Jordan Daniels’ departure from BC basketball came just days before the start of the season, creating a void at point guard to which there was no quick solution, or so it seemed. The word from preseason camp, however, told a different story: before the 2012-13 year began, those who had observed Eagles practices came away with the conclusion that both Hanlan and Rahon were ready to contribute as freshmen. Not just play a few minutes and gain experience, but contribute. Furthermore, a number of folks were convinced that Eddie Odio’s game had taken a significant leap from his unmemorable freshman season.
Nevertheless, just like the season before, the Eagles got off to a slow start, winning the opener at home against Florida International but then getting swept in the Charleston Classic, despite putting up a strong fight against Baylor. Perhaps the lowest point of the season came a few days after Thanksgiving when BC lost to Bryant at home for the first time ever, though some would argue that losing yet again to the Harvard Crimson should get that dubious dishonor. By early December, the Eagles were off to a 3-5 beginning and the non-conference schedule was not yielding the sorts of results for which we hoped.
Even in the face of those early losses, there was a spark from the young freshman backcourt duo of Rahon and Hanlan, and they even pulled BC out of the fire in the Auburn game by scoring 64% of the Eagles’ total. Something special was brewing, but it took a little longer to realize just how special.
The Eagles started winning a few more of their easy non-conference games and climbed back to .500, but the real turning point of the season came against Providence. The Friars once again fell well short of their NCAA Tournament hopes, but this team had beaten BC when the nucleus were freshmen and they looked to do it again. Boston College held on in a hard-fought 61-58 win that propelled them to an 8-5 finish in non-conference play.
Unfortunately, when Boston College basketball got to ACC play, the losses piled up again, but not for lack of trying. The imagery of Lucy Van Pelt pulling the football away from Charlie Brown manifested itself repeatedly as the Eagles lost close game after close game within its own conference. Some were against mediocre teams like Wake Forest, while others came against top teams like Miami and Duke. The net result was a deflating sense of futility in that this team could not get over the hump, nor would they be able to make a respectable leap forward in terms of victories.
Finally, with the help of Hanlan, Rahon, Anderson, and all the rest (sans Dennis Clifford, whose knee injuries hampered him for much of the season), the Eagles closed out a tight game at home against the Demon Deacons on February 13. From then on, even though the team took a few more losses here and there, things didn’t quite seem so bad. As a matter of fact, including that Wake game, the Eagles finished the season with a 6-4 record, including a four-game win streak and a blowout win over Georgia Tech in the first round of the ACC Tournament. BC’s season ended at 16-17 with a loss to eventual ACC champion Miami in the quarterfinals, in a game that was much closer than its final score and one in which the Eagles outplayed the Hurricanes for long stretches.
The contest against Georgia Tech was notable because of Olivier Hanlan, who was eventually named team MVP and the ACC’s rookie of the year, making him the first Eagle to accomplish the latter feat. Hanlan dropped 41 points on the Yellow Jackets that Thursday afternoon, setting an ACC record for most points by a freshman in an ACC Tournament game, and having the most points by anyone in a single ACC tourney game in 43 years. It was on this day that the college basketball world learned that Boston College has some talented players after all, including Hanlan, but that was something which became evident over the course of the season.
Both non-conference play and Atlantic Coast Conference play were mirrors of each other: the Eagles started slowly but finished strong in each case. Now we know that Steve Donahue has pieces with which to work, and more committed to come in, including Garland Owens and Darryl Hicks. Further, Notre Dame transfer Alex Dragicevich sat on the bench as an ineligible player, but he will join the fun next season as well. 2012-13 set the table for better things to come.