Hoops: January Report Card

With 19 games down and 12 more to go the Eagles currently stand at 13-6. These final 12 games will decide BC's fate come selection Sunday. BC will probably need to win 8 of the last 12 games they play. Seven wins will get them on the bubble. Looking back on the year thus far, we have seen the very best and the very worst of this team. Here are my grades so far.

Tyrese Rice: C+
Everybody loves to bash Tyrese Rice when this team has lost to the likes of St. Louis and Harvard. People claim that Rice only plays when he wants to play. While Rice's play has been inconsistent, he still has turned in a decent year up to this point. He's shooting a respectable 45% from the field and is currently second in the ACC in assists per game with six. The knock on Rice has been his turnovers. At times it appears he presses too hard and makes poor decisions with the ball. It has also been frustrating to watch when Rice plays extremely passive against weaker teams like Harvard and SC-Upstate. He is capable of taking over games and BC needs him to on occasion. Overall, Rice hasn't yet progressed to the type of leader one would ideally like to have, but he has done a pretty good job managing this team.

Rakim Sanders: C
Rakim Sanders has become the poster child of inconsistency this season. Some games he looks like an All-American (see UNC game), and some games he is non-existent (see Wake Forest game). You can certainly understand why he was such a heralded recruit coming out of Pawtucket, RI. With such incredible athleticism and strength, it's tough to understand why his skills don't translate to consistent success. The issue here could have to do more with focus because he certainly has the talent to be a star. So far this year, BC's success as a team is linked to Sander's performance. In losses, Sanders averages only 8.0 ppg, but in wins, he averages 12.9 ppg. How BC plays down the stretch may hinge of the play of Sanders.

Corey Raji: A
Raji has developed into a legitimate scoring option this year. His rebounding skills and tenacity in the post have allowed him to thrive this year. He currently ranks 11th in the nation in offensive rebounds with 67 and shoots a very impressive 54% from the field. As each game passes, Raji looks more and more like a smaller, but more athletic Dudley in his relentless pursuit of rebounds as well as his consistent and intelligent play on the floor.

Joe Trapani: B+
BC fans had no idea what to expect from Trapani this season. Yet, from what I've seen so far, I am very pleased that Skinner & Co. went out and grabbed him from Vermont. Trapani has become the second option on offense behind Rice, working both inside the paint, and behind the arc. He rebounds well and has fit well into the flex offense. One area where he could definitely improve, however, is on defense. Trapani isn't strong enough to hang with most fours in the ACC and as a result he sometimes gets beat down low.

Josh Southern: C
After a promising freshman year, I was hoping Josh could continue to develop into the strong post presence BC has lacked the past few seasons. He's shown some flashes of brilliance in the paint with some good low post moves, but he's too tentative at times. He played great defense against Hansbrough in the win over UNC, but in other games he has been in foul trouble and has not contributed. Being the only guy over 6'8", our interior defense really lives and dies with Southern. So far, he has been consistently out played by opponents quicker and stronger than him. Stats can be misleading, but so far this season Southern has only turned in 5.6 ppg and 5.5 rpg. There is a lot of time for Southern to improve and even become somewhat of a force in the paint (just look at the vast improvement of Wake Forest center Chas McFarland), but as of right now he is playing under his potential.

Reggie Jackson: A-
It appears that Al Skinner has found his next diamond in the rough in Reggie Jackson. The freshman from Colorado has proved to be a very capable 6th man for this team. Reggie provides a boost of energy when he comes off the bench and always seems to turn in a maximum effort. He is very active on defense and his quickly becoming a go-to-guy on offense. As a freshman, Jackson is playing like the senior-version of former Eagle 6th man Jermaine Watson. It will be very interesting to see what kind of player Reggie develops into over the course of the next three and a half seasons.

Cortney Dunn: B-
Coming into the year I wasn't expecting much of anything from Dunn. He looked rather lost in the preseason scrimmages. Yet, throughout the course of the year Skinner has done his best to develop Dunn into a backup center and it has worked out surprisingly well. Although Dunn provides little on the offensive end, he has been pretty solid on the defensive end. He works hard in the paint despite being undersized for the center spot. He grabs rebounds and hustles, and gives the team some energy off the bench. If Dunn keeps improving at a steady pace, he could develop into a rather solid role player for Coach Skinner.

Tyler Roche: C-
Roche, who started most games last year for Coach Skinner, has been forced to take on a new role this year. All reports show that he's a lights out shooter in practice but it never shows up in games. Roche did help BC beat SC-Upstate behind his 17 points, but overall his shooting percentages are low. Roche is a hard worker and has been rewarded with more minutes lately, but he needs to produce more than he currently is.

Biko Paris: B
Biko's playing time has been nearly cut in half from last season where he played 23.1 minutes per game. This season he is currently logging only 12.2 minutes per game. Yet, in limited action this year Biko has shown he will be up to task next year, of running the point guard position. His 2.1:1 assist to turnover ratio is good enough for best on the team as Biko plays within himself and under control. Wednesday night proved to me that Biko also has scoring capabilities, as he slashed his way for 7 points. His defense has been solid throughout the season and his outside shooting has gotten significantly better. He has improved his 3-point shooting percentage to 40% (best on the team) this year, as opposed to only 26% last year.

Evan Ravenel: Incomplete

Dallas Elmore: Incomplete

Coaching: C+
This grade has fluctuated almost every game. It was probably an A+ for UNC and an F for Harvard. But overall, Al has done some good things with this team and some bad. The good is that Skinner has had decent success with this young team for the first half of the year and not letting them get intimidated by teams as talented as UNC, UAB, and Purdue. The bad would be lack of inbounds and press-break plays and letting his team play down to lower-caliber opponents. Skinner has a very successful track record, and nobody will argue with that. These next few games will be crucial to see if the team can right the ship and bounce back. If he can get the team to play to their potential and play consistently, they can make a run in the ACC. We have seen how well this team can play, now it's the responsibility of the coaching staff to demand that type of effort and intensity night in and night out.

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