BC plays Baylor on Thursday in the first day of the Charleston Classic. While the storyline should be BC's potential improvement and the chance to test themselves against a ranked team, I suspect many will focus instead on Baylor Guard Brady Heslip's awkward departure from BC before he even played a game.
Heslip gained national attention for his hitting nine 3-pointers in the NCAA tournament last year. He also started all year for the Bears and was one of the nation's best shooters. That wasn't a surprise to BC hoops fans. During his redshirt season at BC, Heslip was rumored to be the best shooter on the team. He supposedly could make a shot from anywhere in the gym during practice. But we never got to see him actually play for BC. Heslip was officially a rare midyear early entree in basketball. Skinner and staff decided to redshirt him and preserve four years of eligibility. Al was fired that Spring and Heslip transferred after the season ended.
While some Heslip's family members took to the internet to complain about Donahue's treatment of Brady, I don't think our -- at the time new -- coach did anything purposely wrong. He gave assessments to each player and told him what they each needed to improve on and what his initial plan was. Most guys bought in. Others did not. This happens with any coaching change at any college sport. Some new leaders will sugar coat things to keep people around. Other coaches are more frank and forward as to motivate or set expectations. I don't know firsthand what Donahue said and in hindsight, maybe he should have taken a different approach with Heslip, but Brady Heslip departure doesn't really change much about where were are today.
Heslip is a great shooter and has improved his quickness and physique since leaving the Heights. He might have made the difference in getting Donahue's first team into the tournament, but I don't think he would have carried last year's team. This season is still a big question mark. I am glad he's had success and I hope he plays well on Thursday but I don't look back at what could have been. It is not fair to Donahue. Heslip, like Rakim Sanders, Matt Humphrey or Jordan Daniels won't be the reason we rise or fall. All were good players, but none are program changers. The key for Donahue is progression and the continued search for a guy who can change things for BC.