Taqqee will provide value for #Bonnies

By Jeff Fasoldt @Jeff_Fasoldt

A lot of the students that decided to attend St. Bonaventure University come from Western and Central New York, and because of this many were wearing the Syracuse orange and blue before they put on the Bonnies brown and white.

And, because Syracuse basketball is so popular in the area many of us have heard all the hype surrounding the Orange’s new point-guard, Kaleb Joseph. But, his high school teammate, Idris Taqqee, a 6’4, 190-pound freshman for the Bonnies, could be a steal for Bonnies head coach, Mark Schmidt.

Both Joseph and Taqqee attended Cushing Academy in Ashburnam, Mass., and were roommates.

“We played together since we were freshman in high school,” says Taqqee. “He’s very good, and a great player to play with.”

Taqqee is listed as a guard and could probably pass for a small-foward, but we’ve already seen his versatility in the Bonnies exhibition win vs. Mansfield and their home opener win vs. Dartmouth.

In the exhibition, Taqqee proved that he could stroke it from beyond arc with a solid 2-4 from deep performance. He also snagged three rebounds, had three steals, dished out two assists and scored eight points in a solid 18 minutes of action. In the home opener Taqqee saw 12 minutes of action, scored two points, had two offensive rebounds and garnered one steal.

“I’m definitely going to take the shot if it’s open. We try and play fast-pace so you have to take good shots and if we need a three I’m comfortable taking it,” says Taqqee.

After losing senior guard Matthew Wright at the end of last season to graduation, the Bonnies are in desperate need of a three-point shooter. Taqqee will provide value with his size, vertical and impressive defense, but if he can hit a couple three’s down the stretch that will be huge for Mark Schmidt’s young team.

While at Cushing Academy, Taqqee won back-to-back class AA state championships, and averaged 15.8 points-per-game and 7.8 rebounds-per-game. He was named a “Late-Stock Riser” by the New England recruiting report.

Nonetheless, the transition from high school to college is almost always tough for some of these young athletes, and Taqqee has had to adjust accordingly.

“It definitely hit me in the summer when we got in the gym for lifting,” says Taqqee. “It was so fast-paced.”

Lately, Schmidt has been blessed with flush of talent that the people of Allegany, Olean, Bonaventure, and surrounding towns have not seen in awhile.

Taqqee saw St. Bonaventure as the perfect opportunity.

“My decision to come her really was because of the coaches,” says Taqqee, who chose Bonaventure over Towson and Vermont. “And, the opportunity to be in a small-school setting in the classroom.”

As the weather gets cold, Bonnies fans hope Taqqee and the rest of the team stay hot. They are 1-0 and take on Siena, tomorrow night at 7 pm.





Men’s basketball: Mansfield Preview

By Chuckie Maggio @chuckiemaggio and Jeff Fasoldt @Jeff_Fasoldt

Tomorrow at 4, the St. Bonaventure men’s basketball team kicks off the 2014-15 season with an exhibition game against Division II Mansfield Mountaineers. This is the seventh meeting between the two teams, with Bonaventure leading the series 5-1.

Everyone is interested to see what this year’s team is going to look like, with six players set to make their debut in brown and white. In last year’s game against the Mountaineers, Andell Cumberbatch introduced himself to the Bona faithful by scoring 23 to lead all scorers. Who will make a positive first impression tomorrow? Let’s break it down.

The Coaches:

St. Bonaventure: Mark Schmidt. 106-110 as Bonnies coach.

Mansfield: Rich Miller. 119-124 as Mountaineers coach.

Key players for Mansfield:

Charles Pemberton, 6-4 senior forward. PSAC Defensive player of the year last season for the Mountaineers. He broke Mansfield’s single season block record with 62 last year. He averaged 13.2 points for the black and red as a junior, which was good enough for second on the team. Pemberton led the team in field-goal percentage with 66.5-percent on the season.

Joe Bell, 6-6 senior forward. Bell was All-PSAC first team last season and was named Mansfield’s most valuable player. He finished second in the PSAC in scoring in scoring last year, and was 15th in the nation (Division-II) with 21.8 points per game. He also was a force for the Mountaineers on the boards last season with 7.9 rebounds per game, which was good enough for sixth in the PSAC.

Andreas Katopodis, 5-10 freshman guard. Katopodis is from Lefkada, Greece, but played his high school basketball at Lee Academy in Maine. Katopodis won three high school state championships and was voted the best athlete in his school. He excels beyond the three-point line as he hit 47 from beyond the arc last season in high school. He’s been invited to practice with the U16 and U18 Greek national team. He was invited to the Northwestern Greece all-star game where he won the three-point contest.

Key players for Bonaventure:

Youssou Ndoye, 7-foot senior center. Mansfield is a very small team; their tallest player stands at 6-foot-7. Therefore, the Bonnies will look to feed the big guy early and often. Ndoye’s preseason accolades were well-deserved, but he has to start out strong by overwhelming this Mansfield squad. To do that, he’ll have to dominate on both sides of the floor, while avoiding foul trouble. Consistency is the key for Ndoye.

Jaylen Adams, 6-1 freshman guard. Jordan Gathers is not expected to play in the exhibition, so the youngest player on this Bonaventure team will likely be the first point guard off Schmidt’s bench on Saturday when JUCO transfer Iakeem Alston gets subbed out. One of the big questions surrounding Adams has been how he will handle the physicality of college ball. We’re about to get our first look.

Marcus Posley, 6-1 junior guard. Sources close to the team said Posley led the team in scoring in the closed scrimmage against Kent State. He seems most likely to have a big debut like Cumberbatch did last year because of his ability to score from anywhere on the court. He can make deep threes, knock down midrange jumpers and drive to the hoop with efficiency. Look out for the transfer from Indian Hills Community College (and Ball State before that) to have an immediate impact on the exhibition.

Keys to victory for Mansfield: If Mansfield, a very undersized Division-II team, wants to have any chance in this game they will have to shoot the lights out from beyond the arc. That means their freshman from Greece, Katopodis, is going to have to shake off whatever nerves he has coming into the Reilly Center and knock down shots.

Keys to victory for Bonaventure: The Bonnies have the size advantage, are more athletic, have better shooters and have the home court advantage as well. The key in an exhibition is to show some intensity, set the pace and play your game, while limiting turnovers along the way.

The Prediction: 91-65 Bonnies


Men’s basketball: Jaylen Adams set to make an impact

By Katie Faulkner @kfaulkner20

With the official start of the NCAA basketball season looming, St. Bonaventure University students are preparing for another exciting year.  Behind closed doors, sounds of squeaky basketball shoes and shrieking whistles have been pouring out of the Reilly Center for the last month.

New names like Jordan Tyson, Jalen Adams, Idris Taqqee, Iakeem Alston, Marcus Posley and the youngest player, Jaylen Adams, are eager to get their feet wet in their first season at Bonaventure.

Adams, a freshman point guard often regarded as the Nick Young look-alike by his teammates, makes crisp outlet passes and runs the floor swiftly.  Coaches like that he averaged 15 points, three rebounds and four assists as a senior, scoring more than 900 points in his high school career.

“The pace has changed a little bit, so I have to just get in shape and get ready for a faster game,” Adams said.  “I think the adjustment will be smooth.”

However, any 18-year-old would surely have some finessing to do in the gym.

“I’ve been working on a lot of defensive stuff.  That has been my biggest question mark, that and some leadership things,” said the Baltimore native.

The 180-pound guard may not be the biggest in the league, but his ability to effectively distribute the ball will lead to his success.  “I think I stretch the floor well and I can shoot,” said Adams. “I’ve always been able to get everybody involved.”

Adams credits his teammates as being “a great group of guys” that have helped make the transition to college easier.  He says he enjoys Bonaventure and the family aspect the university produces.

Adams looks to make an immediate impact as the facilitator on the team that went 6-10 in A-10 play last year by being the young catalyst who can re-energize an entire group.

“I kind of just want to bring a new spark,” said Adams.

With an unceasing grin and witty personality, Adams is sure to do just that.

Men’s basketball: Cumberbatch plans to step up as #Bonnies leader

By Jeff Fasoldt, @Jeff_Fasoldt 

The NCAA basketball season is just around the corner, and St. Bonaventure students and fans are ready to pack the Reilly Center to watch a young team with mammoth expectations.

New names and fresh talent with the likes of Jalen Adams, Jaylen Adams, Iakeem Alston, Jordan Tyson, Marcus Posley and Idris Taqqee will no doubt help the Bonnies this season, but don’t forget about the key returners on a talented squad—and do not overlook senior Andell Cumberbatch.

Last season, after transferring from Barton Community College in Kansas, the 195- pound guard was just a rookie on the team, but contributed immediately and started 25 games as a junior.

Cumberbatch showed incredible poise on the road as he led the team in points both at Iona, with 19, and at Wake Forest, with a career-high 25.

Even with fellow seniors, Jordan Gathers, Youssou Ndoye and Chris Dees on the team, the roster is young, and this year the senior knows that even though it’s only his second year at Bonaventure, it’s his time to take the reigns.

“We have new leaders on this team,” said Cumberbatch. “We had veteran guys last year but now I see myself as a leader because I’m one of the veterans on the team and it’s my senior year.”

Continue reading “Men’s basketball: Cumberbatch plans to step up as #Bonnies leader”

Men’s basketball: Schmidt stays

By Chuckie Maggio, @ChuckieMaggio

St. Bonaventure fans and alumni breathed a big sigh of relief on Tuesday when it was reported and confirmed that Mark Schmidt would remain the Bonnies coach. Schmidt had been linked as a possibility for the Boston College job, but in the end he decided to stay in Olean, N.Y.

“It is an honor to be the head coach at St. Bonaventure,” Schmidt said in a press release on GoBonnies.com. “This is a fantastic university with passionate fans in a community my family and I are proud to call home.”

“We are thrilled that Mark has decided to continue as the head coach of our men’s basketball program,” athletic director Steve Watson said in the same press release. “He has done a remarkable job of building the program. We hope Mark will be our coach for a long time, and to that end, we have started discussions about an extension of our commitment to him.”

In the long run, this is a great move for both sides, a real win-win for the Bonaventure program and for Schmidt.

Continue reading “Men’s basketball: Schmidt stays”

Men’s basketball: Bona’s run ends against Saint Joe’s

By Joe Pinter, @JPinter93

BROOKLYN, N.Y. (March 15) — If someone would have told Mark Schmidt back in October that his St. Bonaventure Bonnies would win 18 games and make it to the Atlantic 10 semifinals, he wouldn’t have been sure how to respond.

“I would have looked at them a little bit sideways,” the coach said.

Turns out it wasn’t such a far-fetched thought.

The Bonnies’ unexpected run to the A-10 semifinals came to an abrupt end today as their lack of depth was exposed against a deeper, more rested St. Joe’s team. The Bonnies fell 67-48.

Continue reading “Men’s basketball: Bona’s run ends against Saint Joe’s”

Men’s basketball: Ndoye leads the way

By Joe Pinter, @JPinter93

BROOKLYN, N.Y. (March 13) — With 13:15 remaining on the clock, Youssou Ndoye walked to the bench after receiving his third and fourth fouls.

With the St. Bonaventure Bonnies’ lead reduced to 53-52, coach Mark Schmidt knew he had to sit Ndoye, regardless of how well he had been playing.

“Youssou didn’t do something that we wanted him to do,” Schmidt said. “He was playing really, really well. You could see it in the kid’s eyes like, ‘Here we go again.’ He made a mistake, but good teammates pick him up. That’s what our guys did.”

“I thought Youssou was tremendous in the first half,” he added. “In the second half, the third foul and the technical foul and La Salle made a run at us… It was 53-52 and we had a timeout and we talked about it and our guys responded.”

Continue reading “Men’s basketball: Ndoye leads the way”

Men’s basketball: The #Bonnies beat La Salle, advance to quarterfinals

By Chuckie Maggio, @ChuckieMaggio

The St. Bonaventure Bonnies survived and advanced on Thursday afternoon, defeating the La Salle Explorers by a score of 82-72 in the first round of the Atlantic 10 Tournament. They will face the Saint Louis Billikens in the quarterfinals tomorrow at noon.

Youssou Ndoye led the Bonnies with 19 points and 10 rebounds, his fourth double-double of the season. Marquise Simmons added 15 points and six rebounds, while Charlon Kloof scored 14 points and dished out six assists.

One of the main keys in the Bonnies’ win was a dominating performance on defense. They outrebounded the Explorers 28-23, with 12 of those 28 coming on the offensive glass. When the big men control the boards like they did today, this Bonaventure team is going to be a tough out.

In addition, the Brown and White held La Salle guard Tyrone Garland, the team’s second-leading scorer, to zero points on 0-7 shooting from the floor. That effort to shut down one of the most electrifying players in the conference did not go unnoticed by Bona coach Mark Schmidt in the postgame press conference.

Continue reading “Men’s basketball: The #Bonnies beat La Salle, advance to quarterfinals”