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Olivier Hanlan passes up NBA draft, will return to Boston College for junior year 04.16.14 at 6:23 pm ET
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Olivier Hanlan (21) is coming back for a third season at Boston College. (AP)

Olivier Hanlan (21) is coming back for a third season at Boston College. (AP)

CHESTNUT HILL — While new coach Jim Christian is looking to rebuild the basketball program, he is getting a big piece back from the Steve Donahue era.

Sophomore Olivier Hanlan announced Tuesday that he will forego the NBA draft this spring and return to Boston College for his junior year.

Hanlan, the 6-foot-4 swingman, broke onto the scene with a sensational freshman season and set an ACC tournament freshman record for scoring with 41 points against Georgia Tech on March 14, 2013. The Eagles won 84-64. Hanlan went on to win ACC Rookie of the Year.

This past season, Hanlan ranked third in the ACC in scoring (18.5), fourth in minutes (36.2), sixth in free throw percentage (.811) and seventh in field goal percentage (.447). During conference play, he ranked second in scoring (18.4) and fourth in field goal percentage (.460).

The Aylmer, Quebec, product became the third player in Boston College history and the 29th player in ACC history to reach 1,000 points as a sophomore (1,100). Troy Bell and Craig Smith were the other Eagles to accomplish that feat and they are first and second on the BC career scoring list, respectively.

Hanlan was an All-ACC third-team selection this year after being named the conference Rookie of the Year in 2013.

Read More: ACC, Boston College, Craig Smith, Jim Christian
Jim Christian hires recruiting wiz Scott Spinelli to help rebuild Boston College hoops 04.14.14 at 5:42 pm ET
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Scott Spinelli (University of Maryland)

Scott Spinelli (University of Maryland)

CHESTNUT HILL – The first major move of the Jim Christian era is complete.

The new head coach of the men’s basketball program at Boston College announced Monday that he has hired recruiting specialist Scott Spinelli away from the University of Maryland. The news first broke minutes after Christian’s introductory news conference last Tuesday at Boston College. Christian said one of the keys of getting Boston College back on the map in the Atlantic Coast Conference would be “recruiting the right kids” and “recruiting the players who really want to be at Boston College.” Spinelli will lead that effort.

ESPN’s Jeff Goodman was the first to report the hiring of the man who spent the last three seasons on Mark Turgeon’s staff at Maryland. He has coached with Turgeon for the last eight years at Wichita State, Texas A&M and in College Park.

“We are excited to have Scott join our basketball staff here at Boston College,” Christian said in a school news release. “He is an outstanding young coach, a proven recruiter and he has developed strong relationships in the New England area. Scott has had success everywhere he’s coached and he has a few important qualities I was looking for: the ability to recruit and coach at a high level, and to develop the student-athletes in our program.”

It’s a coming home of sorts for Spinelli, who is a native of Leominster, Mass. and a graduate of Boston University. Spinelli was the key recruiter that helped lead Texas A&M and Maryland to four NCAA Tournaments and one NIT appearance. In his four seasons at Texas A&M, the Aggies had the best four-year win total in program history.

Spinelli has helped the Terrapins bring in consecutive top-25 recruiting classes. Five of his players are currently playing in the NBA in Gal Mekel (Dallas), Donald Sloan (Indiana), Khris Middleton (Milwaukee), DeAndre Jordan (LA Clippers) and Alex Len (Phoenix.)

Spinelli first joined Turgeon’s staff as an associate head coach at Wichita State in 2006-07. He has served as an associate head coach since the 2005-06 season at Nebraska. He was an assistant coach for two years with the Cornhuskers prior to his promotion. Spinelli was also the associate head coach at Maryland (2011-14) and Texas A&M (2007-11).

Spinelli has also spent time with Loyola-Chicago (2001-03), Philadelphia 76ers (2000-01), Cincinnati Stuff of the IBL (1999-2000), American (1997-99) and Wyoming (1996-97). His first coaching jobs were as head coach at Milford (NY) Academy (1990-93) and the Winchendon School (1993-96).

Read More: Boston College, Jim Christian, Mark Turgeon, Maryland
Johnny Gaudreau wins Hobey Baker, signs with Calgary Flames, leaves BC after three seasons 04.11.14 at 7:37 pm ET
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After dominating his sport in his junior season at Boston College, Johnny Gaudreau won the hockey equivalent to the Heisman Trophy Friday as he was awarded the Hobey Baker award as the most outstanding player in college hockey. He joins Mike Motteau (2000) and David Emma (1991) as previous winners in school history.

With three winners, Boston College matches Harvard for the third-most in the history of the award, which began in 1981. Minnesota, which will play for the national title on Saturday night in Philadelphia, has four winners. Minnesota-Duluth has had five winners in the 34-year history of the honor.

Friday was a big day for Gaudreau, known simply as “Johnny Hockey” on the Chestnut Hill campus. After accepting the award, he agreed to sign on with the Calgary Flames, who had his draft rights dating back to 2011, when he was selected 104th overall in the fourth round of the NHL Entry Draft. Listed at 5’6”, Gaudreau was one of the shortest players taken at the 2011 draft.

After attending the Flames training camp, Gaudreau started his career with Boston College. He originally signed a letter of intent to play with Hockey East rival Northeastern University but opted for Boston College when Northeastern Hockey coach Greg Cronin resigned in June 2011, to take a position with the Toronto Maple Leafs.

As a freshman, Gaudreau scored 21 goals and 23 assists in 44 games, leading all freshmen in scoring. Gaudreau played a key part in Boston College’s win in team’s National Championship, scoring a highlight reel goal late in the third period in their 4–1 win in the final over Ferris State. Gaudreau was awarded the Bill Flynn Trophy as the Most Valuable Player of the Hockey East Championship tournament. Gaudreau also helped BC win the traditional Beanpot Tournament for the third year in a row and was named “Beanpot MVP” after the tournament.

Instead of leaving after his sophomore season last spring, Gaudreau stayed and Boston College. “Johnny Hockey” would post one of the most memorable hockey seasons in his school’s history.

He tied Paul Kariya‘s record for the Hockey East single season scoring streak at 31 games recording 29 goals and 61 points during this spree. He was named the Hockey East Player of the Year for the second straight season, as well as earning the league’s scoring title with 36 points in 20 games, and was named a unanimous First-Team All-Star. On March 20, he was also named a Hobey Baker top 10 finalist and a top 3 “Hobey Hat Trick” finalist for the second straight year on April 2.

His season came to a stunning end Thursday when BC lost to the Union Dutchmen in the Frozen Four, he finished the season with 36 goals and 44 assists for 80 points in 40 games played.

Gaudreau said after his sophomore season that one of the main reasons he stayed was to play with his younger brother Matt, who joined the team in the fall.

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Read More: Boston College, Calgary Flames, David Emma, Frozen Four
Jim Christian makes his passionate case – and plan – to make Boston College hoops relevant again 04.08.14 at 9:18 pm ET
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CHESTNUT HILL — Jim Christian was officially introduced by athletic director Brad Bates Tuesday as the new head coach of the men’s basketball program at Boston College. Christian, who replaces the fired Steve Donahue, says he plans on boosting the image of Boston College through selective recruiting and has already reportedly attracted a prominent scouting coach from the University of Maryland. Meanwhile, Christian said he had reached out to star player Ryan Anderson, who has informed the school he will be transferring to another school after getting his injured shoulder treated.

In introducing Christian, Bates explained his reasoning for selecting the 49-year-old who has previously coached at Kent State, TCU and, most recently, Ohio University. Bates, the former athletic director at Miami of Ohio, indicated he was familiar with Bates from his time at Kent State, where he led the Golden Flashes to six consecutive seasons of twenty or more wins, four MAC East division titles, two overall MAC titles, and two conference tournament championships. His teams also had five post-season appearances, three in the NIT and two in the NCAA Tournament. His record at Kent State was 137–59. He moved onto Texas Christian in 2008 before a two-year stint at Ohio University.

“Exciting day in Boston College basketball,” Bates said. “There are a lot of characteristics you look at when you are selecting the next leader of your basketball program.

“There are some core elements at Boston College that go without question, they’re fundamental. Integrity, competitiveness, ability to coach and recruit. But beyond that, Jim Christian brings really four elements that makes me really excited to have him leading our program. 

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Read More: Boston College, Brad Bates, Jim Christian, Kent State
Thatcher Demko has ‘unspeakable amount of excitement’ for Frozen Four in Philadelphia 04.08.14 at 7:09 pm ET
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CHESTNUT HILL — Boston College standout freshman goalie Thatcher Demko is looking forward to heading to Philadelphia and taking on Union College in the NCAA Frozen Four national semifinal on Thursday at Wells Fargo Center.

“Unspeakable amount of excitement I think,” Demko said before hopping on a bus that would take the team to the airport and a flight for Philadelphia. “Everyone is just really excited to get out there. Looking forward to it.”

The Eagles, the No. 2 seed in the 16-team field, will play No. 3 seed Union College on Thursday night. The winner of that game will take on the winner of the No. 1 seed Minnesota and North Dakota in the national championship Saturday night in Philadelphia.

Boston College players and coaches, led by NCAA wins leader Jerry York, left campus Tuesday afternoon for the trip to Philadelphia and to begin preparations at Wells Fargo Center. One player who will be especially looking forward to the trip is Hobey Baker favorite Johnny Gaudreau, a junior and native of nearby Carneys Point, New Jersey.

“I know it’s his hometown so he’s going to owe some guys [dinner],” Demko said.

Even new men’s basketball coach got in on the act Tuesday during his introductory news conference, “Give my all of my best to Coach York and the BC hockey team as they set out to hang another banner in Conte Forum and win the national championship. You don’t have to be here long to know who ‘Johnny Hockey’ is and his quest to win the Hobey Baker Award.”

Demko is 16-4-3 in 23 games with BC this season with a 2.16 goals-against average, two shutouts and a .920 save percentage. The NHL Central Scouting Bureau has him ranked as the top draft-eligible goalie in this year’s NHL draft.

He is the likely starter Thursday against Union after making 18 saves in a 6-2 victory against Denver in the first round of the NCAA Tournament on March 29 and 29 saves in a 4-3 victory against the University of Massachusetts-Lowell in the quarterfinal round on March 30. Demko is a freshman who is trying to lead the Eagles to their sixth national title and fourth in seven years. The Eagles have won the NCAA championship in each of the even-numbered years since 2008.

Demko said Tuesday he’ll be relying on juniors like Gaudreau and senior Kevin Hayes and Patrick Brown to show the underclassmen how it’s done on the big stage.

“Absolutely. We have a lot of guys that have been through it,” Demko said. “Juniors and seniors have both won a national championship so that experience is huge for us. Their experience is coming down to the lower class guys and helping us out and getting us ready for it.”

Read More: Boston College, Frozen Four, Johnny Gaudreau, Johnny Hockey
Shabazz Napier, UConn stun No. 1 Florida, get Kentucky in title game Monday night 04.05.14 at 9:07 pm ET
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Shabazz Napier has directed Connecticut to another national title game appearance. (AP)

Shabazz Napier has directed UConn to another national title game appearance. (AP)

The pride of Boston’s Mission Hill has led his team to the ultimate game of the college basketball season.

Shabazz Napier had six assists and four steals while DeAndre Daniels scored a team-high 20 points to lead UConn to a 63-53 win over top-ranked Florida on Saturday night in the first of two national semifinal games at the Final Four at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas.

The Huskies will try for their fourth NCAA championship Monday night against another team that has found late-season rhythm, the Kentucky Wildcats, a 74-73 winner over Wisconsin in the other national semifinal Saturday night. Aaron Harrison’s 3-pointer in the closing seconds was the difference for John Calipari‘s team.

Napier, a Boston product who was recruited by Jim Calhoun, leads a team that is advancing to the national title game Monday night against the winner of the Kentucky-Wisconsin national semifinal.

The win provided a bitter bookend for the Gators, whose last lost was on Dec. 2 to the Huskies. Since then, the Gators won a school-record 30 straight games.

The Gators raced out to a 16-4 lead and contained Napier for most of the first half. But the Huskies used an 11-0 run to help wipe out the deficit. A 21-6 run to end the first half gave them a 25-22 lead at the break. The Huskies never relinquished the lead in the second half, en route to their 31st win of the season. Napier and Ryan Boatright combined for 25 points, nine rebounds and nine assists.

The Huskies are advancing to their fourth national title game since winning their first national championship in 1999. They are 3-0 in their previous three trips to the Monday night game. UConn was beaten by Michigan State in the national semifinal in 2009.

The improbable run for the No. 7 seed in the East began with an overtime win over Saint Joseph’s in the second round. UConn then stunned No. 2 Villanova before dispatching Iowa State and then Michigan State in the East Regional final at Madison Square Garden last weekend.

Read More: Connecticut Huskies, Final Four, Florida Gators,
Steve Addazio on Andre Williams as a Heisman candidate: ‘Why not Andre?’ 11.16.13 at 5:19 pm ET
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Andre Williams broke into the clear early and often Saturday on his way to a school-record 339 yards. (AP)

Andre Williams broke into the clear early and often Saturday on his way to a school-record 339 yards. (AP)

CHESTNUT HILL — After Saturday’s 339-yard rushing effort in a 38-21 win over North Carolina State, Boston College head coach Steve Addazio feels Andre Williams has certainly earned a December trip to New York City as a Heisman Trophy finalist.

“Absolutely, I think that any time you have a dominant football player that is all about the right things and stands for what is right in college football, then that is what that award represents,” Addazio said. “There are some tremendously worthy players out there but why not Andre?”

One week after rushing for 295 yards and setting a Boston College single-game record, Williams topped the 300-yard plateau, rushing for 339 yards on 42 carries. The 42 carries ties his own single-game school record.

The 339 yards passed John Leach of Wake Forest for the ACC single-game record. Williams also set the single-season rushing mark with two games remaining. He has 1,810 yards in 10 games for an astounding 181 yards per game average.

“That’s for other people to decide, added BC quarterback Chase Rettig. “We know he’s our Heisman.”

Read More: Andre Williams, Boston College, John Leach, Mike Cloud
Andre Williams runs wild (339 yards) as BC thumps NC State for bowl eligibility 11.16.13 at 4:06 pm ET
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Andre Williams (44) ran all over North Carolina State to a school-record 339 yards in a senior day win. (AP)

Andre Williams (44) ran all over North Carolina State to a school-record 339 yards in a senior day win. (AP)

CHESTNUT HILL — Senior Andre Williams set a single-game school and ACC record with 339 yards rushing on 42 carries and set the new single-season school record for rushing as the Boston College Eagles beat North Carolina State, 38-21, Saturday afternoon at Alumni Stadium.

The Eagles raced out to a 10-0 lead and led, 17-7, at the half.

The Eagles scored 21 points in the fourth quarter to put the game away and help BC improve to a 6-4 record (3-3, ACC) and clinch bowl eligibility in coach Steve Addazio‘s first season with the Eagles.

Senior kicker Nate Freese also had a record setting day, setting the new school scoring record when he converted the extra point on Boston College’s first touchdown of the day, a Williams 17-yard run in the first quarter.

Read More: Andre Williams, Boston College, nate freese, NCAA
BC blows 14-point lead and game to No. 8 Florida State 09.28.13 at 7:03 pm ET
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Andre Williams and the Eagles were wrapped up by the Seminoles at Alumni Stadium. (AP)

Andre Williams and the Eagles were wrapped up by the Seminoles at Alumni Stadium. (AP)

CHESTNUT HILL — Jameis Winston threw four touchdown passes and Florida State intercepted Chase Rettig and returned it for a touchdown as eighth-ranked Seminoles erased a 14-point deficit and beat Boston College, 48-34, Saturday at Alumni Stadium. Boston College falls to 2-2 and 1-1 in the ACC while No. 8 Florida State improves to 4-0, 2-0 in the ACC.

The Eagles got first quarter touchdown passes from Rettig to C.J. Parsons and Jake Sinkovec in building a 14-3 lead. Boston College scored on its first three possessions of the game while dominating the Seminoles in the opening quarter. The Eagles nearly intercepted Winston on his first two passes of the day and sacked him on the final play of the opening series.

Nate Freese‘s 24-yard field goal with 11:19 left in the second quarter put the Eagles up, 17-3. But from that point, Florida State and Winston dominated the game. Andre Williams had 100 yards rushing on his first 18 carries in the first half and finished with 149 yards on 28 carries, eclipsing 2,000 yards and moving into 13th place on the school’s all-time rushing list with 2,067 yards.

Winston threw three second-quarter touchdowns, including a long 55-yard connection to Kenny Shaw down the right sideline as time expired in the first half, giving Florida State its first lead, 24-17, heading to the locker room. Winston escaped two potential tackles that would have ended the half tied before the long heave.

“It was devastating giving up that big play before the half,” BC coach Steve Addazio said. “We had the kid [Winston] on the ground but we came right back out there.”

Florida State’s domination continued in the third quarter despite a 71-yard kickoff return by BC’s Myles Willis to open the third quarter. The Eagles were able to convert only a field goal out of the big return and Florida State posted another two touchdowns, one on the fourth TD strike of the day by Winston and another on 1-yard run by Karlos Williams. Willis also caught a 52-yard touchdown from Rettig in the third quarter.

“I am upset about the big plays,” Addazio said. “We let up too many big plays on defense. You can’t do that. That’s upsetting to me.”

Florida State took its biggest lead, 48-27, when P.J. Williams intercepted Rettig and returned it 20 yards with 13:41 left and capping a 45-10 run by the Seminoles.

Rettig fought back with his fourth TD pass of the day, a 17-yard strike to Parsons. With a chance to draw to within a score at the Florida State 20, Rettig was intercepted by Nate Andrews at the 1, sealing the loss for the Eagles.

Read More: Andre Williams, Boston College, Chase Rettig, Florida State
Andre Williams on his career night: ‘It couldn’t have worked out better for me’ 09.07.13 at 12:38 am ET
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Andre Williams on his way to a career-high 204 yards rushing Friday night. (AP)

Andre Williams on his way to a career-high 204 yards rushing Friday night. (AP)

CHESTNUT HILL — Boston College coach Steve Addazio picked up his second win Friday night, thanks in large part to a career performance from a player he didn’t even know would be available earlier in the day.

Andre Williams, nursing a hamstring injury from last Saturday’s win over Villanova, didn’t practice all week during the shortened preparations for Friday night against Wake Forest.

“Honestly, on Tuesday, I came off the field and [execution] wasn’t where it needed to be. First of all, Andre Williams didn’t practice this week and secondly, we weren’t where we needed to be. But our kids, they rallied,” Addazio said. “I’m really proud of them for that. I think we took a step forward in learning how to prepare like a big-time football program.”

But when the training staff gave the senior tailback the go-ahead to play, he didn’t let up. Williams carried the ball 35 times and gained a career-high 204 yards in a 24-10 win over the Demon Deacons at Alumni Stadium.

Not only did he rush for a key third-quarter touchdown, he ran out the clock at the end of the game as BC was looking to put the game away. Quarterback Chase Rettig handed it off to Williams eight straight times on the final drive as time wound down.

“I’m a running back. I love running the ball,” Williams said. “Putting the ball in my hands, there’s nothing I like more than that. Coach Addazio is an offensive guy. He loves to run the ball and it couldn’t have worked out better for me.”

Read More: Andre Williams, Boston College, Steve Addazio, Wake Forest
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