Sports, Basketball

BC Hoops Practice Notes And Observations

A few notes and observations from the last two weeks of practice for the Boston College men’s basketball team, as the Eagles get ready to open the 2013-14 season at Providence on Friday night. Be sure to check out the Heights Sports basketball preview tomorrow for more.

New Blood

BC’s new players have impressed so far, and should be able to make an impact right away against the Friars. Head coach Steve Donahue isn’t kidding when he says freshman forward Garland Owens is unlike any player on the BC roster. His athleticism jumps out on almost every possession. It’s not unrealistic to think he’ll be used as the Eagles best lock-down defender by the time he’s facing ACC guards in January.

His shot still needs work, especially when it’s rushed, but it looks like it is coming along. Although there have been some typical freshman mistakes with the ball, Owens’ high basketball IQ has also been on display. When he gets used to the pace and competition, he should be a reliable passer for the team to go along with his extreme athletic ability.

The coaches have made it a point of emphasis to work on freshman forward Will Magarity’s post defense, since he’ll need to give breaks to Ryan Anderson and Eddie Odio until Dennis Clifford returns. He still has a long way to go, but there’s been some improvement. His shooting touch has been solid and he can finish at the rim okay with a few quick post moves. When there’s contact, though, he’s struggled.

Alex Dragicevich has essentially played as advertised. Whenever a pick-and-roll is run on one side, Dragicevich is moving around the arc looking to knock down a 3-pointer off the kick. His length will be useful on defense. He’s made plenty of strides physically since he got to BC, but he can still look tired as scrimmage situations have gone on. Luckily for BC, his minutes probably won’t reach a point where his endurance is a serious issue.

Freshman walk-on Sam Donahue has worked his way off the scout team on occasion and held his own. He may not see the court against the Friars, but Donahue definitely has the potential to be more than just a practice player.

Graham Beck / Heights Editor
Graham Beck / Heights Editor

Odio & Anderson’s Athleticism

With Anderson trimming down his body fat while adding muscle and Odio packing on the muscle as well, both players look much more comfortable physically than at any other point in their college careers. Odio is significantly better at defending in the post, and his all-around defense looks like it’s taken a step forward as he’s gotten bigger. His 3-pointer, when he has enough time to get it off, has also looked good. When the games begin, whether or not he can knock down threes will mainly be an issue of confidence more than anything else.

Anderson finally looks like he’s at the best midway point between an oversized four and an athletic five. He’s still not big enough to hold his own one-on-one against huge centers, but with the guards digging more his defense shouldn’t be as suspect as it was in previous seasons. The athleticism will likely add the most to his offense and help-defense. Anderson can fight for position better against fours and then go past them, while more effectively drawing fives away from the lane and hurting them that way.

Working Early Down Low

Another point of emphasis for the coaching staff has been denying the post early before the entry pass, trying to move the offensive player off his spot. One of the biggest issues defensively for the Eagles the past two seasons has been the ease with which opposing bigs have set up right on the block and received the ball, especially later on reposts midway through the shot clock. The added depth this seasons allows the frontcourt players to work early inside, knowing that they’ll get a rest when needed.

Graham Beck / Heights Editor
Graham Beck / Heights Editor

Injury Update

Dennis Clifford has still been a limited participant, coming and going based on the day. Last week, Anderson threw out mid-December as a possible return date for the center, but also said it’s up to Clifford and how he’s feeling. BC doesn’t want to rush him back to the court until he’s 100 percent ready.

After sitting out with an ankle injury last week, Patrick Heckmann was back practicing with the team on Monday. He looked like he was moving around okay. Eagle Action is reporting he’ll play on Friday.

Lonnie Jackson’s play was limited on Monday, and when he was moving around he continued to grab his injured left leg in pain.

November 6, 2013