It's difficult enough when your leading scorer departs for the NBA.
However, when the other three of your top four producers from 2014-15 skip town as well, uncertainty is guaranteed to envelop the outlook of your program.
This predicament is precisely what head coach Jim Christian's Boston College Eagles basketball team faces heading into the 2015-16 campaign, having lost leading scorer Olivier Hanlan (19.5 points per game) to the Utah Jazz, while also losing the contributions of swingmen Aaron Brown (14.8 points per game) and Dmitri Batten (7.3 points per game), in addition to forward Patrick Heckmann (8.4 points per game).
There is no doubting the fact that, without this talent, Boston College will need to develop alternate ways of putting the ball in the basket. However, with the Eagles (13-19, 4-14 ACC) finishing just 213th in the NCAA in points per game last season, the losses of the likes of Hanlan and Brown may actually be a blessing in disguise for the development of the program.
Consider this: If you turned in to any Boston College contest last season, you were bound to witness Christian call for a plethora of isolation opportunities for Hanlan, and for Brown on occasion. As a result, potential key contributors such as 7'1" center Dennis Clifford were ostracized from the flow of the offense, leading to lenghty, one-sided possessions which generally ended with a forced jumper or a contested drive to the hoop.
This season, expect Christian to feature Clifford, who averaged 6.9 points and 5.5 rebounds in 25.3 minutes per game, in pick-and-roll situations with Florida transfer guard Eli Carter, who joins the Eagles for his senior season after averaging 8.8 points per game with the Gators last season after posting 14.4 points per contest while with Rutgers in 2012-13.
Carter, a 6'2", 200-pounder who has displayed his ability to shine at either guard position, has proven himself as a capable facilitator and shooter off of the pick-and-roll, giving Christian a valuable option in that regard.
In addition, expect freshmen Matt Milon and A.J. Turner to be featured offensively. Milon, a shooting guard from Oviedo High School in Florida, earned a four-star rating from ESPN.com and chose to bring his sweet stroke to Chestnut Hill over the likes of Creighton, Stanford, and Florida State. Expect him to receive an abundance of looks early in the season.
Christian was also able to acquire the four-star Turner, a New Hampshire native who was ranked the 106th best prospect in the Class of 2015 by Rivals. Standing 6'6", 185 pounds, Turner can shoot the lights out as well, and, by choosing to become Boston College's first Rivals Top 150 recruit since Rakim Sanders in 2007, he placed himself in contention for a starting small forward nod.