(Photo Credit: GoBonnies.com)
By Cameron Hurst @CameronNHurst
It’s a hard pill to swallow to be left out of the NCAA Tournament.
But, while it still stings even eight months later, senior forward Denzel Gregg and the 2016-17 St. Bonaventure men’s basketball team plan on using it as motivation.
“That’s a goal every year, to get to the NCAA tournament,” Gregg said. “If you don’t have a chip on your shoulder, then you don’t love it. So, I definitely have a chip on my shoulder. It’s not spite. It’s just another motivation and (I’m) ready to get back out there and do it again.”
With the tournament in mind as motivation, the Syracuse native is coming off a career season that earned him Atlantic 10 Co-Sixth Man of the Year honors, averaging 9.3 points and 5.6 rebounds.
Now, with the loss of Dion Wright to graduation, Gregg will be expected to be on the front lines this season, and St. Bonaventure head coach Mark Schmidt is expecting nothing less that a solid performance from his senior forward.
“He really dedicated himself and committed himself (last year) and had a great year,” said Schmidt, who discussed Gregg’s transition as a player.
“His first two years, he wasn’t really committed to being a player,” he continued. “He was really athletic and was a guy that just got by on his athleticism. But I think the light went on last summer and he knew that this is just not an athletic game, it’s a skill game….so, this year, he’s gotta take the next step. Now, he’s coming from a guy who came off the bench to someone who’s starting the game. He’s gotta be a guy who brings it every night.”
“Coach Schmidt is a real straightforward guy,” said Gregg regarding his head coach. “There’s no secret to it. You gotta work. Guys who work get it done.”
Gregg also noted the importance not only of Schmidt, but of the coaching staff and program as a whole.
“That’s what our program does,” Gregg said. “They coach us more, they keep me in the gym and make sure I’m doing what I’m supposed to do. They’re always straight forward with me, they’re honest and that’s what you need as a player. It’s easy to have a coach who can tell you what you do well, but you need a coach who can tell you what you do wrong.”
Through the help of the coaching staff, Gregg is just simply looking to get better and to expand upon his career season.
“I just wanna continue to get better,” said Gregg. “This program has a history of guys who get better every year and over my career I’ve gotten better and my numbers have improved so I just have to make sure I’m continuing to get better.”