June 1, 2009

Is What Jake O'Brien Doing Fair?

Don't get me wrong - I hope all the best for Jake in the future, wherever that may be. If he ends up at another school I hope he can make an impact and have as good a year in 2010 (the earliest date he could play as a transfer) as he did this past year. He had a great freshman season (obviously) and helped the team be a contender in the America East.

However, is what he's doing right now fair to the BU team?

Let's look at the Boston Globe article that ran last Thursday:

Jake's visited Xavier last week (as I prematurely claimed here on this site that would be his destination next year) and plans to take a look at Miami and St. Joseph's. Other schools that have been tossed around in the mix include Boston College, Providence, and I've even heard Northeastern.

In the Globe article Jake says that he's exploring his options and seeing what works best for him. By all means I encourage that.

He goes on to say that remaining at BU is still an option, but has said that the goals that Chambers has set in place are different from last year.

Say what?

Come on, the goals year in year out, for a team at this level (in the AEC) are to simply win the conference and make the tournament. That has been the goal for this BU team the last couple years after being pegged to win the conference. Now while Chambers might say he wants to turn BU into a mini-Nova that is more of a long term goal. The goal for next year is clearly to win the conference, and that's no different from what Wolff's goal was.

However, early in the year, after Wolff was fired, it seems like Jake didn't want to give whoever was coming in a chance. This quote comes from a Freep article that appeared when Jake was granted his release:

“Coach Chambers explained to me what he wanted to do at BU the next few years and his vision for how this program will develop, what type of system we’ll run and how he saw me fitting into it,” O’Brien said of his meeting with Chambers. “I had this conversation, but my mind had already been set and there wasn’t too much he could say to sway me.”

That's too bad. It is. For all parties involved. I think the entire BU community wishes Jake would've given Chambers a chance before he even wrote the school off.

But then again he hasn't written the school off completely, right?

One person on the America East basketball forum (which I highly recommend you join if you have any interest in the AEC) put it best:

"He's used this [the new goals] as an excuse to completely shop himself around while keeping BU in his back pocket. Unbelievable." TerrierNation.

Where do I stand? I think TerrierNation hit the nail on the head. It's really not fair that Jake is shopping himself while keeping BU in the back of his mind as a safety school. He's making what the BC kids chant to us come true.

Seemingly Jake wrote off BU a while ago. Because of that the team has also written him off. BU is working together (not practicing because they can't yet) over the summer. They're playing together, getting to know one another better on and off the court, and bonding without a #21. To go off and look to see if he can play at a bigger program, and maybe find that he can't, and come back isn't fair to anyone in this situation.

A while back (2008) I was against Will Creekmore and his transfer. I thought he wasn't manning up and sticking with it for a full year. It hasn't been until recently that I've realized he handled the situation exactly as a transfer should - you find somewhere to go first before you make it known that you're leaving. If you don't, you're shopping yourself and making it seem like you're putting yourself way above the team. Creekmore didn't like it at BU. He didn't like Wolff (as many others hadn't) and he knew he needed to play somewhere else, and somewhere closer to his home in Oklahoma. He found that, he's getting time, and he's happy where he is.

In O'Brien's case it's not that he's unhappy or he wants to be closer to home (considering he's about as close to home as possible) it's that he thinks he can make an impact on a bigger program. He's put himself above the team and that's when things start to break down, all around.

That's just my opinion. At this point Jake should stick to his initial desires and head out. He seemed to want to when Wolff was fired. If he's back, great, but I think that messes up team chemistry a little bit and the way that everyone acts towards him.

But what do I know? I'm not in the locker room. I'm not on the court. I'm just watching the games and the way the team reshapes itself through a coaching change.

As Jake has said, ultimately it's his decision. No matter where he ends up I honestly hope the best for him and I'll continue to cheer for him, but more importantly I hope the best for my school's team and the guys who have stuck by the program through thick and thin the last couple years.


Anonymous said...

To be fair JOB might be looking long term, not just next year. While the team this coming year is incredibly promising (even more so with him in the line up), he may be looking at the bench that may be making up starting five in the 2010-11 season and not feel like John Holland and Jeff Pelage are strong enough of a veteran line up to develop his potential in his final two years of college play. I'm not saying this is right, but it seems like a perspective that I don't think was covered in your post.

The Hot Dog said...

Yeah, this is true, it's not something I've really wrapped my head around with graduation for HDJ approaching soon. Clearly, I'm thinking more short term.