New head coach Steve Donahue will be on the bench at Boston College this year. Donahue coached Cornell to the Sweet 16 in last season’s NCAA Tournament, and he’s had the Big Red as the king of the Ivy League over the past ten years. He replaces BC’s winningest coach in program history in Al Skinner, who was fired after a 15-16 season last year which included a 6-10 mark in ACC play. Donahue will benefit from five scholarship seniors coming back this season, though Rakim Sanders transferred to Fairfield and Evan Ravenel left to to Ohio State. Of the five, four started last year in Biko Paris, Corey Raji, Josh Southern and Joe Trapani.
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Trapani is their best returning player, averaging 14.1 PPG and 6.4 RPG last season to lead BC in both categories. In fact, he was their top scorer in 11 contests while registering the most rebounds in 14 contests, so he’s certainly a key contributor to say the least. Raji and Southern give Donahue plenty of talent and depth to be a force inside. Raji has a solid ability to put points on the board, while Southern has worked hard in the offseason to get in good enough condition to run a more up-tempo style. Cortney Dunn isn’t predicted to see a lot of time, but he’ll surely be counted upon to give the starters a breather.
The player with the most upside on this squad is junior guard Reggie Jackson, who averaged 12.9 PPG, 5.7 RPG and 4.5 APG last year. He’s a solid all-around player that should flourish in this fast paced style. Under Skinner, Jackson was confined a lot in the precision of the flex offense. He’ll have the chance under Donahue to let loose and just let the game come to him. Paris will share time with Jackson at the one, and each will be on the floor at the same time a lot this year. So basically they’ll have at least two ball handlers out there manning this new offense, which Donahue has to like. Dallas Elmore is a physical defender who can penetrate to the rim. Senior Nick Mosakowski is the only other guard among the nine returning letterman, so depth will be a concern. Freshmen Gabriel Moton and Danny Rubin may be asked to step in, though neither was highly recruited coming out of high school.
Jack’s Pick: 9th Place in the conference – It took Donahue nearly a decade to turn Cornell around, and it’s not going to be to be a smooth changeover until he gets his players on the team. But he is blessed to have a lot of talent coming back with four returning starters, three of which were double-digit scorers. That said, Donahue likes playing as many as 12 players because of the fast pace style he executes. And unfortunately, he doesn’t have the depth required to keep fresh bodies on the court for the entire game. A lot will be asked of the returning starters to play nearly 40 minutes a game, and if they are up to the task Boston College will be competitive in the ACC. But don’t expect a postseason berth in year one under Donahue for Boston College.
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