Heckmann, Clifford, And Anderson: A Scouting Report

November 15, 2011

By Austin Tedesco

Here’s a breakdown of what went well (and what didn’t) for the Eagles’ top three freshmen in Monday’s 67-64 win over New Hampshire in Conte Forum.

Patrick Heckmann


Heckmann was far and away the player of the game against New Hampshire. He finished with 19 points, eight rebounds, and two steals. Pretty much anything the Eagles needed, Heckmann did. He was the floor general late, bringing the ball up the court and setting up the offense with total confidence in his handle. He guarded UNH’s best player, Alvin Abreu, up until getting injured and did a pretty good job. He fought back from twisting his ankle to finish the game strong. He hit a wild 30-foot buzzer-beater at the end of the first half. When senior leader John Cahill turned the ball over late as the Wildcats were making a run, Heckmann was the first player to comfort a frustrated Cahill and get him back on track. He knocked down his free throws. He tallied four offensive rebounds. He took an inspiring charge late in the game. The Superfans were cheering his name near the end of the game after the charge, and it was well deserved.


Although Heckmann played great, he wasn’t perfect. When he comes off ball screens, his head immediately goes down while he pushes towards the bucket. On multiple occasions he missed Anderson and Clifford rolling wide open to the rim. Heckmann finished with zero assists. Learning to keep his eyes up can help improve his distribution. He also reaches a lot on defense. This leads to him getting beat off the dribble and untimely fouls. With 36 seconds left and BC up four, Heckmann reached to poke the ball away from behind a Wildcat player and was called for a foul sending UNH to the free throw line. It was a questionable call, but Heckmann needs to realize that in that situation, up two possessions and with UNH in the bonus, it’s better to just play solid defense.


Dennis Clifford


Clifford was an absolute monster on the glass tonight. Although Heckmann and Anderson out-rebounded him, Clifford demonstrated that he has far and away the best rebounding technique on this squad. Every single time a shot went up, Clifford stuck his body into a UNH player, blasted them out of the way, and then hawked to the ball. His consistency and dedication to fundamentals on the glass were remarkable. I will be shocked if he doesn’t lead the team in rebounds this year. He also proved that he can be a solid offensive threat. After starting off a little timid, Clifford showed his ability to back down defenders and drain turnaround shots with a high release. Every time Clifford catches, he scans the perimeter for an open player before going to work down low. His best play of the night came when he had the ball at the top of the key, faked a hand-off, and blew past his defender all the way to the rim for a lay-up, showing off his dynamic scoring ability. He’s unselfish, fundamentally sound, and effective. These are great signs for an impressive young player. My favorite play of Clifford’s actually didn’t end in a score. He caught the ball about three feet off the block and, instead of working from that far out, he chose to kick the ball out, repositioning himself right on the block before getting the ball back and going to work.  He didn’t finish the play, but that kind of veteran move proves that he does have the high basketball IQ Donahue has talked about.


Rotating in the 1-3-1 zone proved to be a little tough for Clifford when UNH swung the ball quickly. There were plays where he gambled for a ball or came out too far and it led to a Wildcat bucket. His post moves also lacked variety. Understandable for a young player, but it’s an area that needs work. After knocking down a few turnarounds over his left shoulder, Clifford tried an up-and-under move to throw off his defender. Instead of reading his defender, who had not taken away the turnaround, Clifford continued with the up-and-under and got his shot blocked. Once Clifford learns to make moves based off where defenders are and what they’re doing, he should react to those cues more quickly and be even more effective on the block.  He was also 2-5 on free throws. His percentage from the line needs to increase if he’s going to get more touches and inevitably get fouled.


Ryan Anderson


Anderson notched a double-double in his first game for the Eagles. Unlike Clifford, who gets his rebounds fundamentally, Anderson thrives off athleticism and skies for loose balls with a passion, especially on the offensive end. He could box-out straight up some more, but his motor on the glass is a great sign for BC. He also proved his ability to knock down open threes, going 2-4. His only misses came on isolation shots rather than catch-and-shoot plays off dribble penetration.


Anderson took some poor, contested shots off of isolation plays early in the shot clock. He wasn’t the only player to do this, but Anderson proved to be the most dangerous when he didn’t stall BC’s motion. He can be effective pretty much anywhere on the court, and his diversity of scoring options will be tough to stop. Handicapping himself at the arc going one-on-one with his defender limits his game and more faith that the ball will find its way back to him should help with this.


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