Okoli looks to grow in sophomore season

photo courtesty of gobonnies.sbu.edu

By Matt Stasiw

Alpha Okoli set out this summer to improve himself.

The sophomore guard enters his second season with the St. Bonaventure men’s basketball team with several improved skills from a year ago.

“I worked a lot on my ball-handling and shooting to stand out this year”, Okoli said.

Last season, Okoli played in 27 games for the Bonnies, starting in four of them.  This year, he hopes to have a bigger impact on the team. 

Okoli said motivation is a large part of what keeps him driving to improve his game. SBU’s loss in the Atlantic 10 championship game that kept them out of last year’s NCAA tournament, he said, is one of his biggest sources of inspiration. 

“It gives us a lot of motivation,” Okoli said. “When things get slow in practice, coach (Schmidt) reminds us of that game, and that’s when we push harder.” 

Okoli said he is faithful in the potential of this year’s Bonnies team. 

In a season packed with noteworthy games on the schedule, one game stands out to the Los Angeles native.

“I’m most excited to play Rutgers in Toronto,” Okoli said. 

The Bonnies will begin regular season play on Nov. 4 when they host Ohio University.

Three takeaways from the St. Bonaventure vs Alfred

By: Jeff Uveino

The St. Bonaventure men’s basketball team rolled over the Alfred Saxons 90-42 in an exhibition game at the Reilly Center. Here’s three takeaways from the game:

  1. The freshman class could be good. Scary good.

The Bonnies had three freshmen score in double figures. Alpha Okoli led the way with 20 points, including shooting four-of-five from three-point range. Kyle Lofton scored 15 points and Dom Welch had 12. All three showed their playmaking ability, the highlight of which came on a thunderous Welch dunk late in the second half. But perhaps the freshman who impressed me the most was 6-10 forward Osun Osunniyi. He’s long, athletic and physical, and showed that he could be a major presence around the rim. Osunniyi had two blocks and four rebounds to go along with five points.

  1. Who will be the star?

The Bonnies got contributions from up and down their roster, but there wasn’t a player that stood out. No one looked like the “star,” or the type of player who could take over a game. This year’s Bonnies are probably already getting sick of being compared to Jaylen Adams and Matt Mobley, but those two were able to take over games last year, a part of the identity that this year’s team will need to find. Perhaps when Courtney Stockard returns, he can be that type of player for the Bonnies, but that may not happen for another month.

  1. Fifty-point win! (against a Division III team)

Yes, the Bonnies won by 48 points. They dominated on both ends of the floor. However, the teams they’re going to be playing during the regular season are going to be of a much different caliber than Alfred. The Bonnies were a mismatch for the Saxons physically and talent-wise, and for most of the night, they ran circles around them. Amadi Ikpeze dominated around the rim early in the game but was at least three or four inches taller than anyone in an Alfred jersey. It will be interesting to see how the Bonnies perform against some real competition.

 

St. Bonaventure will open regular season play on Nov. 7 at home against Bucknell.