Boston College Basketball Preview: #93
Overall Rank: #93
Conference Rank: #11 Atlantic Coast
2008-09: 22-12, 9-7
2008-09 postseason: NCAA
Coach: Al Skinner (232-149 at Boston College, 370-275 overall)
Following the lead of point guard Tyrese Rice, Boston College reached the NCAA Tournament. Once there the Eagles did what they did most of the season; they were very inconsistent and lost to a better team in Southern California. In fact that was one of the few games where Rice was held to single digits in the scoring column and nobody else was able to step up enough to give the Eagles a chance to win the game. Somebody better step up this year now that Rice is gone or it will be a long season on Chestnut Hill.
Key Losses: G Tyrese Rice
Coach Al Skinner did not sign anybody for the 2009 class. Unless there was a great recruit out there that wanted to go to Boston College, any newcomer would not play much this year anyway, if at all. Not using a scholarship this year also makes sense because BC only has one senior on their roster this year and that gives the coaching staff more options for the class of 2010.
Rice got all the publicity, but the players on the wings were pretty productive last year too. Joe Trapani, a transfer from Vermont, was second on the team with 13.4 points per game. At 6-8, Trapani is a nightmare to guard for most opposing small forwards. Trapani can knock down the three-pointer rather consistently and he usually has little problem simply shooting over his defender. Rakim Sanders is pretty tall for a shooting guard too and that makes this backcourt very dynamic. Sanders, at 6-5, can score in a variety ways and, like Trapani, is more than willing to help out on the glass.
Corey Raji, despite being just an inch taller than the team’s shooting guard, is the most dangerous scorer under the basket. Raji nearly hit the double digit scoring average as a sophomore and also proved to be a very capable rebounder. Josh Southern started all 34 games at the center position last year and should start again this time around. He is not much of a scorer, but he is a good rebounder and a decent shot blocker who can clog the lane on both ends of the floor. If Southern could stay out of foul trouble, he could emerge as a double digit scorer and rebounder. But that is unlikely and the Eagles will need players like Tyler Roche and Evan Ravenel to fill in when Southern is forced to the bench.
Who to Watch:
The potential of the rest of the team is one thing, but the big question is who replaces Rice? Reggie Jackson had a pretty productive freshman campaign, tallying 7.0 points and 1.7 assists per game. He is certainly the point guard who can also score, but Biko Paris is a junior with more experience and better suited to run the team. One of those two will step into Rice’s shoes, or most likely a combination of the two players, but Boston College needs their point guards to keep the turnovers down and find the new scorers.
Trapani and Sanders could be superstars. Raji and Southern are capable frontcourt players, but who is going to take over this team? Even if all the returning starters step up their games to help cover for the loss of Rice’s 16.9 points per game, can Jackson or Paris keep the team under control? Many considered Boston College a one-man team in 2008-2009 and if that was the case, the team has a lot of growing up to do this year or their inconsistencies will be even more prevalent in 2009-2010.
Projected Post-season Tournament: CBI/CIT
Projected Starting Five:
Reggie Jackson, Sophomore, Guard, 7.0 points per game
Rakim Sanders, Junior, Guard, 12.9 points per game
Joe Trapani, Junior, Forward, 13.4 points per game
Corey Raji, Junior, Forward, 9.9 points per game
Josh Southern, Junior, Center, 6.0 points per game