BU Hoops Blog

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Saturday, March 03, 2012

Yup, we're here. Hartford 2012

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

A Joyful Ride Home from Rhody

What a turnaround for our guys.  After the most heartbreaking loss on Friday, nobody could have blamed them for dragging a little through the rest of the weekend.  Instead, even more inspired play resulted in hard-fought wins against Rhode Island and then Hofstra.

Credit the team leadership.  Not just Coach Jones, but the captains.  Matty Griffin shook off the end of the Cleveland State game to make some big threes, and Pat Hazel talked about sending a text to Coach after the loss to say, in effect, "We aight Coach.  We got this."

DP scored over 20 points yet again - he is now tied for 7th in the country - and earned the AE Player of the Week award.  Pat Hazel continued his new-found ferocity in the paint.  And even though you could tell he was gassed from 3 games in 3 days, DJ ran circles around defenders. 

Gotta feel good about this club right now.

Tonight, BU has a winnable game at home against the Dela-where Blue Hens.  I'll let you in on a shameful secret though.  Now, I ain't no do-gooder or nothin, but I have to miss tonight's game to be at an undisclosed charity function.  Depending on how long it takes BU All-Access to archive the game video feed, I may have to sequester myself from all America East web sites, Twitter, and maybe even ESPN until I have a chance to watch the game - and who knows how long that will be.  Even the New York Times or CNN could be off-limits, on the off-chance BU breaks historic records by scoring 200 points, or the game goes 9 overtimes or something.

So none of you jokers better email/tweet/call/comment/show up at my apt until you're sure I know the outcome!

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Sunday, November 27, 2011

First win means Narragansett Beers all around!

Great win for the Terriers last night in Little Rhody. I honestly thought we had no chance to take out the Rams, who proved to be just as inept as the NFL version.

My last trip to Rhode Island's Ryan Center was the first round of the 2004 NIT, which was a majorly disappointing 28-point loss.

Yesterday's trip was much more satisfying. DJ Irving was unstoppable - he was just too quick to the basket. Darryl Partin made a few very tough shots and was steady at the free throw line - a major upgrade from the Cleveland State game. Travis Robinson continues to improve, making some big threes along with some pretty layups and dishes. But the revelation of the season continues to be Patrick Hazel. I remarked to some fellow BU fans at the game that I think Pat might be our best player. Now, maybe that's not true... DJ could probably play on a Big East team, and Pat already proved that he couldn't. But Pat might be our most important. He again showed some ferocity in the post.

There was one play that I thought was the turning point of the game. BU was down by 9 points with about 14 minutes left in the second half, and the team was dragging a little. Darryl missed a short jumper, and there were 3 Rams surrounding the rebound. But Pat comes flying out of nowhere, above everyone else, and muscles to get the board. Then he put it back up, making the basket and getting fouled. It was a great play, and got BU fired up. From that point on, the Terriers were the more energized and tenacious team, and it showed on the scoresheet.

Best part of this win was the free Providence Journal newspaper that came with our hotel room, which had a full two pages of BU-URI in the front of the sports section. Woo-hoo for Terrier analysis in print!

Back to the Ryan Center today for the former-AE Hofstra Dutchmen Pride.

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Saturday, November 26, 2011

Fake Tournament Blues

As bad as our loss in the "TicketCity Legends Classic" stung yesterday, consider the case of Cleveland State. They may win every game in this "tournament" and yet they still wouldn't be the champions.

Why? Because this is a fake tournament!

Cleveland St. can't become the "TicketCity Legends Classic" champion, because the championship game has already been played! And guess what, it was won by Vanderbilt, who Cleveland St. beat in the first round! What a sham.

I find it sickening that BU could have found itself in the same position if we had beaten Texas (yeah yeah, I know... in my dreams). Honestly, I'd rather not play in a tournament than have no honest chance of winning it. Of course the reason for this is $$$ alone. These things should be outlawed.

Can you imagine the outrage if the NCAA tournament moved to this model? They'd still play the first two rounds, but after that they would ignore the results and all the upsets, and put the top 16 seeds into the Sweet Sixteen anyway.

This is a clear affront to the idea of fairness and competition, and must be stopped. That said, I'll be at the Ryan Center to enjoy tonight's game against Rhode Island, fairness be damned.

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At least our girlfriends still love us

Yesterday, BU lost to Cleveland State in one of the most excruciating losses I can remember, 63-62.  The Terriers allowed an 11-point lead with less than 10 minutes left evaporate into thin air, thanks to some shoddy FT shooting down the stretch, a clock operator mistake, and then a terrible inbound plus a foul with 5 seconds left.  Read the gory details here.

Cleveland State came into the game as 10-point favorites over BU (which is more than Pitt was favored over Penn), armed with a win over a Top-10 team and coming in at #26 in the most recent AP poll.  Make no mistake, this would have been a HUGE win for BU.  This would have been the closest we'd come to a win over a ranked team since the magical run of '59.

Most deserving of a turd sandwich are the guards from the scarlet and white.  Darryl Partin played well overall (yes, he's now the #7 scorer in the nation), but man we've got to hit the free throws, and in the second half he didn't.  I think we got spoiled last year by John Holland and his 90% FT percentage closing out games.  This was a problem in the close Northeastern loss too.  And you know what else was a problem from that game?  Inbounding the ball, which became a problem at the worst possible time against Cleveland State.  With 5.5 seconds left and a one-point lead, even on a second try, we have to get the ball in (I'm referring to you, Matt Griffin).  There are no excuses for that, especially with a time out sitting in our back pocket.

I can't think of many worse ways to lose a game:

- opposing player tells you he's been cheating with your girlfriend as he skies in for a game-winning dunk.
- ref awards technical FTs to the other team after hearing you swear in reaction to finding out your girlfriend cheated on you.
- while cheating on you with the opposing coach, your girlfriend tells him all of the team's last second inbounding plays, leading to a turnover and bucket.

Basically, all the worse ways of losing a game involve finding out your girlfriend cheated on you.  This was a tough loss. 

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Sunday, November 20, 2011

Pat's Meaner Demeanor

Pat Hazel played an underrated role in BU's championship run last year.  He doesn't put up big offensive numbers, but over the last half of the season he became a force in the middle of the defense.  In the end, I guess he was accurately rated because he was awarded a spot on the AE All-Defensive Team.

But while Pat hasn't registered any blocks yet on the season, we've seen renewed vigor on the offensive side as he is scoring 7.5 points per game in the young season.  One thing I noticed during the Northeastern game was some really solid inside moves and nifty footwork by Pat when he got the ball.  This was against NU's very athletic and tall interior line.  If Pat can keep showing aggression and using these moves to get to the basket, he could make an impact on offense this year.

The key with Pat, as always, is making sure he stays clear enough from foul trouble to continue being a factor.

We still don't know if Dom Morris is going to get around to utilizing his size to get inside (instead of chucking up 3-pointers over and over and over...).  Cornell has some height on the interior, but they aren't athletic as the Northeastern or Texas front lines.  This game should be a good test of whether we can be successful scoring with our bigs.

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Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Steers and Jeers: The Texas Review

I attempted to watch this game on my Motorola Droid while on the New Jersey Turnpike on Sunday night.  See, the University of Texas started up this cute little television network with ESPN called the Longhorn Network that everyone seems to like, especially Texas's friends in the Big XII Conference.  And this past weekend, the Longhorn Network had a free preview to show everyone how awesome it is!  And imagine, it was the BU game they wanted to show off for everyone!
It didn't take too long to realize why the UT powers-that-be wanted this game to be seen by many:  it was a complete and utter blowout. 

It was hard for me to tell exactly what was going on - viewing the choppy video on my phone meant staggered audio, frozen video frames, and having to refresh the whole damn thing every couple minutes or so.  And to be honest, things we're going OK when we were leading 19-18 with 6 minutes to go in the first half.  But it became clear, in between refreshes, that BU was too small, too slow and outhustled.  It turned into a 36-point loss -- one of the worst I can remember.

Texas, despite losing a few guys to the NBA sitting around on the couch, has some serious athletes, some of whom could not be stopped.  J'Covan Brown, for example, with a relaxed 28 points.

Normally, I'd finish this blog post with a "steers and queers" joke, but I can't.  We've been humbled by the Longhorns.


Saturday, November 12, 2011

Packed to the Gills: The Northeastern Review

Let's get this out of the way.  We lost to one of our main rivals, in overtime.  It sucked.  Moving on...

This needs to be said: I've never seen the Roof packed like that in my life - and I've been to two America East Championship games there.  Every seat was filled, and people kept streaming in.  Kids were filling every aisle, stuffing every corner of the gym and basically hanging off the rafters.  I'm not sure how many standing room tickets were sold, but I'm damn glad the fire marshal didn't show up tonight.  Terriers, PLEASE keep this up!

The BU student section was phenomenal, the best I've ever seen it.  It was huge, it was loud, and it was on its feet the whole game.  Northeastern brought a nice little contingent as well, which made for a REALLY fun college basketball atmosphere.  Chants back and forth, screaming no matter who was scoring or had momentum.  I must admit I questioned the NU students' decision to remove all their shirts during the overtime period, considering their various physiques (flabby/manboobs or scrawny nicole ritchie types)... but hey they won the game so maybe that was the right play.

As for the basketball itself, BU showed some flashes but we have a ways to go before we're a really good team. Lots of dumb mistakes tonight - holding onto the ball after a rebound, free-throws, inbounding???  It was pretty obviously the first game of the season, because things looked rusty.

But I saw good things too.  DJ Irving and Darryl Partin showed the type of scoring versatility that we'll need from them this year.  I thought Pat Hazel was very solid, on offense and defense, when he wasn't picking up fouls.  Mattt Griffin came up with some huge 3-pointers in the last couple minutes.  The freshmen Chionuma and Kennedy showed glimpses of why they're so highly touted in the few minutes of action they got. 

And that comeback from 11 points down with 3 or 4 minutes to go??  Very gutsy.  That alley-oop tip-in to Hazel with 1.1 seconds left was INCHES from ending that game.

I like this team.  They'll get better and make some noise this year, count on it.

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Friday, November 11, 2011

#1 Egregiously Omitted Summer Story: Joe Jones enters

We have finally made it to the last important story of the summer that I did not write about, and it's led me to two conclusions:  1) I'm never doing this again -- writing 12 blog posts on big stories in 3 days is a shit ton of work, and 2) I never want to see the word "egregiously" anywhere near my blog again, ever.

After the shock and disappointment of Pat Chambers' departure, the summer got more interesting -- we needed a new coach.  Someone who could keep the incredible momentum of the brief Chambers reign going and build on it.  I honestly don't want to get into who interviewed, who was rumored for the job, or anything like that -- because to be honest who knows how much of that stuff was correct?  Suffice it to say, Joe Jones got the job.

Who is he?  Well, we had no idea - we just knew he came from BC.  (So far, off to a bad start.)  But picking a complete unknown worked last time, so why not.

It turns out Coach Jones has a lot in common with Chambers -- both learned under Villanova's Jay Wright and both have the extremely outgoing (non-Wolff) personality.  But Coach Jones has 4 times the experience as an assistant, as well as a (somewhat) successful head coaching stint at Columbia, which he took from god-awful to just merely not very good.

It's clear from interviews that Jones has a Chambers-like ability to connect with players (none of Chambers' recruits bailed on us) and fans:

Only one question really remains:  is he a spy from BC who has been sent over to sabotage us?  It's a fair question, and we can really just wait-and-see.  Until we know, I'm on 100% board with Coach Jones and can't wait to see what he can do this year.

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#2 Egregiously Omitted Summer Story: Pat Chambers leaves

After March, Pat Chambers was a god to us.  He took us to two straight AE finals, including a championship and our first Big Dance in a decade.  The future looked even brighter.  I’m not going to say he could have gotten away with murder, but he certainly could have pantsed Dr. Robert Brown, BU President, in the middle of Comm Ave and received nothing more than a slap on the wrist.

For these reasons, BU AD Mike Lynch offered Chambers a contract extension through 2016 in early May.  We were excited.  Lynch was excited.  Chambers was excited.  After he signed the extension, Chambers stated:
“This is where I want to be. We’ve made this my dream job and again, you don’t get this type of support anywhere,” Chambers said. “We love the city of Boston, we love the university and we’re very grateful of this opportunity that they’ve given us and for BU basketball and what it’s done for us in this short time as a head coach.”
Less than one month after saying BU is where he wants to be, Chambers accepted the head coaching job at Penn State, a forever underachieving Big Ten program that will never make much more than a ripple next to its football program. 

The hire for Penn State was hailed as an excellent move, and the Nittany Lions fans rejoiced.  Reaction at BU was mixed, to say the least.  I can only speak for myself, but I was a little miffed.  On the one hand, Chambers got us the championship we wanted, left the cupboard full, and we can all understand the appeal of a bigger paycheck closer to home.  But on the other hand, it made it obvious that everything he had said about our program was disingenuous lip service.

Not only was BU not exactly "where [he] wanted to be," but there was unfinished business as well.  As I pointed out in this article in the Penn State Daily Collegian, everyone remembers Chambers' proclamation of turning BU into the "Gonzaga or Xavier of the East"... something virtually impossible in a mere two-year stay.

Look, everyone wants to move up to a better job.  But Penn State is a shitty job.  It's a near no-win situation in a place that doesn't care about basketball.

In the end, the majority of fans are not going to hold this against Pat Chambers, including me.  He is a good guy, and we probably would have made the same decision.  We may just be a little more skeptical the next time a flashy young coach roars into town talking big about his giant aspirations for our modest little program.

Best of luck to you, Coach Chambers, truly - and thank you for everything.  But don't be offended if I call your team the Shittany Lions.


The postscript to this is the awful situation unraveling now in Happy Valley (which takes on a whole new, terrible meaning).  I have no sympathy for anyone who went down in flames for any part of the cover-up or failure to act on allegations of child rape.  But how is this going to affect Coach Chambers and his historically terrible basketball program?  It's not fair to him or his players, but this is going to suck for them.

A few days ago, Chambers was interviewed about how somber the mood on campus was.  Well, I have a feeling it's going to get a lot worse before it gets better.  One can't help but wonder if Coach Chambers regrets his decision to leave BU for this shitshow, or if he'd take it back if he could.

Penn State's first basketball game under Chambers is this Saturday, and was timed to begin right as the football game got out.  In retrospect... yeah that's not going to be good for business.

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#3 Egregiously Omitted Summer Story: BU keeps it close with Kansas

Usually I fail to write about the last game of the season because I’m depressed about the loss, but this year was different. There was nothing depressing about the Terriers’ 78-59 loss to #1 Kansas, and in fact I came away from watching the game and I was beaming, exhilarated, and proud to be a Terrier.

I couldn’t go to Tulsa to be at the game (and yes I seriously contemplated taking 3 days off from work to drive all the way out there and back… mapped a route and everything), so I planned an alumni watch at DC’s Old Dominion Brew Pub. Awesome turnout – Terriers came out of the woodwork and filled the room I reserved. I put up a renegade Boston University banner on the wall of the bar.

I was so nervous that we were into the third 3-foot tall beer tower by the time the game started.

The Morris twins were clearly a force of nature, and over time eroded the BU defense like waves crashing down on a beach. The inevitable happened with about 10 minutes left in the game, when we could no longer hold them at bay and we could no longer keep up on our offensive end. But the 30 minutes that preceded that were pure joy.

Far from being intimidated by the Jayhawks and getting blown out from the opening tip, we stayed within a couple points the entire first half, and even led at a few different points (!) – Holland made some sick shots and DJ was racing up and down the court faster than any KU guards.

Down 4 points at halftime, my phone was blowing up with long-lost friends… “can u believe this??” … “shock da world!” ... “gooooooo Terriers!!”. People told me that John Holland was trending on twitter.

Yes, we ended up losing. But we went to the Big Dance, and we looked good. DJ and JH showed their skillz to a national audience. And Terriers around the country walked out of bars like Old Dominion knowing our boys gave it their best shot… and that we’d be back before too long.

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Thursday, November 10, 2011

#4 Egregiously Omitted Summer Story: John Holland graduates

We've just said goodbye to one of the greatest Terriers to don the scarlet and white.

John Holland capped his career in the most satisfying way possible -- a legacy-redeeming run through the America East tournament, picking up the tourney's Most Outstanding Player award along the way, and sealing the championship with an individual performance that transcended anything I've ever experienced as a Terrier fan.

The second half of that championship game changed the way we'll think about John's career at BU and turned him from a hero into a legend.  And as we all remember from The Sandlot:  "Heroes get remembered... but legends never die."

Number 23 leaves as a 2,000-point scorer (over 2,200 in fact) and second to only Tunji in terms of greatness.  Only Reggie Lewis had over 2,000 points, 700 rebounds and 200 steals in America East history.  It'll be a while before we see another Terrier like John Holland.

Since his illustrious collegiate career concluded, John's been continuing to make headlines.  Aside from the AE Player of the Year and AE Tournament Most Outstanding Player, John won all sorts of national and regional honors like AP All-American Honorable Mention and many others that I can't even name.  He was invited to the Portsmouth Invitational Tournament for NBA draft scouts, and actually made a few waves and got mentioned as a possible second-rounder (though we know that didn't happen).

He played internationally for Puerto Rico in the FIBA Americas basketball tournament and played pretty well, scoring in double-digits in 3 of the 10 games.  By the way, his dunks are just as exciting in Spanish - watch this coast-to-coast slam on someone's head:

Finally, John signed a contract to play professionally in France for Chorale Roanne Basket, and he's actually kicking serious ass over there.  In his first 3 games, he has scored 14, 18 and 22 points.  You can see his updated statistics here.

Not to mention, John was one of the nicest and polite people I met at Boston University, with a good head on his shoulders - he's going to go far.

John Holland rules.

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#5 Egregiously Omitted Summer Story: JOB has foot surgery

Poor Jake O'Brien can't catch a break... unless you mean a bone in his foot.

He's stuck with this BU program through a lot.  We forgave him for attending BC High and in the end accepted him as one of our own.  He was a Dennis Wolff guy, and after a fantastic freshman year almost transferred when Wolff was fired.  He didn't progress as much as we hoped under Pat Chambers, and was hurt for the second half of last year.  When BU made it's memorable title run, Jake was stuck sitting on the sidelines in a suit and tie. 

Sadly, that's where Jake will be as BU attempts to defend that title.  He's gone under the knife to have surgery to work on that foot again.

The team is going to miss Jake's leadership this year - if not for him sitting out, I'd have predicted BU to finish in first place. This definitely hurts our chances at a repeat.

But, he sounds committed to recovery and playing again next year, so here's hoping we can keep this success going another 2 years, and give JOB a chance to celebrate on the floor with his teammates.

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#6 Egregiously Omitted Summer Story: BU selected Pre-Season #1

It's ridiculous.  For the FIFTH straight year, the coaches of the America East have predicted that BU will finish in first place.  This despite three different BU coaches over that time period, and no actual first-place finishes in the standings.

So what is it that keeps these boneheads from being at all creative and picking someone else? 

We just lost our coach and the best player in the league BY FAR, and our inside-out matchup problem has to have foot surgery again.  Meanwhile Stony Brook comes back from a title game loss with nearly everything intact, plus pull in a great recruiting class, plus re-gain probable MVP candidate Tommy Brenton from knee surgery.

The pre-season polls don't mean anything really, except that it forces BU to continue to be seen as an underachieving program, which simply is not true.  BU has finished above .500 in 9 out of the last 10 years, and during that one exception we were 8-8.  The program has been consistently very good, but is judged a failure only because of the expectations set by some group of outsiders.

The poll ended up looking like this:

1. Boston U. (6) 62
2. Stony Brook (3) 56
3. Vermont 46
4. Albany 42
5. New Hampshire 39
6 Maine 32
T-7. Hartford 18
 UMBC 18
9. Binghamton 11

Are they doing this to intentionally set us up for failure?  I hope we end up winning the whole thing just to stick it to these damn coaches.

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Wednesday, November 09, 2011

#7 Egregiously Omitted Summer Story: Touted frosh join the team

While we have to wait a full year to see what we've got in John Papale, Maurice Watson and Nathan Dieudonne, we need only wait mere days to see what BU has in newcomers James Kennedy and Zach Chionuma.

Again, I plead general ignorance about players before they actually join the team.  But, so far I have heard (unsurprisingly) great things about both players. 

These guys are the final link to Coach Chambers, and thankfully they stayed on board after he left.  Thanks for the parting (Partin?) gift, Coach!

ZACH CHIONUMA is known as an explosive scorer, getting to the basket any number of ways -- slashing, pulling-up, dunking, bombing from deep.  At 6'5", he's got serious "length" for a guard, and though he has quite a few guys in front of him, I'm hearing he'll see a lot of court time.  His size could create matchup problems similar to a guy like Darryl Partin. 

It is incredibly depressing that Zach was born in the year 1992.

NERR story

JAMES KENNEDY has been described to me as a "bulldog"... which makes me wonder why he didn't end up at Yale or Georgia... I personally prefer my Terriers to be terriers.  Kennedy already has one strike against him, since he chose the uniform 23, of the Immortal John Holland.  However, despite being a trifle undersized for a forward at 6'6", everyone reports that he has an amazing "motor" and has strength that will keep him pushing the bigger boys around underneath the basket.

This quote from Kennedy brings joy: "I probably could have gone higher but when I got to the campus I knew it was the right fit."  That's right, you heard him - he knows he coulda gone higher but eff that noise.

NERR story

By all accounts these guys are great pieces to add to the club, in addition to redshirters Malik Thomas and the 7-footer Mat Piotrowski - both of whom I really have no clue what to expect, if anything.  I wouldn't look forward to seeing these guys on the court at tip-off on Friday, but you'll see them before halftime.

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#8 Egregiously Omitted Summer Story: Class of 2016 shaping up

I have never been big on recruiting news, so I may not have written about this anyway.  I also don't know what the hell I am talking about when it comes to high school recruits, so more than likely I'd either be regurgitating something I saw elsewhere on the internet, or talking out my ass. 

So forgive me if any of this turns out to be dead wrong, but it seems like our new Coach Jones is putting together one hell of a first recruiting class.  By my count, BU will have 4 scholarships available, due to the graduations of Pelage, Hazel, Griffin, and Partin.  As of now, three of those have been filled, and each signing is getting pretty legit kudos from people who know much more than me.

John Papale, SG - Choate (MA) - 6'3" 165 lbs - http://twitter.com/#!/JPapale12

One of the best pure shooters in the country, supposedly the kid is like a better verson of Corey Hassan, who we only got to see for one season but was a deadly shooter.  Papale had over 20 Division I scholarship offers including no less than 7 from the Atlantic 10.  This is what ESPN.com scouting had to say about him:
A big time shot maker with good size for the two-guard spot, Papale is far from a one trick pony thanks to a high basketball I.Q., well developed mid-range game, and his ability to rebound on the perimeter.
Uhhh... sign me up!  

NERR story
ESPN Boston story

Maurice Watson, PG - Boys Latin (PA) - 5'9" 150 lbs - http://twitter.com/#!/ReeceWatson10

"Reece" was ranked the #6 player in Pennsylvania, and dammit is he fast.  That's why Virginia, LaSalle, and 16 others wanted him.  The most ridiculous thing?  He hosted a college selection news conference for himself and broadcast it on Ustream, at which he unzipped his jacket to reveal a BU t-shirt.  That is fucking baller.  Here is some of ESPN's scouting report:
His speed is the calling card and he's got plenty of it. Can drive it and find shooters. Best attribute is that he's got an edge to him and pushes the basketball with purpose. Takes great care of the ball and isn't too risky with his passes.
And the only other thing that needs to be said is watch this video.  Can you imagine him playing next to DJ Irving?  Not even fair for whatever slow-moving white dude Vermont puts out there that day.

Recruit Scoop story
Philadelphia Inquirer story

Nathan Dieudonne, SF - Trinity (KY) - 6'6" 190 lbs. - http://twitter.com/#!/NathanDieudonne

He's a big inside presence, which we'll need desperately after this year with Pelage and Hazel leaving.  I don't know much about this guy other than he also had 20+ scholarship offers.  Not sure how Coach Jones got his Kentucky recruiting connections, but let's hope they pay off!  New England Recruiting Report had this to say about his game:
Dieudonne, who ran with the KYA All-Stars on the AAU circuit this summer, is an athletic combo-forward who can put the ball on the floor, score over top of defenders in the mid-range area, and make athletic plays around the rim. 

Louisville Courier-Journal story
NERR story

That's what we got so far, and we still can probably look forward to one more.  TODAY begins the fall signing period, so these guys will sign official Letters of Intent this month.  Welcome Baby Terriers!

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#9 Egregiously Omitted Summer Story: 2011-12 Schedule released

Every year, we wait patiently to see what kind of goodies the OOC-Fairy has left in our Schedule Basket.  And this year, after many years of waiting, she has left us a particularly tasty morsel:  a date with our ugly step-sister up the road, the Eagles of Boston College (sucks!).

In real life, a date with a maiden this hideous would be the stuff nightmares are made of... she shows up late, her breath smells of garlic and funyuns, she has a zit the size of North Dakota on the old honker, she won't STFU about her lame-ass job, and to top if off she won't even let you get to second base in the backseat of your Honda on the way home.  In short, she sucks.

But in college basketball world, this is our dream date.  Our Terriers have wanted a piece of these Beagles since BC cut off the series in 2004 after a too-close-for-comfort 6-point victory at home.  And whether this change of heart is due to their new head coach or just a much-needed sack enlargement procedure, we're glad it's happening this year.  Why?  Because they are going to SUCK even more than usual!!  In the traditional sense, of losing games.  On their web site's front page alone, it trumpets the news of 1) being picked 12th a.k.a. LAST in their conference-- and 2) squeaking out their exhibition game by 4 points over something called American International College.  I don't want to get ahead of myself, but this could be a real fun year to face Chestnut Hill University.

The schedule also provides other delights.  We travel down to Austin to play Texas on the Longhorn Network, cause of much chagrin amongst Texas A&M, the Pac-12 and other parties. For some reason we travel to Philly THREE SEPARATE TIMES, to play at Villanova, St. Joe's and LaSalle - here's hoping the boys don't gorge themselves on cheesesteaks.  We play a very solid slate of good mid-major programs, highlighted by the 3-day Legends Classic against Rhode Island, Hofstra and Cleveland State - I will be personally lobbying hard for a road trip to that one.  And of course, we open against our rivals from the dirty side of Boston.

Here is the out-of-conference schedule in its entirety:

11/11/11 vs. Northeastern
11/13/11 at Texas
11/20/11 at Cornell
11/25/11 vs. Cleveland State
11/26/11 at Rhode Island
11/27/11 vs. Hofstra
11/30/11 vs. Delaware
12/03/11 at Boston College
12/07/11 at Saint Joseph's
12/10/11 vs. Harvard
12/13/11 at Villanova
12/22/11 vs. Bucknell
12/29/11 at La Salle
12/31/11 at Quinnipiac

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Tuesday, November 08, 2011

#10 Egregiously Omitted Summer Story: Hot Dog and Jesus break blog silence

The BU fan community was rocked last year by the graduations of icons Hot Dog and Jesus and the subsequent cessation of their blog.  Steadfast supporters through it all, these guys had the good sense to quit while they were ahead (unlike me), but in doing so left a massive void on the sidelines of all BU sports and in the online commentary space.  Who was going to do the yeoman's work of amassing photos of all the dance team members so that we could rate and drool over them?

I knew the Hot Dog, at least, was around for BU's championship run last year -- in fact, it was he and I who were partly responsible due to our good-luck BU Dog Tags (U74431920, represent). 

Needless to say, Terrier Nation was clamoring for a voice of reason, and it (re)appeared on July 21 when the Hot Dog and Jesus Blog arose like Lazarus from the ashes to give an update on all things Terrier Hoop.  Yes, there was no reason for us to worry; Hot Dog and Jesus have been watching over things from afar.

While HD was back for a day, we don't know if he'll be contributing on a regular basis this season.  My guess is, sadly, no.  Which means that massive void in the BU fandom still exists.  Who will take the mantle of the mega-fans of BU?  Time was, what BU hoops lacked in numbers we made up for with intensity.  I'm not even sure that's going to be the case now.

BU students, prove me wrong.  I want to show up on Friday and see, if not thousands of you, maybe just 5 or 10 who are REALLY nutso intense about it. But thousands would be better.  Maybe this call to action, written by a very devoted BU fan himself, will help.  But I know as well as anyone that variations on this column (with slight changes to the title, byline and a few adjectives) is re-printed in the Freep every year, and nothing ever changes.

What will it take to make a difference?  The Hot Dog may have said it best in his return to the interwebs: "It's BU basketball. On your feet."

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#11 Egregiously Omitted Summer Story: BU AD Mike Lynch joins twitter

Big news from the world of social media, as BU's reclusive chieftain of sport Mike Lynch has joined the ranks of such luminaries as @KourtneyKardash, @charliesheen, and @shitmydadsays.

I'm impressed to note that the tweets appear to be authentic and written by Mr. Lynch himself -- however, the page lacks the "Verified Account" badge as yet so I'll reserve final judgment on that.

You can follow him here:  http://twitter.com/#!/BU_AD_MLynch

While the AD's tweets so far have mainly trumpeted the achievements of the various BU athletic teams (and there's certainly nothing wrong with that!), I'm hoping his account will consist of more than PR pablum and we get to see an insiders view of the department and its day-to-day vision and strategy.  This is something the fans desperately want.  We need more than the date and time of the next basketball game... we need our leaders' true feelings on the outcome, what he ate at the game, what he thought of a clever fan chant, or whether the refs screwed us.  I'd also love to know if the AD at Boston College has been a dick about scheduling a basketball game at The Greek, or if the AD feels the same way about Northeastern as the rest of us do.

One disappointment so far:  As of this writing, nothing from Mr. Lynch as to the failure of BU to be swept up in the conference realignment madness.  Looking forward to his thoughts about how the trickle down could aid BU's rise to collegiate athletic dominance.

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#12 Egregiously Omitted Summer Story: H.J. Gaskins leaves team

I don't know if we ever expected much if anything out of poor H.J. aka Henry.  He came to BU with his two talented "brothers" from the same high school team -- Dom Morris and Travis Robinson -- but unlike the others had to pay his own way.  Then he sat on the bench for the first half of the season, before disappearing completely from the bench, due to a need to focus on academics, according to Coach Chambers.

I think we all kind of wondered if Chambers promised to take on H.J. if it would get Dom and Travis to come aboard.  Which I love -- anything creative BU can offer to get talented guys to join is fine with me (within NCAA limits, of course).  It seems to have worked, but we don't yet know how much of a coup this was.  Dom had a very solid freshman year campaign, but T-Rob remains an unknown at this point.  If T-Rob busts, then it's like we took on TWO guys just to get the services of Dom.  If Dom becomes a First Teamer, then it would be worth it no matter how good Travis becomes.

In any event, H.J. was put out of his misery for good this summer, having been completely erased from the roster by either Coach Chambers or Coach Jones.  In order to give H.J. his due, I will now reprint the entirety of H.J.'s highlights from BU directly from the website:


Appeared for one minute each against Marist and Villanova.

I can honestly say life was better with a guy named H.J. around.  Best of luck on your studies.

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"Boy, That was an Egregious Failure of Blog Stewardship"

If there is one thing this blog is known for, it's taking it easy over the summer. In fact, I never even write about the final game of the season, mostly because I'm depressed about it -- as Kyle says, "it always ends in a loss." Depression + Laziness = Dormant Blog.

This summer, the absence was even more inexcusable than usual. Some serious shit happened around here! And I was off learning how to do the Party Rock Anthem dance, or somesuch. So it all went undocumented... here at least, which is all that matters.

So I'm ready to make amends and make sacrifices and make it up to you... right after I make a sandwich for lunch. Starting this afternoon, I'll count down the Top 12 Things I Neglected to Write About Over the Summer, in order of egregiousness of the omission. They'll range from "Eh, Even the Best of Blogs Let a Story or Two Slip By" to "WTF, What is the Point of Having a Blog if You're Not Writing About This?"

#12: H.J. Gaskins leaves the team
#11: BU AD Mike Lynch joins twitter
#10: Hot Dog and Jesus break blog silence
#9: 2011-12 Schedule released
#8: Class of 2016 shaping up
#7: Touted frosh join the team
#6: BU selected Pre-Season #1
#5: JOB has foot surgery
#4: John Holland graduates
#3: BU keeps it close with Kansas
#2: Pat Chambers leaves
#1: Joe Jones enters

All this leading up to the much anticipated kickoff to the season this Friday against the odious Huskies of Northeastern. Come with me!

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Friday, March 18, 2011

#16 over #1: Why Can't it Happen?

(photo courtesy BU Athletics)

This is the end - it all culminates today against the University of Kansas (yet they use the initials KU... wtf?). There will be no more games for BU after today.

At least, that's what we're told. The 16 seeds are 0-105 all time against the 1 seeds. All the articles about Kansas are talking about their path to the Final Four now that Louisville and Vanderbilt have been knocked off. And why shouldn't they? The first game for the 1 seeds are barely worth playing.

However, they do they play them. This is where the all the usual phrases come in, like the game isn't played on paper. Steve Buckley wrote a nice piece for the Boston Herald today on this very same subject - read it.

I'm proud to report that I'm one of the 0.9% of people who picked BU to beat Kansas in my bracket (which was the highest percentage out of all the 16 seeds, by the way). Do I really think they'll win? No, I don't.

But, a #16 has to defeat a #1 someday, right? Why couldn't it be our Terriers? It's a game - both teams play by the same set of rules. Anything can happen. If Darryl has one of his random games where he goes off for 30, and John can't miss and gets to the line, and Griff hits all his threes, and Pat Hazel doesnt get into foul trouble... who knows.

Unlikely but I'll be cheering like hell for Johnny H and the Terriers to pull off the impossible just the same. And America will be right there behind us.

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Jayhawk Squawks Back

For this big occasion, I thought we'd reach out to see if any Jayhawk fans can clear a few things up for us in advance of the main event. We can all learn a thing or two from people who are from so far out in the middle of nowhere that there is absolutely nothing to do but concentrate on their basketball team.

Lifelong KU fan JayhawkLex, who "literally bleeeeeeeeeds crimson and blue," was nice enough to answer the call with some friendly trash talk.

BU Hoops Blog: You grew up in Lawrence and went to KU, obviously a huge Jayhawk fan. What are the coolest traditions about Kansas basketball?

Our first coach literally invented the game.
Our opening video montage stars with Wilt Chamberlain.
Phog Allen's coaching pedigree -- Adolph Rupp, Dean Smith, and others.
The Rock Chalk Chant.
Allen Fieldhouse is literally a basketball mecca. And it gets loud as hell.
Pre-game foot fire exercise and floor dives during warm-ups
Shaking newspapers while opponents are announced and tearing them up into confetti when our players are announced.
Seniors start on senior night.
Mastering the claps to 'I'm a Jayhawk.'
The singing of -- and swaying to -- our alma mater song. Gives me goosebumps.
'Waving the wheat.'
Hating Mizzou (it literally dates back to violent raids during the Civil War).
The full and complete unity of Jayhawk Nation. We are EVERYWHERE, and we support our team members like they're family. Thomas Robinson: case-in-point.

...need more?

BU Hoops Blog: Rock Chalk Jayhawk... explain this string of seemingly nonsensical words.

Traditional intimidation tactic :) And it rhymes.

But, in all seriousness, it actually came from a science professor in the late 1800s who wanted a chant to fire up his students. 'Rock chalk' comes from the deposits of chalk rock limestone in both western Kansas and on KU's campus (my dad is a geologist -- I know these words). The Jayhawk is a mythical beast, likewise rooted in history. (Jayhawkers were the Kansas abolitionists who fought to have Kansas entered as a free state.)

Now ask me why we hate Missouri so much :)

BU Hoops Blog: Kansas has a history of choking against BU's in the tournament (Bucknell, Bradley)... nervous?

Nope. When was the last time a 1-seed lost to a 16-seed?

BU Hoops Blog: Predictions for the game --


Will Kansas get to 20 before BU gets to 10?
How close will the game be at halftime?
I'll bet you're down by 10 at half.
Who will win and by how much?
Kansas by 22.
How awesome would be if BU pulled off the shocking upset?
...do y'all even have a mascot?

Last words: Shout-out to @fakejoedooley.

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Thursday, March 17, 2011

Was Dorothy's Toto a Boston Terrier?

We found out last Sunday night that we'd be going to Tulsa to play against the Kansas University Jayhawks. I don't know why the guys were all cheering - the Terriers got robbed with this matchup!

I suppose we're lucky that we aren't in one of the play-in games. But Kansas is definitely one of the top 2 seeds overall - they should be playing the winner of a play-in. BU was clearly the best of the 16 seeds (if not better than one of the 15 seeds), so we should have gotten the worst of the 1 seeds - that would be Pitt in Washington, DC. In essence, Kansas got screwed too because they should not have gotten the best of the 16 seeds. Of course it won't matter for Kansas because they'll steamroll whoever.

For the record, Bill Self agrees with me:

“I was surprised they were on the 16 line to be honest,” Self said. “When I was in my mind going through the bracket, I didn’t have them as one of the teams on the 16 line.”

What do we know about Kansas? I'm sure some hayseed from Kansas will come on here and tell us all about them (and how much we suck, etc). But for the time being, we just need to know about their twin towers, Marcus and Markieff Morris. Pretty unstoppable.

But little do they know, we have a secret weapon: the long-lost third twin Dom Morris! Though only a freshman, and only averaging 5.6 points per game, and like 4 inches shorter, he just needs to reach within himself for that Morris DNA - no problem.

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Wednesday, March 16, 2011

I Will Never, Ever Get Tired of This

I think I'll make this post my new homepage. And I don't really care that it takes up the entire space.

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Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Nine Years of Waiting Ends - We're the Champs

Once I knew BU was hosting the AE championship, I knew I'd be sparing no expense to be there. I was in the house in 2002 (woo-hoo!) and 2003 (barf), and nothing short of a Lohan-style ankle bracelet was going to stop me from going this time.

So off I went -- with a quick stop at T's Pub for the pre-game tailgate where a couple of PBRs calmed the nerves. Being in The Greek for this game felt like an event. It wasn't sold out, but it felt like it. The crowd was buzzing, the bands and student sections were yelling back and forth, the bright ESPN lights were gleaming off the shiny hardwood floor. It felt like primetime.

I don't think I can adequately describe the game.

The first half made me want to cry. I think we had 3 points about 12 minutes into the game - something very sad like that. It picked up a little before the end of the half, but we still trailed 30-23 when the teams went into the locker rooms.

In need of a change of scenery and luck, I moved from my very adult-like seats halfway up the side at mid-court down to the rowdy students area behind the basket (no thanks to the fun-hating security guards who tried to stop me). For a while, nothing changed - Stony Brook went out to a 15 point lead and I sunk further into a Kafka-like depression.

Then he showed up.

John Holland -- 3-time AE First Teamer, AE Rookie of the Year, AE Player of the Year, future AE Tournament Most Outstanding Player, future BU Hall of Fame member, wearer of future BU Retired Number 23 -- decided it would be a good thing if we won the game and went to the Big Dance. He reeled of 14 points before anyone else on the court scored, over the course of about 6 minutes. I hope it goes down in BU lore as "The Six Minutes." They need to be remembered.

From there, it was a tight game, and Holland kept asserting himself. The last minute of the game, he drew a foul and sank two freebies to tie it up, forced a jump ball to give BU possession, then got fouled with 2.4 seconds left and sank two more. You know what happened next.

But going back to The Six Minutes. I have rewatched this section about 70,000 times on my DVR, and I get chills every time. Does anyone know how to upload a high-quality youtube of this - at least the 3 possessions in the middle that went three-pointer/ridiculous up-and-under/steal-and-breakaway?
John Holland wasn't going to be denied his trip to the Dance, and took it upon himself to carry the team on his back. In the process, he cemented his legacy at BU.

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