Men’s basketball: Siena Preview

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[Image courtesy of gobonnies.com]

By Chuckie Maggio @chuckiemaggio

The Franciscan Cup will be on the line when the 1-0 St. Bonaventure Bonnies host the 0-2 Siena Saints Wednesday night at 7.

Since the sides agreed to play on an annual basis in 2010, Bonaventure leads the series 3-1. The Siena win came last year, when Saints guard Marquis Wright went coast-to-coast for a game-winning layup.

Will the Bonnies reclaim the Cup, or will the Saints bring it back to Albany? Let’s break it down.

The Coaches:

St. Bonaventure: Mark Schmidt. 107-110 as Bonnies coach.

Siena: Jimmy Patsos. 20-19 as Saints coach.

Key players for Siena:

Rob Poole- 6-6 senior guard. Poole was the team’s leading scorer last year with 14.6 points a game and has averaged 20 over the team’s first two games. One thing that jumps out on his highlight tape is that he doesn’t settle for bad jumpers. He’s aggressive, using his size to burrow his way to the hoop for a layup or to create his own shot if he can’t get inside. He has also made steady improvement defensively, going from 3.3 rebounds his freshman year to five boards a contest last season. Poole is a lethal threat on offense and an impact player on D, and containing him is going to be a main priority for the Bonnies.

Brett Bisping- 6-8 junior forward. Bisping has struggled in the Saints’ first two games, but that doesn’t change the fact that he has double-double potential on any given night. He averaged 11.5 points and 6.5 rebounds a game last season, with 18 games of 10-plus points and five-plus rebounds. He’s not a consistent three-point threat, but he made 31.6% of his chances from behind the arc last year so you can’t rule out the possibility. Bisping’s ability to stuff the stat sheet makes him a dangerous forward to watch for.

Marquis Wright- 6-foot sophomore guard. The hero of last year’s game, Wright fits the role of an efficient point guard, with 8.7 points and five assists a game and 42% shooting last year. As a sophomore, he has more experience and showed increased care in protecting the ball in the first two games this season. Wright isn’t the go-to scoring option on this team, but he will be counted on to facilitate.

Keys to victory for Siena: The Saints will need to fix a couple of things that put them in an 0-2 hole if they hope to get their first win of the season. Firstly, they need to have better perimeter defense. Their first two opponents, UMass and Vermont, were a combined 11-26 from three-point land, a 42.3% clip. Bonaventure went 9-21 from behind the arc in their season-opening win over Dartmouth, with Jaylen and Jalen Adams going 6-7. With potent shooters like those, Siena needs to close out hard and deny them the good looks they were getting on Saturday. Getting Poole the ball is obviously essential as well. He has the size advantage over Bonaventure’s guards, so he will have to use that to his advantage. The athletic Bonnies will go on some runs, so Poole is going to have to score in bunches to keep the Saints in the game.

Keys to victory for St. Bonaventure: Bonaventure has to continue to share the ball. Mark Schmidt’s mantra is that every player is going to have his day in the sun, so they have to be unselfish and let it happen. If they’re swinging the ball and getting everyone involved, the Bonnies are a tough team to beat, especially with this much depth and talent. Drawing fouls will also be a path to victory. The Saints committed 63 fouls in the first two games, giving UMass and Siena a combined 90 free throws. The Bonnies got to the line with some regularity in the first game, shooting 22 free throws; Andell Cumberbatch scored six of his ten points from the stripe. Schmidt should be imploring his team to attack the basket tonight and see if Siena continues to play with a lack of discipline. Rebounding is the key on defense.

Youssou Ndoye’s absence led to some understandable struggles on the glass against Dartmouth, but he’s back and ready to grab those boards. Ndoye’s improvement is one of the main reasons SBU will win this game. He committed four turnovers in last year’s loss to the Saints, including a travel on the last Bonaventure possession to set up Wright’s game-winner. The Atlantic 10 Tournament sparked a change, however, and Ndoye has played with much more control since then. He’s going to have a big game tonight, leading the Bonnies to victory in another close Franciscan Cup rivalry game.

The Prediction: 75-68 Bonnies

maggioct13@bonaventure.edu

Adams and Adams lead #Bonnies to victory

By Jeff Fasoldt @Jeff_Fasoldt

The St. Bonaventure University Bonnies defeated the Dartmouth Big Green in front of a jam-packed Reilly Center crowd Saturday evening, to start the season off with a win.

Marcus Posley, who was second in scoring to Dion Wright in the Bonnies exhibition win last weekend over Mansfield had another dominate game as he went 7 for 16 from the field, with 16 points, including two three-pointers—both in the first half.

Wright had another solid, consistent game as well going for 14 points on 6-13 shooting.

The first half was a struggle for the brown and white as sloppy turnovers only left them with a one-point lead on a miserable 31-percent from the field over the Ivy League Dartmouth after 20 minutes. But, luckily for the Bonnies—freshmen Adams and Adams stole the show of their first game as college basketball players in the second half.

Point-guard Jaylen Adams went 4-5 from beyond the arc in the second half and finished tied with Posley for a team-leading 16 points.

“Coach put a lot of confidence in me and I just went out there and played basketball,” said Adams. “My team kept my head up and kept me positive and we just went out and played a way better second half.”

Shooting-guard Jalen Adams went 2-2 from beyond the arc and finished with 11 points while the Bonnies shot an incredible 48-percent in the second half.

“I just had to wait my turn,” said Adams. “Marcus (Posley) was doing good and so was the rest of the team so when they needed someone off the bench to bring some energy I guess I was that guy.”

Andell Cumberbatch was the leader for Bonaventure on the boards as he grabbed 10 rebounds and recorded 10 points for the double-double.

It’s worth noting that starting center Youssou Ndoye was suspended for this game due to his involvement in an impermissible summer league game, and Denzel Gregg missed this game and will sit out the next five for an unidentified violation of team rules.

“It’s next man up,” said Bonaventure head coach, Mark Schmidt. “You can’t worry about who’s not playing.”

St. Bonaventure’s next game will be against a tough Siena team in the battle of the Franciscan Cup on Wednesday at 7 p.m. in the Reilly Center. Siena beat the Bonnies on a last-second shot last season at the Times-Union Center.

Adams prepares for game action

By Chuckie Maggio, @chuckiemaggio

After a year of watching and waiting, one of the most highly-anticipated Bonaventure recruits in recent memory is ready to take off.

Anyone who’s seen Jalen Adams attack the rim knows “take off” is literal in a sense; the 6-5 guard from Saginaw, Michigan has a 40-inch vertical leap. To compare, Harrison Barnes’s vertical at the 2012 NBA Combine was 38 inches.

That athleticism helped Adams average 25 points in his senior year at Arthur Hill High School, located about an hour and a half outside of Detroit. His team finished 19-4 that year and won the Saginaw Valley League championship, while his play earned him a spot on the Associated Press Class A All-State team. He was also named The Saginaw News Boys Basketball Player of the Year.

Adams was recruited by a bevy of major Division I schools, including Michigan, Villanova and USC, before choosing St. Bonaventure.

Unfortunately for Adams, he would have to redshirt for the 2013-14 season after being ruled academically ineligible. He was still able to practice with the team and develop as a player, but he was not able to play in games.

“I was crushed,” he said. “Sometimes we were down and I feel like I could have done something to help out. I felt like I wasn’t there for my team, but it really opened my eyes for this year.

“I feel like I can fill out the things we didn’t do last year. I thought I could’ve helped out on defense with rebounding, getting a steal and pressuring the ball. I also could have helped out by getting a bucket when we needed one.”

Adams’s defense has not been highlighted as much as his offense, but he thinks his entire game is being overlooked a bit.

“To be honest, I think I’m underrated at everything,” he said. “People have seen me play in a scrimmage but they haven’t seen me in action against another team. The first game is my first chance to show what I can do. I’m not backing down from anybody or any challenge; if the team needs me to do something, I’m going to do it.”

What’s not clear is if the first chance will come off the jump or off the bench. Coach Mark Schmidt hasn’t given any indication on who will start, but Adams says it doesn’t matter.

Continue reading “Adams prepares for game action”

Men’s basketball: #Bonnies’ Adams to use redshirt year to improve

By Joe Pinter, @JPinter93

It took until the last day of the regular signing period for Mark Schmidt to see the ink dry on Jalen Adams’ National Letter of Intent.

Fittingly, it took until the last minute for St. Bonaventure Bonnies fans to be notified that Adams wouldn’t be participating in the 2013-14 season.

Adams drew serious interest from USC, DePaul, Villanova, Iowa and Nebraska but chose to sign with the Bonnies. He won’t, however, get to help the Bonnies win any games during this upcoming season.

Bonaventure’s athletics department sent out a press release the morning of the Nov. 2 exhibition game vs. Mansfield informing fans of Adams’ ineligibility.

“Jalen will use this ‘redshirt’ year to get stronger physically for the rigors of Atlantic 10 basketball, to learn our system and to develop his game,” Schmidt said.  “Long term,this is the best thing for Jalen.”

Continue reading “Men’s basketball: #Bonnies’ Adams to use redshirt year to improve”