The age-old adage echoes in the halls of Conte Forum year after year:
“There’s always next year.”
It may be heard again in just a few weeks. But this time, it'll have a different ring to it.
It's been a tough couple of years for Boston College basketball. In the past three seasons, BC has amassed six total conference wins. Two years ago, BC suffered a 19-game losing streak, followed up with a 15-game losing streak the next year.
It didn’t matter if the Eagles were home or away, the loss column still piled high. Coming into the 2017-2018 season, BC was counted out of every power ranking and flew under every radar.
Yet, in 2018, there was something of a renaissance in Chestnut Hill. Led by a star-studded backcourt of Ky Bowman and Jerome Robinson and stellar all-around play by freshman Steffon Mitchell, BC hoops gave glimpses of the glory days from the early 2000's.
The squad has seven conference wins this season alone and has dominated at Conte Forum, finishing with a 14-3 record at home. Following huge wins over ranked ACC opponents Duke, Miami, and Florida State, there was a feeling around campus that this higher level of play was here to stay.
Still, the Eagles could use a couple more pieces to finally throw them back into the mix for the ACC crown.
Enter Jairus Hamilton and Wynston Tabbs.
Hamilton and Tabbs are two of the most highly touted prospects BC has recruited since former standouts Reggie Jackson ’11, Jared Dudley ’07, and Craig Smith ’06. Smith was the last top-100 recruit to come to the Heights, leading the team to a regular season ACC title in 2005 and three NCAA tournament appearances.
Four-star Jairus Hamilton clocks in at No. 56 in ESPN's class of 2018 prospects, while 3-star Wynston Tabbs ranks 157th overall according to 247Sports. Tabbs is also gaining national attention with his recent performances and may see his stock increase to 4-star status.
Hamilton hails from Concord, North Carolina, a few hours from where Bowman and Robinson grew up. It’s a testament of the recruiting effort by Jim Christian and co. to secure such talent from the state with powerhouses NC State, Wake Forest, Duke, and UNC.
BC stood out to Hamilton as somewhere he could have a lasting impact, rather than just becoming another face in a cycle of one-and-done players at larger basketball programs.
Hamilton stands at 6’8” and 210 pounds but can play virtually any position on the court. During his senior year, he averaged 21.3 PPG, 10.2 RPG, and 4.1 APG. Battling injuries, Hamilton struggled over the summer, playing with big-time talents in the Adidas AAU tournament in Las Vegas.
He gained national attention with performances against dominant high school programs Oak Hill Academy in Maryland and Westtown School in Pennsylvania. Hamilton lit up the box score against Oak Hill, scoring 32 points with five boards and two steals, and similarly dominated with a 24 and 10 outing against No. 2 recruit Cam Reddish from Westtown.
Hamilton has an extremely high ceiling with his ability to drive in the lane and finish at the rim. He has great bounce, which should be a perfect complement to Ky Bowman’s game.
Don’t think Hamilton will be spending all his time in the paint, though, as he can shoot the lights out from the three and mid-range. One weakness of his game is his turnover tendency, but that can be easily fixed throughout the season. Look for Hamilton to slot in at 3 or 4 spot in the starting lineup for the Eagles next season. While you wait for his debut, you can check out his high school highlights.
Wynston Tabbs is a 6’2” 190-pound combo guard from Leonardtown, Maryland. He played AAU basketball for Team Carmelo Anthony and attracted the eyes of scouts in his performance over the summer. Tabbs led his conference in scoring and was recognized for his stellar senior season by his First-Team All-WCAC selection.
Tabbs may be undersized for his position, but that doesn’t show in his ability to attack the lane. He's a fearless scorer, much like Hamilton. He's good off the screen, which fits well in Christian’s system. Tabbs is known for his three-point shooting skills, hovering at a 44% clip in summer league play. Sneak a peek at what's to come here.
One key part of next season’s success lies in Jerome Robinson’s decision to declare for the 2018 NBA Draft or not. Robinson is in the middle of the best season of his career, so it would be wise to go out on a high note. Yet with the potential to reach the tournament and even crack the top 25, it wouldn’t be surprising to see him back on campus next year.
Assuming Robinson returns, Tabbs expects to come off the bench with the starting backcourt locked down. Tabbs could also slot in at point guard for the second unit, rounding out a solid bench.
The Eagles still have their sights on the ACC tournament next week, but everyone should be excited about the potential for next season’s squad.
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