Home » Columns » Currently Reading:

Boston College wins opener through growing pains

November 15, 2011 Columns No Comments
bostoncollege

CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. – Steve Donahue knows this will be different, but has to keep reminding himself. He’s used to having veteran teams, but not only does he have a young team, but he has one that is youthful and lacking in experience from pretty much every angle. His Boston College team has nine freshmen, just one senior and not a single player who played for the prior head coach in just his second season at the helm. In other words, it’s not even like he has a team full of sophomores that has at least practiced and played together for a year.

 

Donahue was already understanding what this entailed from practices and the team’s exhibition game. After Monday night’s 67-64 win over New Hampshire, it was driven home further.

 

“I probably didn’t have the right approach to the American International game,” said the Eagle mentor. “I’ve been very fortunate the last four years with winning a lot of basketball games and being on the right side of the ledger and player very well. I have to realize that we’re going to make a ton of mistakes out there, and I have to react properly.”

 

There was certainly a lot of room for growth from Monday night’s game. The Eagles were out-rebounded, didn’t shoot as well from the field as the Wildcats and shot less than 55 percent from the foul line. Only one player – graduate student John Cahill – had more assists (3) than turnovers (1) and the team had twice as many turnovers (14) as assists (7).

 

The Eagles didn’t look bad, but their effort on Monday night probably won’t win many ACC games. That’s to be expected, certainly, given the inexperience. Mostly, this team looked like a team that hasn’t played together much. They had good moments and bad ones, bright spots and concerning areas.

 

Three of the Eagles’ freshmen scored in double figures, with Ryan Anderson posting a double-double of 13 points and 10 rebounds. Patrick Heckmann wasn’t far from that as he had eight rebounds to go with 19 points. But Heckmann also had three turnovers without an assist, while Matt Humphrey, the Eagle with the most Division I experience entering the season, had five turnovers with one assist. It wasn’t all bad for Humphrey, as he looked more comfortable on the floor than he did in their exhibition game.

 

Donahue remembers how the last few teams he had at Cornell were so good that they pretty much ran themselves. Last year’s Boston College team was a veteran group as well, and one that had played together a lot, so they were similar in a key respect. This year’s team has neither of those attributes, so the contrast is apparent.

 

“For this group, there’s a lot of energy, a lot of stuff goes into each and every practice, a lot of work watching film and figuring out what’s best for this group,” Donahue said.

 

Heckmann, whose mother made it to town and took in his college debut, said the players knew there would be ups and downs. They came quickly, with the Wildcats having a six-point lead in the first half before the Eagles went on a 14-1 run to close out the half. The Eagles looked like they might be on the verge of breaking the game open in the second half, leading by 11 at one point, but they allowed the Wildcats to get within one possession several times. That led to one big bright spot on the night.

 

Every time New Hampshire got within a possession, Boston College would come up with an answer at the offensive end or a key defensive stop. They never surrendered the lead in the second half, making big plays when they needed to almost as if they were a team of seasoned veterans who didn’t get rattled.

 

Certainly, that wasn’t quite the case, and it helps that New Hampshire isn’t exactly a senior-laden team. But their ability to show some poise and make big plays is a plus, something one wouldn’t expect from a team like this.

 

Boston College started the season well on the bottom line, and showed an unexpected positive along the way. Still, Donahue knows what this season may look like, and it’s not necessarily a mirror image of Monday night.

 

“I’m going to be mentally prepared to realize that this isn’t going to look pretty. It’s just not,” said Donahue. “It’s unfair for me to assume that.”

Comment on this Article:







Avery Bradley Skills Academy

August 11-13, 2014 at the Reggie Lewis Track and Athletic Center.

More information is available by clicking here.

Coaching Changes and NBA Draft Early Entrants

The coaching carousel is moving. Keep track of the latest coaching changes right here on Hoopville.

Also, keep track of players who have declared early for the NBA Draft.

Advertisement


Your Phil of Hoops

Watson’s transfer will sting BU the most

April 11, 2014 by

bostonuniversity

Boston University recently saw three players transfer. The impact of the departure of one of them will be felt more than the other two.

Mihalich’s first year at Hofstra is over but will have plenty of value

March 9, 2014 by

hofstra

The first year for Hofstra under Joe Mihalich is in the books. Many expected that wins would be hard to come by, and they were, but this season was about more than that and is hardly a throwaway year.

Cornell’s future can only be better

March 2, 2014 by

cornell

Cornell has had a rough season, as could be expected given some personnel losses. It’s almost in the books, and the future at least looks brighter.

Hoopville Archives

Even More: City Hoops Recruiting

Mass Elite and Boston Warriors hold college showcase

Mass Elite and Boston Warriors, two of the largest programs in Massachusetts, teamed up for a college showcase on Wednesday night. Here are some evaluations from that event.

Massachusetts 11th grade AAU Tournament recap

Teams gathered at Mass Premier Courts to chase the state title in the oldest age group, and one champion was a familiar one.

Travel team profile: All For One

All For One has been one of the better travel programs in Massachusetts for players before they reach high school

Travel team profile: Blackstone Valley Chaos

Size and options on the wing are not lacking for this year’s junior team

Travel team profile: Expressions Elite

Expressions Elite has quickly become one of the deeper programs in New England

Conference Coverage

2013-14 Big Ten Post-Mortem

July 8, 2014 by

bigten

The Big Ten had some teams slip as the season went on, but plenty of others picked up the slack in another good year for the conference.

2013-14 Sun Belt Post-Mortem

July 7, 2014 by

sunbelt

Membership changes have been happening at quite a pace of late in the Sun Belt, and it was a new member that stole the show for much of this past season and seems poised to lead the way in the future.

2013-14 Big Sky Post-Mortem

July 1, 2014 by

bigsky

The teams that have led the way in the Big Sky of late were right there again this season. One of them won both the regular season and conference tournament, and also had a nice time with the post-season awards as well.

2013-14 MEAC Post-Mortem

July 1, 2014 by

meac

The 2013-14 season was N.C. Central’s year in the MEAC, as the Eagles completed their four-year ascent to the top of conference.

2013-14 Big 12 Post-Mortem

June 30, 2014 by

big12

When it comes to overall depth, the Big 12 this season may have been one of the strongest leagues in a long time. The conference sent seven of its 10 teams to the NCAA Tournament, the first time in 21 years and just the fifth time ever that a league sent 70% or more of its teams to the tourney.

Phil Kasiecki on Twitter