Boston College Eagles
2018-19 record: 14-17, 5-13 in the ACC
Head coach: Jim Christian
Tenure at Boston College: 6th season
Career coaching record: 304-254
Home court: Conte Forum
Starters: G Derryck Thornton, G Jay Heath, F Jairus Hamilton, F Steffon Mitchell, F Nik Popovic
Bench: F C.J. Felder, G Chris Herren Jr., F Jared Hamilton
Overview: Boston College got off to a fast start last year in non-conference play, racing to a 9-2 record going into the final day of 2018. However, a New Year’s Eve loss at home to Hartford preceded a brutal four-game skid to open ACC play, the first of three big losing streaks during the rest of the campaign. This year’s team will also likely face many bumps in the road, especially with standout guard Ky Bowman foregoing his senior season for the NBA.
However, despite facing another daunting schedule, the Eagles have some new faces who should provide some excitement this season. One name that will be familiar to Duke fans is former Blue Devil point guard Derryck Thornton. His collegiate career has taken him from Durham to Southern California and now to Boston, where he is eligible to play immediately as a graduate transfer. Joining him at the wing will be freshman shooting guard and four-star recruit Jay Heath, who is expected to fill in for Wynston Tabbs, a double-digit scorer from last year who will miss the 2019-20 season with a knee injury.
In the post, the Eagles will rely heavily on Steffon Mitchell and Nik Popovic to shoulder the rebounding burden as the two ranked second and third, respectively, on the team last season. Jairus Hamilton and older brother Jared will also contribute big minutes down low, and freshman C.J. Felder has the athleticism and skill to be a key reserve, too.
One thing that needs to go right: Thornton’s experience pays off at the point guard position, and the group of promising young freshmen progresses quickly in a challenging environment.
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One thing that could go wrong: The new pieces in the lineup don’t gel with the old, and Tabbs’ absence is too much to overcome en route to Boston College punting the season.