Last week I took a look at BC's two returning players and two transfers. As I noted, those players will be somewhat important to the team's success this upcoming season—but the main focus for the foreseeable future will be on the huge recruiting class Steve Donahue and his assistants brought in for this year. It will be very interesting to see which freshmen emerge as stars and which ones sink to the bottom of the depth chart. Obviously, it's too early to tell who will fall into each category, but I've attempted to sum up the conventional wisdom on each of the incoming freshmen as a starting point for where BC fans' expectations should be going into the season. Those previews begin after the jump.
Dennis Clifford, Center/Forward: Clifford is certainly the biggest recruit coming in this year, officially hitting the "seven-footer" mark. Because of his size and the Eagles' dearth of big men, fans should expect to see Clifford getting lots of minutes this season—in fact, in the team's preseason game against American International, Clifford saw the most minutes on the team. From all accounts, his defense and passing are solid and he has a decent shooting touch for a big man. On the other hand, he clearly lacks size and strength, which means he'll struggle getting to the basket and collecting rebounds against some of the stronger centers in the ACC. Still, Clifford is definitely one to watch given that he'll likely be a starter from Day One—and he could emerge as a core element of this team if he can start adding mass in the next four years.
Kyle Caudill, Center/Forward: It's safe to say Caudill doesn't need to put on mass, weighing in at more than 50 pounds heavier than Clifford despite being two inches shorter. And that's not the only way in which Caudill is basically the Bizarro Dennis Clifford—the two are almost total opposites in terms of strengths and weaknesses. Where Clifford has speed and agility but lacks strength, Caudill has the body and technique of a low-post banger capable of snagging rebounds coupled with a lack of finesse. One thing both players have in common is a pretty good shot from short- to mid-range. If both players develop into legitimate options, Donahue will have a nice one-two punch to work with at the center spot, giving him options depending on the match up.
Jordan Daniels, Guard: It seems the theme of this post is size, and this section will continue that theme, as Daniels is officially the smallest player in the ACC at 5 feet, 8 inches, and 153(!) pounds. Nonetheless, Daniels' skill set seems to be fairly advanced for his young age, as scouts across the board cite his ball handling, passing, and mid-range floater as positives. Given his quickness, Daniels figures to be a ball-hawking defender as well. If Daniels develops enough to overcome his serious size problem he could be one of the more exciting players this team will have going forward. Regardless, he should see a lot of playing time this year, as this team desperately needs someone to handle the ball (even more so if Moton fails to show progress).
Lonnie Jackson, Guard: Sigh...another guard with a weight problem. Like Daniels, Jackson lacks size (although he is a bit bigger than Daniels at 6 feet, 3 inches) but makes up for it with other skills. Unlike Daniels—whose main pluses are ball handling and quickness—Jackson's main skill is his shot. Coach Donahue and high school scouts alike have noted that Jackson will likely be the best pure shooter on the team (or at least second after Danny Rubin). Specifically, Jackson is great shooting quickly off-the-catch. In general his "basketball IQ" seems to be very high, so once again we'll have to wait and see whether these important skills can make up for a lack of size when going against some of the bigger ACC teams.
Ryan Anderson, Forward: Anderson was BC's top-rated recruit this year and looks to be, at worst, a solid big man capable of stretching the floor and hitting threes when necessary. At best, Anderson has the overall basketball skill to be a legitimate star for BC, but to get to that level he will need to work on his post-up game on both offense and defense. Because of those weaknesses he'll likely get abused by stronger forwards this year, but hopefully he will be able to take those experiences and transfer them to his own game going forward. If Anderson can develop the skills with his back to the basket that he currently has facing it, he'll certainly be a player to watch in the ACC.
Patrick Heckmann, Forward/Guard: Besides having an awesome name, Heckmann—who is coming to the states after two years of professional basketball in Germany—looks to be one of the more aggressive members of this freshman class, as his best skills lie in attacking the basket. With a team mostly full of three-point shooters, such a player will be crucial. Heckmann also will likely be more polished due to his professional experience and can naturally fall into a leadership role both through his actions on the court and his demeanor off of it. Although he, like everyone else on this team, has things to work on (namely, defense), I think Heckmann might be one of the bigger successes of Donahue's recruiting season. Look for his name to come up more and more as BC enters ACC play.
Eddie Odio, Foward/Guard: Odio is another diamond-in-the-rough type. According to scouts Odio might be the best athlete on the team, and has the ability to attack the rim and make flashy dunks. In general, Odio is lauded for solid understanding of the game, good fundamentals, and a nice mid- to long-range shot. Weaknesses? Take a guess. Yep, like most of the freshmen on here, Odio needs to add size and mass to really be on par with some of the other athletes in the ACC. Still, like Heckmann, Odio has a more polished game than some of his classmates and will therefore certainly make an impact this season.
The Recruited Walk-Ons - Ryan Kilcullen (Forward) and John Cain Carney (Forward/Guard): There obviously isn't too much scouting information on these two walk-ons, and unlike Danny Rubin (a recruited walk-on who saw lots of playing time last year), it doesn't seem as if either of these two will see the court in anything other than blowouts. This is especially likely given the amount of more talented freshmen on this team who will need lots of minutes to develop. Still, Donahue has shown in the past he's not afraid of mixing up lineups, so don't be completely shocked if either of these players sees legitimate playing time in a game or two this year—especially if some of the players ahead of them get injured.
Bonus! John Cahill, Guard: As you may have seen last week, John Cahill decided to forego his original plan of being a graduate assistant on the team this year and instead return for one more year of actual basketball. Cahill was something of a surprise last year, as he showed some skill on both sides of the ball and saw a decent amount of playing time for a walk-on. At minimum, Cahill will be able to bring some much-needed experience to this young team, but Donahue showed he plans on utilizing Cahill's actual basketball abilities this year as well when he put him in the starting lineup for the exhibition against American International. Obviously, fans shouldn't expect too much, but Cahill is good for a few clutch threes and a few well-timed steals, and the Eagles will take whatever kind of experience they can get.