ACC Summer Recess: Boston College EaglesPosted by mpatton on July 11th, 2012
Over the next four weeks we’ll be taking a step back and looking at each team in the ACC to assess where each program — and the conference as a whole — stands before we totally turn our attention to the 2013-14 season later this fall. Today’s targe: Boston College.
Where They Stand Now
The bottom of the ACC was a dumpster fire last season. Think of an acclerant cocktail of mediocre coaching, inexperienced youth and genuine lack of talent to make it extra volatile. Somehow Boston College, Georgia Tech, Wake Forest and Virginia Tech all finished conference play with four wins. However, if forced to pick the team occupying the lowest point in the conference cellar, Boston College would steal the honor. It wasn’t entirely the Eagles’ fault: Steve Donahue was in his second year of coaching and saw his roster truly gutted, leaving a motley crew of freshmen, transfers and walk-ons. To make matters worse, Donahue’s best player — Patrick Heckmann — went down with mononucleosis in January. The good news is that Donahue is a very capable coach. He stole a win against the eventual ACC Champion Florida State Seminoles, and his team significantly improved over the course of the season.
The Eagles lose six players, including transfers Matt Humphrey (who is transferring to West Virginia, the second transfer of his career) and Gabe Moton. While the losses won’t help the Eagles, Humphrey didn’t fit well with Donahue’s system and Moton managed less than 20 minutes of playing time for a team that should only get better. The four departing seniors combined to play just over 23 minutes a game, contributing a combined 2.6 points and 1.7 rebounds a game.
Donahue brings back his core of nine sophomores on the roster led by Heckmann, Lonnie Jackson and Ryan Anderson. Because of Heckmann’s nagging illness, the Eagles leaned on Anderson more than anyone else. During non-conference play, Anderson averaged 9.5 points and 6.4 rebounds per game. During conference play he took his game to the next level, putting up 12.6 points and pulling down 8.2 rebounds a contest. Jackson followed a similar trajectory (largely thanks to increased playing time), averaging 7.1 points a game and 9.3 points in non-conference and conference games, respectively. Heckmann was the Eagles’ best non-conference performer with 11.3 points to go with 3.8 rebounds, but his illness makes it impossible to compare his splits.
These three will need to keep improving to help Boston College move up the ACC ladder. Having all of them healthy should help spread out the scoring load and increase the group’s offensive efficiency. Look for all three to score in double figures this season with Heckmann and Anderson reaching into the mid-teens.
Steve Donahue picked up two signees and two transfers in his recruiting haul. Canadien point guard Olivier Hanlan leads the group as a consensus three-star recruit according to Scout, Rivals and ESPNU. The Eagles also landed another point guard, Joe Rahon. Also eligible to play immediately will be Harvard transfer Andrew Van Nest, whose frequent injuries hurt his production for the Crimson, but Van Nest is 6’10” and Donahue needs bodies to help make up for losing nearly everyone going into last season. The Eagles also landed Notre Dame transfer Alex Dragicevich, who should provide a strong presence on the wing in a couple of years. Dragicevich averaged nearly 21 minutes a game for the Fighting Irish, scoring 6.6 points a game. He’s a capable shooter and at 6’7″ has good size. Dragicevich will sit out next year.
Boston College is still rebuilding. It’s a young team that needs more talent, especially further down the roster, but Steve Donahue is getting some solid pieces in place. Rebuilding a team from scratch takes time, so expectations should be low this year but this program appears to be moving in the right direction.