Not long after Steve Donahue arrived at BC, he hauled in an enormous recruiting class. If memory serves, it was 10 guys.
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It was a gamble that didn’t pay off for Donahue, who was fired and replaced by Jim Christian, who lost what was left of Donahue’s big class after last season (we think Dennis Clifford was part of it; he’s a fifth-year senior).
Now Christian has more or less had to do the same thing, bringing in a class of seven.
Worse, he lost his best player, Olivier Hanlan, who was good enough to go to the Utah Jazz as a second round draft pick. He would’ve helped.
Christian only has four players back, including Clifford. He’s been injury prone but he’s the best of the bunch and really, he was highly regarded coming out of high school. Some guys just can’t catch a break.
At least he is 7-0 and 262.
Eli Carter is a grad student transfer from Florida, so he knows the ropes and should help.
Idy Diallo is reputedly an athletic big man. He redshirted last year with a meniscus injury. Who knows?
Darryl Hicks has had a pair of ACL injuries. Who knows?
Freshmen Matt Millon, Jerome Robinson and AJ Turner look to be the best of the class, but again, who knows?
It’s been a long time since anyone has had as much uncertainty as BC has.
The one thing you can count on, though, or at least we think you can, is coaching. Christian had a bad hand last year but to us, he really showed some talent. BC had close games with New Mexico, West Virginia, Providence and South Carolina and beat Harvard.
In conference play, BC won one game before March, then had a four-game winning streak, beating State, Virginia Tech, Wake Forest and Georgia Tech.
He’s also put together an impressive staff. Scott Spinelli stayed with the ACC when Maryland left, and is in his second year with the Eagles. He’s a well regarded recruiter. Before Maryland he successfully recruited DeAndre Jordan, Donald Sloan and Khris Middleton, all in the NBA. At Maryland, he brought in Seth Allen, Jake Layman, Even Smotrycz and Alex Len.
And now Stan Heath, who has extensive head coaching experience, has joined the staff as well. He ran the show at Kent State, Arkansas and South Florida.
He’ll be very useful and can absolutely run practice if Christian is out recruiting or otherwise occupied. It’s very helpful.
He may also be the first ACC coach, head or assistant, to coach against his own son: Josh is a junior now. He played for his dad at South Florida before the school let him go.
Winning 13 games was a real accomplishment for this team last year.
This year, it may be a lot harder, but at least Christian is very close to having his own guys. It could be a really long year if he doesn’t bring his freshmen along quickly. Ten wins would be a real accomplishment; a winning record should be worth Coach of The Year.
The good news is that Christian has put a lot of pieces in place for future success.