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SAME FEDORA-NEW CROWN? (DDSCB21)

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SAME FEDORA-NEW CROWN?

[This dynasty report carries on Coach Frederick Aura’s coaching career using DDSCB2021 (rather than using DDSCB2020 as was the case with the original dynasty report “Fedora”).  Coach Aura’s attributes, skill levels, and philosophies remain as they were when the previous dynasty report concluded as does his personal life at his present age of 48.

As a coach he’s a disciplinarian, believes in high academics, doesn’t bend the rules, and has a bit of a temper.  He prefers a deep bench, has no problem with using young players, crashes the boards, likes employing a pressure defense on both ends of the court, and prefers using a man-to-man defense about 75-80% of the time but works a zone in and out to keep the other team off-balance.  His strengths are recruiting, player development and defense. His weaker areas are scouting and offense.

This dynasty report will continue with similar settings that were used previously: use of NCAAhoop’s Real World Mod (option 03), brutal recruiting difficulty level, 200% injury level, illegal recruiting allowed (of course, with Aura’s high integrity he doesn’t get to indulge in that), underclassmen can declare for the pros, no conference movement, and a high level of job pressure.

And now…on with Coach Fed’s story.]

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Coach Frederick Aura

I finally got back to full-time coaching at Towson for the Conference Tourney.  It felt good to be back.  I was excited about how well the team performed during that tournament.  And it was good to be able to return to the NCAA Tournament.  We gave it all we had but just Mississippi just had more than we could handle the night we played them.  It was a disappointment for the entire team, but I told them that advancing in that tournament takes preparation, teamwork, execution, and also luck, since at times one team is hot and the other not on a particular night.  With the right amount of effort the Tigers are talented enough to return to the NCAA Tournament next season.

My parents have progressed reasonably well in their rehab from the automobile accident in which they were involved and for which I left the team to help them during their recovery.  I hated to miss coaching the team for almost the entire season but am glad I was able to help my parents when they needed it. 

Two days after our March Madness loss, Janeka and I received more bad news though.  Her mother has been diagnosed with cancer that will require both radiation and chemo.  Janeka is devastated by this. 

My intention was to return to Towson for another year at the least, particularly since I’d been with the team so little in the previous season.  But after doing what was necessary for MY parents, I felt that Janeka needed to be with her mother (and father) as the cancer treatments proceeded. 

I talked with AD Perry Winkle and told him I felt I needed to see if there was a coaching job that was near where Janeka’s parents live.  He said he really wanted me to stay at Towson but that he understood and would give me permission to get out of my contract if I was able to find a job that worked out so she could be near her family.

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Coaching Options:

I hired an agent, Jason Braxton, and he got the word out that I was looking to make a move.  I was extremely pleased to learn that there were a number of colleges which were interested. 

The interest in my being a college’s head coach went beyond schools from lower ranked conferences to quite a few within mid-major conferences.  And there were even a few that were at programs in the power conferences…of course, those were at schools with basketball programs that were in the lower depths of those power conferences.  Most of the jobs just didn’t work, since they weren’t near where Janeka’s parents live. So the list narrowed rapidly.

Janeka’s parents live in New England so that left out possible jobs in all other areas of the country.  I’d expected to get a job at a college in a mid to lower ranked conference, but had a couple schools in mid-major conferences that were showing interest.  Jason Braxton began negotiating with those. 

Then when I was getting ready to focus on just one of those, Jason got a call.  It was from the athletic Director from a school that had contacted me a year earlier.  I’d told them at that time that while I was interested, I wasn’t going to leave Towson.  They’d ended up moving their 1st Assistant to Head Coach after that.  But the team tanked and they were ready to drop their experiment after one season.  The location was ideal since her parents live just outside the city where this college is.

I told Jason to let them know I was interested.  Things went rapidly after that.  It became apparent that they really would like to have me as their head coach.  Money wasn’t really an issue since the figure they floated was far above what I had been receiving at Towson.  The school had some other things going for it beyond location: (1) high academics which fit perfectly with my priorities; (2) a history of basketball prestige; (3) a budget that would allow the hiring of decent (but not great) assistants and aggressive recruiting; (4) a name that would attract recruits; (5) a top-flight conference.  There were some negatives of course: (1) basketball prestige was in the rather distant past; (2) the team was a consistent dweller in the lower reaches of the conference; (3) last season’s record was abysmal; (4) even though the budget was much higher than the budget at Towson, it was lower than that any of the other colleges in the same conference and orders of magnitude beneath some of the opponents to be faced in the same conference; (5) the team had a couple strong players but the overall talent level wasn’t high (certainly it was beneath the talent I’d mustered at Towson) and there was little depth and only one senior so no chance for a quick fix.

Obviously accepting the job at this college would definitely entail a major rebuilding process that wouldn’t be quick and getting truly competitive within the conference would be a big challenge.

But I didn’t go into coaching to take the easy path.  I told Jason to try to get a preliminary proposal from them and set up a time for me to get together with them so we could see if there truly was a good match.

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The Proposal

The college came back with a pretty strong preliminary proposal.  Jason Braxton, my agent, set up a meeting.  I flew north.

Arriving at Logan International Airport, I was met by Roland Hastings, the Athletic Director, who whisked me away to the campus of Boston College.  The two of us had a good meeting and I was shown the athletic facilities at the college.  We then got together with other officials at the college.

They put me up in a very nice hotel in Boston and that evening Roland took me out to dinner at the Boston College Club along with the president of the college, the chairman of the board of trustees, and the director of the BC Hoop Club.

Following an enjoyable dinner, Roland met with me privately to make a formal offer for me to be their next head coach and outline the specifics of their offer which included a 3-year contract at $414,000/year.  But he also guaranteed a job for Janeka within BC’s William F. Connell School of Nursing.  He said he knew that the education of our children was important to both Janeka and me.  He also said that he knew Omari (who will be a HS junior) and Malik (who will be a HS freshman) are good basketball players and he would ensure they are accepted into Boston College High School which has high academics and a strong basketball program.  He said that many of the high school’s basketball players get basketball scholarships to many different excellent basketball programs.  He also recommended that we consider having Devany, who is going into the 3rd grade, attend Saint Columbkille Partnership School which is a K-8 school that has partnered with BC to develop a national model of excellence for elementary and middle school education.

Later that night I spoke at length with Janeka.  She particularly appreciated that Roland had considered our kids, and since we’re practicing Catholics, that he’d provided strong Catholic education options for all 3 of our kids.  Of course, she was thrilled that she could be close to her parents.  The next morning I spoke with Jason Braxton and then went over to visit with Janeka’s parents at their home.  I returned to Boston College for more meetings in the afternoon, and after speaking with Janeka again, accepted the college’s offer.  The following day I met with the basketball team and staff.  Further review of the team roster made it quite apparent that the coming season would be a tough one.  That afternoon the college held a press conference to announce the hiring and introduce me.

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Perry Winkle, AD at Towson

Damn!  While I’m glad that Fred Aura got a great new job, I sure hate to lose him.  He’s really turned things around here.  In his 6 seasons with Towson he had a 137-60 (.695) record that included 3 conference titles, 4 NCAA appearances including getting to the Sweet 16 once, 4 times with 20+ wins, having the university’s first player drafted by the pros, and being chosen as the CAA Coach of the Year 4 times.  I’m afraid Fed will find that trying to take a team from the bottom to the top of the ACC may not be possible.  How do you overcome the likes of Duke and North Carolina.

Now I’m saddled with finding a replacement.  Coach Aura highly recommended that his 1st Assistant, Kenyon Haynes, be hired as the new head coach.  I like Kenyon and he did a good job filling in for Fred this past season.  But Kenyon’s 68 years old and I really want a new, fresh energy taking over the reins. 

When Kenyon realized he wasn’t in the running for the job, he quit.  He didn’t find a head coaching job, but was hired by Liberty University as their 1st Assistant Coach.

It took me nearly a month, but I finally was able to hire 51 year old Nate Brown as our new head coach.  Nate is an outstanding recruiter.  He wanted his own staff, and subsequently hired 3 new assistants.  Their salaries are a little lower than what we were paying Fred’s assistants so that means more money left for recruiting.  As is often the case, some of the players Fred had recruited and who had played for us, decided to transfer after Fred left.  That likely means our fortunes on the court will take a downturn for a year or two until Nate has had to recruit some good players and institute his philosophy and strategies.

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Kenyon Haynes

When Coach Aura left, I let Perry Winkle know I wanted the Head Coaching job.  And I know that Crash (Coach Aura) also made a pitch for me to take over.  But then it was like I’d never done anything for Towson.  Perry immediately opened the hiring process to others and never discussed my taking over the reins at all with me.  I felt betrayed.  While I’m at an age that I could (and maybe should) retire, I’m just not ready.  I was late to latch on as a head coach elsewhere.  Crash dangled the possibility of becoming his 1st assistant at Boston College, but I don’t want to live in that weather. So finally I opted to accept a 1st assistant job at Liberty University in Lynchburg, VA...not all that far away from Towson.  I imagine that will be the end of the line for me.  I doubt anyone will consider me as a head coach with 70 approaching.  I’ll take it year by year and see how long I want to hang around Lynchburg.

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Posted (edited)

Kevin Abney

 

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Hi!  I’m the new 1st Assistant Coach at Boston College.  Coach Fred Aura apparently got rid of two of the coaches who were on the staff when he accepted the job. Besides me, he hired Robert Wilson as 3rd assistant and kept 2nd Assistant Chris Evans. 

Last season I was the 2nd assistant coach at Oklahoma.  My primary job at BC will be as the Practice Assistant.  Although I have done a lot of recruiting in the past, I feel I’m pretty good with player development and look forward to being in charge of practices and being Coach Aura’s primary bench coach. 

Chris Evans, the 2nd assistant coach, will be the Recruiting Assistant.  He did that last season for BC and has strong abilities in that area.  He’s on a 3 year contract, unlike myself and Robert who have just 1 year contracts. 

Robert Wilson, our new 3rd assistant coach, comes to BC after being a 3rd assistant coach across the city at Boston University.  His past experience has been entirely as a Scout, so as our Scouting Assistant, I think he will do a good job.

Edited by PointGuard

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2nd Assistant Coach Chris Evans:

 

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I’m the lone survivor on the BC basketball staff.  After how we did last year, I’m not surprised.  I was pleased that Coach Aura liked what he found out about me as a recruiter.  We only have one senior on the roster this year, so it’s incumbent upon me to find the best recruit we can land to fill that one scholarship that will come open.  Based on the experience and talent on our team this season, I believe that our most critical need is at SF. But if we can’t get a strong recruit at that position, I think our secondary need is a big, strong interior player.  Coach Aura concurs.

With only one player to recruit, we’ll be buying the Atlantic East Regional Report and the National Report and attending the Indy Elite and Big Apple Showcase camps.

Because of the high academic standards at BC with SAT minimums set at 980, that limits the recruits it makes sense to focus upon.

Unfortunately this year there aren’t many recruits coming out of Massachusetts. The best on is a SG and is probably too highly rated for us to have a chance.  But there are a few others we will put on our list.  We’ll also put some recruits on our list from within our region and then also focus on some of the top rated recruits nationally and internationally. 

I’m excited since recruiting season is about set to kick off.  I’ll get together with Coach Aura and the other assistants later this week to go over some of the recruits I think we should put on our watch and call lists.

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Jason Braxton, Boston College Athletic Director

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Although BC has a great basketball history, it’s been 15 years since we’ve had a winning season or conference record. And the past 5 years our overall record has been 49-105.  Our move from the Big East to the AAC 20 years ago hasn’t been a pretty one thus far.  The prestige level of our basketball program is, along with Wake Forest, the lowest by far in the AAC.  I’m tired of being the doormat of ACC and not getting to the NCAA Tournament.  Obviously, the alumni and the BC Hoop Club feel exactly the same way.  They’ve been bending my ear all 3 years I’ve been here as AD.  The coach I inherited lasted two years under me at which point I didn’t renew his contract.  Last season I made an effort to entice Fred Aura, but he showed no interest.  I made the mistake of promoting Stan Whitehouse, who had been our 1st assistant coach, to be our head coach.  That turned out to be a disastrous mistake!  We finished last in the AAC and there was a lot of unrest on the team.  It definitely was time for a major change.

While I really don’t expect Coach Aura to work a miracle by turning this team into an instant threat, I decided to set some high goals: (1) no academic ineligibility (an obvious goal due to our high academic standing); (2) win 15+ games; (3) finish in the top half in the conference standings; (4) qualify for the NCAA tournament; and (5) improve our basketball program prestige.  I believe Fred can achieve the first and last goals, but the middle 3 will definitely be tough and #4 is very likely just a dream at this point.  But I’d rather set high goals and have him miss some of them, than to set low goals that don’t require much effort and a stretch.  Actually I know he’s got a major building project that will take several years.  But we need to get the Eagles back to the prominence that we had in the late 20th and early 21st century.

I’m already excited by the two new assistant coaches that Coach Aura hired.  They look like upgrades to those they replaced.  I’m hopeful that we’ll be able to land a top-flight recruit this season who will be able to significantly contribute immediately when he gets to BC.

For the first time since I arrived at Boston College, the BC Hoop Club has shown optimism. That’s a major burden off my shoulders.  Fred has been open with them and has gotten them to realize that the building process will be a gradual one.  If we can develop and continue an upward trend, I believe they’ll be happy.

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2025-2026 SEASON

It’s June 2025.  Coach Aura is still getting his feet on the ground in Boston.  His family has moved north.

It’s time for he and his staff to begin planning for Boston College’s 2025-2026 season. 

2nd Assistant Coach Chris Evans

I got together with Coach Aura and we went over available recruits to create a pretty long list of recruits we will initially focus upon.  I had to laugh when Coach Aura expressed surprise that many recruits have already shown some interest in our program.  He said this is a big change from coaching at Towson when it took a lot of effort and repeated contacts to get recruits interested.  Things are different when you’re part of the ACC.  I told him, “Just think what it’s like if you’re coaching at Duke!”  He rolled his eyes and said, “Yeah, and we have to play them...and North Carolina and Syracuse this season.”

Most of the recruits on our call and watch lists are SF’s, PF’s, and C’s.  Now the fun begins as we try to find the right guy to fill our one available scholarship.

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Marius Witt, PF

I don’t know whether to be excited or just let out a big yawn.  We now have the 3rd head coach for our team as I enter my 4th season at BC. I hear that that since his name is Fred Aura and he always wears a fedora hat, his players have taken to referring to him as Fed-aura (or Fedora) and calling him Coach Fed.  This coach has at least developed a winning team before he got here with a habit of getting his team into the Big Dance.  And he talks a good game.  But talk is cheap.  And with just one season left for me I really don’t expect him to make enough of an impact to change what’s been a series of dismal seasons I’ve had to endure here at BC. 

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Omari Aura, Frederick’s oldest son

I didn’t want to move away from the friends I’d made in Towson.  But now that I’m here, I’m getting used to Boston.  Malik and I have been admitted to Boston College High School.  I’ll be a junior this year.  School has yet to start so nothing I can say about it.  But the school’s basketball coach, Coach Murrow got together with us and arranged for us to attend summer basketball camps.  And these camps have been GREAT!

In Towson I attended a public school.  We had a pretty good basketball team, but this parochial school seems to recruit almost as much as colleges do.  So this team is loaded with good players.  Coach Murrow said he thought I had a good chance of starting at either PF or SF.  He didn’t say that for Malik.  But even though my brother will be a freshman, I wouldn’t count him out.  He’s been learning from me since he was an itty-bitty kid and has some natural talents I wish I had and his outside shot is a thing of beauty.  He’s still growing so will be contesting for a guard position.  I’d love for us both to be on the court at the same time.  We sort of just naturally know what the other one is going to do.

Devany is going to be a 3rd grader this year.  She likes playing soccer and is pretty good for her age.  But Mom has her also taking ballet classes and piano lessons.  It’s hard to know which activity she likes best.  She’ll be going to a good Catholic elementary school when school starts late this summer.  This summer she’s been going with Mom who has been helping Grandma with her cancer treatments most every day.

Besides helping Grandma, Mom has begun a job with the BC School of Nursing.  She is working on some research projects plus doing some counseling and tutoring of some of the nursing students, so she can schedule work around at she’s doing with Grandma.

Dad’s trying to spend as much time with us as he can but also has to spend a bunch of time getting ready to lead his new team.  It’s going to be great to see a lot of great teams playing against BC.

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Robert Wilson, 3rd Assistant Coach

Great news today.  Sophomore SG James Lilly was nominated for the Norton Award.  James will be our team leader and most likely top scorer.  He’s an excellent defender and a real ball-hawk.  He’s a tremendous rebounder for a guard.  Hopefully this honor and the chance to actually win the award will motivate him to do even better this season than he would have otherwise. 

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Posted (edited)

Frederick Aura

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As we began to approach the time when we would be making some final recruiting decisions, I was impressed by the quality and quantity of the recruits who were showing interest in our program.  But we only had one scholarship to offer.  This not only meant we’d be passing on some excellent players but that our class structure will continue to be askew.  I prefer to have 2-4 players in each class on our roster.  But if we only are able to add a single freshman, the season after this present season we’d have 3 seniors, 5 juniors, 4 sophomores and just the one freshman.

I then reviewed the players on our roster for this season.  One player stood out…freshman SF Tony Johnson.  I reviewed his high school film carefully and evaluated how he’s done at camps this summer.  He’s really not ready to play for us and his potential appears to be limited as well.  There’s no one skill that stands out in a positive way.  When he gets the ball, he has shown a strong tendency to just loft up shots rather than drive and most of his shots were from way outside.  That hasn’t resulted in a lot of points, so he’ll be a liability on the court as far as I’m concerned.  I hate cutting scholarship players, but I just don’t see him ever contributing for us.  I called him in and explained the situation, saying if he stays on the team he’s almost certainly going to be redshirted.  He wasn’t happy about this, saying he came here to play, not be redshirted or ride the bench.  I told him that was an unrealistic expectation here at Boston College and that if he wants to play as a freshman he probably should consider trying to latch on with either a Division 2 or 3, NAIA, or JC team.  I told him I’d help him find a new program if he wants my help.  He said he understood and the cut was made.  So, now rather than 1 scholarship we have 2 scholarships to offer this year.

Edited by PointGuard

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Chris Evans, 2nd Assistant (Recruiting) Coach:

We’re reaching crunch time as far as summer recruiting goes.  It’s time to do some home visits and make scholarship offers.   Coach Aura and I are agreed we’d like to get a SF and a big man with the 2 scholarships we now will be filling.

So today, he got together with me and the other assistants.  He wants us all to review the films stand notes we have on our top candidates, each jot down our notes and evaluations and then as a group go over each candidate.  We trimmed down a slightly larger list of candidates to 4 SF’s and 7 C/PF’s.  I’ll summarize our group comments on each of those recruits:

SF’s:

Sam Dickens: Everyone was impressed by his defense and scoring ability from both inside and outside.  He’s a good passer and is athletic.  Other than maybe free throw shooting, he has no real big holes in his abilities.  He was in the top 25 at the Indy Elite camp and the top 10 at the Big Apple Showcase.  While he’s interested in us, it will take a helluva sales job to get him to commit.

Greg Smith: An outstanding rebounder and a strong scorer from inside and outside.  His defense is ok but can be improved, but he’s a hard worker.  We’re pretty high on his top 10.

Adam Joseph: Great scorer, particularly from outside.  He’s a good passer and pretty strong defensively.  Needs to work on his rebounding, but is also a hard worker.  Was in the Top 10 at the Las Vegas Revue.  Since he’s from Arizona and location is important, it might be difficult to beat out teams from that area.

Quinton Bass: A very good scorer…more so from outside.  Very good passer and ball handler.  Not particularly athletic but hasn’t had any injury problems.

PF’s:

Matt Samuels: Excellent defensively.  A good scorer, particularly from inside.  Outstanding rebounder.  Good passer.  Not strong athletically.  Poor free throw shooter.  Was in the Top 25 at the Big Apple Showcase.

Alan Yeager: Excellent rebounder.  Great scorer from inside and outside.  Strong defensively but surprisingly week shot blocker and at getting steals.  Bad at the free throw line.  Needs to work on his ball handling.

Rico Reid: Excellent scorer particularly from inside.  Very athletic.  Weak defensively.  Needs to improve his rebounding.  Not a hard worker.

Courtland Reese: Good scorer particularly from inside.  Outstanding rebounder.  Very good defensively, including being a strong shot blocker.  Good passer but poor ball handler.  Poor free throw shooter.  Top 10 at the Big Apple Showcase.

Marion Heath: Excellent defender, scorer, and rebounder.  Weak athletically, at the free throw line, and at stealing and shot blocking, but a hard worker.

Lance Hannah: While not outstanding in any one skill area, very strong in all skills.  Very good shooter from both inside and outside.  Not injury problems.  We’re at the very top of his Top 10.

William Cornell: Like Hannah, he’s strong across the board.  Inside scoring is very strong.  Harder worker.

We decided that while any of these recruits would be positive additions to our team, Coach Aura will make his first 4 home visits to SF’s Dickens and Smith and to big men Samuels and Reese.

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Posted (edited)

Janeka Aura, wife of Coach Aura

The job with Boston College’s William F. Connell School of Nursing is a mix of counselling and support of nursing students and research for various school of nursing programs.  While I work at the school at times, I also am able to do some functions online at home.

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Therefore since moving to Boston, I’ve been able to get over to be with my mother most every day.  She’s putting up a good fight and trying to be positive, but chemo is playing hell with her body.  I know she’s happy that we are now in the area.  And my father is definitely appreciative of having the extra support for her.

Fred and our kids have really been helpful also.  They’ve spent time with my parents also and helped to lighten some of the darker moments for my mother.

Omari and Malik have integrated well into their new high school and are now playing on the school’s basketball team.  Devany is a happy 3rd grader.  She’s not only playing soccer, but has begun learning field hockey which is popular in the area.  She also takes piano lessons and goes to ballet school, but soccer seems to be her primary interest outside school.

Edited by PointGuard
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Posted (edited)

Jason Braxton, Athletic Director

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Allll-riiight!  Things are really looking up already for BC basketball.  Coach Aura and his staff have filled both available scholarships and it’s not yet October!

We have verbal acceptances of scholarships from two recruits:

We landed Sam Dickens immediately in mid-September.  He’s a 6’ 8’ who will be a high school senior this year in North Berwick, Maine.  We thought there were a lot of schools ahead of us on his top 10 list, but Coach Aura must have said all the right things and we moved all the way to the top immediately after the first home visit.  Coach Aura went right back to his home the next week and Dickens agreed to play for us.  As a junior last year he averaged 19.2 ppg and 5.3 rpg.  He was impressive at the two summer camps he attended.  He’s that good of a scorer, defender and rebounder.  His size allows him to work effectively inside and he has a sweet outside shot as well.

One week later we got the second acceptance following repeat home visits by Coach Aura.  Courtland Reese is a 6’9” C from Windham, Maine.  Reese scored 14.0 ppg and pulled down 8.5 rpg as a junior.  Courtland is a monster on the boards and scores well inside.  He’s good defensively and is a devastating shot blocker.  He was a Top 10 player in the Big Apple Showcase.  I suspect he also could be a starter for us as a freshman.

I’m excited to land both of these guys and believe each one can be an impact player for us next season.  They give me faith that we’ve begun our upward journey to a rejuvenation of basketball for Boston College.

Coach Aura pointed out to me how little we have left in our recruiting budget as a way of letting me know he feels we need an increase for next year.  I let him know the college is presently on an austerity program so not to expect any increases for a couple years.

On another front I scheduled some pretty tough teams for our preconference home games, but easier teams for our preconference away games.  Since I’d set a goal for 15 wins, it seemed, it seemed reasonable not to schedule top teams on the road for our preconference games.  With how tough the AAC is, we’ll need a bunch of wins during preconference play to have a chance of achieving that goal.  The tougher home schedule will enable Coach Aura to prepare the team for the more talented teams we will encounter when ACC play begins.

Edited by PointGuard

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Problems in Paradise

Coach Aura

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As we were nearing the end of the practice season, freshman SG Morrow Strong continually was giving other players cheap shots when he thought he could get away with it.  That earned him a trip to my office.  He refused to take responsibility and tried to place the blame on others.  I tried taking a low-key approach, but his temper flared and he showed no respect for me or anyone on the team.  I told him that I was going to suspend him and he flew off the handle, saying, “That’s B--- S---!  I don’t have to take this crap.”  And he stormed out of the room. 

After reflecting on what had just happened, I talked to my assistant coaches.  They said he’d had a really bad attitude ever since he got here and was a consistent disruptive force on the team.   His skill level had had me planning to redshirt him, but I decided it just wasn’t worth putting up with someone that was going to poison the team.  So I cut him which dropped our roster to 11 scholarship players plus 2 walk-ons.  Strong had a poor relationship with the team, so I don’t expect my cutting him will have any repercussions.  Actually it will serve notice to let the team know I don’t put up with a guy who is disrespectful to teammates and the coaching staff.

Another positive is that it opens another scholarship to offer this season. But it’s risky since our remaining budget is low and we’re past the primary recruiting season.  Chris Evans, my recruiting assistant, and I put our heads together to review the recruits on our list to determine who we’d offer the scholarship to.  Since we already have a big man and SF who have given us verbals and both will be freshmen next year, we decided to offer the remaining scholarship to a JC point guard from Indiana who is a frikkin’ passing magician.  It’s a long shot that we will get him, though, since we’re late to the table and he’s outside our region.  I’m hoping that the chance to come to a premier college near Boston plus play in the ACC will be a strong influence on him.

We had one other freshman on our roster who we had considered redshirting, but now with 13 rather that 15 players on our roster, I decided to not redshirt anyone this year.  I figure we can get him some minutes on the floor in some of our games that may develop him quicker than if he were redshirted…and if we have injuries, we may need the depth he adds.

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Time for the 2025-2026 Season to Kick-off

Kevin Abney, 1st Assistant Coach

Practice season is over and time for the pre-conference schedule to begin. 

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Practices went well in October and early November.  We have two very good players.  Sophomore James Lilly at SG is our best player as evidenced by his nomination for the Norton Award.  He should be our best scorer, and while he’s only 6’0”, he’s an amazingly good rebounder.  Inside senior PF Marius Witt is a great rebounder and he likely will be our second-best scorer.  C Jason Caldwell is a freshman but will start.  He has some good natural talent but will take some time to compete strongly against Division I competition.  We’re weaker at PG and SF.  Junior Willis Lofton will start at PG.  He’s not a strong scorer but is a good defender.  At SF junior Earl Betts is the front-runner to start but may be challenged by sophomore Marvin Reese.  Reese is a true PF but is a good outside shooter and a better rebounder than Betts.  We’re obviously not a strong team, particularly within the ACC where we’re picked to finish 13th of 15 teams.  So it could be a long difficult season.  But if the team becomes a cohesive unit, we might pull off a few surprises.  We’re excited to finally be able get the season underway.  Our first game is on the road playing Dartmouth, but then we return home to take on Bradley.

Coach Frederick Aura

Yes, it looks like we have to rely on two players carrying us this year.  Senior Marius Witt is a very good all-around player and top-flight rebounder.  James Lilly likes to catch and shoot, particularly from mid-range.  He’s also very strong defensively and a heckuva ball-hawk.  But beyond those two, there’s no one that has stood out thus far.  We’ve still got some experimenting to do to see who can provide us the most to augment the abilities of Witt and Lilly.  But you’ve got to start somewhere.  And our recruiting this year has given me reason for optimism for the future.

Robert Wilson, 3rd Assistant (Scouting) Coach

Our first opponent, Dartmouth, doesn’t do anything unique offensively or defensively.  Their strength definitely is with their guards. Both PG Ryan Sanders and SG Juan Price are excellent players and should provide most of their scoring.  Playing them in their bandbox size gym could be a real snakepit.

I’m glad we’re playing Bradley in our second game at home.  They’re pretty solid throughout their lineup.  They’re redshirting a freshman SG who would probably bet a lot of minutes if he were on our team.  Their greatest strength, though, comes from their interior players.  So we’ll have our hands filled trying to contain them.

I’d love to see us put two games in the win column, but to be honest, I’ll be pleased if we gain a split in these two games this week.

Jason Braxton, AD

We’ve done a lot of marketing to try to fill seats this season.  But we’re really selling on the premise of “get your season tickets now so you lock in your seats for future seasons.”  I don’t think anyone is expecting us to be world-beaters this season.  I’m sure Fred is missing the team strength he had created at Towson.  I’m hoping we have a few surprises for some of our opponents, though.

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Nov. 16, 2025: Boston College Eagles (0-0) vs Dartmouth Big Green (0-1) at Edward Leede Arena in Hanover, NH

Father Daniel Marston

One of the Jesuit priests or brothers from the Jesuit Community at BC accompanies the team on each road trip.  Some of the priests and brothers latch onto these opportunities, not for the basketball, but just as a way of getting a nice free trip.  But I like basketball.  Played it in high school, but wasn’t never a good player…JV until my senior year and then just a seldom used reserve.  Unless a player wants to talk or some counseling (which doesn’t occur that often), the only real official function I perform is to get together with the players and coaches in the locker room before the game to offer a prayer and then a quick group prayer after the game…and maybe also serve as a tacit reminder for them not to get into trouble during the trip.

Dartmouth lost a road game but their starting guard duo combined to score 37 points in that game and 4 of their starters scored in double figures.

The teams played equally for the first 5 minutes but then our defense solidified and we gradually pulled out to a 23-12 lead at the midpoint of the first half.  We held Dartmouth’s shooting to just 31% from the field for the half while knocking down 54% of ours.  That resulted in a solid 41-26 halftime advantage for us.  SG Samuel King came off the bench to score 11 points. 

Our defense continued to stymie the Big Green in the 2nd half and we steadily increased our lead to pull of a lopsided 76-44 victory.  We outshot Dartmouth 55% to 28% and hit 50% of our 3’s.  We also were +6 in rebounds. Sitting behind our bench, I got a good chance to observe how our new coach handled the players and worked the refs…he’s got a bit of a temper, but controlled things well and the players responded well to his direction.

Reserves Marvin Reese and Samuel King led our scoring with 17 and 13 points, respectively.  Starting PG Willis Lofton dropped in 11 points.  Having been a perennial sub, I was happy to see the bench players do so well.

During the post-game press conference, Coach Aura said, “I was blown away by how well our reserves played.  They scored 43 of our 76 points.  Samuel and Marvin had amazing games.  I was pleased that all 11 of our players that got into the game scored.  Topping all that was our stellar defense for the final 35 minutes of the game that simply shut down Dartmouth.”

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Nov. 19, 2025: Bradley Braves (1-0) vs Boston College Eagles (1-0) at Silvio O. Conte Forum, Chestnut Hill, MA

Chris Nelson, walk-on PG

Bradley poured in 53 points in the 2nd half against Sacramento State enroute to an 87-64 crushing victory earlier this week.

We had a shaky start and fell behind 8-2, but scratched and clawed our way back to take a 14-12 lead with 12-1/2 minutes remaining in the first half.  SG James Lilly had scored 8 points already at that point.  The refs were tough on us, saddling SF Earl Betts and PG Willie Lofton with 2 fouls each in the first 8 minutes of play.  That forced Coach Fed to rely heavily on our bench.  Bradley took advantage to recapture the lead and go ahead by 5.  Our guys chipped away to again go ahead and then totally outplayed the Braves in the final five minutes to forge a 41-31 halftime lead.  Coach Aura praised our defense which held Bradley’s shooting to 36% but even though we were +5 in rebounding, he stressed working harder on getting position and blocking out opponents in the 2nd half.  Our leading scorers were James Lilly and Marvin Reese with 8 points apiece.

Bradly got hot and we went cold in the 2nd half.  Midway through the half, the Braves had gone ahead by a single point at 56-55.  We then scored the next 6 points and refused to give up the lead.  With 2 minutes to go we were holding onto a 71-69 lead.  Jon Ray rattled in a jumper to put us up by 4.  With time winding down, the Braves were forced to foul allowing us to pad our lead in the final minute.  We ended up with a hard-fought 78-72 victory.  We did it by outshooting Bradley 47% to 41% and dominating the boards 41-29.

SG James Lilly and SG Jon Ray both scored 14 points.  Lilly picked up a double-double by also hauling in 10 rebounds.  PF Marius Witt finished with 10 points and 7 boards.  We only hit 2 of 17 three’s, so Coach Fed won’t be happy about that even though we won.

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Nov. 23, 2025: Boston College Eagles (2-0) vs Chattanooga Mocs (1-1) at McKenzie Arena in Chattanooga, TN

Kevin Abney, 1st Assistant Coach

SF Carl Hackworth scored 34 points in Chattanooga’s opening game and is averaging 22.0 ppg by hitting 67% of his shots.  The Mocs loss was at the hands of Gonzaga.  Chattanooga has a fast pace offense with a lot of freedom.  Our defense needs to slow them down and force turnovers.  Coach Aura encourages input so that keeps things interesting for us as assistant coaches.

Although the lead shifted back and forth a few times, we held a very small lead throughout most of the first half.  It would have been larger had we been able to throttle Carl Hackworth.  Double teaming sure wasn’t working against him.  With about 5 minutes to go in the half, we finally were able to pull away from the Mocs, running off 13 straight points, and took a 39-25 lead with 2 minutes remaining.  When the claxon sounded ending the half, we sported a 46-29 advantage.  SG James Lilly poured in 19 points in the half, hitting 6 of 8 from the field including 1 for 1 from 3-point range and sunk all 6 of his free throws.

Chattanooga got their offense clicking in the 2nd half and began chipping away at our lead.  Midway through the half they had closed to 62-53.  Our guys rose to the challenge though by kicking our offense into gear.  We spurted out to a 93-75 bashing on the Mocs.  We hit 52% of our shots and knocked down 32 of 34 free throws.  We were able to give everyone time on the court, including our two walk-ons.

SG James Lilly lit it up tonight for 30 points.  PF Marius Witt and C Steve Ross each scored 11 points and PF Marvin Reese added 10.

After the game, Coach Aura and I had a long talk about our team.  Both of us are amazed at how well our bench has played in all 3 games thus far.  We’d both underestimated them.  They’ve combined to score over 40 ppg in our first 3 games.  Heck, 4 of our 6 top scorers are bench players.  And tonight our 11th player off the bench, SG Jason Dunn scored 9 points in 6 minutes of play at the SF position.  If he can continue being productive at the 3, we might be able to run a 3-guard offense effectively for portions of games.

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Boston College Eagles (3-0) vs Austin Peay Governors (0-2) at Winfield Dunn Center in Clarksville, TN

Jason Caldwell, Freshman Center

This is the 3rd on the road in our first 4 games this season.  Fortunately both games this week have been in Tennessee, so travel was reduced.  But last night at our hotel, the fire alarm went off 2 times between 3 and 5 a.m.  Coach Fed let us sleep in, but after getting woke up like that and having to walk down stairs and out of the building and wait around until the fire department arrived and did their check, I just didn’t sleep well.  But I’m still not used to travelling and staying in hotels so these away games are tough.

The scouting report says that their two starting big men are pretty talented and are very good rebounders, so need to get my energy level up even though I didn’t get enough sleep.  Brown, their center, is a big solid guy like me so there’s gonna be a lot of pushing and shoving going on.

We got out on top 13-8 and I scored 5 of those points.  But then the refs called a 2nd foul on SG Adam Howard just 5 minutes into the game.  The Governors drew into a tie a few times but we never let them take the lead and finished the half ahead 37-29.  SG Jon Ray was our top scorer with 8 points.

It took us 3-1/2 minutes before we got our first points of the 2nd half.  Lilly made them pay for having to sit through most of the 1st half and led us to a 60-43 lead with 8 minutes left.  Coach Fed praised me for out-rebounding Austin Peay’s forecourt duo.  We held on from there to come away with a 69-61 victory.  PF Marius Witt and I both had 8 rebounds, so our 16 combined boards were 7 more than the starting forecourt for Austin Peay and contributed to our team’s 38-33 rebounding advantage.  We also combined for 14 points compared to just 9 for our interior counterparts.

SG Jon Ray came off the bench to score 20 points and SG James Lilly finished with 16 points and 8 rebounds.  Our bench again came through for us, scoring 37 of our 69 points.

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Posted (edited)

Nov. 30, 2025: Kansas State Wildcats (3-1) vs Boston College Eagles (4-0) at Silvio O. Conte Forum, Chestnut Hill, MA

Gerald McEntire, President of “Eagles Soar”

Eagles Soar, the basketball fan club for BC, has a really good turnout for this game.  Not surprising since the Eagles have won all 4 of their games (3 of them on the road) under their new coach.  Eagles’ fans are getting excited.  Some of our group seem to feel we’re sure to qualify for the NCAA Tourney this coming March, but I’ve been following BC basketball long enough to know that the season will likely get real long once we begin having to go up against tough ACC competition.

So far Coach Aura has the team playing great defense, holding opponents to 63 ppg.  Tonight’s game and next week’s game against New Mexico provide the level of competition needed to prepare the team for its upcoming participation in the Emerald Coast Classic tournament a couple weeks from now.

Coach Aura is trying something different tonight.  He has Marvin Reese starting at SF in place of Earl Betts.  Reese has been strong coming off the bench, but that’s mainly been at the PF position. 

Reese hit a 3 from the corner just 90 seconds into the game.  Reese scored on a put-back a minute later and then hit a free throw a minute after that.  Instant offense!  Coach Aura is living up to his reputation of keeping fresh legs on the floor…frequent subbing at all positions so that the Wildcats who are on the court are more tired than the Eagles.  With 11:42 to go BC is up 18-10 and Kansas State has made twice as many turnovers as the Eagles.  Our guys then went scoreless for 3 minutes.  Kansas State took a one point lead a few times but the Eagles recovered to lead 40-34 at the end of the half.  SG James Lilly had another big half, scoring 16 points plus grabbing 5 rebounds, dishing out 3 assists and making 2 steals. 

Kansas State scored 6 unanswered points in the first minute of the 2nd half to tie the game.  The Eagles played uninspiring ball the entire half.  Kansas State slowly pulled away to give BC their first loss, 71-64.  The Eagles in the 2nd half disappointingly reminded me too much of their teams the past few years.

SG James Lilly was the only player to play well for Boston College, finishing with 25 points, 8 boards, 5 assists, and 4 steals.  For the first time this season, the bench didn’t produce well for the Eagles.

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Edited by PointGuard

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December 7, 2025: New Mexico Lobos (1-3) vs Boston College Eagles (4-1) at Silvio O. Conte Forum, Chestnut Hill, MA

Coach Fred Aura:

It appears that some of our fans were let down by our loss to Kansas State.  It wasn’t surprising to me since Kansas State is just a more talented team at this point.  But, like our fans, I was disappointed that after playing well in the first half and coming away with a nice lead, we let it slip between our fingers and failed to answer the alarm bell when we fell behind in the 2nd half.  Losing at home is a no-no.  I expect our guys to fight harder for the entire 40 minutes tonight.

I’m starting Marvin Reese at SF again tonight, hoping he will give us an early boost, then after giving him a breather, bring him in at PF to spell Marius Witt when Marius tires.  SG James Lilly has come on strong with a couple really big games.  He’s now averaging 18.6 ppg.  Not only is he far and away our top scorer, he’s also our leading rebounder (7.0 rpg...amazing for a 6’0” guard) and his 2.4 apg is 2nd best on the team.  I certainly want James to keep it up, but want to make sure the team realizes that they shouldn’t rely on him all the time. We need others to step it up and put points on the board, clear the boards, and find the open man.  I’ve really been encouraging Marius Witt to shoot more.or   He’s hitting 67% of his shots so I want him to put the ball up more often.

Speaking of a guy who carries the load, PG Larry Roach is averaging 18.0 ppg for New Mexico while hitting 47% of his FG’s and 44% of his 3’s.  We need to play well and win this game to prepare for the tournament we’re playing in next week, so containing Roach is important.

SG James Lilly scored our first 6 points and then PG Willis Lofton scored 5 of our next 6 points as we jumped out to a 12-2 lead after 6 minutes of play.  From there we expanded our lead to 24-4 midway through the half as our defense forced the Lobos to make 10 turnovers and hit just 2 field goals in the first 10 minutes.  New Mexico’s offense picked up during the final 10 minutes of the half, but our offense continued to perk.  When the half ended we were on top 47-22.  The biggest difference was that we forced the Lobos to turn the ball over 14 times while we only had 2 turnovers.  James Lilly led our scoring with 12 points.

We started slowly in the 2nd half but regained our momentum.  As our lead increased to as much as 30 points, I was able to play the far end of our bench for extensively.  We smashed New Mexico by a final score of 90-62. 

Topping our scoring were SG James Lilly with 26 points and C Jason Caldwell and SG Jon Ray who both scored 17.

So a great tune up for the Emerald Coast Tournament, if we can carry over how we played tonight.

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