photo courtesy of gobonnies.sbu.edu
By Jeff Uveino
When the St. Bonaventure men’s basketball team made its run to the Atlantic 10 championship game in March, Bobby Planutis had to sit and watch.
Planutis, who had decided to transfer to SBU after one season at Mount St. Mary’s, was ineligible to play last season because of NCAA transfer rules.
The sophomore forward from Hazelton, Pennsylvania must have made an impact on his teammates last year, however.
Planutis was voted as a team captain for the 2019-20 season, and is hoping to make an immediate impact for the Bonnies.
“I’ve worked on all aspects of my game, but especially with the strength coaches in the weight room,” Planutis said. “I was lifting four of five days a week for the past 18 months or so.”
Planutis isn’t afraid to identify himself as a shooter.
At Mount St. Mary’s, he averaged 5.9 points per game and shot an impressive 49% from three-point range.
“I think it helps (our offense) that I’m 6’8 and can shoot,” Planutis said. “Hopefully, that will help open up the floor for some other guys.”
Bona head coach Mark Schmidt talked about how Planutis can fit into his offense.
“(Planutis) is a catch-and-shoot kind of guy,” Schmidt said. “In the game today, the (power forward) man has become a face-up guy. If you have a guy in that position that can shoot, it creates better spacing on the floor and opens up the lanes.”
Schmidt said that Planutis’ ability to shoot the ball will stretch opposing defenses and allow the Bonnies more opportunities to get the ball to guys in the paint.
Planutis said that having well-known players such as Kyle Lofton, Dom Welch and Osun Osunniyi around him will help his game.
“I hope they get double teamed,” he said with a laugh. “Then, I can get some open shots. It makes it easier to play when the guys around you are good.”
It was Bona’s recent success, along with a bit of name recognition, that drew Planutis to SBU.
“My prep coaches knew Bona well, which helped me get to know the school,” Planutis said. “The winning that was happening here was also a big draw.”
Planutis mentioned how the Bonnies reached the NCAA tournament in 2017-18, which was his prep school year at Bridgton Academy in Maine.
In the Bonnies’ preseason exhibition vs. Alfred University, Planutis shot 5-7 from the field, including 1-3 from beyond the arc, to score 11 points in 18 minutes.
He also pulled down four rebounds.
Schmidt said that based on Planutis’ work ethic, he thinks the sophomore will adjust to Atlantic 10 competition just fine.
“There are a lot of guys that don’t work when they take a year off, but (Planutis) realized that the season was going to come quickly and he really took advantage of the year,” Schmidt said. “He’s a much better player than he was last year, and hopefully that translates on the court.”
As far as leadership goes, Schmidt said that Planutis’ teammates selecting him as a captain speaks volumes about what they think of him.
“It shows his commitment, leadership skills and how important basketball is to him,” Schmidt said. “It shows that he has the respect of his teammates.”
SBU opens regular season play on Tuesday night when it hosts Ohio University.