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Boston College Basketball: Updating the Eagles Scholarship Situation

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What does Jim Christian have to work with in the upcoming seasons?

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

This past week's been a great, feel-good story for Boston College basketball. After outflanking several big programs to recruit big man Johncarlos Reyes, Jim Christian didn't even need an on-campus visit to land transfer guard Eli Carter. Carter chose BC over noted basketball power Georgetown and bubble quad UNLV, giving the Eagles a fifth-year senior to mentor the plethora of younger guys joining BC.

Given the departures of several of the Eagles, we decided to look at the scholarship situation for the coaching staff moving forward. They lost seven seniors, including a pair of fifth-year transfers in Aaron Brown and Dmitri Batten. They also lost multiple underclassmen, including Olivier Hanlan and Will Magarity, giving him only four returning players while opening up nine scholarships.

While that's a tall order, the coach has done a stellar job assembling what will be an extremely young roster in 2015-2016. Compare with the turnover from last year from one year to the next:

2014-2015 2015-2016
1 Darryl Hicks (Fr.) Sammy Barnes-Thompkins (Fr.)
2 Idy Diallo (Fr.) Ervins Meznieks (Fr.)
3 Garland Owens (So.) Matt Milon (Fr.)
4 Will Magarity (So.) John Carlos Reyes (Fr.)
5 Dennis Clifford (Jr.) Jerome Robinson (Fr.)
6 Olivier Hanlan (Jr.) AJ Turner (Fr.)
7 Aaron Brown (Sr.) Darryl Hicks (R-Fr.)
8 Dmitri Batten (Sr.) Idy Diallo (R-Fr.)
9 KC Caudill (Sr.) Garland Owens (Jr.)
10 Alex Dragjcevich (Sr.) Eli Carter (Sr.)
11 Patrick Heckmann (Sr.) Dennis Clifford (Sr.)
12 Lonnie Jackson (Sr.)
13 Eddie Odio (Sr.)

Broken down by positions:

Center/Big Forward (1 senior, 2 freshmen):
Dennis Clifford (Sr.)
Idy Diallo (R-Fr.)
John Carlos Reyes (Fr.)

Forwards (1 junior, 1 freshman):
Garland Owens (Jr.)
Ervins Meznieks (Fr.)

Guards (1 senior, 5 freshmen):
Eli Carter (Sr.)
Darryl Hicks (R-Fr.)
Sammy Barnes-Thompkins (Fr.)
Matt Milon (Fr.)
Jerome Robinson (Fr.)
AJ Turner (Fr.)

Coach Christian now has two scholarships left, most of which are loaded into his current freshman class (including Hicks and Diallo). Even with the departure of Carter and Clifford, it's where the coaching staff sees its core for the foreseeable future. Of course, if anyone develops fast, they're likely gone to the NBA given the lax rules regarding allowing collegiate players into the league. But it's still obvious that BC will, by default, have smaller recruiting classes moving forward.

Not included in the list is Gordon Gehan, a commit who was given preferred walk-on status earlier this offseason.

After this year, the Eagles will recoup two scholarships from Carter and Clifford, assuming nobody leaves early. One will be used up with the future commitment of Ty Graves. They get one scholarship back in 2017-2018 from Owens but won't have any senior scholarships to gain in three years for the 2018-2019 offseason.

In summary, here's the list of open scholarships as it stands right now. Bear in mind this would be if the two remaining scholarships remain unused by Jim Christian and his staff into next year.

2014-2015: 2
2015-2016: 3
2016-2017: 1
2017-2018: 0
2018-2019: 8

Clearly given the roster breakdown, BC will most likely need to go after forwards with their remaining scholarships. They've gone from having virtually no depth at the guard position to having a plethora of options. We'll likely see someone like Turner (6-5), Milon (6-4) or Robinson (6-4) play the small forward position this year, with Meznieks (6-6) being the most likely to play that position full-time (among the freshmen). Moving forward, however, the Eagles will need to recruit some depth since they're very thin at the 3-forward position.

As I mentioned, they'll need to recruit at least one more big man. A roster normally would like to have three center-type players. Although he needs to display big time improvements in the paint, Dennis Clifford (7-0) will have to lead since Idy Diallo (6-11) missed time last year. John Carlos Reyes (6-9/6-10, depending on your recruiting sheet) will fit nicely into the power forward position, but there is virtually nobody to back them up if one gets into foul trouble.

The scholarship situation remains front-loaded, which has been a problem for BC in the past, but you have to think there will be some kind of attrition. Hopefully it's the best kind, the kind that comes from being associated with winning. That said, there's still some work to do on the trail for the Eagles coaching staff.