Sports, Winter, Column

New Year’s Resolutions For BC Athletics

On New Years day, I told myself that I would start going to the gym more. “It will be good for you,” the voice inside my head said. “Dudes go to the gym, and you want to be a dude, right?”

Now, roughly four percent of the way through the New Year, I have been to the gym exactly—carry the two—zero times. But just because I personally have no willpower doesn’t mean I cannot suggest what other people need to do differently in 2015.

With that in mind, here are some resolutions that notable members of the Boston College Athletics community should consider in the year to come.

STEVE ADDAZIO—Finish what you started

On Saturday, following his team’s third win in four games, Philadelphia 76ers head coach Brett Brown responded to the concern that the woeful Sixers were getting conditioned to lose by intentionally putting together a terrible roster. Basketball executives were worried that more than a year of losing and constant repetition of bad habits would negate the sky-high potential that exists in Philadelphia. Brown insisted that this season has benefitted his players, as they were forced to find new ways to win games, unable to rely on skill alone.

“Having these guys learn how to win, close out games, and deal with situations—there are so many benefits that come with the situation we’re in,” Brown said in a press conference following the game.

Like the Sixers are starting to do, BC football needs to learn how to win. Without the ability to pull in nationally coveted recruits year after year, skill itself will not power BC to a successful season. Instead, the Eagles need to find ways to do just enough to put them over the edge in tight contests.

One of Addazio’s major concerns this winter needs to be establishing a winning culture at BC, one that recruits should know about before they arrive on campus and one that opponents should fear. He’s done a phenomenal job of turning the program in the right direction, but there is still plenty of work to be done. Addazio should be commended for leading the Eagles to two consecutive postseason appearances—however, defeats in both bowl games indicates this program cannot yet win on college football’s bigger stages.

BC should establish itself as a team that can grind out tough victories and succeed in crunch time. Alumni Stadium needs to be known as one of the most menacing places to play in the ACC and not—as college football analyst Kirk Herbstreit referred to it prior to BC’s upset victory over Southern California—as “the worst big-game atmosphere in the country.” These are the next steps that BC needs to take in order to regain serious national relevance, and it all starts with Addazio.

FIELD HOCKEY—Keep On Keepin’ On

There are naturally lofty expectations for a team that starts out the year with the No. 13 ranking in the country. Despite finishing the season with an undesirable result, BC field hockey lived up to them.

The team reached as high as the No. 9 ranking heading into the ACC Championships. BC fell to a superior Syracuse team in its first game of the tournament before dropping its first round matchup in the NCAA Tournament to Penn State. Obviously head coach Ainslee Lamb’s team hoped for better postseason results, but its performance should not be overlooked when assessing BC Athletics’ 2014.

Senior midfielder Emma Plasteras garnered First-Team All American honors for the second consecutive season. She finished with a team-leading nine assists and 21 points overall in just 18 games played. Along with the other seniors, she will be difficult to replace. But if the Eagles can match their accomplishments from this past season–or better yet, surpass them–they will make the BC community proud.

MEN’S HOCKEY—Check In On Some Old Acquaintances

It’s been over two months since the Eagles dropped a heartbreaker at home to the Terriers of Boston University and much has changed in the college hockey world. BC endured a skid in the games that immediately followed, falling drastically in the USCHO polls, but rebounded to go without a loss since November. Meanwhile, BU rose to the second slot in the national rankings, sitting only behind Minnesota State–Mankato.

Freshman wunderkind Jack Eichel is still impressing at BU, while BC’s young roster has finally started to gel and produce results. Defensive wrecking ball Steve Santini’s return to the lineup for the Eagles, following an extended absence for a wrist injury, stands as a welcome return to an injury-depleted unit.

What better time than now for the Eagles to rekindle their relationship with the Terriers? BC travels down Commonwealth Avenue on Friday night to take on BU for the second time this season, looking to avenge its first defeat. The Eagles need to keep rolling to regain ground in the rankings, while the Terriers can’t afford to drop a game to an inferior opponent at home.

JIM CHRISTIAN—Make Some New Friends

Jim Christian has impressed in his first head as men’s basketball coach, needing only one more win to tie the total from last season with more than half of the season remaining. With key out-of-conference victories against New Mexico and Providence, the strides the team took in 2014 are readily apparent.

Unfortunately for Christian, most of the current roster will depart next season. Seven seniors will graduate from BC in May–eight total will depart if Olivier Hanlan decides to forego his senior season. If Hanlan does declare for the NBA Draft, as expected, Christian will need to replace four of his five starters from 2015.

Christian and his staff will have their hands full recruiting that many quality players for next year, but they’ll have to find some new players to prevent stunting the growth of this team. BC received a bit of a boost for next year when Lonnie Jackson was announced to be out for the rest of the season last week, meaning the senior can apply for a medical redshirt and gain an extra season of eligibility in Chestnut Hill.

The focus for the coaching staff should be to find guards who can score, and lots of them. With Aaron Brown, Dimitri Batten, and potentially Hanlan leaving BC next year, the Eagles will have a considerable amount of scoring firepower to replace. The trio leads the Eagles in scoring but BC is nevertheless facing offensive challenges this season, ranking 223rd in points per game nationwide.

Christian and his staff brought BC basketball back from rock bottom, a task that deserves a considerable amount of praise. A couple new buddies, ones who can preferably drain 24-footers with great consistency, are just what the program needs to keep this good thing going.

WOMEN’S HOCKEY—If It Ain’t Broke, Don’t Fix It

There’s nothing to say here. The women’s hockey team doesn’t have to change a single thing from 2014. If it stays on the path that it’s carved out for itself, Superfans will have something to celebrate when April comes around.

Featured Image by Emily Fahey / Heights Senior Staff


January 14, 2015