Thursday, February 5, 2009

Mt. Rushmore: Troy Bell

We continue our profile of Boston College sports greats to arrive at our BC athletics make-believe Mt. Rushmore...

Name: Troy Bell
Born: November 1980 in Minneapolis, MN
Sport: Men's Basketball
BC Era: 1999-2003

Current Standings: Currently in 5th place with 30% of the vote. Trailing Doug Flutie (95%), Jerry York (81%), Matt Ryan (60%), and William Flynn (35%).

Why He's In

  • As a freshman, averaged 18.8 points (rookie scoring record and team leader that season), 3.1 boards and 2.1 assists per game and awarded the 1999-2000 Big East Rookie of the Year award for his efforts
  • During the 2001-2002 season, led the Eagles to a 27-5 mark (a school record for wins), a Big East tournament title and a No. 3 seed in the NCAA tournament
  • Named 2001 Big East Tournament Most Valuable Player (David Gavitt Trophy)
  • After his sophomore season, was named Big East Co-Player of the Year with Notre Dame's Troy Murphy
  • 2000-2001 and 2002-2003 consensus All-American second team selection
  • Named the 2002-2003 Big East Player of the Year, making him only the fifth player to win the award multiple times (Troy Murphy, Richard RIP Hamilton, Patrick Ewing and Chris Mullin) ... also won the award over Syracuse freshman phenom Carmelo Anthony
  • 2003 Boston College Eagle (Athlete) of the Year and team MVP for all four years
  • For his career, averaged 21.6 points, 4.0 boards and 3.5 assists per game
  • Left campus as Boston College's all-time scoring leader with 2,632 points (good for 21st all-time at the time), breaking the previous mark set by Dana Barros
  • Other Eagle records: career field goals attempted (1794), career three-point field goals (300), free throws made (810), free throw percentage (86.8%), single season scoring (781), single season free throws made (227), single season free throw percentage (89.4%)
  • As an unheralded recruit out of Minnesota (was a finalist for Mr. Minnesota basketball in HS), possibly set the mold for the Al Skinner "diamond in the rough" recruiting philosophy. Jared Dudley, Sean Williams, Sean Marshall and Craig Smith would follow ...

Maybe Not?

  • This doesn't just apply to Troy Bell specifically, but to hoops in general: I'm torn on having a basketball star on a Mt. Rushmore. Our Mt. Rushmore of BC athletics is meant to be a testament to the four individuals who built the school's athletics programs. Of the three major sports programs, in my opinion basketball comes in a distant third to football and hockey in terms of the history of the school. Basketball has the least storied history. The program has never been to the Final Four (oh so close in 2006?). There were significant periods of time where basketball wasn't very relevant on the Heights: the school didn't field a team from 1907-1910, 1911-1916, and 1925-1945, the program was marred in scandal (1978-1979) or the program just plain stunk. In addition, there are already a bunch of school legends in hockey, football and the athletics department, so I'm not sure if there's room for a hoops star on the mountain.
  • While the hoops team dramatically improved over Troy Bell's four years in Chestnut Hill, the program seemed to peak in only his sophomore year. In 2001-2001 the Eagles went 20-12 (and lost in the first round of the NCAAs as an #11 seed) and his senior year the Eagles went 19-12 (receiving an NIT berth)
  • Never made it past the opening weekend of the NCAA tournament
  • The school has another Big East Player of the Year in John Bagley (1980-1981)


  • Until Rice went off for 46 against North Carolina last year, Bell's performance against Iowa State back on December 11, 2001 was one of the best single game performances we've ever seen from a BC hoops player. Bell finished the game with 42 points, 5 of 8 from behind the arc, and 17 for 17 from the charity stripe
  • Guy was money from the free throw line
  • If we don't put him on the mountain, will he knock us out?


This was certainly a team effort, but witness the exact moment of Boston College basketball resurgence under Al Skinner ...

So ... si o no a Troy Bell?


Raj said...

Troy Bell was the most impressive player to watch in any sport in the past 8 years. Let's not forget that he came back and performed at a high level after surgery also.

And Matt Ryan was impressive (im as big of a matty ice fan as there is), but in terms of watching a pure athlete, Troy Bell had a killer jumpshot and got to the rim at will. When you have a 38 inch vertical on your jumpshot and ridiculous range, you are unstoppable.

Brian said...

Let's not forget that Matt Ryan was a small forward on his high school hoops team and Troy Bell was Larry Fitzgerald's high school quarterback!

I demand a Troy Bell vs. Matt Ryan game of HORSE and a punt, pass and kick competition to determine who is the purest athlete.

Winner gets a spot on the mountain?

Chris Meehan said...

Troy Bell was the best BC basketball player I've ever seen, but his failure to get out of the early rounds of the Tournament preclude him from top- 4 status.

I think those in the lead (Flutie, York, Ryan and Flynn) are the ones that belong. Bell would probably be the 5th member.

Ryan is more worthy because of his national exposure and signature wins. Flutie and York speak for themselves.

Raj said...

Where did Matt Ryan take us in terms of the tournament equivalent? ACC Championship? BCS Bowl? I respect Matt Ryan and everything he did for us, but he isnt the best qb to play at BC- Flutie. Its hard for me to put 2 football players in there.

versus Big East Tournament Champion and Regular Season Champion. Not to mention the individual accolades. BC basketball is back in the tourney and has been consistentlyy since the TB era.

Erik said...

I definitely have Bell over Ryan. I think we over-eggagerate Matt Ryan's greatness in a BC uniform. He was excellent, no doubt, but Dunbar, Pruitt, and Silva did just as much to win football games as Matt Ryan did.

Troy Bell carried us!

Chris Meehan said...

You can't directly compare Bell and Ryan, especially in terms of how far they took their teams.

Basketball is much more of an individual sport, where one player can carry a team. During his sr. year Ryan's best receiver was his tailback. That was not a talented offensive team.

Bell's best team did not go far in the Tournament despite winning the Big East regular season and tournament. He also failed to match that success as an upperclassman.

Ryan's team exceeded expectations, and went probably as far as they could go. Sure, they could have won a better bowl, but that's the fault of the bowl selection process more than anything else.

And Ryan brought national attention to BC in a way Bell didn't-- as the concensus best QB in college football.

mmb1980 said...

I agree with the first "Maybe Not" point. Nothing against TBell, who was the best basketball player I've seen in my time folliwng BC, but BC Hoops doesn't have the history of the other sports nor does it have the defining athlete that football or hockey does.

Why is Bell more deserving than Michael Adams or Dana Barros or John Bagley or even Billy Curley who was the heart and soul of the 93-94 team and their cinderella run to the Elite Eight?

Just because Bell is the best of what has been a non-descript program doesn't earn him a spot IMO. I was there when he dropped 42 on Iowa State and it was great - but to me BC's Mt Rushmore oughta be 2 QBs and 2 people representing the hockey program.

Raj said...

Our defense kept us in almost every game except Maryland in 2007. Troy Bell basically kept us in every game for 3 years.

I am appreciative of Matt Ryan and everything he brought, but he was also the beneficiary of a weak QB class in the NFL draft. He wasnt even invited to the heisman trophy presentation. He has proven that smart, hardworking people can trump people with natural talent. But matt ryan only contributed to BC football for 2 years.

Troy Bell contributed for all 4. Also in terms of signature wins- syracuse, big east tournament against pitt, worst loss UCONN had at home EVER. Let's remember the big east was probably the strongest conference for 2 our of those 3 years. And troy bell's supporting cast was mediocre at best. And let's not talk about the skinner ghost defense.

Erik said...

I'm with you, Raj.

I feel like Bell did bring the national attention that Ryan did, because bball was so bad (and getting worse) the two years before Troy Bell - then they were a contender on the biggest stages: Big East, Big East Tournament, ESPN, all that jazz.

I compare the two, because they were both such huge stars, and 1 spot is definitely Flutie, one spot could easily go to York or Flynn, so we're left with two spots for everyone else.

Brian said...

Jeff would want me to point out ... what about the guy that recruited Troy Bell?

Ry said...

BC didn't win the Big East Tournament in 2001-2002 season, it was the 2000-2001 season when we did and had the best seed. In the 2001-2002 season we played well, but lost to TJ Ford's Texas team in the round of 32 as a 7 seed I believe.

Jeff said...

Ry-You are correct. It was 2000-01 when we won the Big East regular season and tournament and were a #3 seed in the NCAA only to lose to USC in the second round thanks to the WWKHD moment.

eaglefbfan said...

Troy Bell means so much more to Boston College athletics than Matt Ryan does.
In order to understand this, you have to remember where BC Men's Basketball was when Troy came in. Just a few years earlier, Jim O'Brien had been left after the administration would not admit many of his recruits. (Think about how good those teams could have been). Al Skinner had come in, but the team was struggling, highlighted by a 6-21 season, a home loss to Harvard (I know it happened again this year), and a total thrashing by Syracuse in the first round of the Big East Tournament.
All of sudden, Troy comes in and during his sophomore season and leads them to the Big East Tournament Championship, a 3-seed(should have been a 2-seed) and a top-10 ranking at the end of the year. At the beginning of the next year, he's featured on the cover of ESPN The Magazine and BC is ranked in the top 15 in all the preseason polls.
They make the tournament again his junior year and the NIT his senior year. He graduates as BC's all-time leading scorer and second all-time in the Big East.
This national exposure for BC revitalizes the men's basketball program and helps BC get better recruits as long as more television games.
Matt Ryan came to a program that had been in a bowl game for previous 5 years (winning 4) and had annually been a top-25 team. When he got his chance, he did bring BC to prominence, but it is not that hard to bring a top-25 team to the top-10, whereas BC was nowhere close to being top-25 in anything when Bell arrived.

Jeff said...

I agree Troy Bell over Matt Ryan for their respective sport but you cannot deny that football is bigger for the university for many reasons, not the least of which being the fact that nearly every student attends every home game.

Why give Troy Bell all the credit and put him ahead of Skinner? The team's best year with Bell was when he was a sophomore and he only made the dance twice. Al Skinner saved BC basketball more than Troy Bell did, IMO.