third all-time in Boston College history in career scoring average.

The native of Minneapolis entered Boston College just one season after the program went 6-21, the fewest wins since the Eagles went 6-18 in 1955-56; the 21 losses were the most in the program’s history. In his freshman season, they improved to 11-19 as Bell won Big East Rookie of the Year honors despite missing his last three games with a knee injury. He averaged 18.8 points and 2.1 assists per game, though his 102 turnovers were an area of concern.

Bell had an outstanding sophomore year in leading the Eagles to a school-record 27 wins and their second Big East Tournament Championship. He was the Big East co-Player of the Year and an AP second team All-American as he ranked in the top ten in the Big East in seven different categories. The Eagles lost in the second round of the NCAA Tournament despite a 32-point effort from Bell.

The success of his sophomore season led to even higher expectations for Bell, especially after there was much talk about him declaring for the NBA Draft. While Bell improved his scoring output, his numbers dropped in other statistical categories as he was inconsistent. The Eagles went as Bell went, barely making the NCAA Tournament after inconsistent play for much of the season. It didn’t help that Bell tore cartilage in his knee prior to the season, though he was able to return in time for the season opener. Bell was named first team All-Big East.

Bell hit the weights during the offseason, entering his senior year at 183 pounds and primed for a terrific finish. Indeed, it looks like he will have just that. He is fourth in the nation in scoring and leading the Big East in that category by three points over Georgetown forward Mike Sweetney and St. John’s guard Marcus Hatten. He has especially turned his play up a notch recently, as he is now averaging nearly 30 points over the last nine games. In those games, he has made 39 of 77 three-pointers, boosting his three-point percentage for the season to 42%. In short, Bell has been unstoppable of late.

Finishing his college career on a strong note is one thing Bell wants to do, and he is following through on it.

“I just want to make sure I finish it out, and feel satisfied with the way I ended up,” he said when asked about how he has enjoyed playing college basketball. “I knew I could come back this year, injury-free, and do what I knew I could do. I’m just happy it’s ending up that way.”

Bell didn’t get to break the record in the comforts of home, though Providence is the closest Big East team to Boston College.

“I didn’t really care where I got it. I’m sure when I come back, I’ll get a nice little welcome”, Bell said when asked if doing it at Providence was the next best thing. He went on to note that some of BC’s fans made the trip to support the Eagles, allowed by the close proximity of the schools. As Bell figured, three days later at Conte Forum, he got a nice response from the crowd when he was presented with the game ball from the Providence game.

He didn’t mind that he was going for the record in a hostile environment, as he did it amidst the Providence student section engaging in chants like “Tinkerbell”, “CBA” and “NBDL”, as well as other phrases not appropriate to mention.

“What the fans don’t know is, I thrive on that,” Bell said. “So the more they talk, the more trouble their team’s in for. That gets me more focused than I already am. I like to think I’m pretty focused, but when they get involved, that just makes it that much more fun for me.”

Head coach Al Skinner did not hold back when asked what Bell has meant to the program.

“His legacy clearly is going to be that he helped rebuild a program that was totally demolished,” Skinner said.

Bell has a chance to be the Big East’s all-time leading scorer, but it won’t come easy. On Wednesday night against Virginia Tech, he passed Barros for fifth on the Big East all-time scoring list. He needs 136 points to break Lawrence Moten’s record, meaning he must average 34 points per game in the final four games to break the record. He would do it in 10 fewer games than Moten.

But he is more focused on the play of the Eagles, who now stand 14-9 and are within striking distance of the top of East Division with a 7-5 record in Big East play. Asked how he feels about the team right now, he has nothing but positive things to say. “I feel really good, and I just hope we can continue to keep working hard”, he said. “We’re feeling more confident.”

A pleasant person to talk to, Bell is by all accounts a nice young man off the court and one would have a hard time finding someone who doesn’t speak highly of him. Bell will earn his degree in Sociology and is a good student, much like his classmate and good friend, Uka Agbai. Asked about Bell, Agbai had nothing but good things to say.

“Troy is a very special person,” Agbai said, noting that they met and became good friends in the summer prior to their freshman year. “He’s been amazing, since he’s been here he’s just been amazing.”

But it’s not just the veterans that are impressed, as Bell has quickly made an impression on freshman Craig Smith as well. “That guy’s great, he is the greatest player in college,” Smith said. “He’s a good leader, by vocal and by example. He’s a great all-around guy, and I love him.”

Skinner likewise speaks highly of his All-American guard. “The nice thing about Troy is that he’s going to earn his degree, and BC is a great education,” Skinner said. “He’s got a good grade-point average, and he’s well-respected in his community. I think his classmates really respect him and appreciate him for the person that he is.”

Whether Bell becomes the Big East’s all-time scoring leader or not, he has been a great college player. He stayed in school when some thought he should have left early for the NBA Draft, and should emerge as an even better NBA prospect with his strong finish. He has left his mark on Boston College basketball, the Big East, and those who have had the pleasure of knowing him. The lasting image college basketball fans should have of what the game is all about is a player like Troy Bell – an All-American both on and off the court.

     

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