Wednesday, February 24, 2010

BCDraft SPECIAL: Interview with BC Hoops legend, Troy Bell

Today we are joined by one of the all-time greats in BC basketball history (if not THE greatest, depending on who you ask!), Mr. Troy Bell.

BCDraft: Troy, thank you so much for taking the time to sit down and talk to us.

Troy Bell: No problem at all bro.

BCD: Many folks who are BC die-hards know your story of being a little under the radar coming out of high school and you being in the backyard (within a mile, if I’m not mistaken) of a Big10 school who never even offered you. Can you share that story with those unfamiliar?

TB: The U of M[innesota] actually did offer me, but it was more of a charity scholarship. From the words they used during the meeting, it seemed as if they felt that they were doing me a favor. They also wanted me to sign on the spot without taking even one out of state visit. Then they scheduled a home visit and canceled it in the same week. I guess they weren't very interested.

BCD: Hard to believe that Minnesota let you slip away. I can only imagine how many Gopher fans had to ask themselves “what if” once they saw you dominating on the collegiate level.

Did getting looked over by Minnesota drive you to improve your game once at BC? If so, how?

TB: Deep down i knew i wanted to leave home so I wasn't upset at all. But growing up I always made it a point to work on my game as much as I could, so once at school I just continued the trend.

BCD: Well fortunately enough for Eagles fans, Al Skinner & Co. did offer you and we were lucky enough that you did decide to come to the Heights. Can you explain what made you become an Eagle vs. the other options that were out there?

TB: I chose BC because I felt at home on my visit. I felt that the coaching staff was honest with me regarding my possibilities as a student athlete. And I got along with all the players. Growing up my main goal was to earn a college scholarship. I felt that I was a good player, but when you experience the AAU scene you discover that there are many good players out there. And with the NBA being a far-fetched goal, I felt that BC could prepare me for a future that didn't involve basketball. And that was very important to me at the time.

BCD: Okay, a bit of a silly question here, but did you notice the trend you started with low numbers at BC becoming star players? The resurgence of BC hoops really started with you and your #2. However, soon after there was Craig Smith (#1), Jared Dudley (#3), and Tyrese Rice (#4). Adding to this theory is the uber-talented sophomore Reggie Jackson (#0), who’s not at this legendary status quite yet but looks to be promising. Did you ever notice this small number trend, and what do you think about starting it all? Why did you choose #2 to begin with?

TB: hahaha. Well, I chose number 2 because jbeer
[Jonathan Beerbohm] had number 4. And 4 was the number I wanted. But I never noticed that.

BCD: Okay, now on to some personal memories. What would you say is your best memory from a game while at BC? Who was it against and why was it special?

TB: I have many great bball memories from my time at BC. But one that stands out was beating UConn at home back
in 2001. That game was so important for the season because that let us know that what we had done up until that point wasn't a fluke. And also that we can do anything that we put our minds to collectively as a team. There's no better feeling than playing on a team where everyone plays hard, together, and is willing to sacrifice for one another during the difficult moments for glory. That’s a beautiful feeling.

BCD: I had to ask my friend and fellow blogger Bill from Eagle in Atlanta if he had any questions for you. He gave me a couple that I thought were interesting to ask. First, do you keep in touch with any of your fellow teammates from when you played for the Eagles?

TB: I've stayed in touch with almost everyone. Nick dunn, JBeer, Xavier, kenny walls, jer watson, uka, andrew, craig, bird, cotton. i'm drawing a blank now ha.

BCD: One more from Bill…how would you characterize playing in the NBA vs. playing in Italy? What are some of the big differences in play and what things to you like / dislike about both of them? Any plans on returning to the NBA, or do you see yourself spending most of your career overseas?

TB: The euro game is more team based than the NBA. That's the biggest difference. Here you have to be able to play without the ball, meaning work off screens and such. Knock down the few open shots you may get. The talent level isn't that of the nba, but everyone plays hard and plays together. The NBA is more "ME" and euro ball is all "WE." I
haven't really thought about the NBA since I left. The NBA is [a] great place if your n the right situation, but my experience wasn't a very good one. I was blessed to make it and for that chance I will always be thankful. But if our paths never cross again, I will be okay with that too.

BCD: Who was your favorite player growing up?

TB: Michael Jordan

BCD: Are you able to watch much BC hoops once you’ve graduated? What are your thoughts on the 2005 team that featured Craig Smith, Jared Dudley, Sean Marshall, Sean Williams, and Tyrese Rice?

TB: They were a very good team...I was at that game vs nova. Def a heartbreaker.

BCD: I would have mugged a girl scout to
have you on that team…I still think we would have beaten ‘Nova 7 out of 10 that year. I honestly remember being brought to my knees in agony watching the end of that game. UGH. *Sigh* Moving on…

Has it been easy for you to handle fandom, particularly from BC fans? Coming from a program that had seen more lows than highs prior to your arrival, many a BC fan put you on quite the pedestal. How do you feel being looked at in such a way? Is there a lot of pressure that comes with being an all-time fan favorite?

TB: The BC community has always been great to me. More than anything I'm just thankful that the fans hold me in such high regard. i have never felt any pressure from the BC community, I have always felt appreciated and for that I will always be grateful. The memories that I have as a player wouldn't be possible without my teammates, the staff, and the fans. We all need each other.

BCD: If there was one thing you could have changed about your time at The Heights, what would it be?

TB: I would have rode the stationary bike during the middle of my junior year to get some strength back in my legs.
I experienced a 7 or 8 game shooting slump and I couldn't figure out how to correct it. Coming off my knee surgery early in the season I felt fine, but as the season dragged on I was losing the pop in my legs which affected my jump shot. Had I known then what I know maybe I could have stopped it.

BCD: Troy, the team is having a tough go of it this year. Last season it seemed that Rice willed the team to the tourney, but now that he’s gone the team appears devoid of leadership, direction, and frankly at some times, heart. What are your thoughts? What do you think needs to happen to right the ship?

TB: I haven't been able to follow them much this year. But with a young team the flex offense is often difficult. Even though its simple, there are many ins and outs to it. Its one of the most difficult offenses to stop when being run by an experienced team. So as the players mature I'm sure they will be more effective. But as for the heart and the desire, you can't coach that in my opinion. Either you want it, or you don't. I hope the players are able to turn things around.

BCD: On that same line, despite a history of success with “under recruited” prospects such as yourself, Al Skinner has a growing number of fans and alums calling for his job due to the poor play and perceived poor recruiting. What are your thoughts, and what would you say to BC fans who think it’s time for new leadership on the floor at Conte Forum?

TB: Coach Skinner has clearly proven to be
an outstanding coach. But even the best have down years, look at UNC.

BCD: That's a good point about even UNC having a down year...and they haven't even had any sort of recruiting problems so I suppose no one is immune.

Speaking of coaching, after your playing days are behind you a good number of years from now, do you think you might want to get into coaching, or not?

TB: I'm not sure yet how I feel about coaching. If I do, I would like to work with one of my previous BC coaches who are now heads. I think I have a lot to offer though.

BCD: Recently after you departed, BC headed for the greener pastures of the ACC. What are your thoughts on the move?

TB: I think it was a great move for BC.

BCD: What ACC schools would you have liked to have played on an annual basis if you had been at BC through the ACC schedule? What teams would you miss playing the most from the Big East?

TB: I would have loved to play UNC, but that's the only team that really stands out to me. I would have missed playing Syracuse, St. Johns at The Garden, UConn, and Vill.

BCD: Okay, going to ask for four players here….explanations if you can manage it! Best player you…

1) played against in college
2) played against in the NBA
3) played against in Europe
4) played with at BC


1) Jay Will...Duke-
Very explosive multi-talented player with the best supporting cast in college basketball.

2) D-Wade...Heat-When I played against him in Chicago at hoops gym he seemed to be the most complete player that I have ever guarded. Post and perimeter game was mean, and he has great strength to go with it all. He became a different player after college.

3) Not sure 4 europe-Haven't had these same feelings about an individual player here.

4) BC-Ryan Sidney his
freshman year was a great teammate b/c he played hard and gave us a different more aggressive back court. Together we were hard to stop. I loved his energy and toughness.

BCD: Troy, I can’t tell you what a thrill it is to have had you come on. Thank you so much for your time and the interview. I know you’re in Italy today, and maybe back in the NBA at some point, but you’ll always be an Eagle to us. Go BC!

TB: Say hello to the BC fans out there 4 me. And that I will always be grateful for everything they did for me as a player/person. Go BC!



  1. Great job. Troy put BC basketball back on the map my freshman year.

    As for the low number theory, I don't think it's low numbers that make greatness. It's having a 1 or a 2, or both, in your number. This theory transcends sports. Think about it.

    22 - Doug Flutie
    12 - Matt Ryan
    11 - Marty Reasoner
    2 - Troy Bell
    2 - Brian Leetch
    1 - Craig Smith
    1 - Cory Schneider
    1 - John Muse

  2. Great interview, and great job BCDraft guys securing an interview like this. Troy Bell rules. Can't Deny Agbai.

  3. So fun to read this ivue--Troy Bell is a class act & took BC bball to the high bar...good work bcdraft.