Continuing with our theme of previewing the upcoming Boston College Eagles basketball season, we tackle a question that deals specifically with out personnel. While the college game is different from the NBA game in that it's not all that difficult to have a great deal of success without a superstar player, it's still nice to have that go-to guy. I asked the BC Interruption crew to try and figure out who has the best chance to breakout in this way.
Who will emerge as the Eagles' best player in 2012-13?
Brian: Ryan Anderson. Going away. Won't be close.
AJ: Without a doubt Ryan Anderson. Dude showed that he can be a scorer and be the best option on offense last year. I think he builds on it this year.
Joe: Larry Bird.
Grant: Well I'm just going to have to go with everyone else and say Anderson,
Jeff: Ryan Anderson followed closely by Dennis Clifford.
You'll see that basically everybody picked Ryan Anderson. Unfortunately, Larry Bird isn't suiting up for the Eagles this year -- sorry, Joe. I'll agree with everybody else and say that Anderson is the most obvious and logical choice to be the Eagles' best player this year. I love his skill set and think he causes a whole lot of problems for opposing teams. In order to take that step and become our clearcut best player, I think he needs to improve in a couple of areas. Last season we saw that he has a solid handle and soft touch for a 6'8" power forward. The range that extends out to the three point line is something that he has, but definitely needs to become more consistent with. His shot mechanics were a little funky for my liking, but I assume if I saw something wrong, then so did Steve Donahue. I'd be interested to see if Donahue tried to tweak his shot. The handle and range are weapons that make Anderson unique as a power forward. Those are the things that can really make him a matchup nightmare -- because most big men can't do those things. In order to really give teams trouble, however, he needs to become just as good at the things that most big men can do. He needs to add strength, more back to the basket moves, and attack the basket more. He moves pretty well for a big guy and has solid athleticism. He ought to use those things to play like a traditional power forward. Attack the rim and score down low. If he really shows that he can do those things, then the fact that he can occasionally drive from the perimeter and knock down threes makes him that much harder to guard.
All of that said, I wouldn't be shocked if someone other than Anderson emerges. Jeff mentioned Clifford and that's a decent bet as well. His sheer size makes him a factor on both ends of the court. Especially in non-ACC games, teams will be hard-pressed to trot a lineup out there that can account for a big man as quick and mobile as Clifford. If he got a lot stronger and developed his post game, he could be a force.
Another possibility is freshman Olivier Hanlan. I haven't seen him play, but everything that Steve Donahue has said about him has been extremely positive. He's a big, strong guard and figures to get a good amount of playing time right away. Lonnie Jackson and Jordan Daniels played well as freshmen, but it seems to be that Hanlan has better tools than each of them. Again, I haven't seen him play in real competition. But The Don seems to like what he sees and that's generally good enough for me.
Tomorrow's question: What year do you expect the Eagles to be in the NCAA Tournament discussion again?