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Local Recruits Key Addazio’s Plan

Wednesday, February 19, 2014 9:43am
By: BC Insider

CHESTNUT HILL – Boston College coach Steve Addazio blew away expectations that fans had for him with recruiting by pulling in Rivals’ 40th ranked 2014 recruiting class. 

While BC fans were certainly happy with the results from the most recent recruiting cycle they are eager to see if Addazio can improve BC’s recruiting results even more with the 2015 class. To do it, Addazio has to build on some of the trends that he established with the 2014 recruiting class. 

It was somewhat of a miracle that Addazio put together such a good recruiting class considering that the Eagles were coming off of back-to-back losing seasons under former coach Frank Spaziani. Considering BC’s struggles and the lack of buzz for the program, it was no secret that BC wasn’t exactly a destination school for big-time recruits, so Addazio had to work harder than most other coaches to convince three- and four-star recruits to come on board. 

How did he do it? Addazio felt that the staff had to get good local players to buy into his vision and from there enough momentum would be built to get other good players both locally and nationally to come on board. New England doesn’t have the plethora of talent that other areas have, but it has enough to build a solid class on. Recruiting local talent was something the old coaching staff did a poor job of and ultimately paid the price for.

“It was an emphasis for us,” Addazio said. “We want to make sure that we get the best players out of Massachusetts. I said that when I first got here, and I’m sticking to it. I talk about working from the inside out. Build it in Massachusetts and move out in five-hour radius.  That’s our plan, we stuck to it, and we’re going to continue to stick to it.”

Addazio has proved early in the 2015 recruiting process that the emphasis being placed on recruiting local big-time players recruits isn’t just lip service when the Eagles received an early verbal commitment from Anthony Palazzolo. The offensive tackle is a four-star prospect from Connecticut that is a piece to the puzzle of exactly what Addazio wants to build at the Heights, a dominating offensive line. Palazzolo was recruited by Penn State, Pitt, Virginia and others, but he decided early on in the process that BC was the school for him.

The early commitment by a four-star prospect sent a message to other recruits that BC is a hot destination for top talent. As a bonus, Palazzolo has said that he’s going to be recruiting players himself to join the ’15 class. At BC’s Junior Day in mid-February, Palazzolo made the trip up to Boston to meet other potential teammates. The Eagles hosted multiple four-star offensive line recruits during the weekend. If Palazzolo and the staff convince a few more big-time linemen to commit, BC could have one of the best offensive line classes in the ACC in 2015.

Addazio has a vision, and so far, he is executing his vision perfectly.

Eagles Continue To Struggle

When a team has lost three times as many games as it has won, the head coach starts to run out of reasons to explain why his team is losing so much. 

The situation is no different at BC where Steve Donahue is well on his way to a third losing season in a row. BC has not had a winning season since Donahue’s first year at the school. At this point, Donahue has stopped trying to come up with excuses for his team each night and instead has used his press conferences to point out what his team is doing well in what might be a late attempt to save his job.

It’s tough to find much wrong in BC’s offensive numbers, and Donahue hasn’t been shy to point it out. The Eagles are 22nd in the nation in offensive efficiency (KenPom.com), and are top-50 nationally in effective field goal percentage, two-point field goal percentage and free throw percentage. All of those are numbers that almost any team in the ACC would like to have.

The issue is how the Eagles have performed at the other end of the court, which Donahue acknowledges as a problem.

“I want to win as bad as anybody, but there’s great growth going that we are not seeing on the scoreboard,” Donahue said after a Feb. 16 loss to Notre Dame. “Do we need more? Yes, we need some pieces, but these guys have made great strides, and we just haven’t been able to figure out the defensive and the rebounding side of this, and we are trying. I know it’s there.”

The defense and rebounding have certainly been an issue to put it nicely. Donahue’s club is in the bottom half of the ACC in every major defensive statistic, and it’s in the bottom quarter in most of those statistics.

What is probably the most troubling for fans though is how poorly the team executes late in games. In ACC play the team has blown a lead with seconds remaining in no less than three games on complete mental breakdowns. 

BC lost a game by fouling a player with a second on the play clock against Notre Dame, and allowed Georgia Tech to hit a three off of an inbounds under its own hoop with under five seconds remaining in the game. 

Donahue has used words such as “experience” to explain his team’s poor execution late in games, and while it’s true that BC doesn’t play any seniors, the Eagles do play juniors and a sophomore that have played close to 60 games with each other. At some point, youth can’t be used as an excuse anymore, and that time has come now. 

Donahue has only a few weeks remaining to show that he is the man for the job and isn’t in over his head.