Boston College Eagles men's basketball
|Boston College Eagles|
|Location||Chestnut Hill, MA|
|Head coach||Steve Donahue (3rd year)|
|Student section||Super Fans|
Maroon and Gold
|NCAA Tournament Elite Eight|
|1967, 1982, 1994|
|NCAA Tournament Sweet Sixteen|
|1967, 1968, 1975, 1981, 1982, 1983, 1985, 1994, 2006|
|NCAA Tournament appearances|
|1958, 1967, 1968, 1975, 1981, 1982, 1983, 1985, 1994, 1996, 1997, 2001, 2002, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009|
|Conference tournament champions|
|1975, 1997, 2001|
|Conference regular season champions|
|1981, 1983, 2001, 2005|
The Boston College Eagles are a Division I college basketball program that represents Boston College in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts, United States. The team has competed in the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) since 2005, having previously played in the Big East. Home games have been played at the Conte Forum since 1988, having previously been played at the Roberts Center. The Eagles are coached by Steve Donahue.
- 1 History
- 1.1 O'Brien returns to The Heights
- 1.2 Skinner era begins
- 1.2.1 20 straight to start: 2004–05 season
- 1.2.2 Back to the Sweet Sixteen: 2005–06 season
- 1.2.3 2006–2010: The Final Skinner Years
- 1.2.4 2010-Present: Donahue Takes Over
- 1.3 Postseason results
- 1.4 Awards
- 2 References
- 3 External links
In 1904, a men's varsity team was sanctioned. Then on December 26 of that year, BC played its first-ever game. They would lose 8–6 to Battery H of Navy. The team earned its first win that season against Tufts, 23–17, in Medford. Basketball, not a popular sport at the turn of the 20th century, suffered through years of weak fan support and only lasted three initial seasons before being dropped. A brief revival in the early 1920s brought the men's team back, but it was dropped again following the 1924–25 season. Finally, following World War II when the sport began to gain popularity in the United States, the basketball team became a permanent part of the Boston College athletics program in the 1945–46 season. Through 2010–11, there have been 73 seasons of BC basketball.
In 1963, BC hired Boston Celtics legend Bob Cousy as head coach, and earned postseason berths in five of his six years as coach, including a trip to the Elite Eight in 1967. Boston College has hired several other notable coaches through the years, including Chuck Daly, Tom Davis, Gary Williams and former Eagle, Jim O'Brien ('71).
In one of the darkest stories in BC history, several members of the 1978–79 basketball team were accused of being involved in a point-shaving scandal that drew national attention due to the involvement of the infamous Mafia associate Henry Hill. One player, Rick Kuhn, was found guilty and served time in jail for his efforts in the fix.,
Boston College basketball became a charter member of the Big East Conference, which formed for the 1979–80 season. With more national exposure and better competition — leading to improved and more expansive recruiting — BC ensured itself of an opportunity to compete at the highest level of NCAA Division I basketball every year.
From the time the seven original Northeastern schools formed the Big East, the BC men's basketball team achieved several high points: Advancing to the Elite Eight in the 1982 NCAA Tournament; winning the Big East Tournament in 1997 and 2001; four Big East Coach of the Year awards; three Big East Player of the Year awards and a memorable win over No. 1-ranked North Carolina in the 1994 NCAA tourney.
Among Boston College's biggest non-conference rivals in basketball is the University of Massachusetts. First played in 1905 and held annually since 1995, BC's basketball rivalry with UMass is called the "Commonwealth Classic" and was played on several occasions at what is now known as TD Garden in the 1990s until BC ended the annual game in 2012. The Eagles are 22–17 against its cross-state rival. The Boston College men's basketball team has made 18 overall appearances in the NCAA tournament, including three trips to the Elite Eight. The team has played in the NIT 10 times. BC has produced four conference players of the year:
- John Bagley '83, was the Big East Player of the Year in 1980–1981
- Troy Bell '03 was co-Big East Player of the Year in 2000–2001, and won the title outright in 2002–2003
- Jared Dudley '07 was the ACC Player of the Year in 2006–07.
Notable BC student-athletes who have gone onto a career in the NBA include: Michael Adams '85, John Bagley '83, Dana Barros '89, Troy Bell '03, Bill Curley '94, Howard Eisley '94, Jay Murphy '84, Gerry Ward '63, Sean Williams '07, Craig Smith '06 and Jared Dudley '07.
O'Brien returns to The Heights
On March 26, 1986, Jim O'Brien '71 returned to coach the Boston College Eagles basketball team. Despite a bitter end to his tenure as head coach, O'Brien has been credited with resuscitating the BC basketball team, which — aside from some success in the early 80s — had not been a consistent NCAA tournament contender since the 1960s. Although O'Brien did build a solid program, his timing was excellent: Boston College opened its new hockey and basketball arena, Conte Forum, in 1988, (fully equipped with state-of-the-art facilities); the Big East had reached its zenith when O'Brien took the reins with conference teams winning national championships in 1984 and 1985; and O'Brien and BC, at the time, were still feeling the positive effects of the Flutie factor with Boston College athletics increasing in national exposure.
Boston College played its final season in the Roberts Center in the 1987–88 season and were invited to the NIT, advancing to the semi-finals before being knocked-off by regional rival UConn, 73–67. BC returned to the NIT in 1992 and 1993.
In 1994, the Eagles were beaten by Georgetown 81–58 in the first round of the Big East tournament. But, following its invitation to the NCAA, the men's basketball team went on one of its most historic runs. Boston College defeated Washington State in the opening round of the tourney. In the second round, BC had its memorable upset of defending national champion North Carolina, 75–72, pushing them to the Sweet Sixteen. After a victory over Bobby Knight and Indiana, the team went back to the Elite Eight where it fell to Florida, 74–66.
Led by All-Big East forward Danya Abrams and sophomore point guard James "Scoonie" Penn, Boston College won the 1997 Big East Tournament with victories over Pitt, Georgetown and Villanova. For its Big East Tournament championship, BC received an automatic bid to The Dance and met Valparaiso. The Eagles knocked off its first-round opponent 73–66, but fell in the second round to St. Joe's when the Hawks eked out an 81–77 win.
Controversy erupted after the 1997 season as Jim O'Brien and the Boston College administration sparred over academic standards in recruiting athletes. O'Brien filed a lawsuit against BC on the grounds of breach of contract and slander. The case was settled out of court. Following a bitter end to his tenure, the BC alumnus moved to Ohio State, and brought his star play-maker Scoonie Penn with him. At Ohio State, O'Brien took the Buckeyes to the Final Four in 1999. Unfortunately, his tenure at Ohio State also ended on bitter terms and litigation by O'Brien against his former employer.
Skinner era begins
|This section is outdated. (October 2010)|
|This section does not cite any references or sources. (October 2010)|
In 1997, former Rhode Island head coach and ABA star, Al Skinner came to The Heights to coach the men's team. Following three sub-.500 seasons, Skinner lead the Eagles to a Big East-best 27–5 mark in 2000–01 (setting a then-school record for wins in a season), the Big East tournament title and a No. 3 seed in the NCAA tournament. BC defeated Southern Utah in the opening round of the tourney, but was upset by USC 74–71 in the second round. Skinner went on to win Big East Coach of the Year honors and star sophomore Troy Bell was named Big East Co-Player of the Year.
During the beginning of the Skinner era, Boston College saw increased success on the basketball court and garnered growing national media attention. It received seven bids to the NCAA tournament from 2000 to 2010. In its first season in ACC, BC advanced to the finals of the league tournament losing by two points to Duke and returned to the semifinal round in 2007.
Some argued that Skinner's success was predicated on his ability to recruit student-athletes that other schools never bother to look at. Bell, who grew up in Minneapolis, who won two Big East Player of the Year awards, fits that description in addition to Jared Dudley, Sean Williams, Sean Marshall and All-American forward Craig Smith, a Los Angeles native who was overlooked by most Pac-10 schools.
On an interesting note, the Eagles defeated the defending national champions in three consecutive seasons from the 2003–04 season through the 2005–06 season: Syracuse 57–54 (on 2004-03-11), UConn 75–70 (on 2005-01-05) and UNC 81–74 (on 2006-01-25 and 2006-03-11).
20 straight to start: 2004–05 season
Though the 2000–01 season was a memorable one for BC and its fans as it re-vamped local interest in the Chestnut Hill men's hoops team, it paled to the national exposure and media attention the Eagles garnered in 2004–05. Starting the year unranked and with no votes in the coaches' poll, Boston College accomplished something no Big East team had done before: it started a season 20–0. In the 20 straight victories, the Eagles beat two ranked opponents and, when they reached the 20–0 mark, were one of only two teams to be undefeated at the time (Illinois was the other).
The team's first loss occurred at Notre Dame on February 8, 2005. Following its setback, BC beat unranked Rutgers and then No. 9 Syracuse on February 19, vaulting them in the polls to No. 3 in both the AP and coaches' polls — the highest any Boston College basketball team has ever been ranked. Finishing the regular season with a 24–3 mark, West Virginia bounced BC from the Big East tournament, 78–72, in the second round after the Eagles had drawn a bye in the first due to being the No. 1 overall seed with the league's best record (13–3). Boston College earned an invitation to the 2005 NCAA tournament and received a No. 4 seed, with an opening-round game against Penn. The Eagles took care of the Quakers with an 85–65 thrashing and then took on Milwaukee, who had upset Alabama. UWM pulled another upset with an 83–75 win over Boston College and sent the Eagles home before the Sweet Sixteen.
Back to the Sweet Sixteen: 2005–06 season
The men's basketball team played its way to a school-record 28 wins and back to the Sweet Sixteen for the first time in 12 years. Boston College also established itself in the Atlantic Coast Conference with 11 league wins in its first year in the conference, and advanced to the league tournament title game against Duke following wins over Maryland and North Carolina. BC would finish the season ranked No. 7 in the AP poll, which tallies its final poll before the NCAA tournament begins.
Coming into 2005–06, the off season produced some change to the team as center Nate Doornekamp and sixth man Jermaine Watson graduated. Doornekamp, though not a prolific scorer, was a leader and, with his 7 feet of height, could see the court well and pass the ball with good precision. Watson averaged 9.6 points-per-game off the bench and was a clutch free throw shooter, averaging 83 percent to lead the team.
An off season incident concerning drug use in May involving center Sean Williams (basketball) led to his suspension for the first semester from the BC campus and from the team, and his playing status for the entire season was in doubt up until a court hearing in December. Williams set the BC single-season record for blocked shots in 2004–05 with 63. Although not allowed back to Chestnut Hill until the end of the first semester and contingent upon a court hearing, Williams took courses and worked out at the University of Houston in the fall of 2005. He was allowed to return after a Boston judge decided he had fulfilled his commitment and the school gave their approval because he met his academic requirements. Also in trouble was sophomore forward Akida McLain who was suspended from the team for the first seven games of the year for an off-court incident.
Prior to the season, senior forward Craig Smith was voted a first-team All-American, the first BC player to be so honored, and named to the All-ACC preseason team — before even playing one game in the league. Boston College entered its first season in the ACC ranked No. 11 in both major polls and started the year 6–0 and reached as high as No. 6 on December 5. On December 11 McLain was reinstated and on December 22, Williams returned to the team and registered two blocks in his first game back against Harvard.
After starting ACC play with three straight losses (Maryland, Georgia Tech, NC State), senior point guard Louis Hinnant called a players-only meeting which helped to inspire the team to bounce back from a poor conference start. The Eagles rebounded to win four consecutive league wins — winning its first ACC game against Florida State on January 14. After its four straight league wins, BC dropped one to No. 3-ranked Duke on February 1.
Boston College then beat Virginia Tech and Wake Forest both on the road, followed by a home win over Clemson. On February 13, BC downed Stony Brook to reach the 20-win mark for the fifth time in six years. On February 25, Skinner earned his 169th Boston College win when the Eagles downed NC State 74–72 in double overtime, making the former ABA star the winningest coach in BC history. The Eagles finished the 2005–06 regular season with a 24–6 record and ended conference play at 11–5.
Boston College trounced Maryland (after receiving a bye) in the second round of the ACC Tournament on March 10, 80–66, and then edged No. 10 North Carolina 85–82 the next afternoon to advance to the ACC Championship Game in its first year in the league. No. 3 Duke squeaked out a 78–76 win in a thrilling ACC championship game on March 12.
BC earned a No. 4 seed in the NCAA tournament playing in the Minneapolis bracket, and defeated Pacific on March 16 in a thrilling 88–76 double-OT game. The Eagles trailed by six points with just over two minutes remaining in the initial overtime. Following key three-pointers by Jared Dudley and Hinnant, BC went to Smith with only seconds remaining and, after being fouled, the All-ACC forward hit two free throws with four seconds left to tie the game at 74–74. Forcing a second overtime, BC went on a 14–2 run in the second OT to win the game. Against 12th-seeded Montana, Boston College won 69–56, advancing to the regional semifinals for the first time since 1994.
In its Sweet Sixteen match-up against Villanova, BC lost 60–59 in overtime. The Eagles led by as many as 14 points in the first half and controlled much of the initial 35 minutes of the game. But the Wildcats captured their first lead with 2:18 remaining in the second half when Randy Foye hit two free throws to give 'Nova a 49–48 lead, and his layup expanded it to 51–48. With 28 seconds left, Jared Dudley nailed a 3-pointer to tie the score.
In an exciting overtime session, a Craig Smith basket gave BC a 59–58 lead. It was later learned that Smith played the entire overtime period with a broken hand. With only seconds remaining, Wildcat forward Will Sheridan slipped past his defender and scored the winning two points on a goal tending call against Sean Williams (basketball) with 2.3 seconds left. Hinnant's desperation 3 missed at the buzzer — as Nova moved on to the Elite Eight.
2006–2010: The Final Skinner Years
Boston College had quite a successful 2006–2007 season, but did slip from the year before. They were led by seniors, Jared Dudley and Sean Marshall. Dudley led the Eagles to 4th in the ACC and a return to the ACC semifinal, but lost to North Carolina. They then got a bid to the NCAA tournament and received a #7 and a first round game against Texas Tech in which they won, but then faced a tough Georgetown team in the second round. They lost, but gave the Hoyas a run for their money. BC also lost Dudley and Marshall to the pros and had to rely on junior, Tyrese Rice, in the 2007–2008 season.
The Eagles struggled in 2007–2008 going 14–17 and 4–12 in conference play. BC, however, got 3 highly regarded freshmen in Rakim Sanders, Josh Southern, and Corey Raji. Rice had many impressive performances such as his 48 point performance against North Carolina that ended up in an 90–80 loss. BC had trouble finishing off teams and going into 2008–2009 had 1 senior, 1 junior, and the rest freshmen and sophomores.
BC had a solid 8–2 start to the 2008–2009 season with the addition of Vermont-transfer forward Joe Trapani. BC went 3–1 in the NIT tip-off, losing only to a tough Purdue team 71–64 and coming in 3rd in the whole tournament.
To start the 2008–09 ACC Season, the Eagles stunned the then-undefeated #1-ranked North Carolina Tar Heels in the Dean Dome 85–78, behind great play by Rice, Rakim Sanders, and freshman Reggie Jackson. Despite the enormity of the win and the national attention that came with it, the Eagles promptly lost at home to Harvard 82–70 in the following game. In all, they suffered 4 consecutive losses after the North Carolina victory including Miami, Wake Forest, and Virginia Tech. The slump ended with a win in overtime against Georgia Tech. BC then got 3 more key ACC wins against NC State, Maryland, and Virginia Tech. In the Virginia Tech game, BC won in exciting fashion via a put-back shot with less than a second remaining. That made BC 5–3 in the ACC and 17–6 overall. After a win at Virginia, the Eagles were just a half game out of first place in the conference. The Eagles went on a two-game losing streak, after losing halftime leads against No. 7 Wake Forest and No. 11 Clemson. In a home game on February 15 Boston College Defeated #6 Duke with a score of 80–74. Tyrese Rice scored 21 points, including his 2,000th career point at BC. It was the Eagles' first win over the Blue Devils in 24 years, and BC was the only team to beat both Duke and UNC that season. After the victory against Duke, the Eagles lost their next game to Miami (Fla.) for the second time in the same year. After this setback, BC went 2–1 down the stretch with home victories over #25 Florida State and a Rakim Sanders buzzer beater over Georgia Tech. They finished the regular season 21–10 and sixth in the ACC. In the first round of the conference tournament the Eagles beat Virginia 76–63 and moved on to play #8 Duke in the second round. BC lost to the Blue Devils 66–65 and were eliminated from the tournament. The Eagles finished the season 22–11 (9–7). Senior Tyrese Rice was named to the 2nd team All-ACC after being on the 1st team All-ACC the previous year.
BC received a #7 seed and a date with a USC team led by future first-round draft pick Taj Gibson on March 20, 2009. However, that was the last game Tyrese Rice ever played in a BC uniform. The Eagles led by 4 at the half, but ultimately lost 72–55. Although the team lost Rice to graduation, all other players would return for the 2009–10 season.
The Eagles had a disappointing 2009–2010 season, finishing 15–16 (6–10 in the ACC). The team's most notable games were losses to struggling programs, including Maine, Saint Joseph's, and (for the second straight year) Harvard. They ended the season with a loss to Virginia in the ACC Tournament, bringing the Eagles' all-time record in the tournament to .500 (5–5).
On March 30, 2010, head coach Al Skinner was fired and soon replaced by former Cornell coach Steve Donahue, who had just completed guiding the Big Red to the Sweet Sixteen and the Ivy League's best performance in the tournament since 1979. With the loss of Skinner, Boston College junior forward Rakim Sanders decided to transfer, landing at Fairfield where former BC Assistant Ed Cooley was head coach. Recruits Brady Heslip and Kevin Noreen also asked to be released form their letters of intent and never matriculated at BC. The team's lone senior, Tyler Roche, graduated after the 2009–2010 season.
2010-Present: Donahue Takes Over
In Steve Donahue's first season as head coach, the Eagles roster featured seven seniors but was led by star junior guard Reggie Jackson, who was named to the first team All-ACC. BC finished the regular season at 19–11, 9–7 in the ACC. That conference record earned them a 5-seed in the ACC tournament, where they beat 12-seeded Wake Forest. However they lost a tough game to 4-seed Clemson. Boston College was one of multiple ACC teams on the NCAA tournament bubble. They received a 1 seed in the NIT. They won in the first round against McNeese State. However, they lost by double figures to 4-seed Northwestern. Their final record was 20–12. The season was highlighted by a marquee win over Texas A&M, and sweeps of Maryland and Virginia Tech. On the other hand, the team lost to Yale and Harvard at home; it was the third straight year that the Eagles lost to the Crimson, despite Harvard losing its star guard, Jeremy Lin, to graduation the previous year.
Steve Donahue's second season was a rough one. BC lost star Reggie Jackson to the NBA Draft, and also lost key players Biko Paris, Corey Raji, Joe Trapani, and Josh Southern to graduation. They also lost reserve Dallas Elmore to transfer. The only player with major experience, Matt Humphrey, was a transfer from the University of Oregon. With a roster featuring 9 freshman, the Eagles were picked last in the ACC. Early on, guard Patrick Heckmann carried the team through their first games of the season, but mono and injury issues caused a significant drop in production for Heckmann. The team struggled mightily early on, going 5-10 in non-conference and getting blown out against teams like UMass and Holy Cross. In the Eagles' first ACC game at North Carolina they kept things close, cutting the UNC lead to 9 late in the second half. Momentum from that performance carried over when they won two straight ACC games at home, against Clemson and Virginia Tech. However, the Eagles lost their next 6 games. BC struggled the rest of the season as well, but did show flashes of the future in stunning #15 Florida State and beating Georgia Tech, as well. Their season ended in a loss in the ACC Tournament to NC State. BC finished 9-22, 4-12 in the ACC. The Eagles were paced by freshman Ryan Anderson, who averaged 11.8 PPG and 7.4 RPG on his way to making the All-ACC Freshman team.
In Steve Donahue's 3rd season, the Eagles were 16-17 (8-10) but were very competitive. All of the key players were Freshman and Sophomores. The team was led by Olivier Hanlan (15.4 PPG) and Ryan Anderson (14.9 PPG). The Eagles were picked last for the second consecutive season but finished 8th. In non-conference play, the Eagles finished 8-5. They lost to sub-par teams like Charleston, Bryant and Harvard. However, they were able to win games against teams like Auburn and Providence who are in college basketball's Power 6 conferences. They began ACC play with a 1-6 record but were competitive. They lost 60-59 to eventual ACC champ Miami (FL) and lost 78-73 to #23 NC State. However, the Eagles improved after that going 6-5 in ACC play. During those games, they almost stunned #4 Duke losing 62-61. After that game, they went undefeated at home. After beating Wake Forest, The Eagles beat Maryland 69-58 in a game where Eddie Odio had 6 blocks and Olivier Hanlan had 26 points. They then beat Virginia where the Eagles came back from 11 points and Joe Rahon hit the game-winning three-point shot. Maryland and Virginia were both coming off wins against Duke when they lost to the Eagles. After beating Georgia Tech in the Regular Season finale, the Eagles then defeated Georgia Tech 84-64 in a game where Olivier Hanlan set a freshman record scoring 41 points. Their season then ended with a loss to #9 Miami (FL) 69-58. Olivier Hanlan won ACC freshman of the year.
NCAA Tournament results
The Eagles have appeared in the NCAA Tournament 18 times. Their combined record is 22–19.
|1958||Regional Quarterfinals||Maryland||L 63–86|
|1968||Regional Quarterfinals||St. Bonaventure||L 93–102|
Regional 3rd Place Game
|2002||First Round||Texas||L 57–70|
|2009||First Round||USC||L 55–72|
The Eagles have appeared in the National Invitation Tournament (NIT) 11 times. Their combined record is 17–12.
|1965||First Round||St. John's||L 92–114|
3rd Place Game
3rd Place Game
- 1963: Gerry Ward (Third Team)
- 1965: John Austin (Third Team)
- 1966: John Austin (Second Team)
- 1969: Terry Driscoll (Third Team)
- 1982: John Bagley (Third Team)
- 1994: Bill Curley (Third Team)
- 2001: Troy Bell (Second Team)
- 2003: Troy Bell (Second Team)
- 2005: Craig Smith (Third Team)
- 2006: Craig Smith (Second Team)
- 2007: Jared Dudley (Second Team)
- Big East Rookie of the Year
- Big East Player of the Year
- ACC Player of the Year
- 2006–07: Jared Dudley
- ACC Rookie of the Year
- 2012-13: Olivier Hanlan
- National Coach of the Year
- 2000–01: Al Skinner
- Big East Coach of the Year
- Fixed: How Goodfellas Bought Boston College Basketball, by David Porter
- Bleacher Report, in slideshow, 23 of 27
- Sports Illustrated
- B.C., Former Coach Resolve Lawsuit
- "Boston College ACC Men's Basketball Tournament History". bcinterruption.com. 2010-02-25.
- Blaudschun, Mark (2010-03-30). "BC fires Skinner". bostonglobe.com.