By Chuckie Maggio @chuckiemaggio
Don’t cancel your season tickets, Bona faithful. That plan you have to come down for the opening night doubleheader? Stick to it.
Because even though transfer guard/forward Courtney Stockard is out indefinitely with a broken foot, St. Bonaventure has starting guard Marcus Posley to right the ship.
You remember how Posley gets when he’s on fire, right? Twelve points in the final two and a half minutes of regulation against Duquesne; buzzer beaters at Davidson and against VCU; an Atlantic 10 All-Conference third team selection despite some brutal shooting performances after the upset over the Rams.
Simply put, Posley was often the savior Bona needed last season, and it needs number three now as it presents eight scholarship players at the start of the season.
The player who teammates and fans call “MP3” may have struggled at times during Atlantic 10 play, but he thrived in non-conference play. The 17.5 points per game he put up against non-A-10 teams showed a capability to take care of business against early competition, and considering Bonaventure is 29 days away from facing Syracuse University at the Carrier Dome, that’s a positive sign.
Logging serious floor time isn’t too much of a tribulation for the Rockford, Ill. native, either; he averaged 35.9 minutes a game last season, ranking 48th in the NCAA, and also played a considerable amount of point guard after then-freshman Jaylen Adams went down with a finger injury. That 16.7 points-a-game average may have improved if Posley hadn’t been forced to facilitate after backup floor general Iakeem Alston struggled in the starting role.
SBU was often criticized for its starters playing more minutes than most lineups in the nation in 2014-15, yet the team still won 10 conference games, which tied for second-most in program history. The only difference is that now everybody has to play, with the likely starting five being Adams, Posley, Idris Taqqee, Denzel Gregg and Dion Wright.
The loss of center Jordan Tyson to a torn wrist tendon meant a small-ball lineup was in order, but Bona is still rolling out a formidable starting group. When Adams was healthy last season, he and Posley formed a dominant one-two punch, and the duo only stands to get stronger this go-around as they continue to grow their chemistry in the backcourt.
Adams was leading the conference in assists per game with an average of 4.5 when he went down, and Posley was the main benefactor of his young teammate’s quick acclimation to Division I ball, averaging 17.7 points before the injury as opposed to 14.5 after.
Stockard averaged 23.2 points a game last year at Allen (Kansas) Community College, so he will likely be able to take some of the scoring burden off Posley’s shoulders when he returns, which could be in time for A-10 play. Until then, Posley is perfectly capable of leading this team offensively with his near-unlimited range, quick release and ability to come through under pressure.
Don’t stage a moratorium for SBU’s season before it even starts. If Posley and co. can overcome the deficit they faced at Duquesne last January, they can overcome the temporary loss of Courtney Stockard.