Boston College Basketball: Steve Donahue On Dennis Clifford

Jeremy Brevard-US PRESSWIRE

Get well soon, Big Maroon Dog!

You may have noticed Boston College basketball coach Steve Donahue going with a much smaller, four-guard lineup over the past few games. This has led many to speculate on the health of center Dennis Clifford. When asked about the four-guard starting lineup during this week's ACC Basketball Media Conference, turns out Clifford is far from 100 percent.

Dennis is not healthy even with the injury. The ankle was the issue, now it's been the knee since September. He really hasn't practiced since late September, more than five, ten minutes at a pop. So even before he hurt his ankle, just fortunately he hasn't been himself. And I think that's hurt us. We really miss his presence.

We took a trip to Spain, Dennis was our leading scorer. He's our best player, and it's just unfortunate for him and us, he's nowhere near that due to the pain that he has in his knee. It's something that he's going to have to work through. I don't think it's going to get much better this year, and hopefully it's something that we can control better in the future.

Though Clifford has been limited by injury -- the 7-foot-0 center has averaged just 17.5 minutes a game since missing the Harvard, St. Francis (NY) and New Hampshire games -- the four-guard lineup is something that's familiar to Donahue.

The guard thing is something that we've always done. I've done it at Cornell. The guy who is our 4 man is typically a 6'6" type of guy who's a hybrid, tough enough to guard bigger guys, spread you out on offense, and then we usually come in and we go big at times, and we need to get physical, and that's kind of what we're trying to develop here with Patrick at the 4, Eddie Odio at the 4 at times.

Even with the Eagles' center limited, BC has held their own on the glass through three ACC games. Opponents are out-rebounding BC just 97-96 in league play, but the Eagles have pulled down more offensive rebounds. Boston College has also done a great job protecting the basketball, combining for just 13 turnovers over the first two league games against N.C. State and Virginia Tech.

Still, the Hurricanes are one of the more physical clubs in the ACC and, well, poor, poor Patrick Heckmann. The 6-foot-6 wing is going to be asked to play the 4, going up against 6-foot-11, 242 pound senior Kenny Kadji. Here's to hoping that Clifford is on the mend and will return to form, adding some much needed height to the Eagles' starting rotation.

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