Eagles more prepared, confident heading into ACC play
Posted January 3, 2013
Raleigh, N.C. — Despite coaching a team full of freshmen and sophomores, Boston College head coach Steve Donahue said Thursday that he's confident his Eagles can be competitive in an Atlantic Coast Conference race that may be as wide open as any in recent memory.
Much of that confidence likely stems from the unique circumstances Donahue and his staff have endured since he arrived in Chestnut Hill in 2010. After guiding a talented team led by NBA guard Reggie Jackson during his first season, he started from scratch a season ago, welcoming an entire team of new faces into a league many of them weren't prepared for.
The result wasn't all that surprising, as the Eagles struggled through a 9-22 regular season that included eight league losses by at least 15 points. Now, however, his "young team" has several sophomores who have started close to 50 games.
"It gives them a chance to be experienced at this point in their development," Donahue told Mike and Mark on 620 The Buzz Thursday morning.
"It's a good advantage going forward, and it's going to be something we look back on and think that it really helped them."
After an up-and-down start to the regular season, the Eagles come into Saturday's league opener against NC State on a five-game win streak.
Donahue said his sophomores and two talented freshmen – guards Olivier Hanlan and Joe Rahon – have been steadily improving throughout the first six weeks of the season.
"We're trying to put together a championship program, but it's not going to happen overnight," he said. "Each and every game, I think we're getting better. Our freshmen guards were a little more ready to play than I anticipated, and they have actually pushed the sophomores to a different level."
One of the sophomores that every ACC opponent will have to scout for is Ryan Anderson, who is averaging 15.9 points and 9.5 rebounds through Boston College's first 13 games.
"He's done a terrific job over the last month of practicing hard and learning how to take his game to the next level," Donahue said. "He's learned a lot of things, not just scoring, that can help us win basketball games."
As for opening up against NC State, Donahue said it will be a good reminder that his team needs to score more than 68 points per night if it wants to win consistently in the ACC.
The Wolfpack, still leading the country in field goal percentage 13 games into the season, average 81.5 points a game.
"I don't know if I've faced as efficient a basketball team as NC State," Donahue said. "Not a lot of weaknesses on the offensive end. We're going to play gritty, scrappy defense, but to win a game like this you have to score. Going forward, you have to average 75 to 80 points a game to win in this league, and this game is a good example of that."