photo courtesy of gobonnies.sbu.edu
By Anthony Goss
ST. BONAVENTURE, NY — After one of its best seasons in program history, the St. Bonaventure men’s basketball team has had an eventful offseason.
Though the Bonnies have kept their starting five intact, their entire bench production from last season has entered the transfer portal. This leaves SBU with several open scholarship spots for next season.
Luckily for Bona, head coach Mark Schmidt and his staff have already begun to fill some of the gaps that resulted from the transfer portal.
Barring any unforeseen events, Bona will maintain its starting five of Kyle Lofton, Dominick Welch, Jaren Holmes, Jalen Adaway and Osun Osunniyi. This core of seniors-to-be has seen favor in the eyes of many notable analysts, which project the Bonnies as a top-20 team to start next season.
Led by this group, the 2021-22 team will likely begin the fall as the favorite to repeat as A-10 champions.
One of the big issues for the reigning A-10 champs in their 2020-21 campaign was depth.
Early-season departures from forward Justin Winston and guard Anthony Roberts forced the Bonnies into a rotation that consisted of only six to seven players depending on the night. Alejandro Vasquez and Jalen Shaw headlined the bench rotation for Bona, but were used sparingly.
Vasquez provided immediate shooting and scoring off the bench. He averaged 4.4 points per game and shot 34.8% from 3-point range. Against Duquesne, Vasquez shined with an 11-point effort at the Reilly Center and shot 2-of-4 from beyond the arc.
Shaw came in relief of Osunniyi when the starting center was in foul trouble, or if head coach Mark Schmidt needed to buy time for Osunniyi to rest.
Eddie Creal and Alpha Okoli have also entered the portal. Both had trouble finding time on the floor since Schmidt started four guards and Vasquez was the first option of the bench. Creal spent only one year with the team, while Okoli has been at Bona for three seasons.
The first addition to the team came with the commitment of Quadry Adams.
With lofty expectations for next year’s squad, the team needs to fill the spots left vacant by the players who are now in the portal. In filling these spots thus far, the staff has not only tried to create a sound rotation for next year, but also seems to be piecing together the future of the program.
Adams, a sophomore transfer from Wake Forest, only averaged eight minutes per game last season in nine games played. At St. Thomas Aquinas High School, Adams had a stellar career and his senior stat line consisted of 18.5 points-per-game, 3.2 assists-per-game, and 2.7 steals-per-game.
Adams will look to make an impact off the bench this season, and could start after the seniors depart from the program.
Abdoul Karim Coulibaly started 20 of 22 games last year at Pittsburgh. Coulibaly will provide depth in the frontcourt, something Bona desperately needs.
Coulibaly will have three years of eligibility if he chooses. Like Adams, Coulibaly could see a much bigger responsibility in the years to come.
Bona will have plenty of guards next year, but perhaps none taller than Justin Ndjock-Tadjore.
The 6-7 guard hails from Quebec and has four years of eligibility. Ndjock-Tadjore is athletic and extremely long. He can shoot from outside, but also get by his man and use his size to finish over defenders in the paint.
Finally, the Bonnies added 6-9 center Oluwasegun Durosinmi from Harcum College.
His 7’2 wingspan makes him a ferocious shot blocker, evidenced by the four blocks per-game average at Harcum. If Durosinmi finds his way into the rotation, the Bonnies will be able to hold an extreme length advantage inside every time they take the floor.
Another commit with four years of eligibility, Durosinmi looks like the perfect replacement for Osunniyi.
Schmidt will likely maintain his traditional ways of keeping a short rotation, but regardless, the Bonnies will have a strong supporting cast to compete for minutes to help the starters. Over 90% of the Bonnies scoring and minutes came from the starters.
Next season, Schmidt should have a more balanced team and a deeper team that should garner some national attention.