The film was cued up long before Olivier Hanlan ever stepped foot on campus.
The prep work that Boston College coach Steve Donahue did to get his freshman guard ready for Atlantic Coast Conference basketball started while Donahue was still recruiting Hanlan.
They wanted the same thing. The Eagles needed the kind of guard who could single-handedly shift the course of a game. Hanlan wanted to become a game-changer as quickly as possible.
“It was a lot of pressure,” Hanlan said. “But I knew it coming in. While I was getting recruited by Coach D, he was showing me game tape back then, like, ‘You have to play like this. You have to play aggressive.’ ”
Instead of just handing Hanlan the keys, Donahue sat him down and passed him the remote.
“I wanted to have a really big impact on his development early on,” Donahue said.
Before he got to BC, Hanlan never watched film of himself. But now it’s become such a part of his routine that when Donahue checks his texts, it’s usually Hanlan trying to set up another watch party.
“He’s very focused in on his life and what he wants to do,” Donahue said. “And he wants to be great.”
Hanlan Tuesday was tapped by the media as ACC freshman of the year after averaging 15.7 points in conference play, sixth overall.
The Aylmer, Quebec product was the only unanimous selection to the all-freshman team, earning 43 of the 77 votes cast. Duke’s Rasheed Sulaimon was second with 15 votes.
Hanlan became the first Eagle to win conference freshman of the year since Troy Bell in 1999-2000.
The expectation all the along was that Hanlan would be a pivotal piece for a 15-16 Eagles team that’s already improved by six wins over last year’s 9-22 team as it heads into the ACC tournament on Thursday.
“One of my big things was to be a big impact as a freshman from Day 1,” Hanlan said. “I’ve been working hard since I got here in the summer.”
It was clear over the summer, when Hanlan first began working with his teammates, that that would be the case, said sophomore captain Ryan Anderson.
“I knew he would be a hard matchup because physically he’s an ACC guard, built like the kind of guards we play on a night-in and night-out basis,” said Anderson, who made third-team all-conference. “I think he’s going to have a lot of success. Obviously, you never want to put to much pressure on a freshman to come in and perform like he did right away.”
In Hanlan, the Eagles added a guard who could create for himself and teammates, while at the same time figuring out how to guard some of the conference’s great players, such as Duke’s Seth Curry and Florida State’s Michael Snaer.
“I remember going into the ACC schedule I heard a lot of people saying I won’t get the same numbers or it would be harder for me because I’ll only be playing big-time teams,” Hanlan said.
“But after the first few games in the ACC, my confidence started to build. I had a few good games against a few big teams and it just kept going from there.
“I was guarding the top dudes. So I was just learning from my mistakes, even if I would get beat off the dribble or I just played bad against them. I like picking things [up] from everybody. I just tried to pick everybody’s brain a little bit and just try to add that to my game.”
Julian Benbow can be reached at email@example.com.