After throwing nine freshmen to the wolves in the Atlantic Coast Conference last season, Boston College will bring back a more experienced group than the one that went 9-22, but the Eagles still have been picked to finish last in the ACC for the second straight season, according to the preseason polls.
“I think the difficult time that we went through, I think we’ll see benefits this year and for sure in the future as well,” said BC coach Steve Donahue at the ACC media day in Charlotte, N.C., on Wednesday.
The Eagles still don’t have an upperclassman on scholarship. They took a trip to Spain in the offseason, bonding and at the same time facing tough international competition. Donahue said he can see the progress the group has made since last season.
“It’s a lot more fun to not stop and coach every dribble,” Donahue joked. “Every pass maybe, but we’re getting there.’’
For the first time, the conference preseason honors and rankings were decided by the coaches instead of media members, who voted in a separate poll Wednesday.
With eight first-place votes in the coaches’ poll, North Carolina State was the favorite to win the league. The Wolfpack’s C.J. Leslie was named preseason Player of the Year and freshman Rodney Purvis preseason Rookie of the Year.
The media poll mirrored the coaches, with North Carolina State first, getting 26 out of 53 first-place votes, and BC last.
After winning just four conference games a year ago, the Eagles expect to be able to compete on a night-to-night basis, even though they’re still young.
“There’s a lot of ups and downs in a team full of freshmen,” said center Dennis Clifford.
“I think this year, we’re looking forward to being more consistent and more confident in every move we make.”