How did the season compare to your preseason expectations?
Hoff: I think most people thought I was crazy when I said before the year that this team was going to make it to the Big Dance. If Teddy Hawkins didn’t go down with a season ending injury in December then I think that would’ve happened because he was good for at least two more wins this year.
KB: I think I predicted 16 wins overall, so finishing above .500 and grabbing a few ACC Tournament wins surpassed my expectations a bit. Even though they got bumped in the first round, I was really pleased with the NIT bid. I would say they met and slightly surpassed my cautiously optimistic preseason outlook.
Matt: I was also cautiously optimistic about stealing an NCAA tournament bid, but between the Hawkins injury and infuriating losses to UVA, Clemson (x2), Virginia Tech, and Miami, there was little chance at the end of the year. However, considering all of that, this season has to be considered a success.
Who was the MVP this season?
Hoff: It’s tough to give it to anyone other than the runner-up for ACC Player of the Year.
KB: I think Bowman could have been MVP if he could cut down on turnovers and sloppy passes. It’s hard to fault him for losing focus when he plays so many minutes night after night and he does so many good things, but I think the lapses keep him from being MVP. Robinson is the MVP.
Matt: Robinson was the MVP. If BC wins three or four more conference games, he has a very compelling case to be the ACC POTY. The offense went as he did.
Who was the most improved player this season?
Hoff: For most improved Jordan Chatman was an easy choice for most of the year. He really became a pretty dependable third scoring option for the team. Close runner-up is Pop because of his play later in the year. I think it was a big reason BC performed above expectations in the ACC Tournament.
KB: For most improved, I think a case could be made for a few different guys. I’ll go with Chatman as well because he was able to create his own shot more this year rather than just rely on feeds in the corner for threes.
Matt: Most improved was Chatman. A lights-out spot up shooter, he increased his repertoire off the bounce, in particular with one dribble pull-ups and the ability to get to the rim and finish through contact.
Who was the defensive MVP this year?
Hoff: For defensive player of the year my vote goes to Steffon Mitchell who was probably the most dependable rebounder that the team had and the only guy you could expect to block a shot.
KB: I was impressed with the way Popovic stood his ground against some of the conference’s big men, but I’ll give my DPOY vote to Mitchell as the most consistent defender.
Matt: Steff was the defensive player of the year for the Eagles. After he held Duke star Marvin Bagley III to a frustratingly quiet 15 points, there shouldn’t have been any doubt about that.
In your opinion, how did this freshman class do?
Hoff: This wasn’t a very heralded recruiting class. With that being said Mitchell played well above expectations this year for a guy that was lightly recruited. Vin Baker showed a few flashes this year and will be fun to watch develop. Next year’s class is loaded and should be really fun to watch.
KB: I loved watching Mitchell this year. If he can work on his shot this offseason, I think he can be a very successful player in the conference. He already is already a solid defender and rebounder and has a knack for making big plays. I think Luka and Vin Baker showed glimpses of promise. Both had some good offensive moves but could get lost on defense. I’m interested to see how well they develop over the next year. We didn’t see too much of Wilson, but from what we did he seemed like he might be in over his head at this level.
Matt: Mitchell’s a stud. He competes, he defends, and he’s so smart. He’ll be one of those crucial four year players that all the top programs seem to have, like Tumtum Nairn of Michigan State, Grayson Allen of Duke, Theo Pinson and Joel Berry of UNC, and Isaiah Wilkins of UVA. Baker only played out of necessity, and when he did, he was in over his head. His jump shot isn’t there yet, he gets lost on defense, and he looks like he’s never hit the weight room. Luka played well in flashes. I expect him to have a Popovic-like improvement next year, but he too needs to get stronger.
Jim Christian’s job seems safe after this season. What would put him on the hot seat next year?
Hoff: I think JC has the team headed in the right direction and I don’t see his job being in jeopardy as long as the team continues on an upward trajectory. If everyone returns and they regress and finish in the bottom of the ACC then it’s a different conversation.
KB: I agree with Hoff that it would take a big regression for Christian to get into hot water next year. He has a few big recruits coming in this fall, but I think if his next recruiting class looks thin then that would be another kind of regression. He needs to keep getting a few big pieces a year to stay competitive in the ACC.
Matt: I don’t know if it would put him on the hot seat per se, but as a fan, next year should be an NCAA tournament team or bust. Even if Robinson leaves, JC should have the rest of his roster and two new glamorous toys in Wynston Tabbs and Jairus Hamilton.
Share your opinions below and check back tomorrow for Part 2!