As we say goodbye to 2012-13 Boston College basketball, it’s time we do something productive with what we learned about the team this year: apply it to the future. Last year, the season of the reboot, was never expected to result in anything. This year had a slightly higher bar but again, nothing spectacular appeared to be in the cards. As for 2013-14, the situation will be highly different.
Not only will it be different, it should be. Boston College, which improved by seven wins from 2011-12 to 2012-13, will be in the third year of its rebuild. Arguably, it should have increased by more, but the key part is that the trendline is up. All along, we here have believed that by the time the core of the team was junior-heavy, this team should be contending for the NCAA Tournament. That is the goal next season and anything less would be a waste of everyone’s time.
Before getting into the justification for such a statement, this is the expected roster movement (which has plenty of time to change due to recruiting and inbound/outbound transfers):
|Apparently Returning (10)||Eddie Odio, KC Caudill, Ryan Anderson, John Cain Carney, Lonnie Jackson, Olivier Hanlan, Dennis Clifford, Joe Rahon, Danny Rubin, Patrick Heckmann|
|Leaving (1)||Andrew Van Nest|
|Joining Team (3)||Alex Dragicevich, Garland Owens, Sam Donahue|
|Walk-Ons, Status Unclear (2)||Steve Perpiglia, Drew Jacobs|
Two years ago, a similar chart to this was tilted towards players leaving with many coming inbound. Now, just like last season, many players are being retained. Actually, even if Boston College does suffer an outbound transfer between here and the fall, they’ll still shed fewer players than they did last year when two starters, Matt Humphrey and Jordan Daniels, left amongst others. As it stands now, no starters appear to be leaving and only one, Andrew Van Nest, will reach the end of his eligibility.
All indications are that Alex Dragicevich will improve the depth of the Eagles and that newcomer Garland Owens — who still may not be BC’s only recruit — is a decent young player. Aside from that, almost the entire team is returning as presently constituted.
Next year, calling the Eagles a “young team” is not going to fly anymore. Yes, there will be some sophomores and a freshman or two on the roster, but for the most part, they will be upperclassmen. That excuse, if one chose to use it, will no longer be valid. Anyone who wrote off the last two years as a learning experience has to concur that now, entering year three, there have to be some standards enforced.
Nobody is demanding that BC win 14 ACC games and grab a three-seed in the 2014 NCAA Tournament; that sort of thing is hard enough for established good teams to do. It is fair, however, to want to see this team qualify for the Big Dance. At the 16-win level, they’re realistically four or five more wins away from being in contention. BC could have gotten several of them this season except for their difficulty closing games. Still, the Eagles are going to need to add quality as well as quantity if they’re to get there.
If you’re one who believes that BC’s close losses this year will help them in the future, then you have to also believe that BC must start winning more of these games next season. There can’t be and shouldn’t be excuses. “They’re too young,” “they don’t know how to win yet,” etc. was probably valid in 2011-12 and may have had some merit in 2012-13, but not from here on. This past season, BC fans were content with tight wins over the likes of Wake Forest and Virginia. Most of this roster is going to be experienced next season, so the bar will be set much higher than that.
It is possible that they will achieve their goals, but the team has to address its problem with slow starts and has to start building consistency with regards to closing games as well. Glimpses of a competent basketball team were visible this year, and it is entirely fair to expect to see more of it in Year 3. Venturing a guess as to their final record or likely end-season result is impossible at this stage, but whether or not they actually do improve to the point where they’re in Tournament contention, it is going to be expected of them.