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Boston College Eagles
School Name: Boston College
Location: Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts
Arena: Silvio O. Conte Forum
Capacity: 8,606
Conference: ACC
Head coach: Steve Donahue

The Boston College Eagles is the name of the men's and women's Basketball team at Boston College, in Chestnut Hill, MA.



Boston College basketball, ca. 1900

The Boston College men's Basketball team has its origins in 1904, and the squad has played, through the 2005-06 season, 68 seasons of hoops. In 1904, a men's varsity team was sanctioned and on December 26 of that year BC played its first-ever game, losing 8-6 to Battery H of Navy, and won its first-ever game that season against Tufts, 23-17, in Medford. Basketball, not a popular sport at the turn of the 20th century, suffered through years of weak fan support and only lasted three initial seasons before being dropped. A brief revival in the early 1920s brought the men's team back, but it was dropped again following the 1924-25 season. Finally, following World War II when the sport began to really take off in the United States, the basketball team became permanent in the 1945-46 season.

In 1963 BC hired Boston Celtics legend Bob Cousy as head coach, and in his six years as coach the Eagles earned postseason berths in five of those years, including a trip to the Elite Eight in 1967. Through the years Boston College has hired several other notable coaches including Chuck Daly, Dr. Tom Davis, Gary Williams and former Eagle, Jim O'Brien '71.

In one of the darkest stories in BC history, several members of the 1978-79 basketball team were accused of being involved in a point-shaving scandal that drew national attention due to the involvement of the infamous Mafia associate Henry Hill; one player, Rick Kuhn, was found guilty and served time in jail for his efforts in the fix.

Boston College basketball, however, would be forever changed as a charter member of the Big East Conference, which formed in time for the 1979-80 season. With more national exposure and better competition — leading to improved and more expansive recruiting — BC had ensured itself of an opportunity to compete at the highest level of NCAA Division I basketball every year.

From the time the seven original Northeastern schools formed the Big East, the BC men's basketball team saw several highs: Advancing to the Elite Eight in the 1982 NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Tournament, winning the Big East Tournament in 1997 and 2001, four Big East Coach of the Year awards, three Big East Player of the Year awards and a memorable win over No. 1-ranked North Carolina Tar Heels men's basketball in the 1994 NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Tournament.

Among Boston College's biggest non-conference rivals in basketball is the University of Massachusetts. First played in 1905 and held annually since 1995, BC's basketball rivalry with UMass is called the "Commonwealth Classic" and was played on several occasions at what is now known as TD Banknorth Garden in the 1990s. The Eagles are 22-17 against its cross-state rival. The Boston College men's basketball team have made 16 overall appearances in the NCAA tournament including three trips to the Elite Eight and have been to the NIT 10 times. BC has produced 4 conference players of the year: John Bagley '83, was the Big East Player of the Year in 1980-1981, Troy Bell '03 was co-Big East Player of the Year in 2000-2001, and won the title outright in 2002-2003, and Jared Dudley '07 was the ACC Player of the Year in 2006-2007. Notable BC student-athletes who have gone onto a career in the NBA include: Michael Adams (basketball) '85, John Bagley '83, Dana Barros '89, Troy Bell '03, Bill Curley '94, Howard Eisley '94, Jay Murphy '84, Gerry Ward (basketball) '63, and Craig Smith '05.

O'Brien returns to The Heights[]

On March 26, 1986, Jim O'Brien '71 returned to coach the Boston College team. Despite a bitter end to his tenure as head coach, O'Brien has been credited with resuscitating the BC basketball team, which — aside from some success in the early 80s — had not been a consistent NCAA tournament team since the 1960s. Although O'Brien did build a solid program, his timing was excellent: Boston College opened its new hockey and basketball arena, Conte Forum, in 1988, (fully equipped with state-of-the-art facilities); the Big East had reached its zenith when O'Brien took the reins with conference teams winning national championships in 1984 and 1985; and O'Brien and BC, at the time, were still feeling the positive effects of the Flutie Factor with Boston College athletics increasing in national exposure.

Boston College played its final season in the Roberts Center in the 1987-88 season and were invited to the NIT, advancing to the semi-finals before being knocked-off by regional rival UConn, 73-67. BC returned to the NIT in 1992 and 1993.

In 1994, the Eagles were beaten by Georgetown 81-58 in the first round of the Big East tournament. But, following its invitation to the NCAA's, the men's basketball team went on one of its most historic runs. Boston College downed Washington State in the opening round of the tourney. In the second round, BC had its memorable upset of defending national champion North Carolina, 75-72, pushing them to the Sweet Sixteen and, after a victory over Bobby Knight and Indiana, they went back to the Elite Eight where they fell to Florida, 74-66.

In 1996, the Eagles (albeit somewhat forgettably) also made it to the 1996 NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Tournament. BC finished the year at 19-11, and bowed out in the second round after losing to Georgia Tech by a score of 103-89.

Led by All-Big East forward Danya Abrams and sophomore point guard James "Scoonie" Penn Boston College won the 1997 Big East Tournament with victories over Pitt, Georgetown and Villanova. For its Big East Tournament championship, BC received an automatic bid to 1997 NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Tournament and met Valparaiso. The Eagles knocked off its first-round opponent 73-66, but fell in the second round to Saint Joseph's University when the Hawks eked out an 81-77 win.

Controversy erupted after the 1997 season closed as Jim O'Brien and the Boston College administration sparred over academic grounds in recruiting athletes. O'Brien filed a lawsuit against BC on the grounds of breach of contract and slander. The case was settled out of court. Following a bitter end to his tenure, the BC alumnus moved to Ohio State (and brought his star playmaker Scoonie Penn with him) where O'Brien took the Buckeyes to the Final Four in 1999. Unfortunately, his tenure at Ohio State also ended on bitter terms and litigation by O'Brien against his former employer.

Skinner era begins[]

In 1997 former Rhode Island head coach and American Basketball Association (1967-1976) star, Al Skinner came to Boston College to coach the men's team. Following three sub-.500 seasons, Skinner lead the Eagles to a Big East-best 27-5 mark in 2000-01 (setting a school record for wins in a season), the Big East tournament title and a No. 3 seed in the NCAA tournament. BC defeated Southern Utah in the opening round of the tourney, but was upset by USC 74-71 in the second round. Skinner went on to win Big East Coach of the Year honors and star sophomore Troy Bell was named Big East Co-Player of the Year.

Since the inception of the Skinner era, Boston College has seen increased success on the basketball court and has garnered growing national media attention with six consecutive postseason tournament invitations including five to the NCAA tournament. Athletic Director Gene DeFilippo deserves mention as a factor in BC's success on the court as he has been instrumental in the basketball team's widening national exposure. In its first season in ACC, BC advanced to the finals of the league tournament, losing by two points to Duke.

Some have argued Skinner's success is predicated on his ability to recruit student-athletes that other schools never bother to look at, so-called "diamonds in the rough." Bell, who grew up in Minneapolis, who won two Big East Player of the Year awards and is currently the BC all-time leading scorer, fits that description in addition to Jared Dudley, Sean Williams (Boston College), Sean Marshall and All-American forward Craig Smith, a Los Angeles native, who was overlooked by most Pac-10 schools.

Through the end of the 2004-05 season, the men's team holds a winning record of .719 since the start of the 2000-01 season. On an interesting note, the Eagles defeated the defending national champions in three consecutive seasons from the 2003-04 season through the 2005-06 season: Syracuse 57-54 (on 2004), UConn 75-70 (on 2005) and North Carolina 81-74 (on 2006).

20 straight to start: 2004-05 season[]

Though the 2000-01 season was a memorable one for BC and its fans as it re-vamped local interest in the Chestnut Hill men's hoops team, it paled to the national exposure and media attention the Eagles garnered in 2004-05. Starting the year unranked and without one vote in the coaches' poll, Boston College accomplished something no Big East team had done before: it started a season 20-0. In the 20 straight victories, the Eagles beat two ranked opponents and, when they reached the 20-0 mark, were one of only two teams to be undefeated at the time (Illinois was the other).

The team's first loss occurred at Notre Dame on February 8, 2005. Following its setback, BC beat unranked Rutgers and then No. 9 Syracuse on February 1, vaulting them in the polls to No. 3 in both the AP and coaches' polls — the highest any Boston College basketball team has even been ranked. Finishing the regular season with a 24-3 mark, West Virginia bounced BC from the Big East tournament, 78-72, in the second round after the Eagles had drawn a bye in the first due to being the No. 1 overall seed with the league's best record (13-3). Boston College earned an invitation to the 2005 NCAA tournament and received a No. 4 seed, with an opening-round game against Pennsylvania men's basketball. The Eagles took care of the Quakers with an 85-65 thrashing and then took on Milwaukee, who had upset Alabama. UWM pulled another upset with an 83-75 win over Boston College and sent the Eagles home still unable to get back to the Sweet Sixteen. BC had not advanced past the second round since 1994.

Back to the Sweet Sixteen: 2005-06 season[]

File:Conte Forum Hoops.jpg

BC playing West Virginia at home in 2005.

The men's basketball team played its way to a school-record 28 wins and back to the Sweet Sixteen for the first time in 12 years. Boston College also established itself in the Atlantic Coast Conference with 11 league wins in its first year in the conference, and advanced to the league tournament title game against Duke following wins over Maryland and North Carolina. BC would finish the season ranked No. 7 in the AP poll, which tallies its final poll before the NCAA tournament begins.

Coming into 2005-06, the offseason produced some change to the team as center Nate Doornekamp and sixth man Jermaine Watson graduated. Doornekamp, though not a prolific scorer, was a leader and, with his 7 feet of height, could see the court well and pass the ball with good precision. Watson averaged 9.6 points-per-game off the bench and was a clutch Free throw shooter, averaging 83 percent to lead the team.

An offseason incident concerning drug use in May involving center Sean Williams lead to his suspension for the first semester from BC campus and from the team, and his playing status for the entire season was in doubt up until a court hearing in December. Williams set the BC single-season record for blocked shots in 2004-05 with 63. Although not allowed back to Chestnut Hill until the end of the first semester and contingent upon a court hearing, Williams took courses and worked out at the University of Houston in the fall of 2005. He was allowed to return after a Boston judge decided he had fulfilled his commitment and the school gave their approval because he met his academic requirements. Also in trouble was sophomore forward Akida McLain who was suspended from the team for the first seven games of the year for an off-court incident.

Prior to the season, senior forward Craig Smith was voted a first-team All-American, the first BC player to be so honored, and named to the All-ACC preseason team — before even playing one game in the league. Boston College entered its first season in the ACC ranked No. 11 in both major polls and started the year 6-0 and reached as high as No. 6 on December 5. On December 11 McLain was reinstated and on December 22 Williams returned to the team and registered two blocks in his first game back against Harvard.

After starting ACC play with three straight losses (Maryland, Georgia Tech, NC State), senior point guard Louis Hinnant called a players-only meeting which helped to inspire the team to bounce back from a poor conference start. The Eagles rebounded to win four consecutive league wins — winning its first ACC game against Florida State on January 14. After its four straight league wins, BC dropped one to No. 3-ranked Duke on February 1.

Boston College then beat Virginia Tech and Wake Forest both on the road, followed by a home win over Clemson. On February 1, BC downed Stony Brook to reach the 20-win mark for the fifth time in six years. On February 25, Skinner earned his 169th Boston College win when the Eagles downed NC State 74-72 in double overtime, making the former ABA star the winningest coach in BC history. The Eagles finished the 2005-06 regular season with a 24-6 record and ended conference play at 11-5.

Boston College trounced Maryland (after receiving a bye) in the second round of the ACC tournament on March 10, 80-66, and then edged No. 10 North Carolina 85-82 the next afternoon to advance to the ACC championship game in its first year in the league. No. 3 Duke squeaked out a 78-76 win in a thrilling ACC championship game on March 12.

BC earned a No. 4 seed in the NCAA tournament playing in the Minneapolis bracket, and defeated Pacific on March 16 in a thrilling 88-76 double-OT game. The Eagles trailed by six points with just over two minutes remaining in the initial overtime. Following key three pointers by Dudley and Hinnant, BC went to Smith with only seconds remaining and, after being fouled, the All-ACC forward hit two free throws with four seconds left to tie the game at 74-74. Forcing a second overtime, BC went on a 14-2 run in the second OT to win the game. Against 12th-seeded Montana, Boston College won 69-56, advancing to the regional semi-finals for the first time since 1994.

In its Sweet Sixteen matchup against Villanova, BC lost a heartbreaker, 60-59, in overtime. The Eagles lead by as many as 14 points in the first half and controlled much of the initial 35 minutes of the game. But the Wildcats captured their first lead with 2:18 remaining in the second half when Randy Foye hit two free throws to give 'Nova a 49-48 lead, and his layup expanded it to 51-48. With 28 seconds left Dudley dropped a 3-pointer to tie the score.

In an exciting overtime session, a Smith basket gave BC a 59-58 lead. It was later learned that Smith played the entire overtime period with a broken hand. With only seconds remaining, Wildcat forward Will Sheridan slipped past his defender and scored the winning two points on a goaltending call against Sean Williams with 2.3 seconds left. Hinnant's desperation 3 missed at the buzzer — as Nova moved on to the Elite Eight.



  • 1965: John Austin (Third Team)
  • 1966: John Austin (Second Team)
  • 1969: Terry Driscoll (Third Team)
  • 1982: John Bagley (Third Team)
  • 1994: Bill Curley (Third Team)
  • 2001: Troy Bell (Second Team)
  • 2005: Craig Smith (Third Team)
  • 2006: Craig Smith (Second Team)
  • 2007: Jared Dudley (Second Team)

Big East Rookie of the Year

  • 1985-86: Dana Barros
  • 1990-91: Bill Curley
  • 1995-96: James "Scoonie" Penn
  • 1999-2000: Troy Bell

Big East Player of the Year

  • 1980-81: John Bagley
  • 2000-01: Troy Bell
  • 2002-03: Troy Bell

ACC Player of the Year

  • 2006-07: Jared Dudley

National Coach of the year

  • 2000-01: Al Skinner

Big East Coach of the Year

  • 1980-81: Tom Davis
  • 1995-96: Jim O'Brien (college basketball)
  • 2000-01: Al Skinner
  • 2004-05: Al Skinner

2007-2008 Boston College Eagles[]

Current Roster[]

Name Number Position Height Weight Year Hometown
Tyrese Rice 4 G 6-1 190 Sr. Richmond, Virginia
Biko Paris 5 G 6-1 200 Fr. New Orleans, Louisiana
Brennan Bennett 10 G 6-0 185 So. Whitinsville, Massachusetts
Corey Raji 11 F 6-5 210 Fr. Washington, New Jersey
Joe Trapani 12 F 6-8 215 So. Madison, Connecticut
Rakim Sanders 15 G 6-5 225 Fr. Pawtucket, Rhode Island
Tyler Roche 21 G 6-7 208 So. Hooksett, New Hampshire
John Oates 32 F 6-10 255 Sr. Harriman, New York
Tyrelle Blair 44 C 6-11 240 Sr. Monticello, Florida
Josh Southern 52 C 6-10 255 Fr. Saginaw, Michigan
Cortney Dunn 55 F 6-8 215 Fr. Dallas, Texas

External links[]


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