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Seiberlich: State of the Union

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Photo Courtesy of BC Athletics

The past week has been a tough one for those of us that follow Boston College basketball. After ripping off consecutive wins against Louisville and Miami, the Eagles dropped two winnable games on the road. First, the Eagles lost at Florida State by a score of 84-76. This game was especially frustrating because the Eagles played far below their capabilities in the first half, but managed to go into the locker room with a tie game. However, things only got worse in the second half. The Eagles turned the ball over 16 times, and allowed the Seminoles to shoot 55% from the field. Jaeden Zackery led the Eagles in scoring with 19 points, including his 1000th point as an Eagle. But BC just could not string together enough stops to pull out a win. 

Then, just four days later, the Eagles dropped their second consecutive game to NC State, by a score of 81-70. While this was only an 11-point loss, the Eagles were never truly in this one, never even getting within five points for the final 31 minutes of the contest. Mason Madsen continued his hot streak, leading the Eagles with 21 points on 8-11 shooting. But Madsen was the only starting Eagle to reach double figures. Zackery had a less-than-stellar performance, scoring 9 points on 4-9 shooting, with 2 assists and 3 turnovers, but he still outplayed BC’s remaining starters outside of Madsen. Quinten Post, Claudell Harris Jr., and Devin McGlockton combined for 13 points on just 2-18 shooting. 

The Eagles got some meaningful bench production from sophomores Prince Aligbe and DJ Hand. Aligbe had an efficient outing against NC State, scoring his 12 points on 5-6 shooting (1-1 from three!). Aligbe was one of the lone positives from last Saturday, as he has really struggled to find his groove since being taken out of the starting lineup. Eagles fans will hope Aligbe can continue to be productive in his minutes off the bench for the final stretch of the season. 

DJ Hand had similarly efficient production off of Coach Grant’s bench, scoring his 11 points of 4-7 shooting from the field (3-3 from three!). This is Hand’s sixth game in double figures this season, as the sophomore guard continues to show his ability to give a spark off the bench. While it has been difficult to trust Hand in consistent minutes, given his defensive struggles and less than ideal 38.8% field goal percentage, expect Grant to continue to give the sophomore guard opportunities down the stretch. 

Lastly, I would be remiss not to mention the fantastic basketball we are seeing from Mason Madsen. Since being inserted in the starting lineup against Duke, the veteran guard has arguably been the Eagles’ best player. In the last five games, Madsen is averaging 17.2 points and 4.6 rebounds on 56.6% shooting from the field, and an incredible 51.4% (18/35) from three. Madsen also has not missed a single free throw attempt this season, shooting a perfect 29 for 29 from the charity stripe (jinx incoming). 

Now at 15-12 (6-10 ACC) on the season, the Eagles are three games better (overall) record-wise than their 12-15 record at this point last season. However, it certainly does not feel that way. Through 16 ACC games, Boston College has the exact same record they had through 16 games last season, now sitting at 6-10. Now that BC Hoops have some semblance of expectations on them this season, seeing no improvement in ACC play feels like a step back. A far cry from the ‘breakthrough” narrative the program has been pushing towards this season. 

Last season, the Eagles ended their regular season strong, going 3-1 in their final four regular season games. This stretch included marquee wins over 6th-ranked UVA and tournament-hopeful Wake Forest. If Grant is going to end this regular season on a similar note, he is going to need to get his defense to at least resemble last year’s intensity, continue to ride Madsen’s hot hand, and get Post and Harris Jr. some good looks on offense. While Madsen has looked great the last five games, Post and Harris Jr. have each had their share of tough outings. If Boston College is going to put together a run down the stretch, they are going to need their best players to step up to the plate. 

The Eagles return to action tonight in Conte Forum, where they will take on the Virginia Cavaliers at 9PM. While UVA is currently projected to be an NCAA tournament team, the Eagles actually opened as 1.5-point favorites. With NCAA Tournament hopes having been in the rearview mirror for the last six weeks, the absolute best case scenario for this team is an NIT bid. Right now, the Eagles are likely on the outside looking in, but a strong regular season finish, plus a win or two in the ACC tournament would go a long way in returning the Boston College Eagles to postseason play. 

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Boston College basketball roster turnover

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Coming into the offseason for Boston College, there was plenty of speculation as to what carry over there would be from the present roster to next season’s. After losing five players and as well as a graduating Quinten Post the answer is simple – not much.

There has been plenty of speculation as to whether or not Jaeden Zackery would return for his senior season. After scoring a career high in points, (11.3) and a strong showing in post-season play, it became evident there would be other suitors. He ultimately became the first to enter the portal.

The next player, Claudell Harris, was certainly a surprise. The junior guard, who originally transferred in this past season from Charleston Southern, and became a key scorer for BC. He integrated himself quickly within his new team, and higher level of competition, to the tune of 13.7 points per game, good for second on the team in scoring. His sudden departure completely vacates the backcourt, joining fellow starter Zackery, in the portal.

Not too long after, the originally prized recruit, Prince Aligbe announced his intentions to transfer as well. This was not much of a surprise, and good for both parties, as the 6’9″ wing struggled to find a place in the offense. Aligbe lost his starting spot in early February, and subsequently saw his minutes drastically reduced.

Mason Madsen, who took over for Aligbe in the staring five, enjoying great production over a six game stretch. Madsen went on to experience some shooting woes down the stretch, but still providing really good play for the Eagles, finishing his career high in points per game (8.1) and shooting just under 40% from three. It should be of note, his twin brother Gabe is currently at Utah and the two could be seeking to pair up again.

Finally, back up big man Armani Mighty was the fifth guy to announce his intention to leave the Eagles. The sophomore forward never was able to carve out consistent playing time in Earl Grant’s rotation, averaging 3.9 minutes per game as a freshman and 5.6 in his second season.

The five players, along with graduation senior Quinten Post, BC now has six scholarship players remaining in Chas Kelley, Fred Payne, Donald Hand Jr, Elijah Strong, Jayden Hastings, and Devin McGlockton. The two incoming recruits, both guards, are Luka Toews and Nick Petronio. McGlockton is now the last retainer starter left on the roster. Grant and his staff will now have four spots to fill with transfers of their own.

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Jaeden Zackery enters transfer portal

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Boston College point guard becomes the first Eagle to announce his decision to enter the transfer portal. The junior guard, who originally hails from Salem, Wisconsin will have one more year of eligibility.

Originally coming to Chestnut Hill by way of junior college in Chipotle College, Zackery introduced himself to Eagles fans early, providing a steady guard play and shooting an impressive 47% from 3-point land. He finishes his BC career with 102 games, averaging just under 11 points per game, including a career-high 11.3 this past season. Zackery also belongs in BC’s top 10 career steals all-time.

There will be plenty of interest in the now former Eagles’ three-year starting point guard.

“BC Nation, I cannot possibly thank you enough for all the love and support you have given me the last 3 years. From the love of all the fans/sickos, to the coaches who took a chance on me, to all the teammates I can now call family, and to the entire BC community, it has truly been an honor to be apart of this program. Boston College will always feel like home to me and have a special place in my heart.

With that being said, I have made the decision to enter the transfer portal to explore other options for my last year of eligibility.”

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Boston College 70, UNLV 79: Eagles’ Postseason ride comes to an end in Las Vegas

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Photo Courtesy of the Las Vegas Review

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – After extending their season into the fourth week of March, Boston College’s basketball season finally came to an end tonight, as the Eagles dropped the second round NIT matchup to UNLV by a score of 79-70. After going into the locker room tied 37-37, the athleticism of the Running Rebels proved to be too much for the Eagles, as UNLV turned the game on its head with a 15-3 run in the second half. After going down by as much as 10, the Eagles made their best attempt at a comeback, cutting the UNLV lead to 70-66 with just over 3 minutes to play. However, UNLV’s Justin Webster and Keylan Boone proved to be too much for the Eagles to handle, as the pair put the game, and the Eagles’ season, on ice.

As he has throughout the season, Quinten Post led the Eagles in scoring and rebounding, dropping 22 points and grabbing 9 boards. The big man did all he could to keep the Eagles afloat, getting buckets at all three levels, including a late three pointer from nearly 30 feet. Jaeden Zackery and Devin McGlockton each added their steady doses of scoring, adding in an efficient 10 and 11 points, respectively. McGlockton also did more than his share of playmaking, picking up 5 assists on the night. Zackery did his work on the glass, securing 6 rebounds and dishing out 3 assists of his own.  

The two other starters for the Eagles, Claudell Harris Jr. and Mason Madsen, each ended their seasons with some tough shooting performances. After they each hit early shots from behind the arc, the guard duo struggled from the field, combining to shoot 6-25 from the field (6-17 from three) on the night. Since his hot streak in February, where he was arguably the Eagles’ best player, Madsen has been on a bit of a cold stretch, and couldn’t right the ship in Las Vegas. And after keeping the Eagles’ season alive with his huge 17-point performance against Providence last Tuesday, Claudell Harris Jr. just did not have the shooting stroke tonight. 

Coach Grant got 10 excellent minutes from Elijah Strong off the bench. The freshman forward carried his momentum from the Providence game, scoring 7 points tonight in Vegas, including a highlight-worthy coast-to coast drive off of a steal on the defensive end. Strong accounted for 7 of the Eagles’ 9 bench points, as Donald Hand Jr. added a pair of free throws, and Prince Aligbe and Armani Mighty were each held scoreless. 

The Eagles finished Year 3 of the Earl Grant era with a 20-16 (10-13 ACC) record, tying their best win total since the 2010-2011 season. While this year was filled with its ups and its downs, its triumphs and its frustrations, Earl Grant’s job appears to be safe for the time being. The Eagles have seen their win total steadily rise since Grant’s hiring. After taking over a gutted 4-16 (2-11 ACC) Boston College team in 2021, Grant has led the program to 13-, 16-, and 20-win seasons. With the departure of all-ACC forward Quinten Post and the transfer portal looming, it is not clear if fans can expect this trend to continue. But Grant seems to believe that the rising win total, combined with their new facilities, will be enough to attract a new crop of talent to the Heights. 

With the transfer portal being open for the next few weeks, fans can expect some potential turnover within the Eagles’ roster. So, stay tuned to Eagles Daily for the latest news, as Boston College Basketball now looks ahead to the 2024-2025 season!

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