Column: Departure of Jordan Daniels Shrinks Eagles’ Ceiling for 2012-2013

(Photo by Graham Beck/Heights Editor)

By Austin Tedesco, Asst. Sports Editor

The Boston College hoops ceiling just fell a hair over five and half feet.

Five days before the season opener, sophomore point guard Jordan Daniels has decided to transfer from the Heights, per a release from BC Athletics. The move was first reported by John Rothstein of CBS.

"I’d like to thank Boston College for the opportunity to be a part of this community, " Daniels told The Heights. “Coach Donahue has a great program, however I feel this is the best decision for me at this time. It’s been a pleasure to develop a bond with my Eagle teammates and I sincerely wish them all the best.”

“It’s a surprise yeah, for sure,” head coach Steve Donahue told The Heights. “We had talked a couple of times in the preseason about where his role is and things of that nature. I just think it got to a point for him where he just wasn’t enjoying himself in the role that he saw himself in. He talked it over with his parents and then we talked about it real serious last night that he thinks he’s going to stop playing and transfer.”

The decision came as a shock, especially since just last week Heights editors sat down with Daniels to discuss the upcoming season.

“I think we made a little progress but that’s just one year under our belt,” Daniels said at the time. “I feel like we have a ways to go. Part of changing the basketball culture here at BC is we have to improve and win games too. We’ve gotta keep getting better and give our students something to watch.”

Daniels was clearly focused on the upcoming season, and for good reason. Despite all the hype around freshmen guards Oliver Hanlan and Joe Rahon, who are both very talented and have a ton of potential, Daniels was going to be a big part of Donahue’s seven-man rotation. He’s killer in the pick-and roll, underrated on the defensive end, and played a bigger role than anyone else in the upset over Florida State last season.

The freshmen are going to struggle. Donahue has conceded that Rahon is in a shooting slump lately and that Hanlan wasn’t able to make plays or get to the rim with the ease he was expecting against Northeastern. These are only a few of the issues that are going to come and go for both guys from now until March.

Despite Daniels’ lack of size and strength, he had a whole season under his belt and plays with an impressive amount of composure. He would’ve been able to come off the bench and settle down the offense when the inevitable turnovers start racking up for Hanlan and Rahon. Last season, Daniels only broke from his stoic nature one time on the court, letting out a joyous scream when the Eagles sealed the victory over the ‘Noles.

The rotation of consistently reliable players now only stands at Dennis Clifford, Ryan Anderson, Lonnie Jackson, Rahon, Hanlan, and Patrick Heckmann. Heckmann is himself still a bit of a question mark after missing so much time last year and disappearing during games.

“All of these things that happen – they’re all part of growing the program,” Donahue said. “I think the guys are going to miss him. He’s a great kid and he was a great member of our program. We’re a tight knit family. I think in that part we’re still trying to get used to him not being here. We’ll get over it, fortunately – or unfortunately depending on what way you want to look at it. I think we’ll be a good basketball team. I’m real confident in the guys that are playing. Going forward you’ve obviously got to make sure you get another guy that can handle the ball and I think we’ll do that over the next couple recruiting classes.”

Before Daniels’ departure, the combination of Andrew Van Nest, Eddie Odio, John Cain Carney, KC Caudill, and Danny Rubin looked reliable enough for the eighth and ninth guys, but one of them will need to step in and log some serious minutes. So far, no one has stood out. If the Eagles are going to be successful this year, the top six are going to need to log an absurd amount of minutes or one of these bit players will need to make a serious jump.

Daniels was concerned with his playing time, but he stated to The Heights before the season that he was comfortable with the competition Rahon and Hanlan brought.

“[The freshmen] coming in it makes things more competitive,” he said. “We all want to be out there, but I think that when you look at the big picture that just makes us better as a team. Going at each other each day and just making each other better. I feel like they just add to the team.”

Donahue did say Monday, however, that he’d had to talk with Daniels more than the other three guards about playing time.

“Everybody has a chance to jump over another guy and get the role that they probably want, so I can’t set on [a rotation],” Donahue said. “As we go forward it’s something that we have to communicate with them and make sure it’s something they understand – I’ve had that conversation with Jordan in particular. The other three I haven’t necessarily – all four are playing a lot, probably a little more than Jordan, in his mind, but that can change.”

In terms of future success, this is a setback but not a major one for the Eagles. Daniels isn’t built to be a starter on a competitive ACC squad, but he could’ve been deadly as a backup point-guard to Hanlan in the next three seasons. He could’ve confused and shook up defenses with his unusual size and speed and it would’ve given the Eagles a strong advantage on the offensive end with a productive second unit, but those dreams leave with Daniels.

This squad will struggle more than initially projected, especially early, without Daniels in the rotation, though it does open up more playing time for Hanlan and Rahon to grow. The team might be better prepared for a tournament run next season or the season after because of the move, especially since it opens up another scholarship for Donahue.

Daniels is a great kid, maybe almost to a fault on the court, and has always gone above and beyond to be polite and helpful with the media.

“Lonnie competes on the court, that’s what Lonnie naturally does,” Donahue said. “I think Jordan is working to that. Jordan is such a nice person that he has to be able to turn it on and off and it’s probably something that he has to think about each day, where Lonnie is just – when he’s in competition, it’s competition.”

Daniels will be missed, and hopefully he does well as he continues his career. The future for BC basketball is still bright, but for this season, at least, the Eagles just took a significant step backwards.

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