I’m here with some more thoughts on Boston College basketball a little later this week. In the last week and half, BC has gone 1-2 with a nice win over Virginia Tech before dropping back-to-back contests against #22 NC State and ACC-leading Pitt. Let’s get right to it:
Earl Grant’s allergy to timeouts. This is something I’ve been noticing a lot recently, and it became painfully obvious in the midst of BC’s 0-13 shooting slump in the second half of the Pitt game. I do not know why, but Earl Grant just does not take timeouts to stop opponents from scoring runs. He lets his guys play, for better or for worse. Most of the time it is for the worse. Boston College’s offense is well-documented as being extremely fragile and not a great unit; minutes-long scoring droughts are common for this team. At their best they are a good – not great – defensive team – which means that when they run into a hot-shooting team, they can give up some big runs pretty quickly. Against Pitt, it was a 5-or 6-point lead until the Panthers’ big run. Most coaches will use timeouts to stop the opponent’s momentum, but Grant hoards his for whatever reason. Unfortunately, I don’t think it will change any time soon.
Wide open looks not going down. Yes, we know BC is a poor-shooting team. But some of these misses this past week were inexcusable. Post blew a wide-open dunk against NC State, and multiple makeable layups against Pitt (albeit with some very, very questionable no-calls on potential fouls). Jaeden Zackery had 2-3 blown layups, and Makai’s finishing at the rim is spotty. This team needs every single point it can get, and when open shots that should be made are not made, it is never good for BC.
Positives: Not a lot this week – those losses to NC State and Pitt were pretty brutal.
Chas Kelley’s continued ascension. I wrote a few weeks ago about Kelley flashing some potential, despite continuing to look rough. It was maybe a tad premature then, but he immediately then dropped a career 17-point, 4-assist performance in over 30 minutes against Virginia Tech in place of the Zackery injury. He shot 4-6 from beyond the arc, including several to stop Tech runs, and he ran the offense well. All season long – whether playing poor or well – when he’s in the game, Earl Grant lets him handle the rock. I think Grant sees him as the future lead guard of the program. For now, he is still very raw. In the losses to NC State and Pitt, he had a number of rookie mistakes – forcing shots, lazy turnovers, etc. – but something has seemed to click. He’s more decisive, pulling threes without hesitation (even if they are only falling at a 29.4% clip). He’s driving more aggressively, looking to either get to the rack or kick to a shooter (i use that term lightly) on the perimeter. Yes, he is still very rough, but I like what I am seeing from him. He should play a major role in the Eagle’s backcourt next season with MAL (and possibly DeMarr) both gone.