By: Greg Levinsky
Sneakers were squeaking and bodies were flying across the Case Gym hardwood on Tuesday afternoon. Exactly five weeks before the Boston University men’s basketball season tips off with a contest at Northeastern University, the Terriers stepped on the floor for their first official practice.
Here are five takeaways from day one:
Junior walk-on Adam Mikula joined the roster after spending his first two years at Boston University as one of the team’s managers. He displayed a solid outside shooting touch. Mikula often practiced with the team last year when injuries mounted, earning a spot for this season. Freshman Jonas Harper is another walk-on and didn’t look out of place. Including Mikula and redshirt freshman Alex Vilarino, who transferred to BU last spring from Texas Tech, there are a total of six newcomers. The team has 14 players on the roster who should be healthy for the opener, they ended last year with just 11 able bodies. Smart move by the coaching staff to add more players.
McCoy works with guards
After averaging 8.9 points per game as a freshman and with the addition of Vilarino, it was a possibility that lanky 6-foot-5 slasher Javante McCoy would work out with the off-ball wings. That wasn’t the case as McCoy did individual skill work with the ball-handlers joining Vilarino, Harper, freshman Garrett Pascoe and senior Kamali Chambers. McCoy also stood out in practice with his verbal leadership and is über athletic.
There were times when 6-foot-10 Sukhmail Mathon demonstrated great poise for extended stretches last season. The sophomore has an incredibly soft touch and is a tremendous passer and displayed those skills in scrimmage during the practice. He stepped out and nailed a 3-pointer in controlled drills and converted various textbook post hooks. Mathon appeared to be lighter on his feet and more confident, leading to solid plays on the defensive end as well.
A BIG team
This team certainly has size. All four returning starters are at least 6-foot-5. It is entirely possible that the Terriers could field a starting lineup of 6-foot-5 or taller with McCoy playing the point and either 6-foot-9 Jack Hemphill, 6-foot-8 Jordan Guest, both freshman, or Mathon, joining 6-foot-6 sophomore Walter Whyte, 6-foot-7 junior Tyler Scanlon and 6-foot-8 junior Max Mahoney. With the type of offense that head coach Joe Jones runs, which will be discussed next, this could be the perfect type of team.
As part of the team’s great size, the offense will likely rely once again on team ball movement. Scanlon led the squad in assists last year and was mainly a tertiary or secondary ball-handler. Mahoney and Mathon had many multi-assist games out of the post. McCoy was the starting point guard last season and looks to pencil into that role once again. With Scanlon and other players as adept passers McCoy still generated open looks with strong off the ball movement in full-court scrimmages later in the practice.
Greg Levinsky can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @GregLevinsky