Wednesday, June 13, 2012
BU hoops set to trek to Montreal
By Jack McCluskey
Two years, two players of the year lost to graduation. Only one senior on the roster, and one who's missed most of the past two seasons due to injury.
Five seniors graduate, their roster spots taken by four freshmen arriving on campus.
Those are just a few of the changes to the landscape second-year Boston University head coach Joe Jones will have to navigate around in the 2012-13 season.
The first path Jones has charted for these Terriers? An August trip to Montreal.
"There were several reasons why we elected to go on this trip now," Jones said in a statement Wednesday. "With Jake [O'Brien] coming back from injury, this trip will give him four games with our team and the opportunity for the younger guys to practice with him. Also, with us losing five seniors and the addition of four incoming freshmen, everyone will need to learn new roles."
The Terriers will travel from Boston to Montreal on Thursday, Aug. 16, then play Bishop's University (Aug. 17), McGill University (Aug. 18), Carleton University (Aug. 19) and the University of Quebec at Montreal (Aug. 20) before heading home on Tuesday, Aug. 21. It's the first foreign trip for the Terriers since a trip to Taiwan in 2007.
As they prepare for another season, the Terriers must find a way to replace another America East Player of the Year. Prior to 2011-12, they had to replace John Holland; prior to 2012-13, they have to replace Darryl Partin.
Jones & Co. hope O'Brien, the 2009 America East Rookie of the Year, can finally stay healthy after missing most of the past two seasons with foot injuries. After a third-place finish last season, the Terriers will lean heavily on their trio of juniors -- D.J. Irving (who led AE with 5.4 assists per game in 2011-12), Travis Robinson and Dom Morris -- and hope to get increased production from rising sophomores Malik Thomas, Zach Chionuma and James Kennedy.
BU also welcomes a well-regarded recruiting class, led by point guard Maurice Watson Jr. (No. 91 on the ESPN 100) and shooting guard John Papale. In May, ESPN recruiting analyst Adam Finkelstein gave the class a B-plus, and ranked it as one of the best classes among non-BCS schools.
"This trip will be wonderful for our maturation as a team and program," Jones said in the statement. "I've done this before with other schools, and these foreign trips have always been a great experience for the students and coaches. We will have four competitive games and more importantly, we'll have 10 practice days before leaving for Canada to [jell] together as a team."
Jack McCluskey is an editor for ESPN.com and a frequent contributor to ESPNBoston.com. Follow him on Twitter @jack_mccluskey.