It's time for the first ever, yet extremely prestigious, SB Nation Boston midseason awards for the Boston College men's basketball team.
While we don't hand out shiny trophies or expensive medals, we do offer our winners the most sought after gift of all: the approval (or disapproval, in some cases) of a journalist on a Boston sports website. Thus, without further ado, let's take a look at the Eagles' midseason award winners.
MOST VALUABLE PLAYER: Reggie Jackson (Junior - Guard) - Jackson has been as valuable to the Eagles as Rajon Rondo is to the Celtics. With him, they are a competitive team. Without him, they take a huge step backwards. Through the first 15 games, Jackson leads the Eagles in scoring (18.5 PPG), assists (4.7 APG) and steals (1.3 SPG). In addition, Jackson is shooting 53.2% from the field and 46.4% from three-point range. Jackson's stellar start hasn't gone unnoticed, as he was one of 30 players named to the Wooden Award Top 30 watch list this week.
SIXTH MAN AWARD: Corey Raji (Senior - Forward) - Raji is more than capable of starting. In fact, he did so for his entire Boston College career and for one game this season. But in a surprising move, Raji was sent to the bench. What has he done in response? Only lead the team in rebounding (6.7 rebounds per game) while shooting 52% from the field. In addition, Raji is third on the team in scoring, averaging 11.8 points. There's no doubt that Raji is the best player on the Eagles' bench, and all things considered, he may be one of the best sixth men in the nation.
ROOKIE OF THE YEAR: Danny Rubin (Freshman - Guard) - It's not often that a freshman walk on gets a chance to start in the second college basketball game he's ever played, so Steve Donahue's decision to start Rubin over Raji came as a surprise. Yet all Rubin has done is make Donahue look like a complete genius. Through 15 games, Rubin is averaging 7.2 points, 2.4 rebounds and is shooting 47.9% for the season. Rubin scored a career-high 14 points in his first start against Holy Cross and went on to score nine points against California and 10 points against Indiana. He has also been solid at the perimeter, shooting 47.4% from three-point range. Rubin may not develop into a star a la Reggie Jackson, but he has certainly proven that he can be a solid contributor and should continue to do so in his next three seasons in Chestnut Hill.
MOST IMPROVED: Biko Paris (Senior - Guard)/Josh Southern (Senior - Center) - Both Paris and Southern weren't expected to contribute much to the 2010-11 Eagles. Sure they'd get a basket here, an assist there, and even a rebound or two. Yet the contributions from the two through 15 games have been absolutely astonishing. Paris is fourth in scoring (167 points, 11.1 PPG) and is shooting 48% from the floor. He is having a breakout year from long distance, making 34-of-77 threes (44.2%).
Southern, who had limited playing time early in the season, has come on strong in the last eight games, and is averaging 7.8 points and 3.9 rebounds. He scored a career high 16 points against UMass, scored 16 again in the Eagles' next game against Providence and set a new career high by scoring 18 points against Bryant. His scoring has dipped in the last three games, scoring two points against Rhode Island, two against South Carolina and four against Harvard on Wednesday. Even though his performance has gone done recently, Southern's contributions so far have been very impressive, and the same goes for Paris.
MOST DISAPPOINTING: Joe Trapani (Senior - Forward) - Entering the 2010-11 season, the following three players were expected to be the Eagles version of the Big Three: Reggie Jackson, Corey Raji and Joe Trapani. Jackson and Raji have held up their end of the bargain, but Trapani has been somewhat disappointing this season. While Trapani is second on the team in scoring (217 points, 14.5 PPG), he hasn't been shooting effectively. He has made 73-of-178 field goals (41%) and 23-of-67 threes (34.3%). Last season, Trapani shot 43.6% and 35.2% from long range. In his sophomore season, Trapani made 43.3% of his shots and 36.4% from beyond the arc. Despite his disappointing shooting so far, Trapani has looked better in the Eagles' last two games, scoring 23 and 21 points respectively.
COACH OF THE YEAR: Steve Donahue - We didn't really have much competition for this award at The Heights, but Steve Donahue was the runaway winner anyways. Donahue has Boston College playing superb basketball and is way ahead of schedule with his goal of building a successful basketball team in Chestnut Hill. Donahue is 11-4 as a head coach at Boston College and has a lifetime record of 157-142 in his 11th season. While Donahue's Eagles have cruised through the non-conference portion of the schedule, the true test will come in the final 15 games against ACC opponents. We'll be able to fully assess Donahue after the Eagles finish the regular season, but for now, he's been doing a tremendous job.
The Eagles begin the second half of the season on Saturday at 4 p.m. EST when they host ACC foe Georgia Tech at Conte Forum. (TV/Radio: RAYCOM/WRKO).