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Open Practice and Final Preseason Thoughts



As many of our readers likely know, in less than a week, the Boston College men’s basketball team opens its season in Conte Forum. With the whirlwind that this football season has been, the mind of the BC fanbase has been primarily on the gridiron. So, in an effort to garner some buzz around Eagles basketball this season, here are some notes from the team’s recent open practice, as well as some general thoughts on the upcoming season.

Conte Forum played host to the Eagles basketball team’s recent open practice right before the football team kicked off against UConn. Despite the tough timing and activity around campus, Earl Grant’s squad drew a decent crowd. Admittedly, this writer was only able to catch the final 30-40 minutes of practice, but there was a lot to take note of.

First, the roster seemed to be divided into three groups: the main rotation, bench, and walk-ons. The main rotation consisted of the projected starting five Jaeden Zackery, Claudell Harris Jr, Prince Aligbe, Devin McGlockton, and Quinten Post; plus Mason Madsen and Jayden Hastings. The bench unit featured Fred Payne, Chas Kelley, Donald Hand Jr., Elijah Strong, and Armani Mighty. And, lastly, the walk-on group was led by fan-favorite Abe Atiyeh, and included freshmen Asher Jackson, Jack Didanno, and Ethan Soares.

The last 30 minutes of practice featured a three-point shooting contest between the starters and the bench, a full-court fast-break drill, and a scrimmage between the starters and the bench. Coach Grant’s focus on the three-point shot and transition offense was notable, as last season’s team was not particularly known for excelling in either area. However, between transfer Harris, increased roles for sophomore guards Kelley and Hand, and Madsen coming into this season much more healthy than last season, the Eagles could very well see a significant increase in three-point production.

Another positive development is that unproven forwards Hastings and Mighty appeared to be much more polished than many fans might have expected. Those who watched Mighty’s limited minutes last year saw how raw he was on both ends of the floor. And, as with most freshmen, the Eagles don’t know what they will get from Hastings. This basketball team will only go as far as Post will take them, but the big man obviously cannot play 40 minutes a game. So being able to get 10-12 serviceable minutes from Hastings/Mighty would go a long way for a team that clearly lacks depth in the frontcourt.

With the season less than a week away, there is much reason for optimism. The Eagles’ out-of-conference schedule is not particularly grueling and is a big opportunity for the team to get as far over the .500 mark as possible. If this team wants any shot of making the Dance, a dominant OOC performance is a necessity. Of the eleven games on the OOC schedule, the Eagles should be heavy favorites against Fairfield, The Citadel, Richmond, Central Connecticut, Holy Cross, and Lehigh. If they can take care of business in these six games, and remain competitive in their remaining five, an 8-3 OOC performance is well within reach.

As for league play, the Eagles will be shooting for double-digit conference wins for the first time since Jared Dudley and Matt Ryan were on campus. Coach Grant surpassed expectations in each of his first two seasons with the Eagles, going 13-20 (6-14 ACC) in year 1 and 16-17 (9-11 ACC) in year 2. Should the Eagles take another step forward in the ACC, they very well could find themselves “on the bubble” come March. Grant has mentioned many times how his third season at a program has always been a “breakout year”, and looks to take the Eagles to new heights in his third year on The Heights.

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DiMauro: All in all, a solid year for BC sports



If you are reading this, chances are your primary means of remaining connected to Boston College runs through athletics.

Oh, and we’ve been tortured souls, too, especially in recent years. We are idealists and fatalists, demanding yet forgiving, loyal and resilient, even if sometimes it feels as though we make the long trek up the cliff to Lovers Leap … only to get shoved.

All of which makes the sports year of 2023-24 a time to celebrate. Boston College did itself proud, no small occurrence given that in this unsteady (perverse?) time of expansion and realignment, schools like BC must always look their Sunday best, with no overt warts or love handles.

Women’s lacrosse, BC’s working definition of pride and joy, capped the sports season with the national championship Memorial Day weekend in Cary, NC. It was the program’s second natty in four years, a three-hour infomercial for the entire institution and more proof that, yes, it can be done at BC with the right coach.

Acacia Walker-Weinstein – you’ll note that only the letter “W” separates her from “Einstein” – not only hung a banner, but helped BC earn a distinction few other athletic programs in the country could trumpet. How many other schools made national championship games (both televised by ESPN) in two different sports fewer than two months apart?

Think about that one: Men’s hockey, during an otherwise memorable season, fell short in the national championship game. But the Sons of Greg Brown did the school proud all season. Not a bad accomplishment to see “BC in the national finals” on the ESPN scroll in mid-April (hockey) and late May (lacrosse). It’s hard to buy that kind of advertising, particularly when and if realignment and expansion happen again.

Football won a bowl game over a ranked team at Fenway Park, returns a dynamo in Thomas Castellanos and then made the splash of a cannonball, hiring Bill O’Brien as head coach. Three other women’s sports showed promise as well: field hockey (11-7, made the ACC Tournament); softball (30-24, made the ACC Tournament) and volleyball, which continues to improve steadily under coach Jason Kennedy, finished 19-13 and made the ACC Tournament.

Otherwise, baseball gets a pass as new coach Todd Interdonato assimilates to the ACC and establishes his culture; the soccer programs (3-9-5 and 3-9-6) were lousy; and I remain concerned about men’s and women’s basketball. Put it this way: Sure feels as though better players are leaving than are entering.

Off the field, “Friends Of The Heights,” BC’s Name, Image and Likeness (NIL) collective, grew massively, keeping BC competitive in a cutthroat environment. Friends Of The Heights also homered into the upper deck, hiring veteran athletic administrator Jim Paquette as its new Chief Development Officer. Paquette will advise the Board on overall development strategies, using his 16 years as an administrator at BC that specialized in fundraising.

BC’s overall cachet also made a splash on social media when Forbes Magazine named it one of the country’s “New Ivies.”

Based on its researchForbes, the century-old national business magazine, reported that American companies are souring on hiring Ivy League graduates, instead preferring high achievers from 20 other prominent universities – “Private and Public New Ivies.”

BC joins private school “New Ivies” Carnegie Mellon, Emory, Georgetown, Johns Hopkins, Northwestern, Rice, Notre Dame, Southern California and Vanderbilt. Ah, to be judged by the company one keeps.

One school year hasn’t produced this much for BC in years. And it’s significant. The idea now is to build, not regress.

Full disclosure: There are many things I still don’t like. I’m told Father Leahy neither attended the Frozen Four nor the lacrosse Final Four. It is disrespectful to the players, coaches and alumni to have a leader who acts as if so much about what makes BC great is beneath him. And we still seem to have these spasms of tone deafness, such as patrolling the parking lots like stormtroopers the day of the spring football game.

But 2023-24 was an encouraging year for BC in many ways. Yes, we always want more. But we were getting less for a long time. Not this year. A tip of the cap to athletic director Blake James, his staff, the coaches and the kids.

We pause now to enjoy summer and await Labor Day night in Tallahassee. Here’s to 2024-25, hollering “Mr. Brightside” again with the kids from the crowded bleachers.

Mike DiMauro, a columnist in Connecticut, is a contributor to Eagles Daily and a member of BC’s Class of 1990. He may be reached at or @BCgenius 

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Boston College lands commitment from transfer Roger McFarlane



Earl Grant and his staff continue to rebuild the roster, landing their fourth commitment from the transfer portal in Roger McFarlane out of SE Louisiana. The guard comes to the Eagles with one year of eligibility and posted an impressive 14.8 points per game to go along with 8.6 rebounds a contest. Additionally, McFarlane impressed with an early season matchup with Auburn, posting 25 points and 11 rebounds. The Fort Lauderdale native recently visited Temple before ultimately choosing Chestnut Hill as his final collegiate destination.

Additionally, McFarlane now becomes the third guard BC has signed through the portal, joining UMBC’s Dion Brown and Clemson’s Josh Beadle. Rounding out the transfer class is center Chad Venning out of St. Bonaventure. Along with three incoming freshman, there is now one remaining scholarship spot left.

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Roster Revamp: Kany Tchanda’s Late Commitment Nearly Completes the Eagles’ 2024-25 Team



Tchanda Showcasing his Elite Athleticism for Sunrise Christian Academy

After a wild couple of weeks in the world of college basketball, with thousands of players leaving their schools, the transfer portal buzz has finally started to cool down. And the Boston College basketball roster has undergone some major reconstruction, even by today’s standards. The Eagles saw six of their key returners enter their name in the portal: Jaeden Zackery, Mason Madsen, Claudell Harris Jr, Prince Aligbe, Devin McGlockton, and Armani Mighty. And, in relatively short order, brought in three names to replace them: Chad Venning, Josh Beadle, and Dion Brown (and nearly one more that I won’t mention). However, after the flurry of transfers in and out, the Eagles were left with three roster spots yet to be filled. 

And earlier this evening, one of those three spots was filled, as Boston College landed a late Class of 2024 commitment from Kany Tchanda, a forward from Wichita, Kansas. The 6’9 forward adds depth to the Eagle front court, with some much needed length and athleticism. 247Sports has Tchanda as the 3rd-ranked player from Kansas, the 31st-ranked center, and 205th-ranked overall player for the Class of 2024. For reference, 247 gives Tchanda an 88 “Player Rating”, which would put him right between Chas Kelley’s 86 and Prince Aligbe’s 89. While recruiting rankings are by no means a reliable predictor of collegiate success, Tchanda certainly has the potential to be a contributor down the line. 

In his three years at Boston College, Coach Grant has shown a willingness to take on long-term projects in the front court. Most notably, under his tutelage, Quinten Post became an NBA-caliber talent and Devin McGlockton went from an unranked recruit to one of the better forwards in the ACC. But even freshman Elijah Strong exceeded his (albeit low) preseason expectations, and has many Eagles fans excited about his future with the program. And last season, Grant red-shirted Jayden Hastings, the highest-rated recruit in the Eagles’ 2023 Class, opting to give him a full year of development before trotting him onto the court. Perhaps Grant has similar plans for Tchanda, who certainly looks the part of the slept-on, high-upside forward.

With Kany Tchanda’s signing, the 2024-25 Boston College roster is starting to take shape, as they have just two scholarships remaining. Last season, the program opted to use just 12 of their 13 scholarships, so don’t be shocked if they bank on this season in hopes of a larger 2025 Class. 

For more Boston College Hoops updates, follow along @EaglesDailyBC and @JackPSeiberlich on Twitter, as we eagerly await the final pieces of the Eagles’ 2024-25 roster to come together. 

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