Yes, there is still at least one more game left on the schedule for the BC men's basketball team, tomorrow's afternoon contest in the first round of the ACC tournament. As the 12 seed, Donahue's boys draw NC State, and if they survive that one, UVA awaits. It'd be fun to be optimistic, but let's face it, the season is over (although it would be an amazing story if four upsets took the team to the NCAAs, but you'd have to believe in some pretty hefty miracles on that one).
How far has this rag tag group of freshmen, five-year grad students, transfers and Danny Rubin/Gabe Moton come in the last five months? Other than ending the season on a Miami blowout, the ACC schedule wasn't completely a disaster, or at least the disaster it could have been after all of those early season beat downs from UMass, BU, Harvard, Holy Cross, et al.
The rotation finally started to click, and Donahue shortened the bench as the season progressed. Ryan Anderson definitely appears to be the star of the team, and Dennis Clifford will be a nice foundation down low to support him; Matt Humphrey enters his senior season as a nice mature leader and Lonnie "LoJack" Jackson will continue to find himself a place in Donahue's offense as long as he keeps up his outside shooting and keeps his temper down. Jordan Daniels is another key piece to grow in the back court alongside two incoming guards from the small 2012 recruiting class.
Come fall of 2012, we're looking at a more experienced starting five of those key players, with Moton, KC Caudill and Patrick Heckmann as bench options. There's no reason not to expect a 10 man rotation with Donahue's offense that would include the two new recruits.
Is this all to say that the team is ready to rise to stardom out of the ashes of the 2011-2012 season? No. But a 12th place finish in the ACC is going to be a disappointment next season, and not an expectation. As the team is recognizable (what a year to not have names on the back of the jerseys...), the seats in Conte may once again fill up as well.
It's going to get better. Not immediately, but read through again what the future holds. These are not kids who are going to bolt, and come 2013, the only piece that will need replaced in the starting line-up (barring disaster) is Humphrey. The benefit to getting nine freshmen at once is that they will push each other through the growing pains.
Let's not judge them tomorrow on the final result. We hope for a fight, pray for a win, but we do expect them to fall short. It's ok.