End of Year Player Review: Garland Owens Jr.
By Evan Gray
First posted on bostoncollege.247sports.com
Up next on Boston College 247’s season ending player reviews, we have the man, the myth, the legend, Garland Owens Jr.
The lone true senior on this Eagle squad, and the last remnant of the forbidden Steve Donahue era, Garland’s departure signals a changing of the guards in Conte Forum—have no fear, though, for in death there is life.
A man who truly embodied the word hustle, Garland was more than a basketball player, for he was the spirit of this squad. Even in his senior season, when Garland saw his minutes per game fall from 21.9 to 10.9, the senior did not complain. Was this Garland’s statistically worst season? By all counting statistics, the answer is certainly yes. But behind the field goal percentages and the turnovers, the advanced statistics paint a different picture. For this was Garland’s only season on the heights where he was actually a net positive on the box score, as the Eagles were 0.2 points per 100 possessions better off with Garland on the floor–freshman year was his second best at -0.1 points per 100 possessions.
The irony is that Garland’s freshman year was his best season by far offensively, where he was contributing +1.7 points per 100 possessions, but his defense was not good that season, resulting in him being a net negative. Senior year was a completely different story. Garland’s defense was the reason he was a positive this season.
Playing at the 4 spot for the majority of his minutes, Garland used his superior strength to bang down low with much taller opposition—Garland is only 6’ 5”. At that size, he is really more of a 2/3 than a 3/4, but Garland was ready for the challenge, and provided many valuable minutes this season, most notably during Tava and AJ’s big slumps. Garland’s ability to provide consistency on the defensive end is what made up for his offensive shortcomings.
I don’t know about you, but if I was in my senior year, playing the fewest minutes in my career, and struggling on the offensive end, my motivation on the defensive end would probably be pretty low. Garland, though, clearly has a stronger mental fortitude than I, for Garland brought it every single play—fighting for every rebound, contesting every shot, and only rarely committing bad fouls.
This is the beauty of the Garland Owens experiment. For a team with as little athletic merit as Boston College, it doesn’t matter how many minutes you play, how well you shoot, how good you are at dribbling. In order to improve this program, it starts with a solid attitude and a will to succeed. With Garland, for all his ups and downs on the court, you could never question his integrity, his passion, his drive. And for that Garland, we thank you.
2016/2017 Stats (27 Games):
10.9 MPG, 2.0 PPG, 2.3 RPG, 0.9 APG, 0.2 BPG, 0.6 TOPG, .420 FG%, .235 3FG%, .571 FT%
2015/2016 Stats (32 Games):
21.9 MPG, 4.8 PPG, 3.3 RPG, 1.3 APG, 0.3 BPG, 1.3 TOPG, .443 FG%, .268 3FG%, .652 FT%
Garland started two games this season: Senior night at home vs. Virginia Tech and the first round of the ACC tournament vs. Wake Forest. Fittingly, those were by far Garland’s best performances of the season, as he shot a combined 7-8 in the two contests, racked up 9 rebounds, and only turned the ball over once in a combined 38 minutes.
The first reason as to why Garland was so efficient in these two games was the fact that he only took one three pointer between the two games—he missed it. Garland’s field goal percentage was a career low this season due to the fact that in conference play, 53% of Garland’s field goal attempts came from beyond the arc. For someone who is a career 30% three-point shooter, that is not a good thing. In the two games which Garland started, something was different. The two games were certainly emotional, as the first was his senior night, while the second was his last collegiate game ever. Garland, though, didn’t seem to have any jitters under the spotlight, and more importantly, we didn’t see him settle for jumpers. Garland was aggressive, but not out of control. Garland has always been the type of player who would make one great play—a rebound, a highflying dunk, a steal—and the immediately follow it up with a bad play—a bad pass, a travel, a bricked three. But against Virginia Tech and Wake Forest, Garland left the bad plays in the dust, attacking the basket with a ferocity we’ve grown to expect from the senior.
The most notable highlight from these two games was a high flying dunk over Ty Outlaw of Virginia Tech. Throughout the years, we’ve seen multiple #SCTop10 plays from Garland Owens. Say what you will about his ball skills—but the man has Zach LaVine-esque athleticism. While dunks are commonplace for Garland, this one was especially satisfying for multiple reasons. Garland had been sitting on the bench for most of the season, and in his entire Boston College career, Garland saw 37 victories and 91 losses. And yet, on this one play, none of that mattered. The only things in the world were Garland, the ball, and the hoop—and in that moment, Garland was a hero.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=loJyUtsR9NY (Dunk is at 0:10)
Check back tomorrow for more player reviews with Boston College 247!