Boston College coach Earl Grant’s planned substitution pattern was thrown off against the Fairfield Stags on Sunday when TJ Bickerstaff was awarded his third and fourth foul only two minutes into the second half. It happened quickly as most things do for this junior transfer from Drexel who clearly likes to mix it up with a physical take-that approach to basketball. Sometimes his all-out play carves a shorter route through defenders rather than slicing past and he likes opportunities to draw a charge on the defensive end of the floor.
TJ Bickerstaff is a starter for this fresh, vigorous Boston College team. His style is a perfect fit in an opportunistic offense and he is someone that coaches like to see on the floor at the end of games. Opposing players recognize the talent of number one and pay close attention to him as he roams with constant movement. In three games. Bickerstaff has shown he stirs the drink with vigor that combines a hardnosed approach and smooth strides in a deceptive 6-foot 9-inch frame.
You can see how Bickerstaff changes the game for the Eagles with better offensive spacing and an ability to see and pass over defenders. On the defensive end his presence pushes an opponent outward towards the perimeter and fewer attempts to drive from the top of the key. Watch his quick feet and side to side shifts, arms extended outward and upward. Like a basketball matador in wait to welcome anyone who drives towards the hoop.
Averaging over six rebounds and 11.7ppg, Bickerstaff continues to be an important part of the 2021-2022 Eagles with a rough and tumble contact and a quiet, yet aggressive tone. His floor presence turns the volume knob up to loud and he shows an understanding of games within the game. As part of a three-guard offense he fills it with rapid passes, weaving movement, looking for baseline opportunity, drives from the elbow and is equally comfortable past the top of the key.
On Sunday, he contributed 12 points, and defensively roamed the middle. His explosiveness and outright abandon will affect the plans of future opponents. Without fear, like his Eagles teammates, TJ Bickerstaff increases the tempo on the court and fans will look for him to stay on the court. As this team finds their identity his will to win every small battle is poised to stand out in bigger battles ahead.