What impressed you most about this team?
Hoff: Probably the fight the team showed. There were so many games were it felt like the game was over and the team came back to make it a game. Hopefully next year there are less of those situations.
KB: For a lot of the season I was worried about depth and offensive options, especially right after Hawkins went down. While there wasn’t much to be done about the depth, I think the frontcourt stepped it up with scoring in the post to make BC a very tough offensive team toward the end of the season.
Matt: This team was so much fun to watch. There was never a time during the season that they gave up, and they easily could have. I also loved whenever Bowman and Robinson got a flair for the dramatic. Both are lethal in transition and know how to change momentum in games. The two threes that Robinson hit against Duke really sum that up, as did Bowman’s behind-the-back dribble and reverse dunk in transition against Wake.
What is this team’s most pressing issue to improve on next season?
Hoff: It has to be defense and specifically defending ball screens. That game against WKU was kind of a microcosm of the entire season.
KB: The defense was exposed in big moments this season- the Western Kentucky game, both Notre Dame regular season games come to mind. Even in games the Eagles won, they often let the opponent hang around and depended on outshooting them in the end. If they are going to take another step forward next year, they need to find a way to advance their defense. I’m also really interested to see how fast they develop the incoming recruits, and continue to develop guys like Kraljevic and Baker, to add a little depth behind the starters. Jim Christian really didn’t have to option to sit down guys and let them reset when when they were getting sloppy or lost focus. If he had a few reliable options that he could count on, that could go a long way to stopping those bad runs this team was prone to.
Matt: Defense, especially the three point line. If JC can get the to buy in on that side of the ball, they win a lot more games next year. Guys like Matt Farrell went off against us because there just wasn’t a lot of pressure on their shots. Another crucial issue is depth, which JC hopefully already fixed with Tabbs and Hamilton, but it sure as hell wouldn’t hurt to bring back Hawkins and Robinson, plus see incremental growth out of Reyes, Luka, Wilson, and Baker.
What was your favorite game/performance of the season?
Hoff: The Duke win was one of the best moments in the last ten years.
KB: The Duke win was great, but I’m going to go with hanging on to beat N.C. State in the ACC Tourney to advance to the quarterfinals. I think that meant more to this team, especially after finishing out the regular season with a few tough losses.
Matt: As a fan, being in the student section for the Duke game was unreal, but I think the moment that made me realize “we arrived, this is what we’ve been waiting for,” was the Miami game at home. Beating a team that matched our backcourt strength by outwilling and outfighting them was really satisfying.
What’s one thing you hope happens this offseason?
Hoff: Selfishly I hope Jerome Robinson comes back. Other than that I hope the team picks up a 5th year transfer that can play D and is a three point scoring threat.
KB: I hope the team can add one more piece. If Hawkins can get the ok to return, then I would count that as the extra piece as I think that is unlikely right now. Otherwise, a late transfer would help flesh out the depth for next season.
Matt: I think depth shouldn’t be too big of an issue unless we get unexpected transfers, but Hawkins and Robinson coming back would be the perfect offseason. If both come back, I would expect us to be a top-20 team in the preseason rankings.
Alternate grey unis: yay or nay?
Hoff: I think the kids like them so yay.
KB: Yay. The skyline design is fly. However, I believe we reached a saturation point too soon. In fact, we never saw the classic maroon jerseys in four postseason games! They need to use the alternates more sparingly next season.
Matt: Big fan, but I think they could have done more with alternates. A plain gray or a gold alternate would have been awesome.
What’s your final grade for the season?
Hoff: I give a solid B when you factor in how low the program has been over the last several seasons. If you had told me before the season that the team would lose Teddy Hawkins in December and be 2-3 wins away from March Madness I would’ve been really impressed.
KB: A - I know that looks high for a 19-16 team and they could have eked out a few more wins for an NCAA bid to make it a great season, but considering where the program has been and how thin the roster was this team was surpassed expectations. They got the fan base excited and made Conte a tough place to play in, finished with a winning record, and made a run it to the postseason. The expectations will be different next year, but this season was a success.
Matt: B+. Very good season, but everyone took giant steps forward throughout the season, including Pop, Baker, JC, and the crowd.
Share your opinions below and check out Part 1 as well!