Where, Exactly, is BC Basketball?

A decade ago, during the 2004-2005 season, the Boston College men’s basketball team began the season with an awe-inspiring 20-0 record and finished 13-3 in the Big East and 25-5 overall. A unanimous top five team, the Eagles posted a better record than UConn, Syracuse, Villanova, Pittsburgh, Notre Dame, Georgetown and Providence.

A year ago, during the 2013-2014 season, the Boston College men’s basketball team began the season with a disappointing 0-3 record and finished 4-14 in the ACC and 8-24 overall. Perceived as one of the worst teams in the ACC, The Eagles posted a worse record than Clemson, Maryland, Florida State, Wake Forest, Georgia Tech and Notre Dame.

Many current Boston College students are unable to call to mind a BC basketball team that ever stood next to the word great. And why would they? For years, the BC basketball team has been stuck in a rut of perpetual mediocrity. However, for true SuperFans, so much frustration—especially over the Donahue era—has come from knowing that the men’s basketball team has had an abundance of potential (as evident by plenty of close games) and has ultimately failed to execute.

Photo by Amanda Ikard / Gavel Media.

Amanda Ikard / Gavel Media

Inevitable changes transpired over the off-season, beginning with the firing of head basketball coach Steve Donahue. Subsequently, Boston College hired Jim Christian, former head basketball coach for Ohio University. As for players, the Eagles lost Joe Rahon and Ryan Anderson, two definite presences last season. However, the team gained transfers Aaron Brown and Dimitri Batten, who have both played a large impact already this season. Also, the return of Olivier Hanlan, easily last season’s biggest x-factor, has hugely bolstered the vitality of the team.

With such a retooled and reshaped team, from players to coaches, the BC men’s basketball team from a decade ago and the BC men’s basketball team from a year ago felt equally distant away from this BC men’s basketball team. With Jim Christian at the wheel, BC basketball fans hoped to see the start of a new era.

However, a 3-3 start hasn’t exactly been much of a statement. BC’s three wins have come from the likes of New Hampshire, New Mexico and most recently Marist. While its three losses have come from UMass, West Virginia and Dayton. It certainly doesn’t help BC’s case that the storyline of many of the former games has been how abysmal its been in shooting three-pointers.

Obviously, it appears that the Eagles haven’t gotten off to the strongest start, but BC basketball fans need not be overly concerned. Why? For starters, the team is six games into the season. It’s still early. Secondly, it takes time for a new team—especially when it gets a new coach—to find its rhythm. Ideally, BC finds it rhythm sooner than later, but the team eventually will. Also, BC has a lot softer of a non-conference schedule this season, which boasts the potential to be a huge supplement for a team that looks to maximize its wins during the regular season.

During their next five games against Providence, Maine, Binghamton, USC and UMass-Lowell, the Eagles have a real chance to capture some vital out-of-conference wins prior to facing an ACC-heavy schedule that will surely be demanding.

Though every game is important, this string of games is especially important in that it proffers the Eagles a chance to enhance their unexceptional record and find their groove before facing a strenuous schedule.

Right now, it’s difficult to definitively pinpoint where the BC men’s basketball team falls. On paper, having a 3-3 record certainly doesn’t bode well. But having a new coach who parallels Steve Addazio in passion and having a revitalized and overall better team than last season certainly is auspicious.

So what should we expect from the 2014-2015 BC men’s basketball team? Nobody knows. The team could be a carbon copy of last season’s team, frustrated and luckless. Or the team—teeming with potential—could embrace a newfound rhythm and sense of chemistry and be a respectable competitor in the ACC; the potential is certainly there. The real question is whether, after a less than satisfactory start, Jim Christian can turn the basketball team in the right direction, a path toward being a word that BC basketball fans have long forgotten—great. Can the team do it? Absolutely. Will they? That’s another question. We’ll all have to stay tuned. But don’t lose your faith in the Eagles quite yet. After all, the team has some catching up to do.

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Joe Castignetti