By Chuckie Maggio
Shortly after junior college transfer Courtney Stockard committed to St. Bonaventure on May 4, he took to Twitter to make a proclamation.
“We just need a solid big and we goin dancing,” he tweeted.
The Bonnies do still need a big man to round out their recruiting class (redshirt freshman Jordan Tyson is the lone center on the roster, so they surely want to sign another one), but they made a major splash in signing the fourth-leading junior college scorer in the nation. Last season, the 6-foot-5 guard/small forward averaged 23.2 points per game on 48.5 percent shooting for Allen (Kansas) Community College. He also dished out 2.7 assists a contest and showed a valuable ability to get to the line, averaging 10.2 free throws per game and knocking down 75 percent of them.
The offensive numbers are excellent, but the St. Louis native got the job done on the defensive end as well. He grabbed nine rebounds a game, good for fifth in the Kansas Jayhawk Community College Conference, as well as averaging 1.4 steals and 1.1 blocks.
Stockard’s stellar sophomore year was good enough to land him on the National Junior College Athletic Association Region All-Region VI second team as well as to the KJCCC West division All-Conference first team. He chose Bona over the likes of Loyola Marymount, University of California-Davis, Jacksonville State and The College of Charleston.
Stockard said that the opportunity to get playing time was one of the most important factors in choosing the Bonnies. Coach Mark Schmidt and his staff have shown a propensity for nabbing solid junior college players, with four (Marcus Posley, Andell Cumberbatch, Chris Dees and Iakeem Alston) on last year’s roster.
Posley and Cumberbatch assumed big scoring roles the minute they hit the floor in the Reilly Center, and the latest JUCO addition doesn’t think he’ll be any different.
“I think I’ll be one of the main options in the offense next year,” Stockard said. “Knowing that Marcus will be the go-to guy, I think I’ll be able to take some of the scoring load off of his shoulders when he’s having an off game.
“JUCO ball really helped me polish my game and develop the confidence and consistency I needed to be ready for D-I ball.”
Stockard didn’t receive any Division I offers coming out of high school despite being named to St. Louis’s All-City team because schools felt he was undersized at 6-foot-3, 165 pounds. Over his two years at Allen, he grew two inches and added 20 pounds of muscle. His work certainly paid off, and he was able to put that on display last year.
“I knew, for sure, I was a D-I player when I was headed into my sophomore year of college,” he said. “I feel like my mid-range game and my ability to get to the rim and finish are the biggest strengths of my game, and ball handling and shooting the three are things I need to work on the most.”
The guard, who earned a 3.8 GPA over his two years at Allen, is still confident in his Twitter prediction as well.
“I’m very confident that we can go to the big dance and make some noise if we have a decent big man that can defend and rebound,” he said. “Based on what I saw from the team last year, I feel like I’m the missing piece to the puzzle that can take us to the next level.”
If Stockard is truly the missing piece, the Bonnies are in for an intriguing winter.