Wednesday, September 1, 2010
ESPN.com: ACC Summer Shootaround
ESPN.com’s college basketball Summer Shootaround turns its attention to the ACC this week, with analysis from Andy Katz, Doug Gottlieb and more.
-- Andy Katz has five things to know, including one focused on coaching changes:
1. Three coaches shockingly depart: No one saw the departures at Boston College, Clemson and Wake Forest coming in the weeks or months earlier. The decision to force out Al Skinner, the winningest coach in BC history, left the staff stunned and contributed to an Eagles dispersal draft as players like Brady Heslip (Baylor), Evan Ravenel (Ohio State), Kevin Noreen (West Virginia) and Rakim Sanders (Fairfield) found new homes. Wake Forest athletic director Ron Wellman clearly wasn't happy with the direction of the Demon Deacons, even though Dino Gaudio was a heck of a recruiter and won an NCAA tournament game in March. Clemson fully intended for Oliver Purnell to be the head coach for the foreseeable future and was just as miffed by his decision on the night of the national title game to head to bottom-dwelling DePaul of the Big East. The potential good news for all three schools is that they replaced the trio with well-respected head coaches: Steve Donahue (Cornell to BC), Jeff Bzdelik (Colorado to Wake) and Brad Brownell (Wright State to Clemson).
-- Eamonn Brennan breaks down the best-case and worst-case scenario for each team:
Best case: Most programs with new coaches get a year or three to figure things out. Boston College will not want to wait that long. New coach Steve Donahue -- fresh off a Sweet 16 run with Cornell -- inherits former coach Al Skinner's expectations. Fortunately, he also inherits some talent. Boston College returns six of its nine top scorers from a team that went 15-16 last year; that experience alone should make the Eagles a competitive bunch in the otherwise soft underbelly of the ACC.
Worst case: Being competitive is great, but Skinner's firing ensured Donahue will have to wait a season before he can welcome a talented incoming recruiting class. In the meantime, junior Reggie Jackson will have to become a more efficient shooter, and the senior trio of Joe Trapani, Corey Raji, and Biko Paris will have to make major strides under their new head coach. The experience is there, but coaching transitions are hard, and if BC doesn't improve on its .500-ish 2009-10 performance, no one will be all that upset. Or, for that matter, surprised.