Fool me once...
Sean Williams and Akida McClain are gone. No sympathy for them from me. The guys I feel sorry for are Jared Dudley and Sean Marshall. This was shaping up to be a good season. It still can be (I’ll explain in a minute). First let me address what it means to McClain, Williams and unfortunately, Al Skinner.
McClain is done with big time basketball. He was a limited tweener to begin with. Now with this baggage and no eligibility to transfer, he will have to find something else to do. The kid just blew a world class education, tons of potential good will and a chance to play a game at a high level for another season. But he is clearly too stupid or doesn’t care. Three strikes and you are out.
Sean Williams is a little different case. I’ve written about him and his travails before. What surprised me was the reaction I got from his family. They sent me emails saying that they shared my frustrations and were doing everything they can to get through to Sean. Sean could have left BC after his first arrest, yet his family made him keep his commitment to BC. And he shined. His play last March was outstanding. He was really putting it together this year. Now he goes and does something stupid…again. This may seem cold, but BC is no longer the place for Sean. It sucks too, because he has the dangerous combination of undeveloped talent and no maturity. He needs to be in college. Sean will play basketball again. He’s probably still a first-round draft pick. But he has a lot to learn. He doesn’t have enough talent to get by in the NBA. He will need focus and dedication to ever get off an NBA bench. My hope for his family is that this is the final kick in the ass wake up call he needs. But I have a funny feeling he’ll get drafted, sign a good but not great contract, ride the bench for a season or two and be gone from the NBA in three seasons. To get by at the highest level you need to be either extremely skilled, or very skilled, hard working and focused. Sean is very skilled, but clearly lacks the other keys to NBA success.
This is really bad news for Al Skinner. This sort of thing has happened too much during his tenure. Al’s philosophy is pretty simple. He is not a baby sitter. He is not a rah-rah guy. He is not a salesmen. He has an eye for talent and a good scheme. He and his talented staff identify kids on the periphery, offer them a chance to compete at the highest level and let them be. In many cases this formula is perfect. Troy Bell, Craig Smith and Jared Dudley are the three best examples. But this philosophy is not just about stars. Role players like Jonathan Beerbohm, Uka Agbia and Louis Hinnant are perfect examples of guys who took their chance and ran with it. However, the ugly flip side are guys like Andrew Bryant, Ryan Sidney, Jermaine Watson, and now McClain and Williams. They all blew it and no one kept them in line. Al should now adjust his philosophy. If he is not going to babysit then he needs to focus on character and maturity during the recruiting process. Al is well liked and successful but if he doesn’t adjust, things will become increasingly uncomfortable for him at the Heights.
Now early today, I predicted BC’s finish. I think a 5-6 finish would be quite an accomplishment now. But the team can still finish strong. McClain is no real loss. We played without him for long stretches the past two season. Williams is a bigger loss, but as well as he’s played he is not irreplaceable.
Here are Williams' Per Minute Averages for his key stats:
Points = .38, Rebounds =.22, Steals =.04, Blocks = .16
Now we won’t be able to duplicate his blocks. But Dudley and Rice should pick up his steals. Dudley and Oates will also have to get some of his rebounds, but the guy who should really benefit is Shamari Spears. Here are his key per minute averages:
Points = .36, Rebounds =.27
So, if Spears gets more minutes and maintains his productivity, he should fill in well for Williams. But that is a lot to ask for a Freshman.
I have no idea how this team will react. Let’s hope it brings them together and they play great basketball for the next eight weeks. It could go either way, but Dudley and Marshall deserve a good ending.