Game Notes: No. 3 Wake Forest at Boston College
A night at the theater.
by Sammy Newman-Beck
– Being in Boston for such a long time, I constantly hear about how Boston College is either over- or under-achieving. On one end, they won many games for many years and made the NCAA Tourney on a consistent basis. On the negative end, however, they had three NBA players (Jared Dudley, Craig Smith and Sean Williams) and didn’t make it past the second round.
– Boston College is known for recruiting unheralded talent—Dudley, Tyrese Rice and Smith, for example—who often make huge improvements over the years. Also come the players who don’t improve, don’t play or land at another institution (Daye Kaba, Shamari Spears, Marquez Haynes, to name a few).
– It’s rare that a top-50 recruit lands at BC. Maybe the BC staff feels they cannot compete with the recruiting likes of the regional bigs. Maybe, they have wasted time in the past trying to land big-time recruits, or maybe for some weird reason they like a challenge.
– With the hiring of BC football coach Frank Spaziani (who is in the house), little attention has been given to the only two teams that beat North Carolina.
– ESPN and Boston Globe columnist Bob Ryan are in the house along with Celts guy Leo Papile.
– After going to a Celtics game two nights ago, the size differential between pros and college is clearly apparent. The Wake Forest players look like regular guys compared to any of the Celtics or Raptors who were on the floor two nights ago (wish I could see LeBron up close!).
– R&B recording artist Ray Greene sings the national anthem and is killing it! Google him.
– I end up sitting next to a Phoenix Suns scout. I make an effort to get his reactions to each player.
– James Johnson for Wake is a big small forward at 6-9, 245 pounds.
– To start the game, BCs Joe Trapani (A Vermont transfer. Go figure, another unheralded recruit) gets a nice tip back dunk to start the game.
– Wake jumps out to an early lead, 10-2.
– Cori Raji for BC is almost ambidextrous. As he hits floaters in the lane equally well with both hands.
– Question for the day… Is BC’s shooting guard Rakim Sanders a future pro (he has the body for it)?
– BC cannot score. Where is the Tyrese Rice of last year when they need him?
– Wake’s freshman Al-Farouq Aminu is a future pro.
– BC struggles inbounding the ball. Go back to the drawing board.
– Jeff Teague is good. He reminds me early on, of a poor man’s Derrick Rose as he hits two 3s and throws down another fast break dunk to push the Wake lead to 45-22 with 3:20 left in the first half.
– BC makes a handful of turnovers and bonehead passes.
– At the half Wake is up 47-27 while shooting 66 percent from the field. BC shot a miserable 33 percent with only 3 assists.
– BC starts the half with three straight unforced turnovers.
– The more I watch BC’s offense, the more I hate the flex.
– Every time the Eagles get a break, they shoot themselves in the foot with unforced turnovers.
– A little heated but according to Rice, friendly, conversation between him and L.D. Williams occurs at half court with L.D. grabbing Rice by his jersey.
– My man Biko Paris checks in (who, during a pickup game this summer, took one look at my sneakers and felt bad enough to give me his own).
– The Eagles cut the lead to 61-47 with 10 minutes to go.
– The Eagles’ Reggie Jackson stands at a generous 6-3 and has crazy hops. This past summer, I witnessed him do a Vince Carter-esque through-the-legs dunk.
– The game starts getting rowdy as Wake’s center Chas McFarland hits Tyrese Rice with a “tough” moving screen.
– Rice hits a pull up 3 on a fast break to cut the lead to 64-55! BC gains momentum!
– I am still trying to study the Suns’ scout next to me to see his response on different players, unfortunately his facial expression never changes.
– Rice and Williams go back and forth with some “friendly” conversation.
– Paris misses four free throws. That hurt.
– In the clutch, Wake turns to Jeff Teague, and he answers with a basket every time.
– People start heading for the exits with 3 minutes to go with BC down 12. Good ol’ Boston not-so-faithful.
– Wake dominates the last 2 minutes to finish off the game.
– Final Score: 83-63 Wake—the second-best team in the nation.
Best Actor: Jeff Teague, 29 points
Supporting Actor: Al-Farouq Aminu, 15 points, 8 rebounds
Best Actor: Joe Trapani, 20 points, 11 rebounds
Best Supporting Actor: Tyrese Rice, 20 points, 8 turnovers
I caught up an anonymous West Coast NBA front office person after the game, who offered this analysis on Teague and Rice:
On Teague: “I know he is a scoring PG whose ability to get to the rim and score should translate in the NBA well.”
On Rice: “I feel his team is dependent upon him to score more, and that’s why he averages so many points. But both of them are crafty and can become legit set-up guys in the League.”