Thursday, October 20, 2011

Blue Ribbon Previews Boston College and Looks Back at Cornell

In Blue Ribbon Yearbook's preview of Steve Donahue's Boston College team, the publication makes several references to Donahue's recruiting class of 2006 at Cornell which led the Big Red to three consecutive undisputed Ivy League titles, three consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances, a final 2009-2010 No. 17 national ranking in the ESPN/USA Today Top 25 Poll and a 2010 Sweet Sixteen appearance in the NCAA Tournament.

Blue Ribbon writes:
"It's possible that no team in ACC history has ever started a season with as little experience on hand [as Donahue's 2011-2012 Boston College team]. Donahue will open the year with two sophomores... a junior transfer... and a senior transfer... Everybody else who will play this year is a freshman -- and it's not an especially well-regarded class by the recruiting gurus. 'We're convinced we got great kids,' Donahue said, disputing the rankings. There's a common theme -- they can all shoot the ball, pass the ball and dribble the ball. The guys who rank recruits usually look for length and athleticism. 'We're not always able to compete for that type of prospect. We think this the best way to go.' That strategy worked for Donahue at Cornell, where he built an Ivy League powerhouse, breaking the Penn/Princeton stranglehold on that conference. He did it with a similar recruiting strategy & and a similar foundation class. That was in 2006-07, when Donahue's Big Red opened the season by winning at Northwestern with four freshmen and sophomore Adam Gore in the starting lineup. Late in that game, Gore blew out his knee and was lost for the season -- leaving Donahue's 2006 recruiting class to carry the load. 'It was midway through that year that we sensed they were something special,' Donahue said. They were holding their own. They finished 9-5 in the league. That class would anchor three straight Ivy League championship teams. As seniors, they led the Big Red to 29 wins and the NCAA Sweet 16... even if the Eagles do take a beating this season, withhold judgment for another year or two until we see whether this bunch of recruits can grow up like his Cornell class of 2006-07 did."

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

"That was in 2006-07, when Donahue's Big Red opened the season by winning at Northwestern with four freshmen and sophomore Adam Gore in the starting lineup."

This is revisionist history.
In 06-07, Cornell started SR Andrew Naeve, SO Brian Kreefer, FR Ryan Wittman, FR Louis Dale, and SO Adam Gore. When Adam Gore tore his ACL in the NW game, SR Graham Dow got his starting spot and FR Geoff Reeves and FR Alex Tyler got a gob of rotation minutes. Later in the year SR Ugo Ihekwazu got some of Brian Kreefer's starts.

But not "Adam Gore and four frosh starters..."

Even without Adam Gore, these guys had Penn down at the Palestra with eight minutes to go. No question it was the surprise team of the year in the Ivy League.