NEW YORK — Boston College basketball coach Erik Johnson wasn't sure what he was going to get when former Eagles hockey star Andie Anastos emailed him asking to join the basketball team this year.
Anastos had run out of eligibility to play hockey, and her academic counselor suggested she play basketball — a sport she had excelled at in high school.She talked to her hockey coach, who thought it was a good idea and that she could help bring some veteran leadership to the young basketball team.
"I thought I was getting Rudy," Johnson said, referring to the famous Notre Dame football walk-on. "I thought she'd practice hard, throw her body around. If she ever got on the court, it would be an inspirational type thing."
She's been a lot more than for Boston College.
Three months into the season, Anastos is the team's starting point guard, leads the team in assists and is one of the most efficient scorers while playing 33.5 minutes per game.
"Coming in, I didn't expect any real playing time, I just wanted to come in to try and help out the group in culture areas," Anastos said. "Obviously, the season's not going how we wanted to as we're a very young team right now. I just hope I can get these players to understand what it takes to be successful."
Anastos excelled on the hockey team, helping the Eagles get to the Frozen Four her last two years. She also scored overtime goals in the Hockey East semifinals and finals last season. She was such an incredible leader in hockey that even when she was hurt, the coaches decided to dress her and have her on the bench. She was a rare two-time captain of BC's hockey team, and was named captain of the basketball team.
Andie Anastos was a two-year captain for @BC_WHockey before deciding to go out for basketball as a grad student. Now she's averaging 33.5 minutes a game for @bc_wbb. @dougfeinberg with more: https://t.co/uIlkxizzau pic.twitter.com/duppIvgO2N— AP Top 25 (@AP_Top25) February 2, 2018
Anastos played both hockey and basketball when she was in high school. Her high school basketball coach would arrange practice times around Anastos' hockey schedule.
Before joining the team this year, Anastos admitted she hadn't touched a basketball much since high school, playing just a few times with friends.
"When I first started playing, I was chucking up shots and it wasn't pretty," Anastos recalled with a laugh.
Johnson remembers giving her a tryout with a few alums who were in the area working out. While her skills weren't the best, the coach saw how quickly she would fix mistakes.
"She would pick things up very quickly and would correct her errors," he said. "She was very coachable."
While the Eagles (6-16) are struggling through a tough season, Johnson knows that Anastos' work ethic is rubbing off on his young team — their top five scorers are freshmen and sophomores.
"Often the kid who is the hardest worker, isn't taken to well by the other players," Johnson said. "Andie's the cool kid that everyone wants to be like."
Johnson said she's also been rubbing off on the coaching staff.
"She reminded me in the recruiting scene that we all make the mistake of getting enamored with the kid who runs higher and faster. The spectacular this or that. I just had a recruiting meeting and I said 'is she going to act more like Andie, or more like players that haven't fulfilled their potential?'"