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Takeaways: Eagles drop both games in disappointing trip to Kansas City

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Recap:

This week, the Eagles traveled to Kansas City to participate in the Hall of Fame Classic, a four-team tournament which also included Creighton, Colorado State, and Loyola-Chicago. The Eagles lost their first game to the eventual tournament champions in Colorado State, by a score of 86-74. The Eagles were led by Quinten Post, Claudell Harris Jr, and Jaeden Zackery, who had 22, 13, and 11 points respectively. In this first game, the Eagles were able to bounce back from a slow first half, eventually cutting the Rams’ lead to four points in the second half. However, Colorado States’ shotmaking, coupled with BC’s struggling offense proved to be too much to overcome. Following their loss on Wednesday, the Eagles took on the Ramblers of Loyola-Chicago in the consolation game. After falling behind 35-30 at halftime, BC was able to claw their way back in the second half, eventually going up 66-57 with just under 4 minutes to go in the game. However, this set up for a collapse of epic proportions, as the Ramblers finished the game on a 14-2 run, handing the Eagles their second loss in as many days.

Game Management:

The main takeaway from these two games was some of the head-scratching coaching decisions by the BC staff. Each game had several key moments in which different coaching/personnel decisions could have led to very different outcomes. In the first game, the moment that stood out most was when the Eagles cut the Rams’ lead to just 4 points with about 9 minutes to play in the game, and got the ball back on offense. Many fans would have liked to see Grant call timeout and ensure that everyone’s on the same page regarding the offensive scheme. Instead, the Eagles settled for poor shots on three straight possessions, and turned the ball over twice, allowing Colorado State to extend their lead back up to 9 points. In the second game, when BC found themselves up 9 points with 3:53 to play, the Eagles let up a 9-0 run in a 2 minute span without calling a single timeout. With the game firmly in hand, the Eagles’ top priority should have been stopping any momentum the Ramblers could gain in the closing minutes of the game. Instead, Grant waited until they rallied all the way to tie the game before calling a timeout. While Coach Grant has been paramount in creating an identity that Boston College Basketball badly needed, he leaves much to be desired with his in-game adjustments.

Chas Kelley:

One of the few positives from these two games was the resurgence of Chas Kelley III. The guard had several flashes of great play as a freshman (many will remember his 17-point performance at Virginia Tech), but his sophomore campaign had gotten off to a slow start. In the first four games of this season, Kelley scored just 4 total points on 8 shots, and was yet to hit from behind the arc. Against Colorado State, Kelley scored 7 points in just 12 minutes, and against Loyola-Chicago , he scored 8 points and dished out 3 assists in 21 minutes. Unfortunately, neither performance was enough to push the Eagles’ to a win, but Kelly’s ability to provide a spark off the bench will be critical moving forward this season.

It’s a Long Season:

With the 2023-2024 season being less than 3 weeks old, it is easy to get caught up in a disappointing early season performance. However, if there’s anything that Grant’s first two seasons showed fans, it’s that the Eagles will get better as the season goes on. In 2021, the Eagles dropped a pair of games to Rhode Island and a game to Albany. In 2022, they dropped home games to New Hampshire and Maine. In both seasons, Grant had the Eagles playing much more competitive basketball in January and February. At the end of the day, the Eagles are in a better spot through six games than they were in either of Grant’s first two seasons. The remaining out-of-conference schedule consists of a road game at Vanderbilt, a pair of home games against Central Connecticut and Holy Cross, a neutral game against St. John’s, and a home game against Lehigh. Each of these games is extremely winnable, and if the Eagles can finish their out-of-conference schedule at 8-3, they will be in a very good position going into ACC play.

What’s next:

After a disappointing trip to Kansas City, the Eagles will look to get back on track in Nashville, where they will take on Vanderbilt Commodores on Wednesday night as part of the ACC/SEC challenge. The Commodores currently sit at 3-2 on the season holding wins over USC Upstate, UNC Greensboro, and Central Arkansas, and losses to Presbyterian and NC State. While a road SEC game will not be an easy environment for the Eagles, the matchup with the Commodores should be a competitive one. The Eagles return to Conte Forum on Saturday, December 2nd where they will take on their first ACC opponent of the season in NC State.

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Eagle in the NBA! Quinten Post selected 52nd Overall by the Golden State Warriors

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QP working in the Post against Regional-Rival Harvard

For the first time ever, the NBA Draft was held over a two-day span, with the first round occurring last night at 8 PM, and the second taking place earlier this afternoon. And for Quinten Post, this meant that he had to wait an extra 20 hours for the most tumultuous event of this basketball career.

Quinten Post played three seasons under Earl Grant, who found the big man in the transfer portal prior to his inaugural season coaching the Eagles. Under Coach Grant’s tutelage, Post developed tremendously, transforming from a 2.8 point per game scorer at Mississippi State to an NBA prospect. Last season, Post averaged a 17/8/3/2 on 51% shooting from the field and 43% from behind the arc, good enough to earn the Dutchman a spot on an all-ACC team.

Throughout the 2023-24 season, everyone around the Eagles’ program knew Post would play professional basketball at some level. After all, he declared for the 2023 NBA Draft following his junior year. However, most mock drafts had Post going undrafted. But Post performed well at the NBA Combine, measuring in as the third-tallest player (behind just Zack Edey and Donovan Clingan), and impressing teams with his outside shooting.

Post was then invited to work out for Utah Jazz, Portland Trail Blazers, Los Angeles Clippers, Memphis Grizzlies, and the Oklahoma City Thunder. So, QP’s draft stock continued to rise leading up to the draft. Fast forward to Thursday afternoon, and the second round was underway. 

The second round of the NBA Draft is always unpredictable, with first-round talent falling well past their projections; teams taking chances on high-upside, yet unproven talents; and GMs looking to make moves heading into free agency. And in classic second-round fashion, Quinten Post was selected 52nd overall, with a pick originally owned by the Warriors, traded to the Trail Blazers, then to the Thunder, and then finally back to the Warriors. So, Post will be packing his bags, and heading for the Bay Area, joining Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green on the Golden State Warriors. 

Post will likely sign a two-way contract, and see time with both the Golden State and Santa Cruz Warriors. This marks Boston College’s first NBA Draft pick since Jerome Robinson went 13th overall in the 2018 Draft, and first under Coach Grant. Best of luck in the league, QP!

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DiMauro: All in all, a solid year for BC sports

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If you are reading this, chances are your primary means of remaining connected to Boston College runs through athletics.

Oh, and we’ve been tortured souls, too, especially in recent years. We are idealists and fatalists, demanding yet forgiving, loyal and resilient, even if sometimes it feels as though we make the long trek up the cliff to Lovers Leap … only to get shoved.

All of which makes the sports year of 2023-24 a time to celebrate. Boston College did itself proud, no small occurrence given that in this unsteady (perverse?) time of expansion and realignment, schools like BC must always look their Sunday best, with no overt warts or love handles.

Women’s lacrosse, BC’s working definition of pride and joy, capped the sports season with the national championship Memorial Day weekend in Cary, NC. It was the program’s second natty in four years, a three-hour infomercial for the entire institution and more proof that, yes, it can be done at BC with the right coach.

Acacia Walker-Weinstein – you’ll note that only the letter “W” separates her from “Einstein” – not only hung a banner, but helped BC earn a distinction few other athletic programs in the country could trumpet. How many other schools made national championship games (both televised by ESPN) in two different sports fewer than two months apart?

Think about that one: Men’s hockey, during an otherwise memorable season, fell short in the national championship game. But the Sons of Greg Brown did the school proud all season. Not a bad accomplishment to see “BC in the national finals” on the ESPN scroll in mid-April (hockey) and late May (lacrosse). It’s hard to buy that kind of advertising, particularly when and if realignment and expansion happen again.

Football won a bowl game over a ranked team at Fenway Park, returns a dynamo in Thomas Castellanos and then made the splash of a cannonball, hiring Bill O’Brien as head coach. Three other women’s sports showed promise as well: field hockey (11-7, made the ACC Tournament); softball (30-24, made the ACC Tournament) and volleyball, which continues to improve steadily under coach Jason Kennedy, finished 19-13 and made the ACC Tournament.

Otherwise, baseball gets a pass as new coach Todd Interdonato assimilates to the ACC and establishes his culture; the soccer programs (3-9-5 and 3-9-6) were lousy; and I remain concerned about men’s and women’s basketball. Put it this way: Sure feels as though better players are leaving than are entering.

Off the field, “Friends Of The Heights,” BC’s Name, Image and Likeness (NIL) collective, grew massively, keeping BC competitive in a cutthroat environment. Friends Of The Heights also homered into the upper deck, hiring veteran athletic administrator Jim Paquette as its new Chief Development Officer. Paquette will advise the Board on overall development strategies, using his 16 years as an administrator at BC that specialized in fundraising.

BC’s overall cachet also made a splash on social media when Forbes Magazine named it one of the country’s “New Ivies.”

Based on its researchForbes, the century-old national business magazine, reported that American companies are souring on hiring Ivy League graduates, instead preferring high achievers from 20 other prominent universities – “Private and Public New Ivies.”

BC joins private school “New Ivies” Carnegie Mellon, Emory, Georgetown, Johns Hopkins, Northwestern, Rice, Notre Dame, Southern California and Vanderbilt. Ah, to be judged by the company one keeps.

One school year hasn’t produced this much for BC in years. And it’s significant. The idea now is to build, not regress.

Full disclosure: There are many things I still don’t like. I’m told Father Leahy neither attended the Frozen Four nor the lacrosse Final Four. It is disrespectful to the players, coaches and alumni to have a leader who acts as if so much about what makes BC great is beneath him. And we still seem to have these spasms of tone deafness, such as patrolling the parking lots like stormtroopers the day of the spring football game.

But 2023-24 was an encouraging year for BC in many ways. Yes, we always want more. But we were getting less for a long time. Not this year. A tip of the cap to athletic director Blake James, his staff, the coaches and the kids.

We pause now to enjoy summer and await Labor Day night in Tallahassee. Here’s to 2024-25, hollering “Mr. Brightside” again with the kids from the crowded bleachers.

Mike DiMauro, a columnist in Connecticut, is a contributor to Eagles Daily and a member of BC’s Class of 1990. He may be reached at m.dimauro@theday.com or @BCgenius 

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Boston College lands commitment from transfer Roger McFarlane

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Earl Grant and his staff continue to rebuild the roster, landing their fourth commitment from the transfer portal in Roger McFarlane out of SE Louisiana. The guard comes to the Eagles with one year of eligibility and posted an impressive 14.8 points per game to go along with 8.6 rebounds a contest. Additionally, McFarlane impressed with an early season matchup with Auburn, posting 25 points and 11 rebounds. The Fort Lauderdale native recently visited Temple before ultimately choosing Chestnut Hill as his final collegiate destination.

Additionally, McFarlane now becomes the third guard BC has signed through the portal, joining UMBC’s Dion Brown and Clemson’s Josh Beadle. Rounding out the transfer class is center Chad Venning out of St. Bonaventure. Along with three incoming freshman, there is now one remaining scholarship spot left.

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