After falling to the United States Naval Academy in the Patriot League semifinals last season, the Boston University men’s basketball team is ready for a strong return to the hardwood this season.
“We were upset at the end, disappointed in the finish,” head coach Joe Jones said. “Hopefully this year we are motivated to finish stronger than we did last year.”
The team is set to kickstart their 2022-2023 campaign by hosting Northeastern University at “The Roof” on Monday, Nov. 7 at 7:30 p.m. Here are some storylines heading into the season.
Javante McCoy and Sukhmail Mathon leave a big, but not insurmountable, hole
Graduates Javante McCoy and Sukhmail Mathon were the two leading scorers for the Terriers last season. Mathon also won Patriot League Player of the Year to go along with a top-10 finish in the NCAA for rebounds. Now, McCoy plays for the South Bay Lakers, an NBA G-League affiliate of the Los Angeles Lakers, and Mathon competes for a professional team in the Netherlands.
Jones believes that, despite these losses, his team has taken the necessary steps to make up for them.
“Because we lose Javante and Sukh, I think we have some holes to fill,” Jones said. “But I do think this team is very capable of filling those needs.”
Jones listed a number of players he believes will make a jump this season in lieu of McCoy and Mathon. He mentioned senior forward Nevin Zink, sophomore forward Malcolm Chimezie and graduate student guard Jonas Harper.
“Nevin Zink, who didn’t get a chance to play at all last year outside of the first five games, is very good. Malcolm Chimezie is one of the more improved guys that we have on our team. Jonas Harper has really improved,” Jones said. “That’s the one thing — I feel like all the guys have gotten better.”
Non-conference schedule features UConn and Notre Dame on the road
The Terriers will play a packed non-conference schedule before they begin competing within the Patriot League. After opening with Northeastern, BU will travel to Storrs, Connecticut to play the University of Connecticut. After playing more local schools, the Terriers will travel to Milwaukee, Wisconsin for the Cream City Classic, facing Southeast Missouri State University, the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and the University of California, Davis. In December, BU will head to South Bend, Indiana to play the University of Notre Dame Fighting Irish.
Jones believes that the marquee matchups against UConn and Notre Dame will be important learning experiences for his team.
“Both Connecticut and Notre Dame will be in the top 30, 40 teams in the country easily, so you always want to have the opportunity to play those types of teams,” Jones said. “You want to play a nice, challenging non-conference schedule. It gives you a report card of things you have to work on as you get into league play.”
Walter Whyte picks up league honors
With McCoy and Mathon no longer on the roster, graduate student guard and forward Walter Whyte will enter the spotlight. Whyte started 23 of 26 games a season ago and was recently named to the Preseason All-Patriot League Team.
Jones had only praise when discussing Whyte, speaking highly, not only of the New Haven, Connecticut native’s on-the-court abilities, but also his character as a person.
“Walt is just a wonderful, wonderful person,” Jones said. “He’s had an opportunity to leave and move on if he wanted to. He stayed with the family. I think it says a lot about his character and who he is as a young man. He’s easily one of the more likable kids you’re ever going to meet and ever going to coach. It’s been a pleasure.”
BU adds three strong freshmen
Three new freshmen joined the BU roster over the offseason: forward Otto Landrum, guard Ben Roy and forward Nic Nobili.
“All three of those guys have shown the ability that they can help us,” Jones said. “Ben Roy is coming off of an ACL that he got in September, but he is a tough competitor. Otto Landrum is just a great team player. I think he has the ability to score inside, really good footwork, tough kid. And Nico is a very, very skilled player.”