It has not been the greatest of starts to the offseason for Boston College basketball. However, the recent hiring of Steve Donahue as the new Eagles' head coach has been the bright spot in an attempt to usher in a "new era" in Chestnut Hill.
In the last few days, the news has surfaced that BC will be losing two of its scholarship players. With the departure of star junior forward Rakim Sanders, the Eagles also received the news that freshman guard Brady Heslip will also be leaving the team.
The pair of transfers has depleted the Eagles to only 10 scholarship players heading into 2010-2011. That number includes two incoming freshmen, Kevin Noreen out of Minnesota and Papa Samba Ndao of Florida, whose statuses are currently up in the air with the switch at head coach.
Rakim Sanders, a 6'8" junior, had an up and down season, struggling to find any rhythm at all. After an ankle injury slowed him down in the beginning of the season, there were only a few bright spots for the athletic forward.
Sanders finished the 2009-2010 season averaging 11.3 PPG and 3.7 RPG, scoring 20-plus on three different occasions. Losing Sanders is a big blow to an Eagles team not only from a numbers perspective, but also an experience one.
Rumors have surfaced that Rakim Sanders was interested in transferring to Rhode Island or Providence, considering he is a native of Pawtucket, Rhode Island. However, the likely destination for Sanders seems to be Fairfield, where former BC assistant coach Ed Cooley runs the show. Cooley interviewed for the Eagles head coaching position prior to the Eagles' decision to go with Donahue.
Brady Heslip, on the other hand, is a freshman guard from Burlington, Ontario. He joined the Eagles midseason and practiced with the team although he did not appear in any games.
Heslip was expected to give Biko Paris a run for the starting point guard position in 2010-2011, even despite, the Eagles having some success towards the end of the season with Reggie Jackson running the point.
The freshman guard is expected to visit with Boise State this weekend.
With the transfers, the weight begins to build up on the shoulders of the Eagles returning players, that, as well as first year head coach Steve Donahue. Junior-to-be Reggie Jackson will be the focal point, alongside seniors Joe Trapani and Corey Raji.
Returnees Evan Ravenel, Courtney Dunn, Josh Southern, Biko Paris, and Dallas Elmore might be expected to see additional playing time in trying to fill the void left by Sanders.
The transfers are, no doubt, a pair of tough losses for Boston College. However, it is a time of moving forward for the Eagles and their fans.