Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Comm. Ave comeback: Part 2 of a two-part series on junior forward Patrick Hazel

By Craig Meyer/DFP Staff

With the Marquette chapter of his career firmly behind him, it came time for Patrick Hazel to make the crucial decision of where to play next, where to fulfill the second chance that transferring granted him.

And from the start of the process, there was one school that stood out above the rest to the rising junior forward – Boston University.

Coming out of Blair Academy, Hazel had been pursued hard by then-BU and current University of North Carolina at Charlotte assistant Orlando Vandross before making the decision to sign with Marquette.

About a week after Hazel informed Williams of his intention to transfer, he was contacted by new BU head coach Pat Chambers, who had just completed a five-year stint as an assistant at Villanova University.

Having routinely scouted Marquette for coach Jay Wright and the Wildcats, Chambers knew of Hazel and was impressed with what he had seen, believing that Hazel’s style of play would help embody a new brand of BU basketball that placed a special emphasis on defense and rebounding.

“He was active, he made winning plays, he made a difference in the game, but most of all, he played hard,” Chambers said. “And anyone that Tom Crean thinks plays hard or Buzz Williams thinks plays hard, you know what, I’m probably going to agree with them that this kid’s got ability and some raw talent that we have to work with.”

The sense of familiarity Hazel found at BU, with its former Big East coach and fellow New York-area players like John Holland, all it took was a single visit for Hazel to make a decision. BU was where he wanted to be.

“This was a big decision that would change the rest of my life and I felt like I was most comfortable here,” Hazel said. “I didn’t even want to go on any other visits because I knew I wouldn’t feel as comfortable as I felt here. Just knowing those guys, it made a big difference.”


Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Rebounding from adversity: Part 1 of a two-part series on junior forward Patrick Hazel

By Craig Meyer/DFP Staff

In college basketball, much like life itself, things don’t always follow a designated path or go entirely according to plan.

If things always worked out like they were supposed to, Ohio State University and the University of Kansas would have squared off for the national title while Butler University and Virginia Commonwealth University would have been afterthoughts by the end of the NCAA Tournament’s first weekend.

But aside from all the upsets that generally define March Madness, the reality of things not working out applies strongly to individual players.

It is the exception and not the rule for a player’s collegiate career to pan out just how he envisioned it coming out of high school. For every Kemba Walker, there are hundreds of other players who didn’t fully realize their dreams or were unable to properly rewrite their stories when preconceptions got derailed.

Inevitably, storybook endings are in short supply in college basketball.

This is a script and a lesson that Patrick Hazel knows well. The Boston University junior forward has experienced the setbacks and disappointments that plague many careers on the college hardwood, but he has also been able to redefine both his game and himself amidst such adversity.


Thursday, April 14, 2011

Griffin selected as NSCA All-American

By Craig Meyer/DFP Staff

Junior guard Matt Griffin was among five Boston University student-athletes named All-American Strength and Conditioning Athletes of the Year, the National Strength and Conditioning Association announced Tuesday in Colorado Springs, Colo.

The team tri-captain and Rider University transfer averaged 6.2 points per game, 2.6 assists per game and shot a team-high 45.8-percent from 3-point range in his first year in a BU uniform after having to sit out a season due to NCAA transfer rules.

The other BU athletes honored were softball senior April Setterlund, women's lacrosse senior Rachel Collins, men's swimming & diving senior Kyle Ernst and women's swimming & diving senior Maria McIntyre.