Boston College still isn't getting all the respect it deserves. BC is one of only three teams—North Carolina and Virginia are the others—that have reached the final 16 in each of the last three seasons. The Eagles were picked to finish fifth in the Big East in 1982-83 after losing all-conference Guard John Bagley to the Cleveland Cavaliers and Coach Tom Davis to Stanford. Instead, under Coach Gary Williams, they finished first and won a school-record 25 games.
BC has lost Center John Garris (also to Cleveland) from that team, but it welcomes back the other four starters, including 5'10" junior Point Guard Michael Adams (left) and senior forwards Jay Murphy and Martin Clark, both of whom have started since they were freshmen. Three years ago at Hartford Public High, Adams led Connecticut in scoring but still didn't attract any Division I offers. Then Davis' assistant, Kevin Mackey, spotted Adams in a postseason all-star game. "He stole the ball three times in a row from a high school All-America to open the game," Mackey says. "Afterward, I went up to his coach and said, 'What's the story with Adams? Why hasn't anyone recruited him?' " Mackey did.
Adams languished on the bench for most of his freshman year before scoring 21 points in an NCAA tournament upset of No. 2-ranked DePaul. Last season he scored 16.2 points a game and led the Eagles with 117 assists and 88 steals. "When I have the ball I feel I can do so many things with it," Adams says. "I'm a key to all this here."
"Michael has taught me a lot," Williams says. "In recruiting, I don't label players as too small or too slow anymore. I try to be more objective. It's hard to measure a player's heart when he's being recruited."
Williams was an assistant under Davis for seven years, and then had a 72-42 record in four seasons at American University. He retained Davis' pressing defense last year but untethered the Eagles' bounce-pass offense with striking results: BC led the nation in scoring with 84.3 points a game.
Williams also let the 6'9" Murphy, a superb perimeter shooter, move outside, and he scored 17.7 points a game. Murphy and Clark, however, need to make up for some of the 7.8 rebounds a game Boston College lost when Garris left. If they soar like the rest of the Eagles, that shouldn't be any problem at all.