CHESTNUT HILL - Joe Trapani was Boston College's leading scorer and rebounder last season, and many expected him to assume the same role under new head coach Steve Donahue this season. Instead, the Eagles' senior forward found himself taking a backseat to a junior guard named Reggie Jackson.
Jackson (17.6 PPG, 4.8 APG, 4.2 RPG, 1.1 SPG) burst onto the scene early this season, wowing fans with his dazzling moves to the hoop, his spot-on shooting and his precision passing. His prolific play at the start of the season put him in the conversation for the ACC Player Of The Year award, as well as the National Player Of The Year Award.
In the first 17 games of the season, Jackson averaged 19.7 points (336 total points) and 4.7 assists (80 total assists). Yet Jackson hit a snag in the last five games, averaging a lowly 10.4 points and 3.2 rebounds in that span, and has made only 23-of-59 shots (38.9%)
Luckily for Donahue and the Eagles, Trapani (14.6 PPG, 7.5 RPG, 0.8 BPG) has been right there to pick up the slack. In the past five games, Trapani has jump-started his season, scoring 90 points (18 PPG) and collecting 53 rebounds (10.6 RPG). He had a season-high 25 points and a career-high 15 rebounds in the Eagles' blow out loss against North Carolina. In addition, Trapani has scored in double-digits in each of his last six games and has had at least nine rebounds four times in that time frame.
Unlike Jackson, Trapani struggled mightily in the first half of the season. Through BC's first 17 games, Trapani averaged 13.7 points and 6.6 rebounds. In that span, he scored more than 20 points only three times and had more than 10 rebounds once.
While it might be hard for some players to relinquish the role of the team's go-to man, Jackson is taking it all in stride. For him, it's all about the end result.
"I really could care less [about my scoring]," Jackson said after the Eagles' 58-56 win over Virginia Tech on Saturday. I just want to win."
While Jackson has struggled as of late, don't expect Donahue to cut him out of the offense. After all, any team is at its best when all of its parts are working in unison. Trapani is the Eagles' best player now, but it's likely that Jackson will find his stride as the regular season winds down.
If both Jackson and Trapani can get their games going at the same time, Boston College may be a tough out in the ACC Tournament, and quite possibly the NCAA Tournament. As usual, only time will tell.