With a roster chuck full of talented players and promise last season, Boston College was expected by some to surprise and play their way to the top half of the ACC.
Injuries and underachievers however, led to a miserable 8-24 season that cost Steve Donahue his job.
New skipper Jim Christian takes over hoping for a fresh start. There are some nice pieces on the roster and IF they can stay healthy, they might just be decent.
BC often hung around for a half against the conference's elite teams last season, mostly because they could shoot their way in and out of any game. The best of their perimeter players is Olivier Hanlan, who despite a woeful season by the team, put up 18.5 ppg. Hanlan, who is one of the most underrated players in the country, was complimented well by F Ryan Anderson and PG Joe Rahon. Both are no longer with the program, so Hanlan will have to shoulder even more of the scoring load this season. 6'5 Patrick Heckmann is a player who can light it up when he is on. Christian will be looking for more consistency from his senior guard. BC will also feature 6'5 Southern Miss transfer Aaron Brown. If Brown can be productive at the 2 spot, he will afford Hanlan to play some point, which would help the Eagles overall talent on the floor immensely. F Eddie Odio is great athlete who looks to defend first and foremost, if he can give them some put backs and occasionally go for double figures, that would help as well. G Lonnie Jackson and F Alex Dragicevich also chip in on the offensive end on occasion. Perhaps the biggest key (feels like we say this every season) is if they can keep 7'0 C Dennis Clifford healthy. He's not the best athlete, but when he's on the court he is decent enough down low to take some pressure off the perimeter. 6'5 sophomore Garland Owens and 6'11 freshman Idrissa Diallo should also see consistent minutes. Although this is not an elite roster, there is some skill. Can they take enough pressure off Hanlan, and defend and rebound enough to make some noise in the ACC? Time will tell.
Olivier Hanlan 6'4 181 Junior
Patrick Heckmann 6'5 211 Senior
Eddie Odio 6'7 213 Senior
Dennis Clifford 7'0 247 Senior
What to Expect in 2014-15:
I think the Eagles will win more than the 8 total and 4 ACC wins they produced last season. Hanlan is as good as any combo guard in the conference. On nights where Heckmann and Jackson make shots they will be handful to defend. But even if Clifford is healthy, I do not think they have enough interior defense or rebounding to contend for an NCAA berth. If all goes well, you could however see them in the NIT.
How they match-up with the 'Canes:
Miami is not exactly deep enough up front to blast BC down low. But I do think UM's wings and guards are significantly more talented than the Eagles'. Sheldon McClellan Vs Hanlan should be fun to watch. But the biggest difference between the programs right now is that Miami Head Coach Jim Larranaga has fielded an exceptional defensive team each year he has been in Coral Gables. I like the Hurricanes big time Vs BC this season, especially for that reason.
Stay tuned for more ACC Team previews as we count down to Tip Off