Coming off of a late win over the Providence Friars this past Saturday, the BC men's basketball team stands at 6-5 overall and now faces a legitimate question: who else can the rely on if Ryan Anderson is not playing at his best?
Behind Anderson's 16.1 points per game, the second leading scorer on the team is freshman point guard Olivier Hanlan (12.8 PPG). While Hanlan has provided some explosiveness at the point guard position, and will surely be a great fit for coach Donahue's system, he is in no way, shape, or form a "wingman" to Ryan Anderson, nor should he have to be. Hanlan's job is to get the offense going up the court at a quick pace and spread the ball around to create good shots for the Eagles. The fact that he is a solid jump shooter is just an added bonus, but this surely doesn't make him BC's No. 2 man.
The Eagles third leading scorer is also a freshman point guard, in Joe Rahon (10.4 PPG). Rahon is a lesser talented version of Olivier Hanlan, as he can create shots for his teammates well, but is a less efficient scorer than Hanlon. Rahon will be another important piece to the puzzle of fixing this BC men's basketball team, but he is another player that can't be relied on as the second best options on the club.
This leaves us with three legitimate remaining candidates as the all important backup plan to Ryan Anderson. These are guard/forward Patrick Heckmann, guard Lonnie Jackson, and center Dennis Clifford. Each of these players has the ability to go off in an individual game and make you believe for a brief moment that they have No. 2 potential, but they will follow up these stellar performances with a streak of lacking efforts that remind you that they are still a work in progress.
After breaking down the top candidates for the second best player on BC's men's basketball team, it becomes apparent that there is no true No. 2 man for the Eagles at this point. Ryan Anderson has made it clear that he is on a mission to be elected All-ACC this year, so this is setting the bar high for his teammates, but we have yet to see any one player jump out on the roster as the obvious backup option when Anderson has a rare off night.
With ACC opponents just around the corner, it will be interesting to see if one of these secondary players emerges as the clear No. 2, or if they will remain average as the competition will surely increase with these conference games.
Prediction: Look for Olivier Hanlan to improve the most in the coming weeks, as he has what it takes to grow instead of crumble with the challenge of his first action against ACC talent.