BC's Gallik on preseason All-ACC team

July, 23, 2014
Jul 23
7:04
PM ET
For the second straight season, Boston College has one representative on the preseason All-ACC team.

A year after Kevin Pierre-Louis was the team’s lone pick, center Andy Gallik found himself on the first-team offense after tallying 39 votes (out of 99 ballots cast by media at the ACC Football Kickoff this past weekend).

Florida State, led by Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston, landed the most spots with nine players on the All-ACC list, with Duke coming in second at four spots and Clemson and Virginia Tech each grabbing three spots.

Gallik, a 6-foot-3, 299-pound redshirt senior from Evergreen Park, Ill., has started the past two seasons at center for the Eagles and will play a key role on what’s expected to be another stout offensive line in 2014.

He was named to the initial 2014 Rimington Trophy watch list in May.

One of two BC players in attendance at the ACC’s media days in Greensboro, North Carolina, Gallik was asked about the turnover on the O-line (with senior tackles Ian White and Matt Patchan graduating).

“Having myself, Harris Williams and Bob Vardaro back is awesome because the starting experience we bring back, but at the same time we also bring [transfer Ian] Silberman from Florida with starting experience and we bring Seth [Betancourt] back with experience, as well,” Gallik told reporters, according to a transcript provided by the ACC. “What I said to a lot of people earlier was having five fifth-year seniors on the same offensive line, that's something I've never been around, I've never heard of, and I think that's really special. We all have that same burning desire to be great, and I think that we could do some really good things this year.

“Last season we had a great offensive line, as well. I just think that the potential and the ceiling for this offensive line this year is much higher, and we're putting the work in so that it can pay off this fall.”

Considering that the 2013 O-line helped open the holes that led to a 2,000-yard, Heisman-finalist season for Andre Williams, BC’s backs -- led by Myles Willis and Tyler Rouse -- must like the sound of that.

Jack McCluskey is an editor for ESPN.com and a frequent contributor to ESPNBoston.com. Follow him on Twitter @jack_mccluskey.

Four Harvard players on Honors Court

July, 22, 2014
Jul 22
5:14
PM ET
There are seven Division I men's hoops teams that call Massachusetts home. Combined, those seven teams listed 108 players on their 2013-14 rosters.

The National Association of Basketball Coaches announced its 2013-14 Honors Court -- which recognizes academic juniors and seniors with at least a year at their current school and a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.2 at the end of the current season -- on Monday. Care to guess how many of those 108 Massachusetts men's hoops players met the criteria for inclusion?

Four.

Now, care to guess how many schools those four student-athletes represented?

One.

Harvard seniors Tom Hamel (major: Government) and Laurent Rivard (Computer Science) and juniors Charlie Anastasi (Economics) and Alex Nesbitt (Economics) were the only basketball players from the Commonwealth to make the NABC’s list, which included 895 players from 335 institutions across Division I, II and III and NAIA Division I and II.

It was the first such honor for Rivard (a two-time Crimson co-captain and the program’s all-time leader in made 3s), Anastasi and Nesbitt, and the second for Hamel, who didn’t play in 2013-14 due to a season-ending knee injury in preseason and has totaled just 11 minutes, three rebounds, and no points in his career.

Jack McCluskey is an editor for ESPN.com and a frequent contributor to ESPNBoston.com. Follow him on Twitter @jack_mccluskey.

BC picked for sixth in Atlantic by media

July, 21, 2014
Jul 21
10:45
PM ET
Boston College was picked to finish sixth in the ACC’s Atlantic Division by a vote of the league’s media at the annual Football Kickoff in Greensboro, North Carolina, this weekend.

Coming off a 7-6 season that included the team’s first bowl appearance in three years, the Eagles are predicted to finish third from the bottom of the expanded 14-team ACC in 2014 -- BC (voting total of 301 points) coming in ahead of only Virginia (142) and Wake Forest (136).

The prediction, while likely disappointing to some ardent Eagles fans, isn’t surprising. Remember, the Eagles were picked to finish dead last prior to last season, coming off their 2-10 finish in 2012.

And the horses that carried them to their rebound season in Steve Addazio’s first year in Chestnut Hill -- Heisman finalist and Doak Walker winner
Andre Williams, record-setting wideout Alex Amidon, four-year starting QB Chase Rettig and defensive stalwarts Kasim Edebali, Kevin Pierre-Louis and Steele Divitto -- have all galloped off to new pastures.

So though his evaluation of the Eagles’ chances might differ from the media’s, Addazio struck a reasoned tone when he told reporters that last year’s success doesn’t guarantee anything this season:



And now that the Football Kickoff has come and gone, the Eagles will turn their gaze to the practice field:



The Eagles’ player representatives in Greensboro, center Andy Gallik and defensive back Dominique Williams, echoed their coach’s enthusiasm for the weekend’s sessions and the start of camp:

Jack McCluskey is an editor for ESPN.com and a frequent contributor to ESPNBoston.com. Follow him on Twitter @jack_mccluskey.

ACC Kickoff player list

July, 17, 2014
Jul 17
6:51
PM ET
The college football season is coming, and this weekend there will be concrete proof that it’ll be here soon.

On Sunday and Monday, the ACC will hold its annual Football Kickoff at the Grandover Resort in Greensboro, North Carolina. Each of the league’s 14 head coaches will be in attendance, along with two players per school.

Entering Year 2 in Chestnut Hill, BC coach Steve Addazio will jet south with center Andy Gallik and defensive back Dominique Williams in tow.

Players will be available on Sunday (before the afternoon ice cream social -- you’re jealous, admit it), with coaches following on Monday (after the golf tournament).

Here is the full list of players expected to be in attendance, via ESPN.com’s Matt Fortuna:

BOSTON COLLEGE
C Andy Gallik, R-Sr.
DB Dominique Williams, R-Sr.

CLEMSON
QB Cole Stoudt, Sr.
DE Vic Beasley, R-Sr.

DUKE
OG Laken Tomlinson, R-Sr.
LB Kelby Brown, R-Sr.

FLORIDA STATE
QB Jameis Winston, R-So.
CB P.J. Williams, Jr.

GEORGIA TECH
OG Shaquille Mason, Sr.
LB Quayshawn Nealy, R-Sr.

LOUISVILLE
WR DeVante Parker, Sr.
DE Lorenzo Mauldin, Sr.

MIAMI
RB Duke Johnson, Jr.
LB Denzel Perryman, Sr.

NORTH CAROLINA
QB Marquise Williams, Jr.
LB Norkeithus Otis, Sr.

NC STATE
RB Tony Creecy, R-Sr.
DE Art Norman, R-Sr.

PITT
WR Tyler Boyd, So.
DB Ray Vinopal, R-Sr.

SYRACUSE
OT Sean Hickey, Sr.
LB Cameron Lynch, Sr.

VIRGINIA
RB Kevin Parks, Sr.
SS Anthony Harris, Sr.

VIRGINIA TECH
WR Willie Byrn, R-Sr.
DT Luther Maddy, DT

WAKE FOREST
FB Jordan Garside, R-Sr.
CB Kevin Johnson, R-Sr.

A few notes on the attendees, courtesy of the ACC:

The 28 players come from 12 different states, with Florida checking in first with six of the players (21.4 percent). Defensive back is the most popular position, with five DBs (17.9 percent) heading to North Carolina to meet the media.

And there’s a first time for everything -- all 28 players will be attending the kickoff event for the first time.

Jack McCluskey is an editor for ESPN.com and a frequent contributor to ESPNBoston.com. Follow him on Twitter @jack_mccluskey.

Harvard excited about Egi, '14 class

July, 15, 2014
Jul 15
7:45
PM ET
As its coaches hit the road again to secure future commitments, Harvard officially announced its 2014 men’s hoops class this week.

And if the scouting reports ultimately prove correct, the Crimson may have another star from north of the border on their hands.

Tommy Amaker’s three-player haul is led by Chris Egi, a four-star big man from Markham, Ontario, who may be the best Canadian to call Cambridge home since former Crimson cocaptain and all-time 3-point leader Laurent Rivard graduated this summer.

The class also features Andre Chatfield, an athletic wing, and Zach Yoshor, a skilled floor spacer.

"We are excited to have Andre, Chris and Zach join our program," Amaker said in a statement. "Each has succeeded at both the individual and team level and will contribute to our basketball program as we continue to strive for excellence."

ESPN.com’s Adam Finkelstein broke down the best mid-major recruiting classes back in December and gave the Crimson an A-minus.

He wrote:



Tommy Amaker has taken Ivy League recruiting to unprecedented levels since his arrival in Cambridge, Mass., but there were questions coming into this season about whether the Crimson would be able to maintain the same level after former lead recruiter Yanni Hufnagel moved to Vanderbilt’s staff. Amaker and his staff have answered the bell, pulling in a three-man class that is headlined by Chris Egi, a four-star big man who had a slew of high-major offers and is just starting to scratch the surface of his potential. Andre Chatfield is a long and athletic wing with a similarly high upside while Zach Yoshor provides a skilled court spacer on the perimeter.



ESPN international hoops expert Fran Fraschilla -- father of Crimson reserve Matt Fraschilla -- also had good things to say about Egi, including him on a list of the top international newcomers in college hoops for 2014-15.

Fraschilla wrote:

http://insider.espn.go.com/blog/ncbexperts/post/_/id/2196/top-international-newcomers-in-cbb


The Crimson went 27-5 in 2013-14, winning a fourth straight Ivy League title (by four games over Yale), beating Cincinnati in the second round of the NCAA tournament and giving Michigan State a tough game before losing.

Can Egi fulfill the promise Finkelstein and Fraschilla see in him, learn from and mesh with Siyani Chambers, Wesley Saunders and Steve Moundou-Missi and help Amaker’s team continue its successful run?

Harvard fans can’t wait for the season to start to find out.

Jack McCluskey is an editor for ESPN.com and a frequent contributor to ESPNBoston.com. Follow him on Twitter @jack_mccluskey.

BC's Daniels as ACC's top tackler?

July, 15, 2014
Jul 15
4:52
PM ET
The preseason is fast approaching, and you know what that means: It’s prediction time!

The folks at NFL.com are taking a swing at forecasting the statistical leaders in six different categories (passing yards, rushing yards, receiving yards, tackles, sacks and interceptions) for leagues across the country. On Monday, it was the ACC’s turn.

Most of the names won’t surprise you: Jameis Winston for passing yards, Duke Johnson for rushing yards, Vic Beasley for sacks -- not exactly going out on the proverbial limb.

But the Boston College tie-in might qualify as a mild surprise:

Tackles: Boston College LB Steven Daniels
Buzz: BC had two linebackers with at least 100 tackles last season (Steele Divitto and Kevin Pierre-Louis), when Daniels had 88. But with Divitto and Pierre-Louis gone, look for Daniels to fill the void. Daniels (6-0, 257), a junior, is a physical player with big-play capabilities. He is stout against the run, but also has some pass-rush skills.


ESPN.com’s David M. Hale weighed in on the NFL.com predictions on Tuesday, and here’s his take on the “Tackles” category:

NFL.com choice: Steven Daniels (Boston College)
Not-so-obvious choice: Kelby Brown (Duke)

A lot gets made of BC’s run of great tacklers. Every year, the Eagles produce another 100-tackle defender. But do you know which team had the top three tacklers in the ACC last season? That’d be Duke (David Helton, Jeremy Cash and Brown), and all three are back this year. In fact, in the last six seasons, Duke has produced eight players with 100-tackle seasons.



Chances are, BC’s linebackers will continue to pile up tackles in Year 2 under defensive coordinator Don Brown. The attacking style Brown prefers means defensive linemen are asked to penetrate and disrupt, which in turn creates opportunities for the linebackers (and defensive backs) to bring down ball carriers.

Of BC’s top 10 tacklers in 2013, only one was a defensive lineman -- Kasim Edebali, who had 68 total tackles and tied for fourth on the team. (Edebali had more than twice as many tackles as the next two BC D-linemen combined, as Kaleb Ramsey had 28 and Brian Mihalik had 26.)

Daniels played in all 13 games and finished with 88 tackles in 2013, after playing six games and totaling 25 tackles in his freshman season in 2012. And as NFL.com noted, with Steele Divitto and Kevin Pierre-Louis moving on, the Cincinnati, Ohio, native is a natural fit as someone to look to when it comes to filling those players’ cleats.

Your turn: Who do you think will lead the Eagles in tackles in 2014? Make your pick in the comments section or tweet it @jack_mccluskey with the hashtag #BCPredictions.

Jack McCluskey is an editor for ESPN.com and a frequent contributor to ESPNBoston.com. Follow him on Twitter @jack_mccluskey.

Harvard's Hodges on Butkus watch list

July, 15, 2014
Jul 15
1:44
PM ET
There are many standouts on the initial watch list for the 2014 Butkus Award.

But one name will likely stand out most to fans of New England college football:



Harvard’s Zach Hodges, a 6-foot-3, 235-pounder from Atlanta, Ga., was the Ivy League Defensive Player of the Year in 2013 after finishing with 6.5 sacks (tied for the Ivy lead) and 11.5 tackles for a loss. He was a unanimous pick for the All-Ivy first team.

For his career, Hodges has 18.5 sacks and ranks second in Crimson history (2.0 behind Chris Smith).

Being added to the Butkus watch list is just the latest honor for Hodges, who has already been added to the 2014 Buck Buchanan Award watch list, the CFPA Defensive End Award watch list, and the Sports Network FCS Preseason All-America first team.

The Butkus Award, named for Hall of Fame linebacker Dick Butkus, is given annually to the nation’s top linebacker. Hodges is one of 51 players named to the initial watch list, from which a panel of 51 experts will choose a winner after the 2014 season.

Harvard’s season begins Sept. 19 against Holy Cross.

Jack McCluskey is an editor for ESPN.com and a frequent contributor to ESPNBoston.com. Follow him on Twitter @jack_mccluskey.

BC installing 'showcase' video boards

July, 8, 2014
Jul 8
2:06
PM ET
Beginning this fall, replays in Alumni Stadium will come to fans all the way from Brookings, South Dakota.

No, the control room hasn’t been outsourced almost 1,600 miles to middle America. The new video boards the Eagles are installing this summer are being manufactured there, at the headquarters of electronic display board company Daktronics, and then trucked to BC in sections.

The old video boards, which anyone in Alumni could see were clearly outdated, have been taken down and work is underway on steel supports and electrical wiring for the new boards.



When the project is finished in early August, BC will have new end-zone boards and new ribbon boards along the stadium fascia in the end zones and along the sidelines. At 19.2 feet by 54 feet, each end-zone board boasts 1,036 square feet of video space, the pictures that will fill them created by 258,000 pixels and 855,000 LEDs.

“Boston College will be a showcase venue for us, the first of its kind in the Northeast,” said Dave D’Amico, northeast regional sales director for Daktronics.

The school tweeted a rendering of what the new end-zone setup will look like:



BC athletic director Brad Bates explained the reasoning behind the upgrade -- which also includes replacing speakers throughout the stadium -- in a blog post on the school’s website.

“The new boards symbolically and literally represent our commitment to beating the living room experience,” he wrote.

The boards are 13 HD LED, which means there is just 13 millimeters of space between pixels -- allowing for tight video resolution. So tight, D’Amico says, that BC’s new boards will one-up those the Patriots boast in Gillette (which are 15 mm).

Which begs the question: Who has the best (video) game in town?

Jack McCluskey is an editor for ESPN.com and a frequent contributor to ESPNBoston.com. Follow him on Twitter @jack_mccluskey.

Huskies' Coen adds Markwood as assistant

July, 3, 2014
Jul 3
6:42
PM ET
After a journey of more than 200 miles to the southeast, Chris Markwood finds himself at his destination: Northeastern.

Huskies coach Bill Coen announced the hiring of Markwood on Thursday, adding a veteran assistant coach with strong New England roots to his men’s basketball staff.



“We are excited to welcome Chris to our program and to the Northeastern community,” Coen said in a statement. “Chris has a solid basketball background, as both a player and a coach, and a proven work ethic.

“He is passionate about the development of student-athletes -- both on and off the court -- and is committed to their success as players and as people. He is a great recruiter and teacher of the game and I am just thrilled that he has chosen to join us here at Northeastern.”

A Maine native, Markwood starred for South Portland High School and played at Notre Dame before transferring to the University of Maine at Orono to finish out his career. He began his coaching career at his alma mater, spending five seasons working with perimeter players before moving on to the University of Vermont. In three seasons on the shores of Lake Champlain, Markwood worked with perimeter players and assisted with recruiting and scouting duties.

Markwood replaces Antonio Reynolds-Dean, who left for a similar position at the College of Charleston in June.

“I am incredibly excited about this opportunity and look forward to joining the Northeastern community,” Markwood said. “Bill Coen is widely respected among fellow coaches and he has established Northeastern as one of the most consistent programs in the CAA. I am grateful to have this chance to work alongside him and, as a native New Englander, I am thrilled to now call Boston home.

“There is great potential here, and I am excited to work together with the staff and players to build on the solid foundation.”

Though the Huskies finished 2013-14 just 11-21, they will return all five starters next season.

Jack McCluskey is an editor for ESPN.com and a frequent contributor to ESPNBoston.com. Follow him on Twitter @jack_mccluskey.

Amaker hires Eskildsen as new assistant

July, 2, 2014
Jul 2
7:26
PM ET
It’s that time again, time for everyone’s favorite (fake) game show! Who’s ready to play “Six (or fewer) Degrees of (Basketball) Separation?”

Harvard coach Tommy Amaker hired a new assistant coach on Wednesday, bringing in Brian Eskildsen to replace the departed Adam Cohen (who followed the Yanni Hufnagel route to Vanderbilt, after Hufnagel departed Vandy for a golden opportunity at Cal).

Now, let’s take a look at a few of the connections that may have led the Crimson’s new assistant to Cambridge (or Allston, if you want to be technical).

A Tennessee graduate (Class of 2009), Eskildsen got his start in basketball administration as an undergraduate office assistant and scout team member for the Lady Vols and legendary coach Pat Summitt. From there, he moved to the University of New Orleans as director of operations.

That job led Eskildsen to Stanford, where he worked as recruiting and video coordinator for Johnny Dawkins -- a former teammate of Amaker’s at Duke. (That’s one tie.)

After three seasons in Palo Alto, Eskildsen moved to Houston to take a job as an assistant coach under Rice coach Ben Braun. With the Owls, Eskildsen worked with the post players, served as recruiting coordinator, was in charge of opponent scouting and was tasked with game scheduling.

And who did the Owls play in 2013-14? Harvard. (That’s at least two ties -- and since Eskildsen was in charge of scheduling and then scouting the Crimson we’re going to rewrite the rules and count this as three in one to bring our total to four ties.)

A native of Fairfax, Virginia, Eskildsen went to the same high school (WT Woodson) as -- wait for it -- one Tommy Amaker (that’s five ties).

Finally, there’s the Twitter connection. If you’re looking for entertainment in your social media experience, neither Amaker nor Eskildsen is your man. (Amaker doesn’t have a Twitter account; Eskildsen has an account, complete with new Harvard banner, but zero tweets.)

That makes six ties (give or take). Thanks for playing!

Jack McCluskey is an editor for ESPN.com and a frequent contributor to ESPNBoston.com. Follow him on Twitter @jack_mccluskey.

ND Fighting Alumni win $500,000 TBT title

June, 29, 2014
Jun 29
1:47
AM ET
The Basketball Tournament winners Kyle Brasseur for ESPNBoston.comThe Notre Dame Fighting Alumni beat Team Barstool 72-68 in The Basketball Tournament final.
BOSTON -- It all came down to one game Saturday night at Boston University's Case Gymnasium.

From the original 32 teams, only two remained in The Basketball Tournament (TBT) -- Team Barstool and the Notre Dame Fighting Alumni. The stakes? Winning team takes home half a million dollars. Losing team goes home empty-handed.

Talk about high pressure.

"Five-hundred grand, that's a lot on the line," said Fighting Alumni and former Golden State Warriors forward Rob Kurz. "I would say this is up there in terms of one of the most pressured games I've ever played."

Facing a favored Barstool team featuring four former NBA players, including 2003 Boston Celtics first-round pick Dahntay Jones, the Fighting Alumni clawed their way to a 72-68 victory, claiming the first-ever title in TBT history. Despite trailing 40-35 at halftime, the Fighting Alumni, with nine of ten members being former Notre Dame players, used their cohesive team play to quickly regain the lead and never look back.

To put it simply, teamwork triumphed over talent.

"We played so many games of pickup in The Pit -- our [practice] basketball court at Notre Dame -- it didn't really look a lot different than what we did all summer," guard Colin Falls said. "I was pleasantly surprised to see guys in shape, but it wasn't a shock."

In the tournament's first four rounds June 6-8 in Philadelphia, the Fighting Alumni defeated their opponents handedly, winning by a double-digit margin in each game and blowing out the Peaceplayers by 30 points in the semifinals. However, Saturday's contest presented a whole new challenge, with Barstool being able to choose Boston as the location courtesy of an online vote and, in addition, being able to decide how long the shot clock would last. From 45 seconds in Philadelphia, Barstool lowered the clock to the league-usual 24 seconds.

The Barstool fans also came out in large numbers, making their presence known with resonating chants of "I believe that we will win." Not to be outdone, the Fighting Alumni's fan base countered with cheers of their own, including a "Get that money" chant as the game wound down. When the clock ran out, among those who rushed the court as green and white confetti filled the air was longtime Notre Dame coach Mike Brey, who celebrated with his former players.

"It was good to see our fans respond like that," guard Tory Jackson said. "It kind of felt like we were back at [the Joyce Center] ... The first few years we were at the Joyce we didn't lose so that's what it felt like."

As for the $500,000, eight of the team's 10 players will receive $50K. Falls and forward Torin Francis, who both did not play in the team's initial games in Philadelphia, will earn $40K and $10K, respectively. Of the remaining $50K, $49,999 will go to team general manager Kieran Piller, while coach Jordan Cornett will earn a whopping one dollar.

Looking back, was Piller glad that he originally made the calls to put the team together?

"I'm obviously glad, we just won $500,000," Piller said. "We might spend it all by tomorrow morning."

For his part, TBT founder Jon Mugar hopes that this year was only the start for his "March Madness for all" project that was three years in the making. When asked if they would take up the TBT on the chance to defend their title next year, members of the Fighting Alumni responded with a resounding yes.

"It's real simple," guard Russell Carter said. "Back to back."

$500K on the line in hoops tourney final

June, 27, 2014
Jun 27
11:48
AM ET


It sounded too good to be true, at first. A wide-open, winner-take-all hoops tournament with half a million dollars on the line.

“My first reaction was like, ‘Is this for real? How can there just be a $500,000 prize for nothing?’” said Matt Walsh, the former Florida Gators and Miami Heat and current Virtus Bologna guard.

His buddy, Donnie McGrath, had forwarded a piece Zach Lowe wrote for Grantland about The Basketball Tournament (TBT), and asked Walsh a question.

“He said, ‘Why don’t you ask your boys at Barstool [Sports] if they want to sponsor us?’” Walsh said. “So I wrote to David Portnoy and asked him if he wanted to be involved. He said, ‘Yeah, tell me what I have to do.’”

So McGrath, Walsh and Portnoy signed up and began assembling what would become Team Barstool, one of 32 teams in the field of TBT. If their rough-hewn roster -- loaded with NBA experience, from Quincy Douby to Dahntay Jones -- could survive and advance through the single-elimination format, held at Philadelphia University from June 6-8, they’d all have a shot at a healthy pay day.

That’s what convinced some of the more skeptical among them to agree to join the team.

“Well it was pretty easy once you mentioned that it would be at least a $50k cut,” Walsh said with a laugh. “Once you mentioned the money it was a pretty easy sell.”

“Some players thought that it was half a joke,” TBT co-founder Jonathan Mugar said. “But once they showed up they realized it was for real.”

Walsh said he wasn’t expecting much -- thinking it would be like the other tournaments he’s played in, which are more streetball than organized basketball.

“It was the most well run tournament I’ve ever been a part of,” he said. “I was not expecting a lot and it was great. I can’t say enough positive things about it.”

Of course, it probably helps that Team Barstool is one game away from claiming the big prize. The final is on Saturday night in Boston University’s Case Gym (7 ET on ESPN3).

Walsh & Co. will go up against Notre Dame Fighting Alumni, led by Chris Thomas (who’s played in Spain, Greece, Poland, Italy and Israel since his career in South Bend, Indiana), shooter Ryan Ayers and power forward Rob Kurz.

While Team Barstool relies on its talent advantage, the Fighting Alumni lean on their shared experience and outlook.

“We just got like-minded individuals together,” Thomas said. “We knew our camaraderie and [experience] playing together would be a difference-maker for us.

“We basically put all our egos aside and stuck to the game plan. We wanted to give ourselves a chance. And we’re here now.”

One game, one win away from a five-figure payout.

Thomas, 32 and a father of two, has retired from basketball and is trying to make a go of it as a financial planner.

Asked if he’d been playing much ball lately, Thomas said he had. In an over-30 league in Indy. A league that included cameos from players like NBAer Jeff Teague, but still.

The potential of heading back to Indy with a stack of bills isn’t lost on him, but Thomas almost seemed more excited about the prospect of getting people talking about Irish basketball again.

“To be in this position, financially it can help some people for sure -- not to take away from that -- but you’re kind of a pioneer of something we feel is gonna be very special,” he said.

While the future of The Basketball Tournament is uncertain beyond Saturday night, Mugar said the goal has always been to make it an annual event.

If his team is able to overcome the NBA vets on Team Barstool, Thomas said the Fighting Alumni would have to return to defend the title. Like any true competitor, Thomas’ thoughts didn’t stop with one more win.

“I’m trying to stay sane as a financial planner, but it’s hard because all this playing basketball gets the fire relit,” he said. “It makes you question, ‘Did you stop too soon? Did you give up? Is there something left in the tank?’

“I don’t know. It might be a door that opens back up.”

Jack McCluskey is an editor for ESPN.com and a frequent contributor to ESPNBoston.com. Follow him on Twitter @jack_mccluskey.

Gaudreau up for Best College Athlete ESPY

June, 26, 2014
Jun 26
10:05
PM ET
Johnny Gaudreau’s college career is over and his professional career with the Calgary Flames is just starting off, but the Boston College star may not be done collecting hardware for his collegiate feats just yet.

The diminutive winger, listed at 5-foot-8 and 155 pounds on his ESPN player page, won the 2014 Hobey Baker Award after putting up 80 points with 36 goals and 44 assists in 40 games as a junior at BC.

He played in one game for Calgary after signing following the Eagles’ season, playing 15:11 and scoring a goal (of course) on his only shot.

And now Johnny is up for an ESPY.



Gaudreau is up against Creighton’s Doug McDermott (basketball), Penn State’s David Taylor (wrestling), Albany’s Lyle Thompson (lacrosse) and Florida State’s Jameis Winston (football).

Voting is open (starting from the bottom) and will continue until host Drake says the awards show is here on July 16 at 9 p.m. ET.

Jack McCluskey is an editor for ESPN.com and a frequent contributor to ESPNBoston.com. Follow him on Twitter @jack_mccluskey.

Chillin 4 Charity hits Heights

June, 25, 2014
Jun 25
4:25
PM ET
The summer heat has settled in, and across the Commonwealth, overheating people are searching for ways to cool off.

They’re using all the old standbys, hopping in pools, diving into ponds, running through pulsating sprinklers ...

Getting buckets of ice water dumped over their heads, while fully clothed.

At least, that’s what has been happening on the campus in Chestnut Hill over the past week.

First, there was women’s basketball coach Erik Johnson:



Then on Tuesday came the rest of the women’s hoops staff:



That Instagram post came with this caption: “The BC staff completed the #Chillin4Charity challenge! Who knew a little cold water could produce these faces?! #WeAreBC.”

And while the faces produced by associate head coach Yvonne Hawkins, assistant coach Shelley Sheetz and director of operations Chris Brann are reward enough, there’s more to this than fun in the sun. The dousings are a way to raise money for charity, as the #Chillin4Charity hashtag implies.

Part of the Cold Water Challenge, which was started by Arizona head coach Niya Butts and has spread virally across the college sports landscape, is raising money for the Kay Yow Cancer Fund.

When a head coach is challenged, he or she has 48 hours to answer. If the challenged person fails to complete the challenge, the cost is a $250 donation to the Kay Yow fund. For every challenge answered, the challenger donates $50.

Challenged assistant coaches owe $100 if they don’t complete the task, with answered challenges requiring a $25 donation from the challenger. Challenged players don’t have to put up any cash -- they owe community service hours (five of ‘em), if they don’t respond.

The fun expanded to the men’s hoops side on Wednesday, with the team teasing something coming early in the day:



Sure enough, new men’s hoops coach Jim Christian also accepted the Cold Water Challenge. As BC hoops campers looked on, Eagles Dennis Clifford and Eddie Odio helped their new coach with the task:



Hope Steve Addazio doesn’t mind an ice bath for a good cause, because the challenge is likely coming his way soon.

Jack McCluskey is an editor for ESPN.com and a frequent contributor to ESPNBoston.com. Follow him on Twitter @jack_mccluskey.

Harvard hoops gets Ivy championship rings

June, 21, 2014
Jun 21
3:38
PM ET
To the victors belong the spoils.

Harvard men’s hoops won its fourth straight Ivy League title in 2013-14, and this week the Crimson collected their prizes.

Crimson associate director of athletic communications Andrew Chesebro tweeted a picture of the bauble on Friday:



Assistant coach -- and former player -- Christian Webster also couldn’t resist showing the trinket off, posting a picture of his latest reward on Instagram:



The caption?

“Add one more to the collection ... ”

Jack McCluskey is an editor for ESPN.com and a frequent contributor to ESPNBoston.com. Follow him on Twitter @jack_mccluskey.

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