BU Hoops Blog

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Monday, November 13, 2006

One alumnus gets it

In case you've been living under the BU bridge, players have been running away from the BU men's hoops team in a manner reminiscent of freshmen fleeing an Ashford St house party that just got busted by the cops. Somebody sent a letter to the editor of the Freep that pretty much sums up my feelings on the situation. I hope the author and the Free Press will forgive me for reprinting it here.

A red flag should shoot up in any athletic department when a basketball team, which generally has about a dozen players, suffers a mass exodus of five players that would be returning to the fold under normal circumstances ("Coblyn speaks, release official," Nov. 3, p. 12).

It is especially troubling when the fifth player quits just prior to the start of a new season, as Ben Coblyn did, and is quoted as saying, "All I know is that I'm not happy here and I don't want to stay here."

Boston University men's basketball coach Dennis Wolff is quoted in the same article saying, "When I scrutinize every situation and look at them individually, I think that there were clearly reasons why it wasn't working in every situation. In analyzing it, I don't know how me or my staff could have handled any of these situations any differently."

So what Wolff is in effect saying is that he considers all of these players -- players that he and his staff recruited to come to BU -- to be lost causes because he couldn't come up with a better way of dealing with them. That, in it of itself, is most disappointing.

The America East Conference is one of the lower rated NCAA Division I leagues. BU, with all of its built-in institutional advantages, should be able to dominate this conference. That is not presently happening.

It would seem that there would be a good opportunity to move to a stronger league in the near future -- perhaps the Atlantic 10 Conference -- given BU's academic standing, prime location and the potential of playing games in a top-class facility like Agganis Arena. That could represent a tremendous step forward for the university's men's basketball program on both a local and a national stage.

But that scenario is unlikely to happen if BU is not able to retain its recruited players. Whatever the reasons are that these players have left, it has left a public stain on a program that has the potential to be so much better.

He hits two good points. First, the fact that Wolff lost five different guys for five different reasons, and in retrospect would not handle any of them differently. What does that tell us about the chances of Wolff convincing the next unhappy guy to stay in town?

Second, the fact that this is a very important period in the BU basketball program. No matter how coy or how obvious the athletic department would like to be, this is a school shopping itself to higher level leagues. Along with our shiny new arena, the program needs to offer sustained success and continuity. We're not going to enjoy either of those if players continue to leave (especially in a basketball-first league like the A-10).

The new crop of freshmen are a source of optimism for our program, but only if they're here in the long run. And for that to be the case, Wolff needs to figure out how to handle the guys he recruits once they arrive on Comm Ave.


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