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Boston College Basketball: Previewing the Upcoming Season: Part the First

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BC basketball is starting its season on Saturday. The new look Eagles look to move past the departure of their top scorer departing in the form of Olivier Hanlan. How will they fare?

1. Who will be the biggest addition to the BC lineup this year?

AB: It is definitely going to be Eli Carter. He is going to be BC's best option in terms of scoring (shown by his performance against Bentley). He has good shooting range, and can be counted on to carry the team until the younger players get their feet under them, which might be a little while.

JG: I think the obvious answer is Eli Carter. Can there really be any other choice? That said, isn't pretty much everyone an addition?

NG: It really has to be Eli Carter. The modern point guard is so much different in that he has to be a shooter in addition to a distributor. That's why everything in the offense ran through Olivier Hanlan last year, and that's why it'll all run through Eli Carter this year. When the team struggles with its youth and inexperience (where have we said that before?), they'll need to rely on their one big gun, which comes from Carter.

JF: No question it is Eli Carter.  He's got athleticism and experience and on a team devoid of a lot of that, will shine.

2. What is BC's biggest strength/weakness?

AB: BC's biggest strength is that by ACC play, the team will be fairly battle tested. I really like their pre-ACC schedule. They have a really good mix of tune-up games and difficult games to give the team good footing. This will give the freshmen games to work through things, and it will also get them acclimated to the college game a lot quicker.

As for the weakness, it has to be youth, and the fact that the team is completely different. The Eagles lost a ton of scoring from last year, and will be relying on younger players to make up for it. Eli Carter can't do everything, so if the team is going to be successful in conference play, Carter can't carry them. He can hold them over for non-conference play, but when the ACC schedule rolls around they need to be ready to go.

JG: BC's biggest strength is that it combines a Jesuit, Catholic education rooted in the historical core curriculum with an exceptional, rigorous and modern university experience. It's also located just a few miles from downtown of a major American city, yet has an idyllic campus setting.

BC's biggest weakness is probably its basketball team.

JF: Experience, rebounding and ball handling.  Last year's team lacked a true ball handler outside of Olivier Hanlan and although there are candidates to replace him, it's young and will be tested. Jerome Robinson apparently will get the first crack at it, but he doesn't have a history as a pass first point guard and beyond that, it's being done by committee.  With the shot clock being dropped to 30 seconds, it will be interesting to see if teams extend the floor more, as much to burn clock as to steal the ball, so my initial thought is that BC will see more pressure this season than they have in the past.  The experience piece goes without saying, not just from an individual perspective, but also playing together.  The rebounding component already reared it's ugly head against Bentley, particularly in the first half and has been a problem for a few years now.  Just watching the Eagles on the practice floor, even for a short time and it becomes obvious that will be problematic.

Strengths I think will more be around lack of expectations.  There will be virtually no pressure on this team to win and I believe there will be significant improvement from the beginning of the year til the end, but there is a lot of teaching to do, particularly defensively.Young teams will struggle far more on the defensive end than the offensive end.

3. How will BC go about replacing its top 4 in scoring?

AB: It is going to have to come from the younger guys, and that means they need to find their footing as well. On the defensive side of the ball it is also going to be important to keep opponent's point totals down. I don't see BC winning a ton of shootouts this year.

JG: By scoring fewer points than they did last year, probably.

NG: You don't. I think this year's BC team is going to play a completely different style from last year as Jim Christian eases his system into play. The guys who were here were not recruited by him, so I think the approach is going to be very similar to what Steve Addazio did in football. Once you get your own recruits in, you start developing them into your system while treading as much water as possible. So I don't think Jim Christian is going to replace those guys who were here last year moreso as he is develop a completely new style with new players.

JF: They won't really.  You know BC won't average 30 points per game, so scoring will grow organically. It starts with Carter and others will fill the bill, but you have to hope that Dennis Clifford finally gives them a post presence, that will make all the perimeter players more effective.

Check back tomorrow for part the second of our two part series previewing BC's basketball future.