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Boston College Basketball: Will Olivier Stay Or Will Olivier Go?

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It's the question BC basketball fans started asking themselves as soon as the season ended.

Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

As soon as North Carolina dispatched Boston College during the ACC Basketball Tournament, speculation began about the status of junior guard Olivier Hanlan. Almost immediately during the broadcast, play-by-play announcer John Meterparel spoke about Hanlan in the past tense, mentioning that decisions were to come in the future for the conference leading scorer.

Days now are weeks since BC's basketball season ended. The tournament is over. Yet we remain unsure as to the status of the 6'4" point guard out of Aylmer, Quebec. The NBA Draft Declaration deadline is 11:59 PM ET on April 26th, and with the major stories centering around the starting five of Kentucky or the status of Sam Dekker of Wisconsin, Chestnut Hill awaits word if Hanlan will return or not.

It seems like a no-brainer. He was the leading scorer in the nation's most elite league, averaging just under 20 points per game. He averaged over four rebounds and four assists per game, and he's steadily improved since his freshman year three seasons ago. He's a good three-point shooter, a better-than-average free throw shooter. He has size for a guard at 6'4", and at 22 years old, he is much more mature when compared to the raw freshman and youngsters. For a team in need of a guard but not willing to invest a few years of development, he's the type of player who could make the jump quickly.

The struggle at Boston College is real. Despite Hanlan's ability, the Eagles aren't an elite basketball team. Even though the competed hard and scared a number of teams, they still only went 4-14 in conference play. They won 13 games, which was five fewer than what the Final Four teams lost combined during the regular season (taking into consideration that 11 of the 18 losses were by one team, Michigan State, a #7 seed). They aren't on the cusp, and with one year of eligibility remaining, BC is unlikely to achieve bubble consideration unless they surprise a few people along the way.

Among some of the experts I've read and among some of the noted basketball I've consulted, Hanlan could play in the NBA. Providence College's Bryce Cotton signed a two-year contract with San Antonio over the summer, yet he didn't and still doesn't project to develop better than Olivier.

When looking at a team like the Boston Celtics, I compare Hanlan to Phil Pressey. Pressey is a down-the-bench guard averaging 12 minutes per game in 47 games played. He doesn't sniff the floor very often on a team featuring both Marcus Smart and Isaiah Thomas. If you asked me about depth-style players, the size and intelligence of a guy like Hanlan dwarfs what a guy like Pressey brings to the table.

Yet we still wait on Hanlan's status. We don't know why he hasn't declared his intention to leave or to stay, and we don't know what he's thinking about. The best thing I can come up with draft stock—if he declares for the NBA Draft and then isn't selected.

If you looked at four or five different NBA Draft websites, you'd get four or five different opinions on Olivier Hanlan. NBADraft.net grades him out to an 89, a guy who could go in the early 30s. He has the size, the smarts, the ball skills, and the intangibles. His defense lacks, but he could easily transition from a point guard to the NBA shooting guard position. This would put him right in the middle of the draft, the early to middle second round, behind players like Kris Dunn and RJ Hunter.

Other mock drafts have him late in the second round or off the board entirely. ESPN Insider has him as the 85th best prospect in the draft, the 14th best point guard. That would kick him out of the draft and relegate him either to the NBA Summer League or D-League. He would likely end up playing abroad with a game ill-equipped for the rough and tumble pro ranks.

The strange thing about Hanlan is that I know he would be a good fit for certain teams, but it's a limited list. If those teams don't show interest, then he shouldn't leave for the NBA. He could stay at Boston College another year, serving as a mentor to the well-sized guards coming in next season. There's nothing there that tells me he would help his draft stock, but if the pro aspirations are really that low, there's no way to hurt them either.

As an aside, there's one thing everyone typically leaves out: Europe. Although not the NBA, plenty of guys took their talents overseas and became solid performers. Whether it's Spain, Italy, Israel, or wherever, that may be an option on the table if he stays or if he goes. We simply don't know.

Ultimately, I think Hanlan will announce he's leaving if there's legitimate interest from one of a handful of teams. As I mention above, he would be a good depth fit for the Boston Celtics because his age and game fits seamlessly into their rebuild. He would also likely be a good fit for the Spurs or Oklahoma City, teams that either have incumbent starters performing at a high level or teams that operate at a slow pace. He would be a horrible fit on a team that runs the court with speed, a team like the Clippers. I think enough people know that, which will force his hand one way or the other.

Either way, we remain in wait on Hanlan watch. Olivier Hanlan has not yet announced his decision whether or not he'll forego his senior year. Weigh in with your thoughts below: does Hanlan come back for his senior year or are we just wishing into the wind on this one?