Boston College closed out its regular season slate with a loss to Georgia Tech, giving the Eagles a 15-16 overall record with a 9-11 mark in the ACC. Let’s take a look at BC in Year Two of Earl Grant’s tenure.
When I sat down to write this column, my first reaction to the Eagles’ season was how similar it was to last year’s. Disappointing early losses, head-scratching inconsistency, commitment to Earl Grant’s philosophy and eventually, by year’s end, a completely different and improved team than from the beginning of the season. Ironically – BC finished last year on a high note while making a mini-run in the ACC Tournament and defeating tournament hopefuls Wake Forest. This year’s team followed up their win over UVA with a gutsy, back-and-forth win over Wake that honestly felt somewhat like a tournament game.
Earl Grant had a promising first season in charge, and I think he built on that in Year Two. Let me first say that his teams, clearly, have been far from elite. Boston College basketball has been in a rut for years, and this is not a program that will be resurrected overnight. I do have some concerns that Grant’s teams have been plagued by largely the same issues – a drastic lack of shooting, wild inconsistency, and overall poor offense – in two years running. But for two years in a row, he has also taken a group of players and made them significantly better over the course of the season. I appreciate that he attempted to address the lack of shooting with Mason Madsen, which just did not work out as hoped (though he has made some very clutch buckets in his first year on the Heights). Credit must also be given to Grant for the job he has done with BC’s bigs. Quinten Post went from a borderline 6th man averaging 9.8 PPG to potential All-ACC candidate with 15.2 PPG, and Devin McGlockton went from his redshirt year to revelatory starter by year’s end. McGlockton will be a major part of the program’s future, while Post (if he comes back) will be a star next year.
Now, despite the similarities between Grant’s first two years, there are several distinguishing reasons why this season offers more optimism:
- The injury bug. DeMarr Langford Jr. missed 10 games. Prince Aligbe missed 6 games. Quinten Post missed 13, and that does not include missing pretty much the entirety of the season finale against Georgia Tech. That’s a lot of missed production, especially in the first half of the season. BC’s crushing early-season Quad 4 losses to teams like UNH and Maine (more on this later) are almost definitely avoided if Post plays. Same goes for GTech. Injuries should not be an excuse, but man – those losses hurt. Injuries are out of the team’s hand, and if those injuries don’t happen, maybe we are sitting here looking at a team primed for an NIT bid.
- The highs were higher in Year 2. The Eagles beat 3 ranked teams this year – Virginia Tech, Clemson, and UVA. Prior to this season, the Eagles had not beat a ranked team since 2020. They won 9 ACC games, the most since 2011. Last year’s squad made its stamp in the ACC Tournament. I feel like – barring a catastrophic loss to 4-27 Louisville in the first round – BC has accomplished enough this season to feel positive about its growth as a program. On good nights, with everyone healthy, the defense engaged and the offense playing smart, BC could play with the top teams in the ACC. Despite per-game statistics remaining relatively the same from last year, BC was simply more dangerous. And, let’s be honest – beating no. 6 UVA and having fans storm the court was just a hugely awesome and positive moment for BC hoops.
- Earl Grant has a philosophy and everyone is bought in. This team, all season long, had an identity. They know how they want to play. The “gritty not pretty” mantra is more than just a mantra to this team; it is their DNA. It is stamped all over the team every time they take the court, whether in beating UVA or getting manhandled by Nebraska. Every player on the team understands that this is how Boston College wants to play, and having this identity secure is crucial in turning this program around. It is very encouraging to see Grant’s culture take root. ‘
The optimism is there. Like I said earlier, this season was a step in the right decision for Boston College. I want to see Grant work to improve the shooting and overall offense of the squad, and at the moment it seems like BC’s success for next season will be dictated largely by QP’s decision to return or not. I think the next necessary step in this program’s development is consistency – losses to the likes of UNH, Tarleton, and Maine are simply unacceptable moving forward. However, at the conclusion of the regular season, I think there is quite the positive air around BC basketball that has not been here in some time. Here’s to hoping this positive column isn’t ruined by BC losing on Tuesday. Roll Eags.