My last game on the Boston College men’s basketball beat was the first round loss against Wake Forest in the 2017 ACC Tournament. Jim Christian was sitting in what appeared to be a converted practice court at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn fielding questions from the media present. The last question asked of Christian was about the pieces coming together. Christian was honest, saying “there are no miracles out here. You have to stay with your process, believe in what you’re doing. I do.”
Not a lot of people shared Christian’s rosy perspective. The Twittersphere was skeptical. Commenters on this site were skeptical. Writers on this site were skeptical. Heck, I was skeptical. Despite improving on the 2015-16 season where the Eagles finished winless in ACC play, the Eagles’ 2016-17 campaign was wrought with bad losses. Defeats at the hands of lowly Hartford and Nicholls State were still fresh on the minds of BC fans. The recruits that BC was bringing in were not exactly filling BC fans with confidence, and with a new AD coming in, Christian’s future was questionable.
After Wednesday’s victory in the second round of the ACC tournament, there should be no questions remaining.
Frankly, questions should have been dwindling far before Wednesday. The Eagles were clearly a different team from the 2016-17 campaign. Ky Bowman and Jerome Robinson matured into the best backcourt in the ACC. Steffon Mitchell, one of those recruits fans were concerned about, has come into his own, averaging eight rebounds a game. Nik Popovic, while still with some flaws, has become a legitimate force inside
But at this point, after defeating a tournament team in NC State, another addition to a decent sized list of wins against tournament-level teams this year, no serious questions should remain about Christian’s tenure.
The process is working. Through some solid recruiting by Christian and noted recruiting heavyweight Scott Spinelli, and some spectacular coaching by BC’s staff, BC has taken a team that was dead in the water during the 2015-16 season, and formed it into a team that is in serious consideration for a late-March tournament (no not that one, but still).
And, with a top 100 recruit in Jairus Hamilton coming to the Heights next year (another BC recruit pulled from North Carolina’s fertile basketball recruiting ground), assuming everyone returns, BC is going to be a legit threat in the ACC, and a legit contender for an NCAA tournament berth.
The process has succeeded. The Jim Christian experiment worked. The much maligned MAC basketball maven has led BC men’s basketball back from the dead.
And even if BC loses to Clemson Thursday afternoon, BC fans have a lot to be excited for next November.