When you think of Boston College sports, you likely think of hockey and football. This season, you might have every reason to think of basketball.
Last season, the Eagles lost three of their first four games. The beginning of the season proved to be a harbinger for the rest of the 2012-2013 season, which ended with a 69-58 loss to Miami, a conference record of 7-11 and an overall record of 16-17.
It would be incredibly easy to say that last season was a failure. After all, the Eagles couldn’t manage to beat a ranked team, didn’t make the NCAA tournament and lost more games than they won. This is all undeniably true.
However, the silver lining of last season is that it has the ability to be an immensely valuable tool for the Eagles this season. Though BC was far from an elite NCAA team, the Eagles—on several occasions—were inches away from completing prodigious upsets. On Jan. 5, BC lost to #23 NC State by a margin of five points. On Jan. 16, BC lost to Miami by a mere point. And on one (almost) fateful Sunday, Feb. 10, the Eagles lost to #4 Duke by one point—a point that was large enough to stymie the Eagles' hopes of what would have been one of the biggest upsets of the year.
With all of this said, this team is making a case for the upcoming season. The prevailing question is, how can the Eagles be the complete team that they failed be last season and get back into an NCAA tournament that they haven’t been in since the Donahue era began?
The answer lies in its freshman class.
Four freshmen—Garland Owens, Darryl Hicks, Will Magarity and Sam Donahue—will set foot on the basketball court in Conte Forum.
Standing at 6-foot-11, Swedish freshman Will Magarity will likely be the Eagles’ x-factor this season. Magarity will provide an abundance of stability, height and athleticism on the court. What this deceivingly athletic giant lacks in pure explosiveness, he will make up for in consistency and acuity. Magarity has the potential to be the perfect supplement to the rest of his team, including the versatile Joe Rahon and explosive ACC Men’s Basketball Rookie of the Year, Olivier Hanlan.
Sam Donahue—who bears no relation to Coach Steve Donahue—stands at a mere 6-foot-1, but has the ability to catalyze the team’s shooting game. This floor spacer may not be the center of attention, but has the ability to swing games in favor of the Eagles with an ability to sink opportune shots.
Garland Owens, who stands at 6-foot-5 and overflows with athleticism, has the ability to "wow" fans and stimulate a crowd. Though he needs to refine his shooting, he has made colossal improvements since high school. Owens boasts a dual personality, in which he will be vehement and persistent on the court, and he will be modest and unassuming off the court.
Lastly, Darryl Hicks, who stands at 6-foot-2, will prove to be an all-around player whose athleticism, shooting abilities and intelligence will make him a valuable asset for BC. After tearing his ACL this summer, Hicks is making small strides to rehabilitate it so he can make large strides on the basketball court.
These four freshmen have the ability to bolster a junior-laden basketball team. Each player represents a truly unique piece of the puzzle that is the Boston College basketball team. However, it will be a matter of putting the puzzle together this season if the Eagles hope to attain a spot in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament.
The pieces are there. Only time will tell quite how well this puzzle will fit together.
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