It's time for Basketball Banter! In the tradition and spirit of BC Hockey Banter and the Two Minute Drill, BCI's Basketball writers, Arthur Bailin and "Coach" John Fidler, will take a weekly dive in to all things BC hoops.
Arthur: Well ladies and gentlemen it is basketball season, and the BC Eagles opened with an exclamation point. And Coach, one of the players that stood out to me the most was Jerome Robinson. He put up 19 points, but even more than that, I liked how well he played with Eli Carter. The two have some good chemistry right now.
JF: The two of them seemed pretty comfortable together didn't they? I was a bit surprised to see Carter play the point and Robinson the shooting guard, but BC doesn't have a true point guard on the roster outside Steve Perpiglia and I wouldn't think he will get a lot of minutes this year. The chemistry between them and how Robinson can or will transition into a point when Carter sits will be a key. My biggest takeaway from Robinson was simply how unfazed he was at stepping into the starting role and playing with both poise and purpose. Really easy for young players to forget all they are taught and go on instinct, but I thought Robinson tried to execute what he was coached to do.
Arthur: Ah Steven Perpigilia, the fighting pride of Broomall, Pa.
I was impressed by how ready everyone was, not just Robinson. I had a lot of concerns in terms of the long term future of the team, in regards to being ready for the ACC season, but they alleviated my concerns. Everyone appears to step up into the college game fairly easily. We'll see how, or if, that changes but so far so good.
One first year player that I'm kind of conflicted on is Idy Diallo. I remember being impressed by his play, and his aggressiveness and physicality. I love that from big men, and I was sad when he fouled out because he was a great change from the past. Yet I got into the press room and saw the final stats, and saw that he fouled out in nine minutes.
That won't do.
JF: The whole team came out ready to both play and execute and that had to be surprising. When you mix that many new bodies together and then add in it's a first game, you wouldn't expect a cohesive effort at either end of the floor, but BC got that. Now, it was just St. Francis and I am concerned that a physical team like a Michigan State in a couple of games will expose that BC isn't strong enough to impose its will athletically against better teams, but much better than I could have imagined at least for a night.
The Diallo concern is legitimate. He is really just starting out here and is terribly raw from a skill set perspective. I never thought he would walk in the door and become a star overnight, but he is strong and definitely will take up space.
Understanding how to play with the new foul rules is something that looks like will impact him more than most. He was a top 150 player in the country coming out of LA though so no reason to get down on him. There simply aren't that many polished post players period in college basketball period, so if does no more than develop his skill set over time and for now, rebound, defend (without fouling) and get his points cleaning up offensive rebounds, that's plenty good enough.
Arthur: Oh, I think Diallo is great. The issues have is that Diallo and Dennis Clifford are BC's only two legitimate big men (Reyes is just tall- he's listed at 216 lbs.). I don't want him to lose his aggressiveness but at the same time I want to keep that depth.
I think the Michigan State Spartans will be the first real test. It's one thing to dominate St Francis, it's quite another to play a top team in the country. It will give a decent idea of how ready the team is for ACC play. But in the mean time I have tempered enthusiasm.
What are you expecting this upcoming weekend?
JF: Depth in the front court, as it has been the past few years will be a key again this season. BC has a bit more size, but it is very young and inexperienced. Teams like MSU will really be a test to see how well they can compete, as much as whether they can win and I don't mean compete in the sense of the score of the game, but more showing a competitive spirit and fight, particularly rebounding the ball, which is an Spartan trait.
This weekend, I don't think there will be any issues with Central Connecticut who arguably is the worst team they will play all year. It will be fascinating though to see if they can come out and execute as they did against St Francis. Growth in teams is seldom linear and there will be ups and downs through the season.
Harvard will be good temperature check. Like BC, the Crimson lost the vast majority of their productivity, including all Ivy point guard Siyani Chambers who is done for the year with a torn ACL suffered in late summer and will rely on a strong freshman class. When you are starting from scratch on both sides, I'll take the ACC caliber talent over the Ivy talent.
Arthur: Central Connecticut State should be dispatched fairly easily. Harvard always is a difficult out, but I like what I saw from the team last Saturday and I think and when if they slip up, it will be to a team of a little bit higher caliber. I predict the sweep.
Time for the lightning round, the Philadelphia Big 5 is 11-1, hoping the success can continue. Going home for the holidays is always a lot more fun when the city is competitive.
JF: One of my all time favorite trips was to the Palestra when we were in school to play Villanova as part of a Big Five double header. I think St Joes and LaSalle was the other game. Love it!
Arthur: Oh, how I miss the Palestra. Seriously, a Big 5 game at the Palestra needs to be on every fan's bucket list.
Who do you think the last unbeaten will be?
JF: Last unbeaten, honestly I have no idea at this point...probably someone no one would ever pick. By the end of the night tonight, two of the four best candidates will be gone already. I am going to step out on a ledge and blindly pick Villanova. They've got Oklahoma at home and then a tricky trip to Charlottesville to face UVA, but Jay Wright is money in the regular season..I'll take the Cats for small money!
Arthur: Oh, if it is the Villanova Wildcats, there will be a lot of happy people in my family (I was raised a 'Nova fan). I think that 'Nova has a really good shot at being the last unbeaten. For sake of argument, I'll take the Kentucky Wildcats, just because the team is stacked.
With that, we wrap up this edition of basketball banter. Enjoy the games this week!