Oct. 31, 1997
Boston College Basketball Prepares For 1997-98 Season
First Exhibition Game vs. Marathon AAU on Wednesday, Nov. 5
EXHIBITION OPENER: The Eagles open their 1997-98 season with an exhibition game against Marathon AAU on Wednesday, November 8 at Conte Forum. Game time is 7 p.m. ... When the Eagles take the court against Marathon, the team's veterans will see some familiar faces in the dark uniforms. Two former BIG EAST players now play for Marathon -- former St. John's forward Charles Minlend and former Rutgers center Johnny McCrimmon.
KIDS DAY: On Saturday, November 8, the Boston College men's basketball team will host "Kids Day" in Power Gymnasium. All are welcome to watch the team's intrasquad scrimmage from 11 a.m.-Noon, and then meet the players when the scrimmage concludes. Players will be available for autographs.
THE HEAD COACH: The 1997-98 Eagles will be led by head coach Al Skinner. Skinner came to Boston College last April after spending nine seasons as the head coach at the University of Rhode Island. He led the Rams to two NCAA Tournament berths and two NIT berths in his tenure.
THE ASSISTANT COACHES: Skinner brought three of his Rhode Island assistants to the Heights with him and added one additional assistant coach. Bill Coen, Ed Cooley and former BC star guard Tim O'Shea ('84) joined the BC staff after working with Skinner in Kingston, R.I., while Pat Duquette came to BC from St. Michael's College.
OUR TEAM: The Eagles have nine scholarship players on the 1997-98 roster, although junior swingman Michael Cotton must sit out this season after transferring from the University of Oklahoma ... Skinner also has five additional players practicing with the team. These five were selected from a pool of 45 players that "tried out" for the team on Saturday, October 18. The final team roster is expected to be set before the first exhibition game.
THREE RETURNING STARTERS: Boston College will be led by its three returning starters -- seniors Mickey Curley, Antonio Granger and Duane Woodward. The three will also serve as the team's captains.
Curley, a center, has played in all 89 games in his three years at Boston College. Last winter, Curley averaged 8.3 points per game on 56.5 percent shooting from the field. He also averaged 4.9 rebounds per game in 31 games.
Granger, a swingman, averaged 10.1 points and 4.1 rebounds per game last winter, starting all 31 games. He finished the 1996-97 season as the BIG EAST Conference's leader in three-point field goal percentage, shooting 40.7 percent (55-for-135). He enters his senior season with 115 three-point field goals, ranking him sixth on BC's all-time list.
Woodward, a guard, also played in 31 games last winter, leading the team in minutes played (34.3 per game). He averaged 10.7 points and 3.3 rebounds per game. He led the team in assists (3.9 per game) and tied for the team lead in steals (1.7 per game).
TWO MORE RETURNEES: In addition to the team's three seniors, junior forward Kostas Maglos and sophomore guard Damien Foster return from last season's NCAA Tournament team. Maglos saw limited time in the Eagles' first 22 games last winter, but emerged as a key performer in the team's stretch run, including the BIG EAST Tournament and NCAA Tournament. He averaged 9.0 points and 6.0 rebounds per game in the team's two NCAA Tournament contests ... An exceptional shooter, Foster saw limited action in his freshman season, but is expected to see more time this winter.
THE NEWCOMERS: After accepting the head coaching job in April 1997, Al Skinner and his staff landed three recruits and one transfer to bolster the roster -- forward Jonathan Beerbohm (Fairbury, Neb.), swingman Michael Cotton (Univ. of Oklahoma transfer), guard Kenny Harley (Bronx, N.Y.) and guard Javier Rodriguez (Vitoria, Spain).
FIRST IMPRESSIONS: While the team has had just nine official practices to date, Skinner and his staff have already begun to evaluate their team and implement their offensive and defensive systems. Below are some comments from the coaches on what they've seen to date:
On the Offensive End: "The team is progressing nicely and adapting to our up-tempo style. We'll look for balanced scoring. We think we have low-post scorers in Kostas (Maglos) and Mickey (Curley), and perimeter scorers in the guards."
On the Defensive End: "We've always played multiple defensive schemes, so we'd like to get back to that. Still, we want to do what we do well and not sacrifice quality for quantity. We're going to stress fundamentals and look for improved understanding of the changing defensive system."
On the Running Game: "We had success running the ball at Rhode Island and we'd like to run the ball here. We have a fast break with a dozen options."
On the Transition: "We're extremely encouraged by what we've seen, but we know it's going to take time with so many first-year players. They're adjusting not only to our system, but also to major college basketball practices."
On the Captains: "All three have provided great leadership on and off the court. They are very competitive, are experienced and have tremendous work ethics.
On the Newcomers: "They are improving daily and we're looking for them to make significant contributions this year. We have to be patient, though. They're going to be much better players in February and March than they'll be in November or December."
QUICK NOTES: After an outstanding career at the University of Massachusetts, Al Skinner played three years in the NBA and two years in the ABA. He scored more than 3,000 points in his professional career ... Assistant coach Tim O'Shea was a Parade All-America selection at Wayland (Mass.) High School ... Senior captain Duane Woodward traveled to Spain this past summer as part of a People-to-People Sports Committee all-star team ... Freshman Kenny Harley spent this past summer working on the New York Commodities Exchange floor ... Junior Michael Cotton, whose father is a Master Sergeant in the U.S. Air Force, has settled in Chestnut Hill. He has, however, done his share of moving. After being born in Detroit (1977-80), he lived in Abiline, Texas (1980-82), Manila, Phillipines (1982-85), Alamagordo, New Mexico (1985-88), Anchorage, Alaska (1988-91) and Little Rock, Arkansas (1991-95), before heading to the University of Oklahoma. Cotton is also a talented musician. He plays both the piano and the saxophone.
(Fairbury, Neb./Fairbury HS)
High School Highlights: Averaged 21.8 points and 8.8 rebounds per game as a senior, earning All-Super State (selected from all classes) honors ... scored a school single-game record 43 points as a junior ... also played on the school's football, track and golf teams.
His Hometown: Fairbury is a town of 4,500 people in the southeastern part of Nebraska.
His Other Talent: Jonathan is also a talented singer. He learned the art from his father, who is a vocal music instructor.
His Thoughts: "Upon coming to Boston College, I was a little nervous about the transtition from a small town. Yet, I have settled into my new environment very comfortably. Adjusting to public transportation has been an interesting venture.
"I was a little concerned about how I would shift from the high school where studying was minimal. My first couple of tests took their toll on me, but now I have made the adjustments and started to study with more success.
"I was a little afraid of coming so far away to college and being homesick. I have had a few moments of it, but for the most part I'm doing really well. BC has so much to offer. You have the city right nearby, yet you're not directly in the city. Campus life is so much fun with tons of sports activities to attend."
Coach's Comments: "Jon is deceptively athletic, and he's adjusting quickly to the college game ... He will be essential to our ability to rebound ... He can score effectively in the halfcourt set and in transition ... He has a very good understanding of our system."