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The Eagles get on the court a couple times this week and let us help you get acquainted with the team. For a look at the backcourt, check out the guard preview.
Corey Raji will start again at Small Forward. The rugged, undersized big man was second on the team in rebounds last year and came just a hair away (9.9 ppg, 6.1 rpg) from averaging ten points per game. Joe Trapani will also get time here and even Sophomore Dallas Elmore might see some time after hardly playing last year. Rakim Sanders will fill the three when coach Al Skinner wants to go undersize.
Coach Skinner loves Raji’s play, calling him “the ultimate utility player.” His basketball IQ is fantastic on a team where two starters (Sanders and Josh Southern) fall short. He leads the team in offensive rebounding while also sharing Team Defensive MVP honors with Rakim Sanders. I’m surprised that Biko Paris won the captaincy over him, but the recent suspension indicates why.
Sanders will play three at times, but Skinner will want Trapani on the floor in big games so don’t expect Paris-Reggie Jackson-Sanders combinations at crunch time unless Raji moves out of the lineup. Elmore could carve himself out a nice niche here as well if he improves his mid range game.
Junior Joe Trapani lived up to the hype and then some last year after transferring from Vermont. He returns as the leading scorer, rebounder, and best three point shooter. Senior Captain Tyler Roche will also see some playing time as the only senior on the roster and a starter two years ago. Sophomore Evan Ravenel doesn’t look to gain that much playing time over last year.
Trapani looked fantastic last year bringing great shooting, surprising athleticism, and terrific size (6’7″) at the four position. Although it will be hard to see him averaging more than 16 ppg due to his lack of a slashing game, he and Sanders look to carry the brunt of the scoring load. His backup and best friend on the team, Tyler Roche, is an adequate player who ideally fits in as a seventh man. He can have his scoring outbursts but really can’t create his own shot and is a liability on defense. Actually, creating shots looks like the biggest problem at the power forward with Trapani usually needing slash and kicks or offensive put-backs to get consistently in double digits. Neither Trapani nor Roche have much a back to the basket game.
Junior Josh Southern starts again at the five this year after averaging six points and five rebounds a game. Courtney Dunn backs him up and provides defense and toughness.
Always the Achilles’ Heel of the basketball program, Skinner must rely on the foul-prone Southern and the offensively inept Dunn. Southern brings loads of potential to the table and brings an ability to match size and scoring that BC hasn’t seen in years. Unfortunately, he can get rattled and actually applied for a patent on his signature point guard hip check on the pick and roll. I wouldn’t be surprised by a 14-9 year by him but I also wouldn’t be surprised by another 6-5 year. Dunn improved a lot from his freshman year and brings a nice amount of toughness to the table. Although he will never be a prolific scorer, his ability to pound the glass and take no unnecessary shots doesn’t hurt the offense by any stretch.