It's never good to put all your proverbial eggs in one basket, especially when it comes to a basketball player. If you're hanging all of your hope for success on a single player, chances are you don't have a very deep and talented team.
That's the situation that the Boston College basketball team finds itself in right now, that is, until that one player makes a decision.
Of course, I'm talking about Reggie Jackson, the Eagles' stellar junior who entered his name into the 2011 NBA Draft and has until May 8 to withdraw. If Jackson does opt to stay in the draft and leave school, it could have a devastating effect on the Eagles' hopes of contending in a still-rebuilding Atlantic Coast Conference next season.
Jackson was BC's leader last season, averaging 18.2 points, 4.5 assists, 4.3 rebounds and 1.1 steals. There were games that Jackson was the team's entire offense.
Without Jackson, the Eagles' best player may very well be Matt Humphrey, a transfer from Oregon who hasn't registered a single minute of playing time in maroon and gold. That's no slight on Humphries, who may turn out to be a solid player, but it's unsettling to think about the drop off in talent on the team without Jackson.
The breakdown is relatively simple: with Jackson, BC could be a 15-win team, but without him, a seven-win season seems likely. Again, that's not a put down on the rest of the players on the roster, or head coach Steve Donahue for that matter, who did an excellent job in his first season at the helm.
It's simply fact. To win in any level of basketball, a team needs talent. Jackson is a pretty talented athlete, no? Remove Jackson from the equation, and you have nothing but the unknown.
Maybe Donahue can work his magic for a second straight season. After all, last season's team was projected to end-up 10th in the ACC, but Donahue had them playing at a high-level all year long, resulting in a fourth-place finish.
Yet last year's team was very senior-heavy, with eight fourth-years on the roster. There was also the benefit of having other players on the team that could pick up the slack when Jackson was struggling. Between Joe Trapani, Corey Raji and Biko Paris, any one of the three could take over a game with their scoring and defense when Jackson went cold.
When looking at the roster next season, it's incredibly hard to pin anyone who could take over a game by themselves. Danny Rubin? He had his moments, but fizzled out as the season went on. Gabe Moton? His offensive game is still very raw, although Donahue has labeled him one of the team's best defenders.
Now, there is the possibility that one of Donahue's big recruits (and by big, I mean that all five of them are taller than 6'6") could emerge as a star. Yet you can't count on that going into a season, especially from unproven freshman.
The fact of the matter is that, with Jackson, the Eagles are competitive. Without him, they may look a lot like Wake Forest last season (and it's not pretty).
So what's it going to be, Reggie? Will you set BC back a year, or will you return to your kingdom and reign for one more season? The ball is in your court, and you have until this Sunday to decide.