ACC Hoops Preview: Boston College

With the loss of Jared Dudley, Sean Marshall, and Sean Williams, the Eagles have a massive rebuilding job to do on the inside for the 2007-08 season.

The loss of those three players accounts for almost 46 points per game, 20 rebounds per game, and most of the shots blocked per game. They lost Williams mid-year and were able to adjust as Dudley and Marshall took up the inside slack and Tyrese Rice became a force outside.

Without Marshall and Dudley, the task may prove too tough for this team to handle. Besides the explosive Rice, the Eagles return the ever-steady John Oates, a big man who can hit the outside shot, Shamari Spears, a tough gritty inside (although undersized) player, Tyler Roche, a versatile good shooting forward , Tyrelle Blair, a big man who has got to step up inside and seldom used guard Daye Kaba.

Their incoming class is a solid group of 6'8" forward Courtney Dunn, 6'1" guard Biko Paris, 6'5" swingman Corey Raji, 6'6" guard Rakim Sanders, and 6'10" mountain Josh Southern. Raji is the brother of Eagle suspended FB star B.J. Raji and is an explosive leaper who is known for his tough, hard nosed play inside but with a less than pure shooting stroke. Sanders is a highly respected talent who gets the ball in the basket despite not being a great shooter and can really sky.

Paris is an intelligent, crafty point guard who may have been rated higher if not for being caught up in the Hurricane Katrina disaster and forced to change schools for his senior season. Dunn is a relatively little known kid from Texas who flew under the radar and not a lot is known about. Meanwhile, Southern is a HUGE guy who had an up and down AAU season but was very tough at all times. He is probably the most important recruit because of the need for Boston College to continue the rugged inside play they have been known for.

Pros: Rice is a star in the making whom can control games from the backcourt and he may have to at times. He is a threat as soon as he crosses the halfcourt line and has shown he also has the ability to score inside if you get up too close on him. Southern should provide some toughness inside with Spears and Sanders while Raji could be very effective on the wings. Al Skinner has an uncanny knack for taking kids who are sometimes overlooked or under ranked and making them stars so don't bet that he won't do so again. His teams will play tough, rebound, play gritty basketball and maybe even lead the league in trash talking -- but lately they have certainly been able to back it up.

Cons: Where to start! They lost the heart and soul of their team in Dudley and Marshall and will miss their leadership. The freshmen have to come up big, especially Southern, for them to hold their own rebounding and their outside shooting is suspect except for Rice. Depending on freshmen in the ACC has almost never been a productive endeavor. It is hard to see how they can escape a lower division finish in the ACC and making a post season tournament is not a certainty by any means.

Prognosis: If Southern and one of the wings can be effective and they can avoid any injuries to Rice, they could finish in the 7-9 spot in the conference but failing that, a 10-12 spot is likely.

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