Boston College’s Ryan Anderson and Olivier Hanlan Have Eagles Headed in Right DirectionPosted by Jimmy Kelley on January 12th, 2013
Boston College was one of the original schools to read the tea leaves and bolt from the Big East to the ACC. While their tea leaves may have read “go before UConn does” instead of “save yourself!”, the Eagles have been a fixture of the ACC landscape for some years now despite only having a few competitive seasons.
This season will not be a deviation from the trend, but the baby Eagles are playing a fun brand of basketball and have two bonafide ACC players leading the way in sophomore forward Ryan Anderson and freshman guard Olivier Hanlan. Through three conference games this season, BC has looked like a team that, when everything is going well, can threaten any team on any given night. With a quality win over Virginia Tech and close losses to N.C. State and Wake Forest, Steve Donahue’s boys are growing in confidence every game.
Anderson is easily an All-ACC caliber player and has proven as much since the first game of the year when he put up an impressive 29-point, 17-rebound performance. His averages (17.1 and 9.7 respecively) have held up throughout the year and each game sees him add a little something extra. A bit of a recruiting coup, Anderson turned down teams in his native California to play for BC in the ACC and is not too far away from being a Jack McLinton-type problem for the upper echelon teams in the ACC.
With Hanlan, Donahue was able to pluck a player from the New England Prep scene that has become a breeding ground for top-tier talent. A product of the New Hampton School (N.H.) by way of Canada, Hanlan faced some of the best players in the country (including Florida State’s Aaron Thomas and Xavier’s Semaj Christon from Brewster) while playing alongside Indiana-bound Noah Vonleh (top-10 player in 2013 by any calculation) and is not shy on the big stage.
However, these are not the only young guns that Donahue has in his stable. Freshman Joe Rahon is third on the team in scoring, sophomore Lonnie Jackson is averaging 18.6 points through three ACC games; and sophomores Patrick Heckmann and Dennis Clifford are each averaging over 20 minutes per game. On top of all the young talent on the roster, Donahue plucked forward Alex Dragevich from Notre Dame and will have him for next season.
The loss to Wake Forest will be a bit tough to swallow for this young team. They had multiple chances to put the game away and simply did not do it; Rahon missed a layup down one with 4.5 seconds left and Hanlan missed a buzzer-beater after a boneheaded play by Travis McKie gave them an opportunity to tie the game. Growing from a loss like that will do more for a young team than wins over teams like Virginia Tech or even a close loss against a team like N.C. State.
As is the case with any young team — as we’ve seen with Kentucky — the first step they need to take is finding consistency and avoiding bad losses. They have already had their fair share of those (Harvard, Bryant) but have a chance to gain a lot of confidence against the quality competition in the conference.
With Miami coming up this week and Maryland, Virginia and North Carolina on the horizon, there will be a lot to take away from how they rebound from such a stomach punch loss. If they steal two or three of those games, the Eagles will already have an impressive from which to build on going forward.
Donahue, Anderson, Hanlan and the Eagles are already a strong middle-of-the-pack ACC team, and they’re only getting better.