(Photo Credit: GoBonnies.com)
By Chuckie Maggio @chuckiemaggio
You had questions, I had some answers. Here is the first edition of Bonnies Mailbag:
Q: What is it gonna take for Bonas to knock off Florida? -Cody D.
A: I’ll have a more detailed answer in tomorrow’s preview, but beyond the Xs and Os, the Bonnies have to have more energy from the opening tip. If games like Syracuse last year and Pitt the year before that are any indication, they shouldn’t have a problem with getting up for a game against a power conference team. In both of those games, they came out very energetic and had the lead going into the half. Early momentum will put them in the best position to win.
Q: Which scenario is better for Bonaventure’s resume in March: Win at Florida but lose one to either Siena/Buffalo/Hofstra, or lose to Florida but beat all of those teams? -Katie L.
A: The selection committee’s inconsistencies have been highlighted a lot the past eight months, so guessing what they will value most on Selection Sunday is a fool’s errand. However, a win against a Florida team that was predicted to finish second in the Southeastern Conference (SEC) couldn’t hurt. If the Bonnies can beat the Gators and win all three games in the Lone Star Showcase, they could have a vote or two in the Top 25 polls after Thanksgiving.
Q: Should the Bonnies have played in ESPN’s 24-hour marathon yesterday? -Tom S.
A: Not with their current schedule. An unusual start time on ESPN2 would have certainly been interesting, and Bona students have been clamoring for one of those slots for years. However, there is no way they should have played a game yesterday when they played on Saturday, play against Florida tomorrow and play three straight days in Texas next week. A Saturday-Tuesday-Thursday-Monday-Tuesday-Wednesday schedule is too rigorous.
The exposure of an ESPN2 game is outweighed by a game against an SEC power and a tournament that serves as a stepping stone to more prestigious events for the program in the future.
Q: How long until Josh Ayeni is in the starting lineup? -Paul B.
A: I don’t see a permanent move in the near future, as Denzel Gregg is proving he deserves to be a starter and Chinonso Obokoh did good things in the second half on Saturday. But don’t be surprised if Ayeni gets a start in at least one game next week. His first half against St. Francis was impressive and efficient (3-for-5 from field, 4-for-4 free throws, three rebounds, two steals, no turnovers) for a freshman. His strength and conditioning are ahead of schedule for a frosh, as is his aggressiveness. This should be expected, as he spent a post-grad prep year at Impact Academy in Florida.
Q: Which version of the Bona women is going to show up against Canisius on Wednesday? -Steve J.
A: That’s a good question that I’m not even sure coach Jesse Fleming knows yet. Gone are the days where you knew the women were going to dominate on their home floor, with victory a near certainty going into the fourth quarter. The Niagara game last Friday confirmed that this will be a process, with young players adapting and veterans doing their best to guide the team in the transition.
Juniors Matea Britvar and Mariah Ruff have established themselves as the most skilled players on this team. Britvar’s ability in the post was evident in her 20-point, 10-rebound performance on Sunday, but her mid-range shot may be her biggest asset; it’s almost automatic. Ruff is a 20-point game waiting to happen, but her passing ability is what makes her stand out as one of the most underrated players in the Atlantic 10.
Q: Is Jaylen Adams already the best point guard in Bonaventure history? -David G.
A: That’s an interesting question, one I haven’t seen enough Bona basketball to accurately judge. But according to his career averages thus far, here’s where Adams is on pace to rank in Bona’s all-time record lists: 12th in points, third in assists, second in three-pointers made and 10th in steals. It could end up being a debate between him and 2004 graduate Marques Green when it’s all said and done.