Q&A: Rakim Sanders

The college hoops season is right around the corner. Boston College is in preparation for their opener next month. BC starts the season with a couple of tune ups at home against Dartmouth and St. Francis. Then they head to the Caribbean for the Paradise Jam Tournament. Rakim Sanders, one of the returning leaders from last season, took some time to talk to Eagle Insider.

Eagle Insider: How does the team plan on replacing Tyrese Rice's production and leadership?

Rakim Sanders: The things Tyrese has showed us has prepared us for this year with him leaving and not being with us. What we went through last year and the things he showed us and talked to us about prepared us for this year. Everybody has been working hard this past summer, so we're just ready to show people that we can still win games.

Eagle Insider: You already assumed a role last season of taking big, clutch shots. With Tyrese gone that role should fall on your shoulders even more. Do you feel pressure with that, look forward to it?

Rakim Sanders: I don't take it as pressure. My team knows me and is here to support me. Whatever happens they are here with me for the good shots and the bad shots. I'm ready for it; I've been playing this game for a long time so it won't be anything new to me. So I'll just go out there and take what they give me, that's all.

Eagle Insider: What did you learn from Tyrese Rice during your two years playing with him at BC?

Rakim Sanders: The major thing is confidence. I've seen a lot of point guards play, but I haven't seen many people play with as much confidence as him. Confidence, he's always hungry. Those are the two major things: confidence and always trying to work and get better.

Eagle Insider: Do you and the guys on the team keep in touch with Tyrese even though he has graduated and moved on from BC?

Rakim Sanders: Yeah, yeah.

Eagle Insider: What has your focus been on during this offseason in terms of what you feel you needed to improve on?

Rakim Sanders: I tried to work on a lot of things. I know I shot the three a lot so I tried to work on my mid-range. I worked on my handle, just everything overall.

Eagle Insider: What do you attribute to your great improvement from the free throw line from your freshman season (46%) to last season (68%)?

Rakim Sanders: Just my teammates talking to me and giving me the confidence. Just know that it is just another shot and me working on it.

Eagle Insider: Josh Southern needs breathers and does get himself into foul trouble at times, so there are certainly minutes to be had backing him up. What have you seen out of Evan Ravenel and Cortney Dunn since last season ended in terms of them stepping up to get minutes on the court?

Rakim Sanders: A lot of change. They're out here working hard, they're getting in shape. We've been playing pickup and they've been working on their moves. Everybody is hungry this year because we're always looked at as the underdogs. Everybody is coming out here with extra confidence, extra leadership, to show people we can go out there and win games. I know that the big men, especially Evan and Cortney, since they didn't get to play much, are trying to improve and get better to try to prove to people that they can play.

Eagle Insider: How would you compare Cortney's game to Evan's?

Rakim Sanders: They have different qualities. Cortney is more of a banger, rebounder, does the dirty work, hustle plays. Evan is that too but I think he is a little more of a scorer.

Eagle Insider: Your captains for next season were recently announced in Tyler Roche and Biko Paris, can you expand on that?

Rakim Sanders: I thought they were good picks. Tyler being a senior and knowing the system for all these years and then you have Biko as the point guard. Biko is smart, he talks to everybody, everybody looks up to him. So I thought they were great choices.

Eagle Insider: Are you guys expecting a lot out of Biko stepping into the starting point guard role?

Rakim Sanders: Yeah, but a lot of people ask how is he going to do it but it is not only him. I think it is how we do around him and talk to him and let him know what is going on. I think it is going to be a whole team effort this year.

Eagle Insider: Last season the team had a good season and surprised a lot of the "so-called" experts, but the season ended with a couple of real tough losses. Which was a tougher loss for you to take, the Duke loss in the ACC tournament or the USC loss in the NCAA tournament?

Rakim Sanders: I don't know. With me a loss is a loss. You could lose by one hundred or you can lose by one, it's a loss.

Eagle Insider: What is your highlight as a team so far at Boston College?

Rakim Sanders: Probably going down there and beating North Carolina.

Eagle Insider: What is your personal highlight so far?

Rakim Sanders: My game winning shot against Georgia Tech last season.

Eagle Insider: Are you excited for the Paradise Jam tournament down in St. Thomas in the Caribbean next month?

Rakim Sanders: Yes we are!

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