Boston College head basketball coach Earl Grant will be joining WBZ and CBSN throughout the NCAA Tournament as a guest analyst. Here he previews the Saturday night games on WBZ.
- Our night games, the first one, number 7 seed UConn against the 10 seed Maryland. I kind of look at UConn, and I maybe think a lot about Boston College-- steeped with tradition, had some down years, some tough times.
Let's talk a little bit about that from your perspective. Dan Hurley came to the school, had, I think, a 17 and 16 first-year record. Then the second record got a winning season after establishing a culture. And now he's got an NCAA Tournament berth. How would maybe you compare that to maybe what you're trying to accomplish at Boston College with what UConn has done?
EARL GRANT: Yeah, I mean, I think Hurley is doing a great job. I mean, his team has played really hard. We had a back-to-back series with them in my year five and year six. We went up to Rhode Island. They returned a game. So we had some battles.
So really respect his teams and what they do. But I think there are some similarities. You know, they had a drop off. UConn's had great history with Jim Calhoun. Obviously, Boston College had a great 13-year run with Al Skinner. And we just kind of had a couple tough years here in the past.
But they've done a great job turning that program back around. And obviously, for us, we want to make progress early. And then we just want to build on it. And hopefully, if we build on our progress in the first few years, then we can really turn that program around.
- How tough do you know of, or is it, do you think, to coach in New England? Is it any different than anywhere else around the country in your mind, coming in this job with BC?
EARL GRANT: I mean, yeah, I think some of it is. There's a lot of relationships you have to build that maybe particularly you don't have right away. But I think that's where your coaching staff becomes very critical. Because you have to use your relationship currency.
If you know a guy from Philadelphia that is very connected with guys up in New England, or if you know a guy that's had some experience in a prep school league that has relationships, that will buffer some of the adjustment.
So I think it's very important to have some people on the staff that has relationships with some of these AAU coaches and prep school coaches right away. And then also somebody that maybe have a pulse on the community as it pertains to donor relationships and the support system.
So those are some of the things that you have to think about. Obviously, they're on my mind. And I look forward to putting together a great staff here in the next two weeks.
- All right, and our final game coming up on Saturday will be BYU against the 11th seed UCLA. How strange is it, do you think, or what's the feeling like if you're BU-- BYU, rather-- watching UCLA play Michigan State and beat them in overtime coming into this game? You got to be a little bit nervous if you're BYU.
EARL GRANT: Yeah, that could be a really good game. BYU has a good team. They're very talented. They've got the big guy on the inside who transferred over from Purdue. So they're always ready to play in postseason.
And I watched their games a few times this year. They share the ball well. So I think they'll be ready for the game. I think they'll be excited about it. But Mick Cronin has done a good job of getting his players to believe. I know he started out pretty tough a couple years ago. But his team is believing that they can win. And they put out a very tough game against Michigan State last night.
- Well, let's end it with that process. What's that process like in your mind of getting your players to buy in, to believe? What's that process like, and what goes through your mind as you start that journey here with Boston College?
EARL GRANT: Yeah, I mean, the process starts with just making sure that the players that are in the locker room right now just love Boston College and really want to be there and want to put that jersey on, and they're committed to hard work.
It starts with-- there is no substitute for hard work, and hard work works. So it's going to start with us getting in the gym, spending time sweating, working at it, building some good habits. I think it's very important also to try to be a true team where we actually care for each other and try to support each other and put teammates before self, understanding that the program is so much bigger than each and every one of us.
So it's going to just start with daily habits. Really, don't look at the big picture of it. Just look at the day-to-day process of trying to have good days and making sure that we're doing everything we can to put ourselves in position to be successful.
- Coach Earl grant, thank you very much for your time, and continue to enjoy watching these games.
EARL GRANT: Thank you. Have a great one.