- Dana O'Neil, College Basketball Reporter
- 0 Shares
Jim Christian is doing more than rebuilding the Boston College Eagles; he's rebooting. The program needs a from-scratch overhaul to right what has become a culture where mediocrity is successful and success an impossible dream.
In the past eight years, the Eagles have had but two winning seasons. They haven't been to the NCAA tournament since 2002 and haven't won an NCAA game in a generation, dating to 1994.
Long the geographical outpost of the ACC, BC has struggled to find its niche in the conference since joining in 2003. But location is no longer a valid excuse for anyone, not when Midwest schools call the Big East home, landlocked universities align with the Pac-12 and the conference realignment free-for-all has negated anything that resembles geographic sanity.
So where are the Eagles now? It depends on how you view the glass. In the half-full view, BC finished on an uptick, winning four of its final five, all in the league. Half-empty version? Well, those were the only four ACC games the Eagles won.
The optimist sees a team that won five more games overall than the season before. The pessimist points out that it still equated to only 13 victories.
At least Christian, heading into his second season, essentially will have a clean slate with which to work. Boston College graduated seven seniors, lost leading scorer and all-everything Olivier Hanlan to the NBA draft, and 6-foot-11 center Will Magarity to transfer.
That leaves Christian with nine scholarships to fill -- yes nine -- and only one player, big man Dennis Clifford, with any real playing experience returning.
Interpret that however you choose.
What the immediate future holds: Christian will no doubt be busy this recruiting season, trying to round out a roster that is wide open. It's almost impossible to predict just how BC will fit in the ACC or the grand scheme of college basketball with so many questions left unanswered.
One certainty -- youth will be served in Chestnut Hill.
Aside from Clifford, only a redshirt junior himself, the only guys even back from last season are Garland Owens, a sophomore who proved to be a solid defender; Darryl Hicks, a redshirt freshman who has yet to play for BC because of a torn ACL; and Idy Diallo, who missed his freshman year because of a torn meniscus.
That's what you might call a bit of a leadership void.
Still, going back to that optimist's view, there is bound to be a new energy and identity for the Eagles, not to mention plenty of playing time.
Christian has a pair of freshmen for the backcourt already signed in Jerome Robinson and Matt Milon. Both are more shooting guards than point. Robinson, from North Carolina, is a strong outside shooter, and Milon, a lefty, has developed from a shooter into a more complete scorer.
Maybe the biggest pickup, at least to date for Boston College, is A.J. Turner. The 6-7 forward is a Hanlan-esque player who reclassified from the class of 2014. Originally from Michigan, he finished his high school career at prep school in New Hampshire at New Hampton Prep, averaging 17 points in his final season.
How those players all work together and just who else they work with is the big mystery.
For now, there's a glass with water filled to the halfway mark. Half full or half empty? That remains to be seen for BC.
The program has struggled to find its niche in the ACC since joining in 2003.