Men’s Basketball: Liam O’Brien’s midseason report card

By: Liam O’Brien

With a 7-6 record entering conference play, the Boston University men’s basketball team has experienced some ups and downs over the first two months of the season.

The majority of the players on the team have endured their own highs and lows as well as the Terriers have struggled with maintaining consistency from game to game.

Here are the grades for each member of the BU team at the holiday break.

Seniors

Kamali Chambers: 5 GP, 1.4 PPG, 1.2 RPG

When assessing Chambers value to the Terriers, you have to look beyond the game floor. While the senior captain does not see much playing time, he provides crucial leadership to a remarkably youthful team.

After the group’s win over Nicholls, junior forward Max Mahoney referred to Chambers as one of their energy guys, and that’s just what he provides to the Terriers. The Minnesota native, who played with Donovan Mitchell at Brewster Academy, was rightfully awarded a scholarship at the team’s holiday party last Sunday.

The letter Chambers’ reads out loud in this video contains all you need to know about what he means to the group.

Grade: A

Juniors 

Max Mahoney, Forward: 16.2 PPG, 5.8 RPG, .675 FG%

It seemed as though Mahoney couldn’t get much better than he was last season, a campaign which concluded with a nod to the All-Conference Third Team.

Somehow, he has become even more dominant. Mahoney is the Terriers’ most reliable scoring threat and terrorizes defenders with his post moves inside. He has improved running the floor, which has translated into fastbreak finishes off Tyler Scanlon assists each of the last two games.

The New Jersey product has scored at least 17 points in each of his last five games and he is getting to the point where he can play almost 30 minutes per game and still be effective.

Grade: A

Adam Mikula, Guard: 2 GP, 1.0 RPG

Although the former team manager has yet to make his first collegiate bucket, Mikula’s presence on the roster is enough to earn him a favorable grade.

His story is admirable, and when he saw the floor against UMass Lowell he showed some hustle with an offensive rebound. I’m hoping we get to see Mikula score his first points soon.

Grade: A

Tyler Scanlon, Forward: 13.5 PPG, 5.5 RPG, 3.4 APG, 1.3 SPG

Scanlon looks like a different player than last season, and I’m all for it.

He showed flashes of being able to take opponents off the dribble in his first two seasons but never did it consistently. Now, hardly a game goes by where we don’t see at least one example of Scanlon blowing by a defender before finishing at the rim.

However, the Terriers rely on this junior captain to be a consistent three-point threat and the range just has not been there for him. Scanlon is shooting 31.5 percent from deep, going 2-of-9 in a loss to Bethune-Cookman and 1-of-7 in a defeat at Rutgers.

Scanlon’s three-point percentage must improve for BU to be successful in the Patriot League.

Grade: B+

Sophomores 

Sukhmail Mathon, Center: 4.2 PPG, 3.8 RPG, .490 FG%

Mathon’s averages in points, rebounds and assists have all risen from his freshman season as his minutes per game has increased from 11.5 to 16.2. He is also shooting 49 percent from the field and has added a three-point shot to his game after attempting none a year ago.

I would like to see Mathon be more decisive with the ball and his post moves leave something to be desired. But, he has fit in nicely with the second unit over the last two games and has three contests with at least eight points.

Grade: B

Javante McCoy, Guard: 10.4 PPG, 3.8 RPG, 2.8 APG

In the absence of spot-up shooter Andrew Petcash, McCoy has become the Terriers’ most trustworthy threat from three. He is shooting a solid 38.5 percent from deep and has had some breakout games on the road with a combined 11-of-13 mark from beyond the arc in games against Eastern Michigan, Rutgers and Dartmouth.

McCoy is shooting worse from the field than his freshman season but his shot selection has actually improved. He now has the ability to make the extra pass to free up a teammate for a shot of their own as his assists per game has risen from 1.7 to 2.8.

He is putting forth a solid effort on the boards as well with nine rebounds against Bethune-Cookman and eight against Elon.

Grade: B+

Andrew Petcash, Guard: 2.9 PPG, 8.8 MPG

While Petcash only receives 8.8 minutes a game, he has been sorely missed during his four-game absence with a concussion.

When he is on the floor, his sole purpose is to shoot the three and he does it well, going 8-of-16 from deep. Petcash’s impact in other facets of the game is limited but his departure has left a void in BU’s ability to stretch the floor. The Terriers are in dire need of a spot-up threat as they rank 263rd in the country in three-point percentage.

Grade: B

Freshmen 

Jordan Guest, Forward: 5.8 PPG, 3.2 RPG, .417 FG%

Guest has worked his way up to the starting lineup with starts against Nicholls and Bethune-Cookman. He can space the floor and knock down the three-pointer from the top of the key with ease.

The California native is averaging 7.0 points per game over his last four while making five threes. He has proven himself as a rotation player but it remains to be seen how much of an impact he can have against Patriot League bigs.

Guest has not shown much driving ability and his rebounding impact is reserved with just 3.2 per game.

Grade: B

Jonas Harper, Guard: 3.2 PPG, 1.3 RPG, 12.2 MPG

I’ve been surprised by how much the walk-on has played this season, but the minutes have been well-deserved. Harper is aggressive on offense with 10 points over his last two games and he can also hit the corner three.

The 6:14 assist-to-turnover ratio is alarming considering Harper plays the point but overall, Harper has exceeded expectations. Expect the confident shooter to hit a big shot or two during conference play.

Grade: B

Jack Hemphill, Forward: 6.1 PPG, 3.2 RPG, .323 3FG%

Hemphill and Guest play stunningly similar roles on this team, so it makes sense why the latter has transitioned to the starting lineup while Hemphill paces the second unit.

The 11th-ranked recruit coming out of North Carolina in the class of 2018, Hemphill has averaged less than 12 minutes per game over his last four outings but is still finding ways to get his looks on offense. He has scored 16 points combined in his most recent pair of appearances while shooting 6-of-12 from the field.

Hemphill can also shoot the three from the top of the key and is a solid rebounder with five boards apiece against Elon and Nicholls. Expect him to receive more minutes in conference play.

Grade: B+

Garrett Pascoe, Guard: 2.3 PPG, 1.4 RPG, 2.3 APG

There was hype surrounding Pascoe when he received the start against Northeastern in the season opener. But, he played just five minutes in the come-from-behind win after picking up two early fouls and that instance set the tone for an underwhelming first half of the season for the point guard.

Pascoe showed an offensive spark with a three and a dribble drive against Bethune-Cookman, a flame he has lacked this season. He is shooting 29.8 percent from the field and 23.8 percent from deep and has relinquished his starting job to Alex Vilarino.

The California native has passing ability with 26 assists on the season. Let’s see if he can get the scoring to accompany it in the second half of the year.

Grade: C+

Fletcher Tynen, Forward: 4.2 PPG, 2.5 RPG, .538 FG%

I would like to see Tynen become a more confident shooter but he has played his way into the rotation with energetic play.

He is one of the Terriers most reliable free-throw shooters, and the image of him sticking two foul shots to seal BU’s resume-boosting win over Northeastern is cemented in my memory.

Almost a third of Tynen’s rebounds have come on the offensive end with multiple O-boards against Northeastern, Vermont and UMass Lowell. His minutes will only go up if he continues to attack the glass with fervor.

Grade: B+

Alex Vilarino, Guard: 5.0 PPG, 2.2 RPG, 1.8 APG, .519 FG%

Vilarino’s shot is unorthodox, but that is about the only flaw in his game.

The Texas Tech transfer has a quick first step and will be able to get by most Patriot League point guards. He played his way into the starting the lineup with an impressive stretch in the second half of the loss to Dartmouth on December 13 in which he got to the rim and finished on three consecutive tries.

Vilarino can break down a defense with his handle and create chances for teammates at the rim or on the perimeter. His game is lively and his playing time is increasing because of it.

Grade: A-

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