John Austin Is the Best Point Guard in Boston College History


Jul 20, 2009

John Austin Is the Best Point Guard in Boston College HistoryBoston College has had a basketball program since 1904. Granted, its existence has not been constant, since the program did shut down a few times because of war and other reasons. In all those seasons, Boston College has never won a national championship in basketball. In fact, even though it's had some recent success, BC has never made a Final Four. (The Eagles did make the NIT championship game in 1969).

Despite its lack of postseason success, BC has managed to produce some quality point guards.

Below is a list of Eagle greats, in order from relative worst to best.

Just Missed the Cut
Tyrese Rice (2006-09)

In his four years at BC, Rice had several roles. As a freshman, he came off the bench to provide offensive support to one of the best Boston College teams in school history. Rice helped the Craig Smith, Jared Dudley-led Eagles make it to the Elite Eight, before falling to Villanova by one point.

By the time Rice was a junior, he was the leader of the team. The only problem was his supporting cast left something to be desired. As a senior, he basically willed the Eagles to a 21-10 record and an NCAA Tournament appearance, even though the team was projected to finish near the bottom of the ACC.

In his final three seasons, Rice averaged more than 18 points and five assists per game. Even if you didn’t like his cocky attitude, even if you did not care for the way he controlled the ball all the time, you still must admit that Rice had a knack for making big shots. Besides, who else was going to take all the shots for BC the past two seasons?

Howard Eisley (1991-94)
Eisley started in every one of the 126 games he played for the Eagles. He was an all-Big East selection his junior and senior seasons. He never averaged more than five assists per game and his BC career scoring average was only 12.9 points per game.

Michael Adams (1982-85)
See Eisley. Adams was a good player, just not great.

Honorable Mention
Dana Barros (1986-89)

Barros has a special place in Boston’s heart. He attended Xaverian Brothers High School, in Westwood, Mass., then Boston College, before playing for the Celtics.

Barros was the Big East Freshman of the Year in 1986. In his final three seasons, he was an All-Conference selection.

Barros is one of two players in Big East history (Notre Dame's Troy Murphy being the other) to lead the league in scoring twice (’88 and ’89). He graduated as BC’s all-time leading scorer.

John Bagley (1980-82)
Bagley is the first Eagle to be named Big East Player of the Year. (The Big East Conference was founded in 1979.) He averaged 20.4 points per game during his sophomore year, leading the Eagles to the Big East regular-season championship and NCAA tournament's Sweet 16. As a junior, Bagley scored 21.1 points per game and led Boston College to the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament. He is one of the few players in BC history to do so.

Second Runner-Up
Billy Evans (1967-69)

Evans was a playmaking point guar
d. On the court, he acted as an extension of his coach. During his senior season, he directed the Eagles to the Sweet 16. Evans was not a big scorer, but that was not his role. He was there to set up the likes of Terry Driscoll and Steve Adelman. Even though he graduated in 1969, Evans is still the Eagles' all-time assists leader, with 669.

Troy Bell (2000-03)

Although Bell never made it in the NBA, he was a terrific college player. So often people lose sight of this. Just because a player does not become a star in the pros doesn’t mean that he wasn't great in college.

Bell was a scoring machine at BC. In 2000, he broke Allen Iverson’s Big East freshman scoring record, averaging 20.1 points in 14 league games. He then went on to average more than 20 points per game in each of his final three years at the Heights. Bell is currently Boston College’s all-time leading scorer with 2,632 points.

In his final three seasons, Bell helped BC to a combined 66-29 record.

Bell is also one of only five players to be named Big East Player of the Year twice. He received the honors after his sophomore and senior seasons.(As a sophomore, he was actually co-Big East POY with Troy Murphy.)

No. 1
John Austin (1964-66)

In 1963, Boston College hired Celtics great Bob Cousy as its head basketball coach. At that point, BC was not a great team. In fact, Holy Cross was still considered the best basketball program in Massachusetts at that time. Cousy knew that in order to win, he needed better talent. His first recruiting gem came in the form of a six-foot phenom from DC: John Austin. Austin’s play put BC basketball on the map and helped pave the way for Cousy’s subsequent success.

After Austin, BC began to land big-time recruits like Jim Kissane and Terry Driscoll. With better talent, the 1967 Eagles team cracked the Top 10 in the AP poll and the 1969 squad made it all the way to the NIT finals. But it was Austin who made people look differently at BC basketball.

He has the Eagles’ record for career scoring average (27.1 points per game over three seasons), season scoring average (29.2 points per game in 1963-64) and points in a game (49 against Georgetown).

Any time a BC player has a big game, you will hear Austin’s name being referenced. (Tyrese Rice recently made a run at the single game record, scoring 46 points against North Carolina two seasons ago). So next time you hear the name John Austin, remember him as more than a great scorer.  Remember that he also helped coach Cousy put Boston College basketball on the map.

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