2010-11 Men's Basketball Season Outlook
Sept. 30, 2010
2010-11 BASKETBALL OUTLOOK
Clean slate. New beginnings. Fresh faces. Call it what you will.
As the Eagles prepare for the 2010-11 season, all of these things are true. Head coach Steve Donahue accepted the Boston College job on April 7, 2010 after spending 10 seasons leading the Cornell program.
In the five-plus months since he proudly took the program's reins, Donahue and his staff have worked tirelessly - getting organized, getting familiar with the school and the players, traveling the country in search of coveted recruits. Yet, like every other coach, Donahue has had limited on-court time with his team.
As a result, as practice begins on October 15, Donahue has a tenuous grasp on precisely what's ahead for his 2010-11 charges. The upbeat, glass-is-always-half-full mentor nevertheless expresses cautious optimism. Yet his eyes are wide open. He's aware of the challenges that await his team.
"There are challenges for all of us - the players and the coaches - anytime you have a new system come in," Donahue said. "Our system is dramatically different than what these guys have done over the last three years and that's a difficult thing for them.
"For us as coaches, we have to understand that and make sure that we adapt our system of how we want to play to the strengths of these players, and we're doing everything we can to make that happen. I also feel, in my brief time working with these guys, that they do have some skills that are a good fit for our system. I'm excited to see how far we can go."
Donahue enters his first season with nine returning lettermen, including four returning starters. Senior forwards Corey Raji and Joe Trapani, who earned All-ACC third-team accolades last winter, both averaged double-figure scoring totals in 2009-10. Senior guard Biko Paris and senior center Josh Southern both started 25 games.
In addition, junior Reggie Jackson provides the new coach with another experienced hand. The 6-foot-3-inch guard made 20 starts last winter and logged a team-high 934 minutes of court time.
"We have a lot of experience back, kids who have been through the ACC and that have had some success in their careers," the coach said. "I think our goal for this senior class is to be very consistent and go out and do everything we can to win as many games as we can while we go back to building a program the right way at Boston College."
Below is a quick look at the 2010-11 Eagles.
Biko Paris, and juniors Reggie Jackson and Dallas Elmore are the three returning perimeter players. Freshman Gabriel Moton and Danny Rubin will join the trio and compete for court time. Senior Nick Mosakowski and junior Peter Rehnquist are walk-ons who add depth to the team.
Paris is the most experienced of the veteran trio. The New Orleans, La., product has played in 96 collegiate games, making 29 starts (25 in 2009-10). Last winter, he directed the Eagles' offense for 25.5 minutes per game. He averaged 4.6 points and 4.1 assists per game. Donahue is expecting even more from the senior this winter.
"I've been extremely impressed with everything about the young man. I think he's extremely mature and all the battles he's been through have made him a better basketball player," the coach said. "He's worked extremely hard on and off the court. I see a kid who can make some shots and who knows how to play. I think he's really going to benefit from this system. I expect him to have a great year."
It'll be Jackson who will be working alongside Paris. The athletic and creative junior finished tops on the team in assists (4.5 apg), second on the team in scoring (12.9 ppg) and third on the team in rebounding (5.7 rpg) last year. He ranked eighth in the ACC with a 1.74 assist-turnover ratio.
"Having someone this talented, this big and this athletic to play this way is something we haven't had before," Donahue said. "He's going to have to continue to learn how we want him to see it, but once it clicks he's really going to enjoy it.
"I think Reggie can develop his game and become an all-around guard as opposed to just making the easy pass for an assist or a great drive to the basket. I envision Reggie doing a lot more than that. He can rebound at both ends. He can find guys in transition and find guys in the halfcourt as well. There will be more room for him not just to finish, but to find other people. That will enable us to be a better team."
Elmore is the third returning player in the backcourt. The 6-foot-5-inch, Fort Collins, Colo., product took a big step forward in 2009-10. He played more than four times as many minutes than he had as a freshman (470 minutes versus 110 minutes in 2008-09). The sturdy Elmore proved himself a staunch defender and well-rounded performer last winter. He averaged 3.9 points per game, and capped the season with a 10-point outing against Virginia in the ACC Tournament.
"Dallas has the ability to play three or four spots," the coach said. "He's strong. He plays hard. He knows how to play. He also knows what he can do and what he can't do. That's a real strength. You know what you're going to get with Dallas. He's going to be a real important piece to what we're going to do."
The two newcomers - Gabriel Moton and Danny Rubin - will look to hit the court running. The Eagles are hopeful the young duo can provide some minutes and some production. Moton comes to BC after earning All-Pinellas County honors as a senior at St. Petersburg (Fla.) High School. The 6-foot-2-inch guard averaged 17.0 points and 5.0 assists per game in his senior season.
"Gabe is going to be asked to do a lot early in his career. He's going to have to run the team," Donahue said. "He's going to have to pick up what we're trying to do and, at the same time, adjust to college basketball. He's a very intelligent player who knows how to play. Whether he can convert his high-school mentality to the ACC level in a couple of months is going to be critical to our success."
Rubin captured All-Montgomery County honors as a senior at the Landon (Md.) School. He averaged 18.0 points per game while sinking 52 three-point field goals for the Bears.
"Danny's challenge right now will be to physically compete at this level," the coach said. "Once he gets up to a baseline that he can compete at, then his skills and instincts will be very good, and he'll be a solid contributor to our program. He knows how to play. He can make shots and he competes. These are all the things you look for in good players."
The Eagles have four veterans who will man the frontcourt this winter. Corey Raji, Josh Southern and Joe Trapani are returning starters, while senior Cortney Dunn has provided valuable minutes off the bench for the past two seasons. In addition, Chris Kowalski, who played four years of baseball for the Eagles, has joined the team as a walk-on.
Trapani returns for a third season with the Eagles after enjoying a very productive junior campaign. The Madison, Conn., product averaged 14.1 points and 6.4 rebounds per game last season. The All-ACC third-team honoree and USBWA All-District 1 selection scored in double figures 21 times, including six games with 20 or more points. He appears poised for stellar senior season.
"Joe can extend the defense with his offensive ability to shoot the ball. He's also someone who's physically tough enough to compete under the boards defensively," Donahue said. "We want him to relax and to let the game come to him. That will let him play instinctively and allow his game to flourish in our system. Joe's going to be tenacious, but it's critical that he stays out of foul trouble."
Raji averaged 11.4 points and 5.8 rebounds per game in his second season in the starting line-up. The 6-foot-6-inch forward scored in double figures in 19 games, while shooting a team-high 54.3 percent from the floor. Especially active on the offensive glass, Raji grabbed more than half of his rebounds - 90 of 168 - at the scoring end. He enters his senior season with 925 points, poised to become the 37th player in school history to reach the 1,000-point milestone.
"When Corey's playing well - when he's healthy and can rely on all the experience he has - he's such a hard person to guard. He hurts you on the offensive glass and he can bring slower guys out to the perimeter," Donahue said. "I think what you'll see this year is a guy who extends the defense more than he did last year. In this system we're going to ask him to shoot the ball from three-point range, which he hasn't done but I feel that he's capable of doing.
"Corey has a real good basketball IQ. Things come pretty instinctively to him. He makes the right pass. I think the key is getting him healthy and keeping his confidence up to play away from the basket."
Southern is a two-year starter who averaged 4.4 points and 3.2 rebounds in 16.4 minutes per game in 2009-10. He scored in double figures four times last winter. He'll be counted on to produce in the post at both ends of the floor.
Dunn has played in 58 games in three seasons in the program, but hasn't yet made a starting appearance. Yet the senior's role and playing time has increased with each season. Last winter, he grabbed four or more rebounds in each of four games. He registered season highs of six points and five rebounds in a home win over Clemson.
"Both Josh and Cortney have played a lot of basketball over the last three years and that should benefit them this year," the coach said. "We need both of them to give us minutes not just on the offensive end, but guarding big guys and limiting teams to one shot.
"Josh has done a terrific job with his body over the last six months and Cortney is in good shape. There's no reason they can't help us in ACC play this year."
The 2010-11 Eagles will embark on a 30-game schedule that includes 16 Atlantic Coast Conference contests, three games in the Old Spice Classic, non-league home games against Indiana (in the ACC-Big Ten Challenge) and Providence, and a New Year's Day date at South Carolina.
BC opens the season with three home games - against St. Francis on Nov. 12, Yale on Nov. 18, and Holy Cross on Nov. 22 - before heading to Orlando, Fla., to participate in the Old Spice Classic. The Old Spice Classic is an eight-team tournament. The Eagles open the tourney against Texas A&M on Nov. 25, and will then face either Wisconsin or Manhattan in the next round. BC will conclude tournament play on Nov. 28 (against Georgia, Notre Dame, Temple or California).
Boston College returns home to face Indiana in the ACC-Big Ten Challenge on Dec. 1, and then ventures down the street to play Massachusetts in the TD Garden on Dec. 4. New England rival Providence visits Conte Forum on Dec. 8, before the Eagles open the league portion of the schedule at Maryland on Dec. 12.
The next five games - all non-league games, highlighted by a Jan. 1 nationally-televised game at South Carolina - set the stage for the Eagles' final 15 Atlantic Coast Conference contests. Among the home highlights are February dates with North Carolina (Feb. 1) and Maryland (Feb. 12), and the regular-season finale against Wake Forest (March 6).
A CAPSULE LOOK AT THE 2010-11 EAGLES
STARTERS RETURNING (4)
STARTERS LOST (1)
LETTERMEN RETURNING (9)
**transfer from Univ. of Oregon - will sit out the 2010-11 season