CHESTNUT HILL – It was thought that the Eagles were all but done with the 2014 recruiting class. With 22 recruits who had already verbally committed, it didn’t look like there was a lot of room to add another player. That’s why it was a big surprise to BC fans when they heard that Cheshire Academy (CT) cornerback Allen Dawson committed to Steve Addazio in early November.
Not only was it a surprise that BC landed a commitment, but the name Allen Dawson was a big surprise, too. Dawson wasn’t found in many recruiting databases (if any at all) and was pretty much an unknown recruit. The coach responsible for finding him was defensive coordinator Don Brown, who actually recruited Dawson when Brown was the defensive coordinator at UConn.
Dawson has good size for a defensive back at 6-0, but he is long, too, so he plays even bigger than his listed size. The cornerback isn’t afraid to play tight man-to-man defense and is an exceptional tackler. Dawson doesn’t have more than average athletic ability, so he will probably be projected as a safety rather than a cornerback on the ACC level.
The BC staff is pretty confident that it found a diamond in the rough with Dawson, though. For BC fans, it feels good as well to kick UConn while it’s down and steal a recruit from the Nutmeg State.
Eagles Must Adjust To New Rules
One of the biggest storylines heading into the college basketball season is the new emphasis that the referees will place on hand checking and arm barring on the defensive end.
Coaches and players were warned over and over that the zebras would be quicker to blow the whistle when they saw too much contact by defenders on opposing ball-handlers. All of the advanced warning was good, and it resonated with the players.
But it’s one thing to hear about it and a whole other experience to actually play with the tighter officiating. Boston College and Providence found out the hard way in their first game of the season.
In a game that was settled in overtime, BC was whistled for 27 fouls and Providence 28. BC starters Eddie Odio and Olivier Hanlan fouled out of the game, while the Friars had three different starters foul out. In the end, the Friars won by four, in a game that saw 60 free throw attempts.
BC coach Steve Donahue said that the tighter officiating is going to be a huge part of games, particularly early in the year.
“It was a battle of which team figured it out, and I thought Providence figured it out,” said Donahue. “Don’t look at this as I’m blaming the officials. I thought they were very consistent the whole game. It was just way, way, way different.”
Specifically, Donahue thought that Providence guard Bryce Cotton figured things out quicker. Cotton finished with 28 points and nine of them were collected at the charity stripe. Many of the free throws came courtesy of Cotton driving to the hoop and getting fouled.
On the defensive end, the Friars let BC guards Hanlan and Joe Rahon drive to the hoop. Instead of fouling the BC guards, the PC defenders played off a little and put the pressure on the Eagles guards to finish the play against their bigs. Hanlan struggled to finish at the rim and it cost BC dearly.
Donahue and his staff tried to prepare the team for the stricter foul calls going into the opening game. BC had two secret scrimmages against St. Joseph’s and Northeastern that had real college referees calling the game. The interesting thing was that the Eagles didn’t have nearly the same amount of fouls called as it did against the Friars in the season opener.
“I had two scrimmages – and all my friends in the business were saying, ‘How about this?,’ and I didn’t have any (fouls),” Donahue said. “We didn’t get into the bonus in either scrimmage. We have to adjust. (The refs) are doing their job.”
BC forward Ryan Anderson had similar comments. He said that the quicker whistles are something the players know is going to happen, and they have to get used to it fast. The key is to remember that it’s called the same on both ends.
“We know what the new rules are, the refs are going to be consistent, it’s just that we have to be consistent with the way we play defense,” Anderson said. “We have great guards that like to initiate contact on offense, but we have to realize that they’re going to call the same thing on the other end. It’s just a matter of getting used to it, getting comfortable with it and learning a new way of playing defense.”
The funny thing about the tighter calls on defenders is that they seemed to give an advantage to BC at times on offense, even though it didn’t turn up in the box score. Hanlan and Rahon were given open invitations to take the ball to the rack. When Hanlan didn’t finish the play, though, it made the quicker whistles irrelevant.
From strictly an entertainment perspective – which is the whole reason the emphasis was added – the quicker whistles had mixed results. Once the defenders backed off of the ball-handlers a little, it was nice to see guards actually driving to the hoop and putting up a shot or dishing off to a big man for a dunk. It was a welcome change from watching teams launch threes all game.
However, the process leading up to that point was painful. The game took 2½ hours, and the whistles took a lively Providence crowd out of the game, which muted a great college atmosphere.