Previewing the BC Men’s Basketball Roster
Jerome Robinson should never have made it out of North Carolina. The Los Angeles Clippers’ guard hails from Raleigh and always dreamed of donning the blue plaid for his beloved UNC Tar Heels. But in the arms race on Tobacco Road, Duke and UNC overlooked the thin-framed Robinson.
Robinson exemplifies the incredible revival of Boston College basketball under Jim Christian. BC went 0-18 in ACC play during Robinson’s freshman year. Just two years later, BC finished 19-16 and narrowly missed out on March Madness.
The surprising success of the 2017-2018 team instilled hope on the Heights. Unfortunately for Eagles fans, Robinson entered the NBA Draft, in what ended up being a smart move on his part, and became BC’s first lottery pick in history. Despite the departure, there are reasons for optimism this season. Let’s take a look at the 2018-2019 Eagles.
The Jerome Robinson-Ky Bowman dynamic duo is no more, but Bowman returns for his junior season. Make no mistake, this team will run through Bowman, an All-ACC honorable mention last season. Bowman averaged 38.2 minutes per game last season; don’t expect that figure to decrease. He can create his own shot off the dribble and finish at the rim. He also led the team in steals and is the best rebounding guard in the nation.
He's a triple-double threat every time he steps onto the court.
— Fort Myers Tip-Off (@FTMyersTipOff) October 12, 2018
Jordan Chatman should slide from the three slot into the backcourt to complement Bowman. Chatman is a lock-down three-point shooter but must shoot with more consistency this season.
Three-star recruit Wynston Tabbs is likely to be the first guard off the bench. Despite not being the most talked-about BC recruit (we’ll get to Jairus Hamilton later), Tabbs will be a key piece of this squad. If he can be a capable replacement to spell Bowman or Chatman, BC will be a much better team for it.
Avery Wilson, Jared Hamilton, and Chris Herren Jr. will fill out the guard rotation. Wilson should see extended minutes with the thin bench, especially at the beginning of the season. Hamilton won’t be eligible to play until December 22nd against DePaul after transferring from Georgia Southern. He followed his brother to BC and will provide experience to the bench. Herren won’t see much playing time this season but is a great story and will hopefully be a contributor in the future.
Jairus Hamilton (remember his name from earlier?) is ranked number 58 in the ESPN 300 recruiting rankings, making him the highest-profile recruit BC has landed in over 15 years. The McDonald’s All-American nominee averaged 28/13/3 for the Cannon School in North Carolina.
Hamilton may be the only option at the 3, as Ervins Meznieks and Vin Baker Jr. are the options behind him. Baker Jr. came to BC with his dad’s legacy preceding him but struggled with consistency during his freshman season. Meznieks saw some playing time towards the end of last season and played well. But he likely isn’t suited for an expanded role.
The European duo of Luka Kraljevic and Nik Popovic should split time as the starting center. They are both 6’10”, giving BC a smaller starting lineup. Popovic recorded career-highs in points, rebounds, and assists as a sophomore. Kraljevic provided solid minutes when Popovic sat, and he will be a valuable bench addition.
Steffon Mitchell stepped up big time after Deontae Hawkins went down with a knee injury. Mitchell led the team with 8.3 rebounds per game. He may not always make plays that show up on the stat sheet, but Mitchell provides a nice jolt of energy to the BC lineup.
Johncarlos Reyes rounds out the bigs. He saw diminished playing time last season with the emergence of the other bigs. Reyes has good length but lacks the physical frame to hang against the ACC’s big-time big men.
— Boston College Men's Basketball (@BCMBB) October 11, 2018
Projections for the season:
Avery Wilson (Jared Hamilton once he returns)
Vin Baker Jr.
Regular season record: 19-12
Despite the loss of Robinson, BC has potential. The only problem is that the ACC is just so good and so deep. The conference could easily send 9 or 10 teams to the tournament, and BC projects as a fringe team; currently the Eagles are in the “first four out” according to both ESPN and CBS. The year of development will pay dividends for many of the players who struggled late in games in the past. BC shouldn’t choke away as many leads late and should continue the trend of hanging tight with any opponent on any night. In the 15-team ACC, 6 should be the ceiling and 12 should be the floor for the Eagles.