Before this season started, Boston College was predicted to be a team that could fight into the upper half of the ACC. The Eagles, obviously, fell incredibly short of those projections, as they finished the season at 8-24 with a first-round loss in the ACC Tournament on Wednesday.
While the label of potential breakout team may have been premature and overly optimistic this season, the 2014-15 season could be the year in which Boston College finally lives up to those expectations. Looking ahead, the Eagles have plenty of experience and talent returning.
Backcourt: The guard spots could be very promising or very thin for Boston College next season, depending on how a few decisions shake out this offseason. A lot of that falls on sophomore Olivier Hanlan, who will explore his NBA Draft options. Hanlan will not sign an agent immediately, and if he’s not projected to go high in the draft, there’s a good chance he will be back. Another critical decision is that of sophomore Joe Rahon. A Boston Globe report on Wednesday said Rahon was planning to transfer to a West Coast school, but Rahon denied those reports following the Eagles’ game on Wednesday night. If those two return, the Eagles will be loaded with talent and experience in the backcourt. Between them, sharpshooter Lonnie Jackson and swingman Patrick Heckmann, Boston College would return 40.5 points per game in two seniors and two juniors. The Eagles also add shooting guard Nat Dixon, an unranked recruit, from the 2014 class.
Frontcourt: Similar to the backcourt, the frontcourt’s future prosperity depends largely on a decision to transfer or not. Ryan Anderson was reported to be considering a transfer, but he, like Rahon, shot down those rumors Wednesday night. Anderson is one of the ACC’s most-experienced players, and he averaged 14.3 points and 7.3 rebounds per game this season. Center K.C. Caudill hasn’t had the most fruitful career, but he came on nicely at the end of the season and could be a good piece in his senior campaign. Center Dennis Clifford missed all but three games this year due to an injury, and he should be back in the rotation next year, as well. Eddie Odio will be a senior and has shown flashes throughout his career.
If Hanlan, Anderson and Rahon return, Boston College has a lot to work with moving forward. Granted, there are still plenty of questions the Eagles have to answer from this past season to build for the future. Will coach Steve Donahue be back? Will Clifford get healthy and become a good inside presence? Can the Eagles’ wealth of perimeter shooters find a way to coexist? Will Boston College at least pretend to play defense every now and then?
After a year like this, it’s difficult to project Boston College has anything more than a lower-tier ACC team. But with the amount of experience they have coming back, and with the amount of potential those players have shown at times, the Eagles do have something to look forward to next year.