By: Teddy Caputo
The St. Bonaventure Bonnies had one of their best seasons in program history, having a 26-8 regular season record, a 14-game win streak during the regular season and an NCAA Tournament win against UCLA. Courtney Stockard is the leading returning scorer from last season and is looking to carry his momentum from last year into his senior season.
Last season, Jaylen Adams and Matt Mobley made up an elite backcourt for the Bonnies. The duo was a huge part of the Bonaventure’s success last year, but they weren’t the only ones putting up stellar performances. When Adams and Mobley struggled in some games during the season, Courtney Stockard, a 6’5 junior forward, stepped up when the Bonnies needed him. He averaged 13.3 points and six rebounds per game in his first season playing for St. Bonaventure. Stockard had some impressive performances, including 26 points in the tournament win against UCLA. Stockard also had a career-high 31 points in the triple-OT win against Davidson. Stockard talked about his success last season.
“When we needed somebody to step up, I thought why not anybody but me?” said Stockard. “I wanted to try to be that X-factor and next leader that would make the team more dynamic.”
This year he is in the position to step up and do it again, and he says he is ready for that challenge.
“I want to pick up where I left off last year and stay aggressive throughout the season,” said Stockard.
Stockard is one of three seniors this season alongside fellow teammates Nelson Kaputo and LaDarien Griffin. Stockard talked about their leadership obligations as seniors.
“Since we’re the veteran guys, we want to show the new guys on the team how it’s done and what we did to get to the point we were at last year,” said Stockard.
The Bonnies have five new players who are trying to acclimated to St. Bonaventure.
“With this offseason, there’s been a lot of individual work,” said Stockard. “With us having a lot of new guys, we have to get them up to par, get them used to Schmidt’s system and used to the college game.”
One of the new Bonnies this season is transfer Jalen Poyser. Poyser is a transfer from UNLV. The junior transfer from Malton, Ontario scored 10.4 points and two assists per game in his sophomore season for the Rebels. Poyser is a guy who Stockard thinks can be productive on the perimeter.
“He’s a pretty explosive player, and I think that’s what people are going to find out really soon,” said Stockard. “With him on the other wing, he’ll be able to take some pressure off me and I’ll be able to take some pressure off him.” Stockard added, “With that, we’ll be able to make a pretty big impact on this team and on the conference.”
Even though the team is young and inexperienced compared to last year’s team, Stockard believes this team has more talent from than last year’s squad and has high hopes for this season.
“We may struggle to start the season, but I think once these guys get going and get used to the way things are in college basketball, we have enough talent to be dangerous come March,” said Stockard. “If everybody hits their stride and I pick up where I left off last year, then I think we should be pretty good this season.”
Stockard talked about games he’s looking forward to on the schedule.
“I think the Syracuse game would probably be the one,” said Stockard. “They think the game last year was a fluke, so if we could get it done again this year, we can prove that it wasn’t a fluke, that we can play with you guys and that we’re here to stay.”
Stockard gets a chance to lead the Bonnies and pick up where he left off last season in their exhibition game against Alfred University on Friday, Nov. 2, at 7:15 p.m. in the Reilly Center.