From Court to Courtroom: BC Law Basketball and the Road to a Championship

Guest post by John Reilly

My most embarrassing moment of 1L year wasn’t messing up an answer to a cold call or falling down the stairs while giving a tour to thirty students, although both of those things did happen. My most embarrassing moment came on January 23, 2020 – my first intramural basketball game for the BC Law team. Having played basketball my entire life and having coached for two years before starting at BC Law, I was so excited to meet a group of 1Ls similarly passionate about the game. And with high energy and even higher expectations, we promptly lost that first game by a score of 50-11. Yeah – we lost by 40. Unfortunately, that wouldn’t be our only loss in our first season, as we lost every single subsequent game by similar margins. And while I hated to lose, I loved getting to know my classmates outside of Torts and Contracts. 

We didn’t realize it at the time, but that season would be the last set of games for the BC Law hoops team for nearly two years. But don’t worry, because our basketball team is back and better than ever! And this year, things are different. This year, we won’t lose every game by forty points. This year, the BC Law Basketball Team is going to win a championship.

Basketball has a long history at Boston College Law School, playing a role in our campus community for decades. Sui Juris, the news publication of the Student Bar Association at BC from 1956 to 1968 and a spiritual predecessor to BC Law Impact, has articles about the intense intramural basketball games played at the Law School. One of our greatest traditions – that I’m thrilled to announce is coming back this year after a multiyear hiatus- is the Beantown Shootout, an annual basketball game between Legal Eagles and our rivals at that other law school down Commonwealth Ave. And it’s not just students – even professors have some game here! BC Law has often held student-faculty basketball games. Notably, Professor Greenfield is famous for having an excellent jump shot and once stole the ball from Boston basketball legend Ray Allen in a pickup game.

It makes sense that law students like to play basketball. Lawyers, by nature, are competitive. We want to win every case and close every transaction. But basketball offers more than just a competitive outlet. Playing games on Tuesday nights provides an opportunity to step away from the stresses of the classroom and library. For one hour each week, we can forget about the bad cold calls, long readings, and upcoming memos and finals. All that matters is the scoreboard at the end of the game.  

There’s just something about basketball that’s special. Because when it’s done right, basketball becomes more than just a game. To quote one Boston sportswriter, “[t]he secret of basketball is that it’s not about basketball.” Instead, basketball is about the team. Five players, sharing one ball, one court, one goal. It doesn’t always happen, and it certainly doesn’t come easy, but when a team clicks together on the floor, there’s nothing better.  

The BC Law Basketball Team has this figured out. We come from a diverse set of backgrounds and experiences, have vastly different career interests, and didn’t even know each other at the start of the season. But we’ve bonded over our shared passions for the game that was invented just a few miles west of here in Springfield. And as we head into playoffs and the upcoming end of season tournaments, I’d like to introduce you to our team. Current students may have a class or two with one of these guys or just see them in the halls of Stuart House and East Wing. It’s a special group. Meet this year’s squad: 

3L Dimitri Coachi, who can score on any defender in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts;

3L Matt Bowser, with the smoothest jump shot I’ve ever seen;

3L Niko Zea, our tenacious man in the middle;

2L Travis Salters, who absolutely owns the midrange;

2L Alex Borman, the glue guy who can jump out of the gym;

2L Yehia Fahmy, dominating teams in the post;

2L Conner Ramlo, probably the most athletic and graceful player out there;

1L Mike Cerulli, somehow pulling down every rebound in traffic;

1L Robert Clark, who sees and understands the game better than anyone;

1L Sam Ryder, our steady presence off the bench at guard; and

1L Michael Wiper, always playing with incredible intensity and determination. 

And then there’s me. I’m fortunate to be the captain of this team that has realized that the secret of basketball is that it’s not about basketball. This team believes in one another and lays it all on the line every night. We’ve been off to a great start this season, having won our first three games by an average of 30 points, and we head into the Intramural playoffs in first place. But we’re not done here. We’re going to win an IM championship and bring a trophy from the Heights down to Newton. And then later this month, we’re going to win the 46th Annual Western New England Law School Basketball Tournament, which for nearly half of a century has been bringing the best law school teams together to play from across the country. This one is special to me – my father’s law school basketball team won the WNE tournament more than thirty years ago, and there’s nothing that I would like more than to be the second John Reilly to win that trophy. And finally, we’re going to win the Beantown Shootout. Since its inaugural year in 2006, the Eagles have never lost to our rivals in the Shootout. I certainly don’t plan on making this the first.

As we play over the next few months, I hope to see you at one of our games, cheering on the BC Law basketball team. Your support would be incredibly appreciated. And this year, we’re going to win.

From left to right: 
Michael, Travis, Alex, Robert, Dimitri, Sam, John, Conner, Niko, Matt, and Mike
Announcement from a Sui Juris article about BC Law basketball in the early years of the school.

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