Wednesday, January 30, 2013

This Team is Soft

BC lost to UNC 82-70 last night, but this game was essentially a blow out and UNC was never in any danger of losing control.  I'm beginning to have real questions about the direction of this program.  As a preliminary matter, when this year's sophomore class came into BC, we were talking about how the ceiling could be the final four.  That's gone.  If we're lucky, this team makes the tournament, not next year, but the following year.  Last night was abysmal and completely unacceptable three years into Donahue's tenure.

Let's start with effort.  This team looked completely clueless and apathetic for large stretches of last night's game.  I'm not the only one who noticed this.  Donahue then proceeds to come out in his press conference and talk about the good effort and intensity of the team.  I don't expect the coach to call the players out in the media at the collegiate level, but how can he honestly like the effort and intensity of the team in last night's performance?  At best, he can say that he's been riding the starters for too many minutes and that guys are simply tired.  I refuse to accept that there was good effort and intensity last night and the idea that Donahue might not realize this troubles me a lot. 

Second, as I frequently said last night on twitter, this team is soft.  We can either complain that the refs have it out for us every night or we can face the fact that this team has the reputation for embellishing fouls.  While Jackson was probably fouled last night near the scorers table there is simply no way he was fouled hard enough that he should have been nearly flipped over the table.  Anderson was practically flipped over in the paint with a backhanded nudge by a guy six inches shorter than him and the ref looked at him like "really?"  Heckmann looks like he's been mortally wounded every time someone taps him and Clifford (who's admittedly injured) couldn't even back down a guy a foot shorter than him in the paint (I'm not even going to go into how stupid it is to play Clifford injured for four minutes a night).  

The immediate problem is that when the refs think you're embellishing fouls, as apparently multiple teams of refs do, it's difficult for them to figure out when you've actually been fouled.  This is indicative of other problems.  How many times did UNC get an offensive board last night because no one bothered to box out?  Out many times did UNC beat us to lose balls?  I've never seen BC play this soft and it really bothers me.  These guys simply aren't living up to the toughness displayed by guys like Marshall, Dudley, and Rice.

Third, we need to know what's going on with our strength and conditioning program.  Jackson and Heckmann have maybe gained five pounds between the two of them since they've arrived on campus.  Obviously Rahon and Hanlan haven't been in the program long enough to see any real progress.  Daniels, before he left the program, didn't look like he gained any weight.  Clifford, Odio, and Anderson all look bigger.  How is Caudill still not in shape, nearly two years into the program?  I can't think of a three star basketball recruit who has contributed less to this program in the seven years I've been here.

I'm not blaming any of the players here.  The responsibility lies with the coach to fix this.  Donahue's go-to excuse right now is that there are no older players in the program to show these guys how to play defense, put on weight, and play tough.  First, I don't think it takes a big-brother to show you how to play tough and focus on defense, but I'm also not a coach.  Second, Donahue is directly responsible for creating the culture of this program.  He knew that BC basketball was in a tough spot culturally when he took this team over.  That's what he was brought in to fix.  If the guys aren't playing with a chip on their shoulder then he needs to figure out how to fix that.  

There aren't going to be any easy answers to these problems, but that's why we pay Donahue so much money.  A lot of other programs and coaches have similar problems and successful head coaches find a way to fix them.  Do you think Coach K or Roy Williams walked into winning cultures?  No.  They simply bucked up and said "this is the way we will do things here.  Play tough or take a seat on the bench."

I'm obviously extremely disappointed with last night and don't want to take too much from one loss, but this isn't the first time this team has laid an egg this year.  Bryant.  Harvard.  Dayton.  College of Charleston.  UNC.

1 comment:

  1. Agree with all the above but I think at some point we have to acknowledge the talent level is just there to be a competitive ACC team. This team at most has 3 ACC Caliber players to me in Hanlan, Anderson and Rahon (assuming he continues to play like he did earlier this season).

    Clifford (when healthy) and Jackson are ideally the 6th/7th man who play 20 odd minutes a night on a good team. Heckmann could be here too when he is on but is way too inconsistent.

    The rest of the team? Odio, Caudill, Van Nest, Rubin and the rest of the walk on? Nothing here, they should be playing in lower level conferences.

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