The 2012-2013 men’s basketball team finished the season 16-17. Usually, the most statistically significant factoid about any given season, is the record at the end of the year.
However, one little snippet from this year’s squad that makes a 16-17 record look a whole lot better is the eight losses BC suffered by only five points or less. Suddenly, that 16-17 record looks like 24-9 and this team looks like a borderline tournament qualifier. BC was able to accomplish all this with just two juniors and a graduate student as their upperclassmen. The four freshmen and seven sophomores found a groove towards the end, going 4-1 in their last five, beating the likes of Georgia Tech, Clemson and Virginia.
Among those most excited about this young Eagles team is Assistant Coach Woody Kampmann. I recently chatted with Woody and was able to get his thoughts on how his team closed out the year.
It seems that the team is motivated and driven by the shortcomings of last season.
"I think the guys have had some taste of success and I think that can be great motivation to want to improve even more," said Kampmann, "We gave a couple weeks off at the end, but now we are back to individual workouts and they are lifting four days a week. They have been extremely focused so far this spring which is a great sign."
Preparing for just his third year behind the bench assisting Coach Steve Donahue, the 31 year-old Kampmann is no amateur to the coaching scene. Woody began his coaching career as an assistant at Hobart (2005-’06) at the ripe age of 23 and he gave me a little glimpse into what it was like to be coaching at such a young age.
"When I first started coaching I made sure I separated myself from the players. I think this helped me gain their respect. I do feel I can relate with the players very well because we are so close in age. I also feel like I have been fortunate to coach a lot of really high character players over the years, and this has made it very easy for me to be their coach."
From Hobart, Kampmann would go on to serve as an assistant at Williams (’06-’07), and later at Cornell (’07-’10) under Donahue. Between Cornell and Boston College, Woody has had the pleasure of working with Donahue for six years and knows him better than most.
"I think Coach has a great temperament," Woody said, "He is a very positive person and he spends a lot of time in practice teaching. I also think individual players get better when they play for him. He is so dedicated to improving guys’ games, whether it be the way they shoot free throws, their footwork on jump shots, or even as small as how they catch the ball. He simply is always trying to improve some aspect of an individual’s game, which will help the team improve."
Woody noted that Donahue’s far-reaching influence could be seen come the end of the year, when the Eagles were finally beginning to gel. The team became selfless in many respects and success came their way.
"We want to create a culture where we have an unselfish mindset with everything we do. I think we have done a good job in bringing in those types of guys," he said. "It is really enjoyable to work with our team. This unselfish mentality, I feel, is a big reason for why we finished so strong."
Woody and the rest of the Eagles hope that this team’s momentum and progression can carry over to the 2013-2014 campaign, which will surely be a tough one. The recently released conference schedule has BC playing home-and-home series with Notre Dame, Syracuse, and both Georgia and Virginia Tech.
"I think all road games are hard to win no matter what league you are in. I think it will be exciting for our team to play at Syracuse. We are going to play some good non-conference road games as well and I think those will help prepare us for when we go on the road in the league."
Team chemistry is an irreplaceable asset for any team in any sport. With the Eagles returning in the winter with the large majority of their team still intact, BC could be preparing to make lots of noise this year in both conference and non-conference play. If Woody and Coach Donahue have anything to say about it, this Eagles squad could very well be poised to catch everyone in the ACC by surprise.