Lofton looks to become leader in second season

photo by Erin Lanahan/The Intrepid

By Aidan Conaghan

Even though it will only be Kyle Lofton’s second season, the St. Bonaventure men’s basketball team will lean on him to become a leader.

The Bonnies will have to replace the leadership roles that LaDarien Griffin and Courtney Stockard left when the graduated.  Lofton hopes he can be the man to do it.  

Lofton said that Griffin and Stockard left him a great example how to be a great leader.

“They showed me how not to let struggles off the court affect me on the court,” he said.

The sophomore point guard was voted a team captain by the players and coaches.

“It shows the trust the head coach has in me,” Lofton said.

Lofton will co-captain the team, alongside senior Amadi Ikpeze and redshirt sophomore Bobby Planutis.   

Lofton had an impressive freshman season.

He averaged 14.4 points and 3.7 assists per game, which earned him a spot on the A-10 AllRookie Team.  

Even with a breakout freshman season, one of the most important goals for Lofton is to be a good leader.

One part of the Lofton’s game he has been working on is his three-point shooting. Lofton said the change in the three- point line will not affect his shot choice.

“We have been working with it all summer,” he said.  

One thing that is very important to Lofton is his home state, New Jersey.

Lofton has a tattoo on his calf with the logo of the New Jersey Nets.

I’m not a Nets fan but I wanted to represent New Jersey basketball,” he said  

New Jersey basketball has been represented well the past couple of seasons at St. Bonaventure.

There are four players on the roster that played high school basketball in New Jersey.

“Being from the metropolitan area, they teach us hard work and winning,” Lofton said.  

Lofton will look to lead the Bonnies tonight when they take on the Ohio Bobcats at 7:30.   

Cody lives her dream at Bonaventure

photo courtesy of gobonnies.sbu.edu

By Matt Stasiw

Claire Cody, the newest walk on and player for the St. Bonaventure women’s basketball team, has always felt a connection to SBU.

At a young age, she learned from her brother just how special the school is.

“My older brother went here, and seeing the candle-light ceremony and how special that was, I felt a connection every time I came here”, Cody said.

However, Cody didn’t always plan on attending Bonaventure.

She started the year committed to play Division II basketball at Southern New Hampshire University.

“I knew it wasn’t the right fit,” Cody said. “I emailed Coach (Jesse) Fleming in August, and he gave me the opportunity to try out here.”

Cody has many outside motivations.

“If I wasn’t not playing, I’d feel bad for my parents,” said said. “They always drove me to so many places that I had to repay them.”

She said that she “needed” to play at Bonaventure.

“I can’t imagine not playing basketball,” Cody said. “I love the competition, and so many people never get this opportunity, I just had to try out here.”

Cody said she fits in to the Bona system because of the compassion from her teammates.

“I don’t feel any different because I am a walk on,” she said. “The girls have taken me under their wing.

“I’m going to go out there and give it my all. I just have to be a good teammate, make everyone better, and make the hustle plays that coach needs me to make.”

Planutis brings scoring ability, leadership to Bonnies

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.

 

Harris looks to start new beginning at Bonaventure

photo courtesy of gobonnies.sbu.edu

By Matt Stasiw

Tori Harris is hoping to make a huge impact for the St. Bonaventure women’s basketball team. 

Harris, sister of Philadelphia 76ers star Tobias Harris, played her first two seasons at James Madison University.

“I didn’t play how I wanted”, Harris said. “St. Bonaventure felt different to me, I wanted to transfer here”. 

Although Harris needs to sit out his season due to NCAA transfer rules, she still wants to improve her game a lot this year.

“Not playing this year makes me have a different approach”, Harris said. “I need to make my teammates better by playing against them at high level all the time”. 

Harris said she can’t wait to eventually play next year and experience the great atmosphere. 

The newest Bonnie sees a lot of potential from this team.  

“Every team wants to get to the NCAA tournament”, Harris stated, “We have enough talent as long as our communication on defense gets better”. 

Although we can only catch Tori Harris cheering on the team this year, just wait until next year. She plans on making herself clearly known. 

Carpenter adds versatility to the Bonnies

By: Isaiah Blakely 

Robert Carpenter is one of the many fresh faces on this Bonnies team, and he’s looking to add versatility to the frontcourt.

The Detroit, Michigan native played at Mt. Zion Prep in Maryland last season where he averaged 20.3 points and 10.2 rebounds including three 40-point games. He was a part of one of the better prep schools in the country helping Mt. Zion to a 28-4 record and a spot in the Elite 8 prep school championship.

The 6’8 forward described St. Bonaventure as a perfect fit for him.

“I felt like Bonaventure was a great fit because I didn’t want to go to a school with a big name and end up not playing very much,” said Carpenter. “I wanted to go to a perfect fit for me.”

Carpenter compares his game to an NBA All-Star.

“I’m a very versatile guy. I can shoot, I can bang inside the paint. I’m a good offensive rebounder, defensive rebounder, hustle guy,” said Carpenter. “A lot of people look at my game and I kind of resemble Kawhi Leonard’s game.”

Carpenter was brought in right away and participated in both summer sessions, and he described the summer as “intense”.

“They really wanted to develop me and just like build me into the player they recruited me to be,” Carpenter said.

The freshman said he worked on his post game this summer because in high school and prep school he mostly played between the perimeter and the post. Carpenter shot 38 percent from the three-point line last year but said he wants to continue to sharpen up his shot.

Carpenter’s ability to score was an aspect of his game Bonnies head coach Mark Schmidt highlighted.

“He’s talented, he can put the ball in the basket. He has a bright future,” said Schmidt.

Carpenter had a near double-double off the bench in his debut against Alfred with 10 points and nine rebounds.

Carpenter talked about how people have viewed his diverse skill set in the past.

“A lot of people have different perspectives of me. I try to have a good motor and just show everybody that I can prove everybody wrong,” said Carpenter.

Carpenter can start to prove his doubters wrong on Tuesday night in the Reilly Center against Ohio at 7:30.

Logan looks to make impact on young Bonnies

By: Justin Myers

Last year was Logan’s first year playing with the Bonnies after sitting out the previous year due to NCAA transfer rules. After coming back she feels like she has learned to play college basketball again.

 “Taking that year off was a lot for me and was definitely a learning experience looking at the game in a different way,” Logan said. “It felt good to be back on the court and make an impact.”  

As a redshirt junior the Randallstown, Maryland native appeared in all 30 games including 12 starts averaging 7.0 points and 2.8 rebounds per game. She scored in double figures nine times, averaging 22 minutes per contest.  

While sitting out the previous year Logan implemented the things she learned while sitting out.  

It definitely opened up my eyes to different things going on in the game. More of the mental part of the game rather than just running around and playing,” Logan said. “I think my thought process and approach to the game got a lot better. It helped me grow. 

 With six eligible newcomers on the team this year Logan looks to lean on her experience to help lead.  

Not only have I played here for a long time but I also have played at other schools so bringing in all that experience and making sure that everyone stays on task and committed, Logan said. “So helping everyone stay motivated is a key since its early now but we all know how long a season can be and it has its ups and downs. 

 With it being her last year Logan looks to finish strong and have a winning season.  

I want to have a winning season. We have struggled for the past two years but I think now we finally have some great pieces that mesh together really well” Logan said. “I think a winning season is something that I really want.”  

When it came to expectations for the team Logan believes they can cause match up problems  

I love how we are more scrappy, quicker and athletic compared to last year,” Logan said. “I think that we are so versatile in different aspects and positions that it helps us with no one really knowing what angle to come from. I think our versatility alone can take us far this year. 

When asking Logan who could be a breakout player for the team this year she thinks it can be freshman Olivia Brown.  

“She came in and was named captain, and is establishing herself as a leader,” Logan said. “She outworks us everyday and pushes us to be better 

Winston, Bona’s latest Putnam pickup, ready to work

photo courtesy of gobonnies.sbu.edu

By Jeff Uveino

When Justin Winston committed to play basketball at St. Bonaventure in September 2018, he became the third Putnam Science Academy graduate in two years to do so.

The “Putnam Pipeline” to SBU has been talked about repeatedly since the arrival of Winston, following Kyle Lofton and Osun Osunniyi’s commitment the year before.

For Winston, the campus nestled in the foothills of the Enchanted Mountains felt like home.

“You can compare (Bonaventure) to Putnam because it’s a small school,” Winston said. “It’s a place where you can always work to get better as a player and as a person.”

The West Orange, New Jersey native, rated a four-star recruit by ESPN, stands at 6’8 and weighs 215 pounds.

In his senior year of high school at Immaculate Conception, Winston averaged 15 points per game.

Winston said that he saw Bona as the perfect situation to develop himself.

“I knew I could have a good social life while still being able to work on becoming a better basketball player,” Winston said.

Of course, Lofton and Osunniyi most likely did some recruiting of their own that influenced Winston’s decision.

“Since I had played with (Lofton and Osunniyi), I knew I’d always have family here,” Winston said.

Bonnies head coach Mark Schmidt has said that Winston will fit into the offense at the power forward position, sharing time with sophomore transfer Bobby Planutis.

“He’s an attacking type of forward,” Schmidt said of Winston. “He can shoot the ball, but he’s got better ball skills and more ‘junk in the trunk’.”

Winston said that he hopes to bring a little bit of everything to the floor for the Bonnies.

“I’m looking to bring a lot of intensity and energy,” he said. “I can grab rebounds and score inside and out.”

In the Bonnies’ exhibition vs. Alfred University last Wednesday, Winston logged nine rebounds and two points over 21 minutes.

It was his first taste of action in the Reilly Center, which he said he has been looking forward to playing in since his commitment.

“I’ll have a lot of eyes on me,” Winston said. “I’ve just gotta put on.”

Johnson looks to provide scoring help for Bonnies

photo: Erin Lanahan/The Intrepid

By Aidan Conaghan

Matt Johnson didn’t follow the typical path of becoming a Division I basketball player.  

Johnson, a 6-4 guard from Baltimore, Maryland, won two state championships at New Town High.  

Johnson played the last two years at the junior college level. His first year, he attended Pensacola State, where he averaged 7.5 points per game.  

Johnson then played his sophomore season at Howard Community College in Texas. There, he was named to the all-conference team, averaging 14 points and five rebounds per game.  

Johnson then committed to play at St. Bonaventure.

“When I went up to a game, I loved the atmosphere and the fans were great,” Johnson said.

Another factor for Johnson’s commitment was how well he connected with the coaches.

“I liked what coach Schmidt offered,” he said. “I liked his vibe.”  

Johnson has seen a big difference in the level of play so far at the Division I level.

“It is a lot faster,” he said. “The players are also a lot smarter.”  

Head coach Mark Schmidt talked about his new players having a lot to learn quickly.

“They all have to learn the system,” he said. “If you don’t learn the system, you are going to struggle.”  

Johnson talked about the versatility of his game.

“I can score at all three levels and get other people involved,” he said.  

Johnson also said that he can help give fellow guard Kyle Lofton some rest, after Lofton averaged 37 minutes per game last year.

“I can play the point guard and the shooting guard to take pressure off (Lofton),” Johnson said.  

In Johnson’s free time, he likes to play video games.

“I play 2K and Fortnite, but most of my time is for school and workouts,” the junior guard said.  

Johnson will make his debut on Tuesday when the Bonnies host the Ohio University Bobcats