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Boston College Baskeball: A Bruce Pearl Rant

Kevin C. Cox

[Ed. note -- Front Page'd]

It's pretty clear at this point that Steve Donahue has been a failure at Boston College. I always supported allowing him to coach at least through the 2014-15 season, but circumstances have led me to reevaluate that position. Donahue's current team is underachieving, and even if they were playing up to their potential, it's clear now that Donahue's fully realized program building will only ever result in an average ACC team at best.

There are no signs that Donahue is going to turn things around. In his 4 recruiting cycles he has brought in only a single top-100 player (Ryan Anderson, who wasn't even consensus). He hit big on Olivier Hanlan and Joe Rahon, but I believe that a Rahon-level player is the floor as to what is acceptable if Donahue is going to continue bringing in sub-100 players. Donahue's 2013 and 2014 recruiting classes have been absolute failures (there is no 2014 class) and there's no evidence that he has any big prospects in the 2015 class, which is the class that will need to replace the giant graduating class.

Bruce Pearl is a Boston College alum and a Sharon native. He's an incredibly successful coach, both in-game and as a recruiter. He's a proven winner at the D-1 level, who took a BCS school with no men's basketball tradition to a Sweet 16 and an Elite 8. And yeah, he has a show-cause penalty that lasts until August. What this would mean is that were we to hire him prior to that, he wouldn't be able to engage in recruiting activities of any kind. No school in their right mind is going to hire a coach under a show-cause penalty. No school in their right mind is going to hire a coach in August either. So here's what I propose.

Assuming we do indeed miss the NCAAs this year, fire Donahue as soon as the season ends. Hire Bruce Pearl. He's not in a position to say no. Let him work with the current team all summer. We'll have a good roster next season assuming people stick around (let him recruit the current team while he can't recruit high schoolers). Hopefully we make the NCAAs in 2014-15 with Hanlan and Anderson playing for Pearl, and generate some good buzz behind the program (basically the equivalent of what Donahue had his first year with Jackson, etc, but hopefully more successful).

The downside to this idea is that you essentially forfeit the 2014 and 2015 recruiting cycles. But, as I said above, there is no 2014 recruiting cycle anyway. We don't have anyone for that class. 2015 isn't gonna be much better. I have every confidence that even starting in August, Pearl could piece together a 2015 class that would be almost as good as the one Donahue would assemble. Especially if the 2014-15 team plays well, Pearl could clean up in the 2015 late-signing period. 2015-16 and maybe 2016-17 as well will be down years for the team as Pearl will have to get his system in place. But things aren't looking better under Donahue. We have an amazing opportunity this year to get a guy like Bruce Pearl. Nobody else of that caliber would ever consider coming to BC given the circumstances we're in. Donahue had his shot and it didn't work. I really do like Donahue, and I've been one of his biggest supporters since he was hired, but we need to make this move.

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