The college hoops season is right around the corner. Boston College is in preparation for their opener next month. BC starts the season with a couple of tune ups at home against Dartmouth and St. Francis. Then they head to the Caribbean for the Paradise Jam Tournament. Joe Trapani, one of the returning leaders from last season, took some time to talk to Eagle Insider.
Eagle Insider: What other schools did you consider transferring to from Vermont?
Joe Trapani: I was thinking about Providence, Michigan, and Northeastern.
EI: Did you have offers from all three?
Joe Trapani: Yes.
EI: What sold you on BC compared to the other colleges?
Joe Trapani: I thought Michigan was a great place with an excellent coach, but I thought it was a little far away and my family and friends wouldn’t be able to see me as much. I really liked Boston when I came to visit and I loved Northeastern and their coach, but my dream was to play in the ACC. So BC was the perfect fit.
EI: During your redshirt year, what did you work on the most to prepare yourself for the ACC?
Joe Trapani: At Vermont I thought I had a pretty good season in the beginning up to when I hurt my foot. When I hurt my foot it was a lot of rehab and I was off my foot for a while. I felt like I lost a lot of the work I had put in, in the pre-season, so just getting back to the form I was in at the beginning at Vermont and trying to exceed that. It just took a lot of hours in the gym, working on my jumper, working on my strength, my quickness, and just working on my all around game.
EI: The work you put in during your redshirt year, was it self-directed or directed by the coaches?
Joe Trapani: They knew my game and I think they liked my game, it was just me taking the initiative and improving my game and improving myself.
EI: Were you happy with your first season at BC in the ACC?
Joe Trapani: Yeah, I thought we had some unfinished business. I thought we had a good season, we had a lot of good wins, we definitely took a step from the season prior when I sat out. But there was some stuff on the table that we could have finished up.
EI: What has your focus been on during this offseason in terms of what you feel you needed to improve on?
Joe Trapani: I think I need to take a more leadership type role, be more vocal. Skill wise I have been working on my dribbling, last year I didn’t take it up on the press much with Tyrese in the backcourt, but I want to be more prepared for that when teams try to press us. Just working on my strength, trying to be more of a presence down low. Always work on every aspect of your game.
EI: How does the team plan on replacing Tyrese Rice’s production and leadership?
Joe Trapani: I think we have all the pieces. We definitely have scorers and a great point guard who I think will take his place in Biko Paris who also possesses a lot of leadership. I think we can definitely make some noise in the ACC next year.
EI: What did you learn from Tyrese in your two years as his teammate?
Joe Trapani: He was just one of those guys that never backs down, every time he gets knocked down he always gets right back up. He was relentless and has a really strong will. He is just a competitor, one of the most intense competitors I have ever met. I think that kind of rubbed off on me and I’m grateful for it.
EI: Last season did you slide over to the five position (center) or did you solely play at the four (power forward)?
Joe Trapani: Most of the time I play the four for every game, but I guess you could have called me the five against Duke those couple games when you had me and Tyler Roche playing the four and the five. I think those were the only games when I was playing the five position. If I have to play that spot I will.
EI: With that said, back up minutes behind Josh Southern are available, what have you seen out of unproven returning letterman Evan Ravenel and Cortney Dunn?
Joe Trapani: They definitely see that they have a chance to play. I know Evan and Cortney are also both great competitors and they’re trying to help this team out. Obviously we’re going to need them greatly coming into this season. They have definitely worked on their moves down low, their jumper, endurance, trying to work on their defense so we don’t get into foul trouble and have two bigs sitting on the bench and have me and Tyler out there. So we have a couple of big bodies to come off the bench for us because that is what we are gonna need.
EI: Do Cortney and Evan bring different types of game to the floor?
Joe Trapani: They both have similarities but they both have different games. I think Evan can step outside and shoot the jumper, he’s a big body and has good moves. Cortney is more of a banger, very strong and hard to move, he’s going to get rebounds, he’s going to get hustle plays and take charges for you. They both bring different elements to the team that are both very valuable.
EI: Last season what was the tougher loss for you swallow, the Duke loss in the ACC tournament or the USC loss in the NCAA tournament?
Joe Trapani: To be honest, I think Duke. It was a one point game and we definitely had a chance to win that. We were up with I think twenty or so seconds left and we kinda gave that one away a little bit. Also, playing USC was the first time I had ever been in the NCAA tournament, so it was a big thing for me. We were all happy to be there and then we realized we could have gone far in that tournament, and kinda gave it away the first game.
EI: What went wrong in the loss to USC with the game becoming a blowout towards the end?
Joe Trapani: We were with them the whole way, we were up at half and then they were making shots and we weren’t playing D. They were getting second and third shots, we weren’t boxing out and we weren’t converting on the offensive end.
EI: What is your highlight on the court so far at Boston College?
Joe Trapani: I think Duke would have to be the one moment that really stands out. The Duke win was great, the fans rushed the court. Obviously an excellent experience.
EI: Are you excited for the Paradise Jam tournament down in St. Thomas in the Caribbean next month?
Joe Trapani: Oh yeah, it is gonna be a great tournament, a lot of great teams. Even though we are going to be going to a paradise island with beautiful weather, it’s a business trip. Stay focused and play to win down there.