I didn't get to see the BC/SU game last night (though I monitored OT on my cellphone). Instead, while all of you slackers were lounging in front of your 60" televisions, drinking Sam Adams, and listening to your devil-inspired excuse for music, I was out scouting one of Donahue's potential successors, just so that I could report to all of you.
When it comes to scouting new coaches, do I have to do all of the heavy lifting around here? Apparently.
So, off to Olean NY I drove, where I sat on the Bonnies bench for its game against Duquesne. Here is my report:
1) He took a program that made BC's current team look like Wichita State's, and made them into a 16-10 team. Six of those 10 losses were by 4 points or fewer, I think.
2) Now, I love the countryside around Bona. Because it's in the middle of NOWHERE. Gorgeous, rolling hills. Forests. Bears. But it must be extraordinarily difficult to recruit basketball players there and away from urban cities. Schmidt has done so successfully.
3) A gentleman who would seem to be in a position to know told me that he had heard that Schmidt has an "out" in his contract that applies to offers from BC and Xavier (where he was once an assistant).
4) Schmidt's assistants are active during the game. One plays the heavy, another consoles players who have just been chewed out.
5) Schmidt never sits down, constantly paces, and agonizes over every possession.
6) His team hustles on defense; his offenses are rather complex. He never whistles. Indeed, he doesn't really direct his players at all when they're on the floor. He lets them play.
7) When a player makes a mistake, he's quickly given the hook. Decide for yourself whether that's good or bad.
8) Schmidt's New England accent made me smile.
9) I brought my 8 year old son, whose 2-10 CYO team looks and plays very much like a miniature version of BC's. During the game, he leaned over and whispered, "The coach just used the "f" word. I don't think that BC should hire someone who uses the "f" word." I nodded solemnly, and assured him that such language is never used at BC.
Bonnies won a tough, 4 point game. The Reilly Center was a bit smaller than I had imagined (5500 capacity), but was built for basketball. It was loud, and all of the seats appeared to be good ones.
Schmidt didn't diminish my preference for Lonergan, but made me comfortable that he would be a solid choice.