ACC Preview: Boston College’s Burning Question

Posted by Matt Patton on October 22nd, 2015

This team preview is part of the RTC ACC microsite’s preseason coverage.

Burning Question: How can Jim Christian mitigate the loss of Olivier Hanlan?

We thought this question might come up 12 months ago, but Hanlan ended up staying the extra year. In a strange way, head coach Jim Christian might have been better off trying to adjust to life without Hanlan last year. Instead, he faces his second straight season of losing his best players. Last year Boston College lost Ryan Anderson, Joe Rahon and Lonnie Jackson, but the cumulative loss is probably more severe this season. Gone are four of five starters: Hanlan, Aaron Brown, Patrick Heckmann and Dmitri Batten, a quartet that combined to score over 76 percent of the Eagles’ points a season ago. And there’s more — fan favorite Eddie Odio graduated, and oft-injured Will McGarity transferred to Davidson.

Jim Christian will need a lot of patience this season, especially during ACC play. (credit: AP)

Jim Christian will need a lot of patience this season, especially during ACC play. (credit: AP)

The only returning starter is Dennis Clifford, who has rarely managed a heavy minute-load as a result of nagging injuries. Clifford showed flashes of promise — especially early in his career — but those injuries, a lack of lateral quickness and turnover issues have always prevented him from developing into a major contributor. That said, the senior has flashed offensive promise ever since his freshman season. Some of the disappointment of the past couple of campaigns could be a function of injuries never allowing him play at 100 percent, but projecting a fourth-year player to make a major leap is a stretch, regardless of circumstance.

The bright spot for the Eagles is Eli Carter, a graduate transfer from Florida (he also played one year at Rutgers), who should immediately become Boston College’s most productive player. projected Carter to be the top scoring transfer in the country, but let’s not have visions of a BC ascension in the ACC on the back of its new All-American. Carter is a high-usage player that should be an efficient shooter (he is a career 77 percent free throw shooter), but he’s never put together a particularly efficient all-around season. According to Ken Pomeroy, his highest offensive efficiency was 99.4 — a far cry from the 107.4 rating his Hanlan posted in more minutes and possessions a year ago.

The Eagles have a couple of freshmen who we should expect to see a lot of very quickly. AJ Turner (4-star according to ESPN, 3-star according to Scout and Rivals) and Matt Milon (consensus 3-star) are likely role players with a reasonable chance to see a lot of minutes. A couple more newcomers worth keeping an eye on are Idy Diallo, a redshirt freshman, and Darryl Hicks, a redshirt sophomore. Diallo and Hicks have spent more time with the team than the true freshmen have and may turn out to be hidden gems. Hicks was one of the best players in the state of Kentucky before losing two seasons to separate ACL injuries.

The picture in Chestnut Hill right now is not one of great promise. Boston College’s first real chance for a conference win may not come until February 23 when Virginia Tech visits the Conte Forum. Georgia Tech’s subsequent visit may offer yet another prime opportunity for a conference victory, but don’t be surprised if chances like those are few and far between for a team likely to finish at the bottom of the ACC.

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