When asked about his favorite experience while playing for the Boston College Eagles following the final game of his college career, yet another loss to an ACC opponent, senior center Dennis Clifford had little to say.
After approximately 20 seconds of dead, heart-wrenching silence and a mist of tears, Clifford had nothing to offer the reporters at the New York Life ACC Tournament in Washington D.C., with "going out to eat" the only response he could muster.
Although it was incredibly sorrowful to listen to, the food fare surrounding Conte Forum in Chestnut Hill has trumped the product on the basketball court by a large margin over the entirety of Clifford's career.
The team's inability to garner a successful season under the direction of former coach Steve Donahue and second-year head man Jim Christian climaxed in an abysmal 7-25 campaign in which the Eagles went 0-18 in the ACC before losing to the Florida State Seminoles, 88-68, in the first round of the conference tournament on Tuesday afternoon in 2015-16, leaving the program in a dismal abyss of futility.
Proving The Doubters Correct
This year's version of Boston College was predicted to be one of cellar dwelling status by many experts surrounding the team, and these projections lived up to their billing.
To combat these obstacles, Christian planned to operate his offensive attack around graduate transfer point guard Eli Carter. While the former Florida Gator did average 16.0 points per game, his shooting percentage hovered around a porous 37% with his mark from three-point range sitting at just 28%.
Christian also landed the program's most lauded recruit since 2007, slapping the reigns on small forward A.J. Turner, the Eagles first ESPN Top 150 recruit since Rakim Sanders, giving Boston College fans hope that the sweet old days of former head coach Al Skinner at the helm transforming highly-touted recruits into consistent college performers was just around the corner.
However, Turner missed five valuable experience-inducing games down the stretch for the Eagles due to injury, and his dreadful shooting percentages of 34% from the field and 26% from three-point range contributing in the team's collective 41% mark from the field and 32% mark from three-point land on the season, good for 274th in the nation.
Despite the roadblocks, Boston College was in position to win a road conference game against a competent opponent, leading the North Carolina State Wolfpack 72-71 with 01.1 seconds remaining in Raleigh, N.C. on March 2.
However, Wolfpack shooting guard Maverick Rowan snuck behind freshman Jerome Robinson and laid it in at the buzzer to hand the Eagles a heartbreaking defeat, the ideal metaphor for their season as a whole.
What Lies Ahead?
Unfortunately for the Boston College faithful, the recruiting landscape looks rather bleak for Christian in comparison to the program's ACC counterparts.
While in-conference foe Duke, who the Eagles will face twice in 2016-17, has already locked up three recruits with 95+ ratings on ESPN's recruiting database, Boston College's most lucrative commit thus far is Greensboro, N.C. native Ty Graves, a three-star shooting guard from High Point Christian Academy with a 74 rating on ESPN.com who stands just 6'0", 165 pounds.
If the Eagles wish to rise from the doldrums of the conference next season, it will be up to the likes of Robinson and Turner to learn from their tumultuous experiences this season, focus on improving their shooting percentages, and help the likes of Graves filter into Christian's system and instill an aura of confidence rather than pessimism in the locker room.