Boston University redshirt junior forward Pat Hazel is a lot of things. A muscular 6-foot-6, the Marquette transfer holds his
ground in the low post, and has blocked a league-leading 62 shots from both that position and as a help defender. On offense, Hazel generates plenty of second-shot opportunities – his OR% of 11.1 is tied for third-best among all AE qualifiers, trailing only Stony Brook’s Dallis Joyner and Albany’s Blake Metcalf – and despite often finding himself in a crowd of defenders around the hoop, Hazel shot a tidy 52.8% from the floor. The All-Defensive Team nominee’s ability to function effectively as a clean-up guy around the hoop made him a valuable contributor at both ends of the floor for the Terriers this season.
But after 32 games this season, it was safe to say that Hazel was not either of two things: a dunker or a free throw shooter. Heading into Sunday’s semifinal against the host, the No. 6 Hartford Hawks, a Hazel dunk prompted a hard pinch to make sure the observer wasn’t dreaming. And the charity stripe was anything but charitable to Hazel. Pat connected at a wholly uninspiring 44.0% clip. In fact, Hazel had never attempted more than one free throw in a game for BU without missing at least once. Hoping for 2-of-2? Good luck with that.
So years from now, when robots parse the box score from the Terriers’ closely contested 55-49 semifinal victory at Hartford for the umpteenth time, they won’t realize that what Pat Hazel did on Sunday took a running leap past “improbable,” landing safely in the zone of “unthinkable.” (more…)