It's not fair to judge Steve Donahue on last year's 9-22 (4-12) season, just like it's not fair to judge him on his first year at BC when he went 21-13 with two postseason wins. He inherited a team with Reggie Jackson, Joe Trapani, Corey Raji, etc… and then promptly lost them all. Five guys played at least half the team's minutes last year and four of them were freshmen. The fifth was a junior who had transferred from Oregon and was on his way to transferring to West Virginia. Their losses read like a who's who of not to lose to: Holy Cross, Boston University, Rhode Island, Wake Forest. They had the 293rd ranked offense in the nation.
Now Donahue has two more freshmen in the starting lineup (Joe Rahon and Olivier Hanlon), and both are earning more minutes than any other player. They're the only ones to start every game and the rest of the players are a mish mash of last year's freshmen and some guys no one has heard of. Andrew Van Nest, a transfer from Harvard, started two games but is now sidelined with a concussion. Eddie Odio, who had a career high 4 points as a freshman, has started twice. About the only player who hasn't started a game is former walk on Danny Rubin – and he started 23 times in Donahue's first year.
When you tune in to a Boston College game it's hard to recognize that they're a major conference team. They're young. Most weren't highly recruited. They have no depth. But somehow, they're playing pretty good basketball.
Saturday they beat Holy Cross for their fourth straight win. They're now 7-5, and aside from a home loss to Bryant, they really don't have a bad loss.
Their defense is still bad (No. 222 nationally in defensive efficiency), but their offense – the hallmark of Donahue's later Cornell teams – is staring to get into the system, and is up to No. 113 in the nation. They've gone from 285th in turnovers to 82nd, from 233rd in 2-pt% to 60th. Both freshman starters are averaging over 10 a game, while sophomore Ryan Anderson has looked (at times) like a budding ACC star. The 6-8 forward began the year with with an improbably 29 point, 17 rebound performance. After 25 points in his next game, he was quiet for a few weeks. But in his past three games (all wins) he's averaged 21.7 points and 12 boards. He's 25th nationally in defensive rebounding. He's blocking shots. He's drawing fouls.
This team isn't going to end up with a bid come Selection Sunday, but that was never to be expected. Next year though – who knows?