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The Transfer Portal Will Be Incredibly Important to Earl Grant’s First Season at Boston College. Here’s What He Could Do

How will BC replace the production of players like Wynston Tabbs, Jay Heath, and CJ Felder?

NCAA Basketball: Boston College at Miami-Florida Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

If you’ve been following the news about the BC men’s basketball team in the past few weeks since the season ended, you know the roster isn’t looking too good for next season. Wynston Tabbs and Rich Kelly had already entered the transfer portal by the time the season ended in the ACC tournament, and since then Jay Heath and CJ Felder have joined them. With Steffon Mitchell declaring for the NBA draft, the Eagles are heading into next season without 5 of their top 6 players in terms of minutes per game from last year.

Here are the players who played at least 5 minutes per game this season for Boston College (players who are likely to return in bold):

  • Jay Heath, 33.8 MPG
  • Steffon Mitchell, 32.6 MPG
  • CJ Felder, 27.8 MPG
  • Wynston Tabbs, 27.2 MPG
  • Makai Ashton-Langford, 26.4 MPG
  • Rich Kelly, 25.4 MPG
  • DeMarr Langford Jr., 25.4 MPG
  • James Karnik, 20.2 MPG
  • Fred Scott, 18.3 MPG
  • Kamari Williams, 12.4 MPG

That’s a LOT of lost production. No matter how you felt about the quality of play from some of these Eagles, losing that much experience and production should concern any fan. It’s a difficult task asking several new players to suddenly take on big roles all at once without many others there to guide them along.

CJ Felder hasn’t completely ruled out returning to Boston College for next season, but he’s reportedly gotten interest from schools like South Carolina, Georgia, Texas A&M, Virginia, LSU, and more. Steffon Mitchell also has the potential to come back until he signs with an agent. But let’s assume for now that they’re both gone.

Now here’s a roster breakdown by position for next year, this time including a couple benchwarmers from last season, an incoming freshman, the one transfer Coach Grant has already landed, and a Jim Christian transfer who was hurt this past season:

  • Guards: Makai Ashton-Langford, DeMarr Langford Jr., Brevin Galloway
  • Forwards: Gianni Thompson, Fred Scott, Andre Adams, Kamari Williams, Andrew Kenny
  • Centers: James Karnik, Justin Vander Baan

That’s a backcourt without much depth at all, and a frontcourt without much experience outside of James Karnik. So it’s very clear that BC will need to find at least a few more players in order to even stand a shot at winning an ACC game or two. The starting 5 could have its bright spots, especially if Gianni Thompson ends up playing well, but it’s still a bottom 3 line-up in the conference with almost no depth behind it. Last year’s team, a team that considered many of these players as benchwarmers or complementary pieces, finished dead last in the ACC. Take out most of the starters and you’re left with an even worse product.

The primary focus for Coach Grant should be guard depth and some 3&D guys, but big man additions certainly wouldn’t hurt either.

Well that was depressing to look at. But get ready for this, because I have some very good news for you...

This year will be the best year in history to take advantage of transfers.

Every player who was on a roster in 2020 was granted an extra year of eligibility due to COVID. And those players are starting to utilize their extra year by transferring to other schools in search of playing time or simply a change in scenery. We will see an influx of transfers for both grad school and undergrad like we’ve never seen before, and BC is in a prime position with a bunch of open roster spots to take advantage. Coach Grant already nabbed one of his former players from Charleston! Let’s take a look at what else he’s been doing:

Tyler Kolek (G), a RI native at George Mason, has heard from BC. He was A-10 Rookie of the Year this past season and played over 30 minutes per game as a freshman.

Chico Carter (G), a SC native at Murray State, has heard from BC. He played over 24 minutes per game last season, scoring almost 13 points a game and shooting over 44% from three.

Parker Fox (F), a MN native at Northern State, has heard from Boston College. He played almost 32 minutes a game this season, putting up over 22 points a game and shooting .623 from the field.

Mason Faulkner (G), a KY native at Western Carolina, has heard from Boston College. He was scoring almost 17 points per game last year and shot over 45% from the field.

Expect these names and many more to be popping up as potential targets for BC in the coming weeks and months. So far the targets look to mainly be breakout players at much smaller schools, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see Grant and BC targeting transfers from bigger programs eventually as well. We’re going to see a lot of names enter the portal after the NCAA tournament ends soon, and BC will be right in the thick of things with a lot of roster space and opportunities for playing time.

This offseason will be critical for new head coach Earl Grant, and luckily for him the transfer portal will be giving him a unique opportunity to start building this Boston College program back from the bottom-up.