Now that basketball recruiting is pretty much wrapped up, I've noticed polarizing views about this year's incoming class. While some SuperFans are gloating over having eight (EIGHT!!!) new members of the basketball team, including the Gatorade Player of the Year for California, others are taking a more pessimistic view, noticing that BC has just one player in the top 25 at his position. I happen to like this recruiting class, but I'm also a huge fan of Donahue. Let's take a look at two of the criticisms that have been floating around and see how much validity each one really has.
1. Eight players is too much for one class. Now we're going to be really constrained on the recruiting front for years to come.
I have three responses to this criticism. First, this is a basketball program in desperate need of players. While I hope all of these young men graduate, there's a decent chance that one or two will leave early, transfer, or drop from the team. We can't depend on Donahue finding John Cahills at the plex every year. Furthermore, we're starting to get to the point where BC basketball hasn't been good in a while. I know it seems like yesterday that Dudley, Marshall, and company were ruling the world, but there is a shelf-life to that success and we're getting to the point where high schoolers are no longer recognizing BC as a good basketball school. I worked last summer in a restaurant and some of the high schoolers there (born in 1992) didn't even know who U2 was. If U2 doesn't get a ten year shelf life what do you think BC gets?
Second, are we really going to blame BC for taking a risk and putting all its eggs in one basket for a change? How many times have BC fans cried that the athletic department never takes a risk, never goes for the throat, or never seems to believe in the ability of BC to compete consistently with top talent. This recruiting class is a HUGE risk. If these guys are a bunch of busts, we're stuck with them for four years. If they get into Donahue's system and everything clicks, in three or four years we could be competing seriously for an ACC Championship. The truth is that these guys are likely to be somewhere in between the two extremes, but honestly the only way right now we're going to compete in any given year with the ACC big-boys is to get a bunch of upper classmen with good talent to play together for three or four years. I'm tired of seeing BC settle. Play to win.
Third, now that Donahue is established and has a core set of players, he can concentrate on getting one or two really top talents for the next few years. Imagine if Donahue is able to turn the next few small recruiting classes into one or two 4-star players per class. I don't see anyone arguing with that.
2. But we only got one player in the top-25 at his position...
I know. And your point is? Look, the day we hired Donahue you, I, and every other serious SuperFan knew this was going to happen. Donahue specifically works with players who he thinks will fit his system. That means having the raw athleticism, attitude, and intellect to play up-tempo and understand the offense. I trust that Donahue knows what type of kids are going to succeed in his offense and recruits accordingly.
In Donahue's world, the most important parts of the team's success are the culture and system. While this really narrows the field he can recruit from, he believes the sacrifice is worth it, and for now I agree with him. Recruiting sites like Rivals can't take a coach's system into account when determining how good a class is.
What do you guys think about the current class? Am I being too optimistic?