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Boston College’s makeover counts on Jerome Robinson

BROOKLYN, NY - NOVEMBER 25:  Boston College Eagles guard Jerome Robinson (1)) during the second half of the Barclays Center Classic NCAA mens basketball game between the Kansas State Wildcats and the Boston College Eagles on November 25, 2016, at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn,NY.  The Kansas State Wildcats defeated the Boston College Eagles 72-54.   (Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire)
Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire

The only Boston College team worse in ACC play a year ago than the football team which failed to win a conference game was the basketball team, which also failed to win an ACC game… but that’s only because of Notre Dame.

The Irish are ACC members in basketball but remain independent in football. That dropped Boston College basketball to 15th place instead of football’s 14th. The Eagles were 7-25 overall and 0-18 in the ACC.

The basketball team that is off to a 3-3 start in non-conference games was picked a distant 15th at the ACC preseason media days. Georgia Tech was 14th with 199 points to Boston College’s 128. No Boston College players were picked among the preseason first and second teams or as newcomers of the year.

Eagles third-year head coach Jim Christian recognized if he was ever going to fix what’s wrong with the program, he needed to basically blow it up and start over. Staying the course of gradual rebuilding wasn’t working after two years.

He has three transfers and five freshmen to join two promising returning sophomores, Jerome Robinson and A.J. Turner. If Christian is successful in the near future, recruiting Robinson and Turner will mark the turning point despite last year’s long season.

Robinson was second on the team in scoring last year with 11.7 points a game despite suffering broken wrist that limited him to 23 of 31 games. The 6-foot-5, 190-pounder could be considered an addition if he provides a new look. With leading scorer Eli Carter (16 points a game) graduated, Robinson will be the go-to guy.

The product of Raleigh (N.C.) Broughton – Pete Maravich’s alma mater – has the potential to dramatically improve. Duke and North Carolina don’t lack talent, but you have to wonder how North Carolina State let Robinson get away from its backyard.

Through the Eagles’ first six games before they play Dartmouth Saturday at home, he’s been in double figures each game to average 19 points, 3 assists and 5.3 rebounds. He’s gone for 14, 16, 22, 24, 11 and a career-high 27.
The career-high 27 was against Richmond in a 67-54 loss on Nov. 26 in the Barclays Center Classic. He hit 10 of 20 from the field and 6 of 9 from three-point range.

Turner (6-7, 188) also is building on his promise. He’s averaging 8.3 points and 4.2 rebounds.

The transfers are forward Mo Leffers (6-9, 240) from Delaware, forward Connar Tava (6-6, 250) from Western Michigan and guard Jordan Chatman (6-5, 198) from BYU. Leffers and Tava are graduate transfers, while Chatman is a sophomore.

Leffers is providing the inside presence the Eagles need with 4.7 points and 7.0 rebounds.

Tava was All-MAC honorable mention in 2014 and 2015 but sat out last year with a broken foot. He decided he wanted to use his last year to play ACC basketball. He’s averaging 7.5 points and 6.3 rebounds.

Chatman hasn’t started a game yet while contributing 5.7 points and 1.0 assist in 18.5 minutes per game.

The freshmen making early contributions are Ky Bowman (6-1, 182), Nik Popovic (6-11, 243) and Ty Graves (6-0, 165). Bowman was originally a wide receiver football recruit who signed with North Carolina before opting to pursue a college basketball career.

Bowman has started four games and scored 8.3 points with 1.7 assists. Popovic has averaged 6 points and 3.2 rebounds off the bench and Graves 4.8 points and 1.7 assists with two starts.

None of them are Harry Giles, Jaysom Tatum or Marques Bolden – Duke’s three projected one-and-done freshmen – but Boston College is just trying to make progress.

Boston College’s football team broke its ACC losing streak with two wins and bowl eligibility this year. Two basketball wins against a schedule that includes Duke, North Carolina, Syracuse, Louisville, Notre Dame, Florida State would be progress for Jim Christian as he tries to gain a foothold in Chestnut Hill.

Jerome Robinson needs to provide “Christian outreach” more than anyone else on the Eagles’ roster.

Follow Tom Shanahan of FanRagSports.com on Twitter @shanny4055.

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