Boston College will honor Troy Bell by retiring his jersey at the school on Saturday. The Minneapolis native was a four-year letter-winner at Holy Angels, a Mr. Basketball finalist in his senior season, and he led the state in scoring nearly 40 points a game that year. He also played with the Howard Pulley Panthers AAU team that brought national recognition to city and out-state prep players.
“Arguably, you could say that nobody would have gotten scholarships because high school numbers in Minnesota wasn’t enough,” Bell said of himself and others who owe Panthers Founder/Director Rene Pulley their gratitude. “That’s what Rene did not only for me but for all the players that he took under his wing. You take Rene out of the equation [and] who knows what happens to all of the guys coming through his program, because Howard Pulley was an elite program.”
The 6’-1” guard credited that experience with helping him adjust to college ball at Boston College. “I felt very prepared academically coming from Holy Angels,” Bell said.
“I felt prepared as a player playing with Howard Pulley, and playing in the pro-am at a young age. I will say that the practices were a lot harder and a lot more competitive with higher-level guys. It wasn’t easy, but I felt prepared.”
He was a two-time Big East Conference Player of the Year (his sophomore and senior seasons), and he broke the school’s all-time scoring record playing under then-coach Al Skinner, a former pro player.
“I really liked playing for Coach Skinner,” Bell continued. “He was a laid back dude. Whenever he raised his voice, everybody listened. I would have liked to hear more from him as a player, but he made it all about the players…
“He had such a wealth of knowledge. He put the time and the work in to make sure that we were prepared. I wouldn’t ask for a better coaching staff. Everybody that he had as an assistant is now a head coach—that’s how good his staff was when I was there.”
However, Bell’s post-college career wasn’t as he had hoped. He was a 2003 NBA first-round pick by Boston, who traded him on draft night to Memphis, who played him sparingly. “I went from a real cool coach to a coach that was not a cool guy at all, not a lot of communication and didn’t believe in playing rookies. I felt as prepared as anybody, but I just went to the wrong situation.
“It wasn’t easy for me. It was super tough,” Bell pointed out. “It was just like the worst scenario you could have written up for a young player.”
After two seasons of battling knee injuries with little playing time even when healthy, Bell left the NBA and played overseas from 2004 to 2016. He also played in the NBA Development League (now G-League).
Finally, Bell will be forever honored on Saturday as one of Boston College’s greatest players.
“I wish my dad could have been alive—my dad passed two years ago. I know what it would have meant to him.
“I did the best I could in school. I want to be known as someone who left it all on the floor 100% and honored my commitment.”