Olivier Hanlan May Test NBA Draft Waters, Hastening End Of Steve Donahue Era?

Rich Barnes

There's a lot going on here.

According to the Boston Globe's Michael Vega, tonight's matchup between 14th-seeded Boston College and 11th-seeded Georgia Tech in the first round of the ACC Tournament may be Hanlan's last game in a BC uniform.

Sources with knowledge of the situation have indicated that the 6-foot-4-inch Hanlan will explore the possibility of leaving school early for the NBA. If he doesn't sign with an agent, however, he would retain his eligibility.

Hanlan exploring all his possible options, especially with Donahue's future very much in doubt, makes sense. If he can start his pro career a year or two earlier, that seems preferable to possibly playing another year on a team that is coming off a 24-loss year. If he doesn't get drafted this year, he could always return to college for another year and try again the following year.

But wait, there's more. The possible early departure of the Eagles' leading scorer could send a few other players running to the exits.

And the departure of BC's scoring leader (18.6 points per game) could trigger an exodus of several other players - including 6-2 sophomore guard Joe Rahon, a native of San Diego who averaged 9.0 points, and 6-8 junior forward Ryan Anderson, of Long Beach, Calif., who averaged 14.3 points and 7.1 rebounds - according to other team sources. Those sources indicated both Rahon and Anderson may be considering transferring to West Coast schools.n said. "So I'll take these next few days and focus on this tournament coming up and after that we'll see what happens.''

This I don't get as much. Rahon transferring closer to home makes some sense given he'll have two years of eligibility remaining, but Anderson will just have one left. Unless Anderson graduates early, will have to sit out a year to play just one more per NCAA transfer rules. Roster turnover is to be expected when a program switches leadership. Just stinks that these three players are a big part of the Eagles' total offensive output.

Here's the part I really don't get.

If Hanlan were to leave early, it would leave fourth-year coach Steve Donahue heading into the final year of his five-year contract needing to replace his top three scorers and top rebounder from this season.

It also could hasten BC athletic director Brad Bates to make a change in a program that has been in decline the last two seasons and has seen fan interest wane over that stretch, as evidenced by the disappointing turnout of 2,273 for BC's home finale against Florida State March 4.

Contacted Monday, Bates declined to comment about the basketball program or the future of its coach.

This is backwards. The departures of Hanlan, Anderson and Rahon -- and others? -- wouldn't hasten the end of the Steve Donahue era. Donahue has done enough on his own to warrant being fired after this season. But now that this is a thing, folks can point to the mass exodus of players as the proverbial nail in the coffin. I guess this is how you go about firing nice guys. Spin, spin, spin.

Regardless, the writing is on the wall. It's looking like tonight will be the final Boston College men's basketball game under Steve Donahue and the program could look very, very different in a few short months.

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