Despite some early setbacks, Matt Mobley and the St. Bonaventure Bonnies have fought through adversity and find themselves atop the A-10 standings.
Despite missing star guard Jaylen Adams for the first several games of the year, the Bonnies are 10-2 with wins over Buffalo, Maryland, Vermont and Syracuse in the Carrier Dome.
Many of those wins are thanks in part to Mobley, who received a nod for Preseason First Team All-A-10 Conference and is on his way to living up to that distinction.
Last year, Mobley finished top three on the team in steals, assists, rebounds, and points. In addition, Mobley led all Division-I players in minutes per game with 38.3. Mobley said that he had a good summer and was in the weight room, on the court, and continuing to improve his cardio.
“Two of the main aspects of my game that I worked on this summer was ball handling and shooting,” Mobley said. “I felt like those were the skills that I needed to improve on the most to get to the level where I want to be at.”
The senior guard’s grind has paid off, averaging 17.5 points per game, 1.4 steals and leading the conference in free throw percentage with 85.2% from the stripe.
Mobley and Adams have developed into a great one-two punch; becoming one of the best backcourts in the nation. Mobley said it’s exciting to play with Adams again.
“He draws so much attention and his vision is unlike any point guard I have ever played with,” Mobley said. “He gets his guys in the right spots and it’s great to play with him.”
Last March, the University of Dayton, Saint Joseph’s University, and Virginia Commonwealth University went dancing in the NCAA Tournament. This year, St. Bonaventure hopes to do the same thing as Mobley says he believes they should finish strong.
“We’re ready to go and we are all excited,” Mobley said. “Playing and performing is more important than any Preseason ranking.”
According to atlantic10.com, the University of Rhode Island has been picked to repeat as A-10 champions in the 2017-18 preseason poll and St. Bonaventure is supposed to finish second.
So far this season, the Bonnies have handled those expectations.
While Mobley said that the team felt good about the hype, it won’t change their mindset.
“We still want to embrace that underdog mentality,” Mobley said. “Like our coaches say, we need to act like a ‘junkyard dog’ no matter what.”
Mobley said all the young guys are stepping up and standing out, though, at the end of the day, he said the veterans will determine how far this team can go.
“It’s on us, the captains, to get the young guys going,” Mobley said. “This team’s success is on us.”