(Marcus Posley and Jaylen Adams Photo Credit: GoBonnies.com)
By Chuckie Maggio @chuckiemaggio
In mid-April 2014, the St. Bonaventure men’s basketball team had work to do on the recruiting trail.
The Bona program announced on April 16 of that year that sophomores Matthias Runs and Jean Yves Toupane would be leaving the school. That gave coach Mark Schmidt and his staff two vacant slots for the 2014-15 team.
On the same day, Schmidt filled those slots- and changed the course of the Bona basketball program.
The first piece to the puzzle was Marcus Posley, a 6-foot-1 guard from Rockford, Ill. who was reported to have committed that morning, according to J.P. Butler of the Olean Times Herald.
Posley played at Ball State his freshman year and was named to the Mid-American Conference’s All-Rookie team before coach Billy Taylor was let go. He then went to Indian Hills Community College for a season, taking them to the National Junior College Athletic Association national championship game.
The Bonnies had a void in the jump-shooting category after senior guard Matthew Wright graduated, so nabbing Posley was key. Assistant coach Jeff Massey, now an assistant at Toledo, took the lead in MP3’s recruitment.
The final commitment was made known to the world that evening, a few ticks before 8 p.m. Baltimore native Jaylen Adams took to Twitter to announce that he was “committed to be a student-athlete at St. Bonaventure University.”
Adams, who played high school ball at Mount Saint Joseph High School, averaged 15 points, four assists and three rebounds a game in his senior season. He was an All-Metro first team selection.
At first, however, the then-6-foot guard wasn’t headed to Bona- he was committed to Jacksonville. He chose the Dolphins over an offer from Mount St. Mary’s.
When Jacksonville coach Cliff Warren’s contract was not renewed, however, Adams’s recruiting opened back up. SBU got into the mix and won him over.
Today, Adams and Posley make up what is arguably the best backcourt in the Atlantic 10. Adams is second in the league in scoring in conference games at 20.1 points a game, while Posley is tied for third at 19.6.
Adams’s third 30-point game of the season came in Saturday’s upset win over 15th-ranked Dayton. In conference games, he leads the league in free throw percentage at 91 percent, is third in three-point percentage at 47.1 percent and is third in assists at five a game.
When Adams arrived on campus, there were question marks about his size and Division I readiness. The normal freshman uncertainties led to many observers projecting junior college transfer Iakeem Alston to start at point guard. Adams was also a bit overlooked going into the season, as his teammate of the same name (but different spelling), redshirt freshman guard Jalen Adams received much of the preseason hype.
Those players transferred out after the season, while Jaylen Adams started until finger surgery ended his frosh campaign.
Posley has had four 30-point games this year and is 22 points away from 1,000 in his Bonaventure career- in just two seasons. Despite being banged up with a hip injury for much of the year, he is still fourth in the A-10 in minutes played with just under 37.
It’s difficult to imagine where the Bonnies would be if the coaching carousel hadn’t turned Adams and Posley away from their original school choices. The pickups were prime examples of Schmidt’s recruiting prowess. Swooping in and signing such a lethal one-two punch could have been the move that gets Bona back in the big dance for the first time since 2012.
No matter how many games the Bonnies end up winning this season, the most important day for the team may have been that April day nearly two years before.