Almost exactly one year ago, Earl Grant was hired by Boston College as the next men’s basketball head coach and reactions were...cautiously optimistic at best. I was one of those cautiously optimistic people. Earl Grant was by no means a well known name and did not come from an elite program but if you understood where BC was as a program and had realistic expectations for said program, there was a lot to like about Earl Grant. The biggest thing, for me at least, was that Grant clearly knew how to make the most out of very little. That, I believed, was critical for a school like BC.
Even with a roster that lost a lot of key starters to graduation and the transfer portal, the Eagles were a much improved team this season. Sure, record wise, BC did not look like they took great strides. They didn’t lose as many games to Covid, which stretched out the season. There was no upset of a top team like Virginia, although BC’s win over Notre Dame early in the season looks much better considering how well the Irish played down the stretch.
Record-wise the biggest sign of BC’s on the court improvement was the ACC tournament where the Eagles won 2 games, including upsetting Wake Forest, and then just narrowly lost to Miami a mere week after being blown out by the Hurricanes. Another big improvement this team made was on turnovers. Turnovers were a major problem for the Eagles last season: they turned possession over 13.7 times per game in 2020-21. In 2021-22 they turned it over 11.9 times per game.
However, the biggest change in the BC program was something that you won’t see on the stat sheet or in a highlight on ESPN. The Eagles program needed some new energy after last season and Earl Grant definitely brought it. You couldn’t miss his intensity in post-game press conferences, as he was always talking about the work that still needed to be done. The team seemed rejuvenated, they played with a ton of effort even in losing games, and they clearly bought into Coach Grant’s plan.
It isn’t just the current players who are buying into Grant, as in November Grant signed four recruits for the 2022 class, two of whom (Prince Aligbe and DJ Hand) are four star recruits. This marks the first time BC has ever landed two four star recruits in one recruiting class. The ‘22 class ranks 26th nationally according to Rivals.com. Make no mistake - these recruits chose BC because of Earl Grant.
The Eagles have a long way to go if they are going to really compete in the ACC - as Grant puts it often they are still “in the valley,” but the climb has already started. Grant didn’t have a lot to work with this season, yet he made the most of what he had and has started laying the groundwork to build the program back into a postseason contender. BC needed something to get this program going in the right direction and they found it: it’s Earl Grant.