Only eight days on the job, Boston College basketball coach Jim Christian landed perhaps his biggest “recruit” Wednesday when he persuaded sophomore guard Olivier Hanlan to forgo the NBA draft and return to play for the Eagles next season as a junior.
“I had a chance to go up [to Canada] and spend time with his family [Tuesday] night and it went pretty well,’’ said Christian, who also met with the player separately on campus. “Obviously, we’re really, really excited to have him back. He’s going to be a big part of what we’re doing.’’
Hanlan, who originally was recruited out of Aylmer, Quebec, by former BC coach Steve Donahue, contemplated leaving early for the NBA draft following last season’s 8-24 campaign, one in which Hanlan led the team in scoring and ranked third in the Atlantic Coast Conference with 18.5 points per game.
He was also fourth in the league in minutes (36.2), sixth in free throw percentage (.811), and seventh in field goal percentage (.447).
Hanlan’s return softens the blow BC suffered last week when junior forward Ryan Anderson, the team’s second-leading scorer and rebounding leader, decided to transfer. He has scheduled visits next month to Indiana, Iowa State, and Arizona.
“Again, he’s such a talented kid,’’ Christian said of Hanlan, who last season joined Troy Bell and Craig Smith as the only players in school history to reach the 1,000-point plateau as sophomores (1,100).
“In the short time I’ve gotten to know him, he’s a hard-working kid and a great kid to be around. He would factor into what anyone would be trying to do, he’s that talented. But to me, he’s been great.’’
Hanlan’s return helps stabilize a roster that seemed to be in flux at the end of the season.
“He’s been such a productive player and a good player, just to have him back in the mix helps everybody,’’ Christian said. “It helps our current players and, again, as we try to continue to build this, it helps us go after other players knowing that he’s coming back.
“It helps in every way.’’