Pro Bonnies have huge opportunity at NBA Summer League

By. Isaiah Blakely

The St. Bonaventure men’s basketball program will be well represented in this year’s NBA Summer League

While, the Bonnies backcourt duo of Jaylen Adams and Matt Mobley  went undrafted, they were signed by teams. Adams was signed by the Atlanta Hawks on a two-way deal which means he will most likely be playing a lot of his games with the Hawks’ Gatorade-League (G-League) affiliate the Erie Bayhawks. Players who sign two-way contracts can spend no more than 45 days with the NBA team that signed them to a two-way deal.

Meanwhile, the Utah Jazz signed Mobley to play on their summer league team. The Jazz were one of the teams to bring Mobley in during the pre-draft process for a workout which obviously went well enough to where they wanted to take a closer look at him this summer.

Both Mobley and Adams’ pro careers start this evening in Utah and will have the chance to play each other in the last game of summer league in Utah on July 5 before the Las Vegas Summer League begins on July 6.

The Denver Nuggets signed 2016 graduate, guard Marcus Posley, who was a major contributor for the Bonnies in 2015 and 2016. While Posley also went undrafted in the 2016 NBA draft, he was selected in the NBA Development League (Now Gatorade League) Draft with the 22nd pick of  the second round by the Sioux Falls Skyforce, a Miami Heat affiliate. Posley averaged almost 10 points a game. This past season he played in Greece with Koroivos.

Additionally, former SBU forward Demetrius Conger, who graduated in 2013 was signed to play on the Boston Celtics summer league team. Conger has played in a variety of countries overseas including Italy, Greece and Australia, among others. He recently signed with Joventut Badalona in Spain. Conger and Posley play against each other on July 7 in Las Vegas. On July 8, playoffs begin.

All four Bonnies have an opportunity make an NBA team or at least potentially play with an NBA team’s G-League affiliate.

Adams has the most job security because he signed a two-way contract.

The Hawks summer league roster contains a lot of guards so it will be interesting to see how much time Adams gets this summer. But playing right away in summer league for Adams is not as important as it is for Mobley.

The Jazz have a few roster spots open and potentially have some availability at the guard position if guards Dante Exum and or Raul Neto (both restricted free agents) do not come back to the Jazz. Mobley should get some playing time potentially behind the Jazz’s first round pick Grayson Allen. Half of the Jazz’s roster are players from non-Power 5 conferences so you expect the Jazz to give all those guys including Mobley a fair shot to prove that they can either make their roster or make a good impression for another team and make their roster.

Posley has the potential to get a solid amount of playing time for the Nuggets because he is one of only three point guards on the roster. The Nuggets’ roster looks pretty solid right now but there could be a spot at the end of the bench for another point guard. In all likelihood Posley is looking to impress another team and show that he has improved since his rookie year in the G-League.

Conger presents an interesting case because he may be looking for an NBA roster spot or he’ll play another year overseas. Having signed with Joventut Badalona in March, if he doesn’t get offered an NBA contract Conger is most likely going back to Spain. For Conger, being on the Celtics summer league team means he’s trying out for other teams. There is one roster spot right now so it would take quite the performance from Conger or any of the players in summer league to make the Celtics roster. This summer league team is full of wing players and so there will probably be a lot of small-ball being played which will allow Conger to show off his versatility. Conger’s success oversees should ensure that he gets minutes to show off his skills against NBA players. The 6-foot-6 forward definitely has a shot to stick in the NBA being an athlete wing is a skillset that teams like.

 

With four players competing in summer league for NBA jobs, these are the times that serve as a reminder of how far the Bonnies program has come, and how it continues trending in the right direction.

 

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NBA: Nicholson deal has many positives; “unlikely” Posley plays summer league

By Chuckie Maggio @chuckiemaggio

A few noteworthy items regarding Bonnies and the NBA…

Bona Nation rejoiced when Andrew Nicholson agreed to a four-year, $26 million deal with the Washington Wizards, and for good reason.

Nicholson’s time in Orlando was marked by frustration. After playing in 151 of 164 possible games his rookie and sophomore campaigns, and starting 33 of them, the man who led Bonaventure to the 2012 Atlantic 10 championship played in just 96 of 164 in his final two years with the Magic.

After Jacque Vaughn was fired on Feb. 5, 2015, the hiring of Scott Skiles had some optimistic Nicholson would play more consistently, but he still got a “Did Not Play (Coach’s Decision)” in many contests.

The fresh start in our nation’s capital is promising for many reasons. The most obvious plus is that Nicholson is much more likely to play on a nightly basis with the Wiz. He will back up Markieff Morris, who was traded from Phoenix at February’s trade deadline. You don’t make a guy your sixth-highest paid player (only John Wall, Ian Mahinmi, Bradley Beal, Marcin Gortat and Morris will make more) to have him sit the bench for 48 minutes.

In addition, the Bonnies fans who have rooted for no. 44 the past eight years will be rewarded with many more opportunities to watch him on television.

The Magic made two national TV appearances over the past four years, the most recent one an April 13 ESPN game at Charlotte that Nicholson played the last 3:44 of. The Wizards played 16 regular-season national TV games over the past four years, in addition to 21 playoff games in 2014 and ’15. Better team means more TV time.

I also expect playing with superstar point guard John Wall to have a positive impact on Nicholson’s growth as a player. The 25-year-old Wall is a three-time All-Star who finished third in the league in assists this past season with 10.2 a game. He also averaged 19.9 points a game, making him one of four point guards to average a double-double (Rajon Rondo, Russell Westbrook and Chris Paul are the other three).

With a guard like Wall running the show and a team that has made the postseason two out of the last three seasons, the 6-foot-9 Nicholson is in a great situation with Washington. You might see him facing off with LeBron’s Cavaliers in the playoffs next May.

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The Wizards were also interested in another SBU alum, Marcus Posley, a couple weeks ago. Unlike Nicholson, however, this one didn’t end with a deal.

Sources say Washington, impressed by Posley’s pre-draft workout, offered him a spot on their roster for the Las Vegas Summer League. Posley’s agent, Gilad Berkowitz of Berkowitz Career Ventures, decided to wait for other teams to offer. The other offers never came, and Washington moved on, finding other players to fill their remaining slots.

Posley’s 1321 points in three D-I seasons, along with his 47-point showcase against St. Joe’s, figured to be enough to garner more NBA attention. Unfortunately for him, any summer league action looks unlikely now, barring a last-minute offer.

Column: Wright and Posley had impactful, unforgettable SBU careers

(Photo Credit: Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

By Chuckie Maggio @chuckiemaggio

Sometimes in sports, the sounds are a major accompaniment to our memories.

When Bonnies senior forward Dion Wright made a layup to cut the Wagner lead to just three points at the 3:57 mark in last Wednesday night’s NIT game, the Reilly Center crowd went into a frenzy. Likewise with guard Marcus Posley’s deep, desperation three to bring the deficit back to three with a second left.

The RC crowd was fantastic in the last game of the season, but another sound was also prevalent after those made baskets, for the final time: public address announcer Adam Bennett’s calls of “Dion Wrrrrright” and “Three! Marcus Pooooosley.”

Wright’s name was called after a made basket 246 times in his home (or Blue Cross Arena) career, while Posley’s was called 191 times. The announcements became less like mandatory PA duties and more like a soundtrack to the last few years of Bona basketball.

Continue reading “Column: Wright and Posley had impactful, unforgettable SBU careers”

Men’s basketball: Posley’s 47-point performance powers Bonnies over Hawks

(Photo Credit: GoBonnies.com)

By Chuckie Maggio @chuckiemaggio

After St. Bonaventure senior Marcus Posley’s shot-clock-beating jumper off the pass from Idris Taqqee swished through the net, he responded with a Jordan-esque shrug.

Posley would shrug several more times in the press room after the game, trying his best to describe a 47-point performance in one of his team’s biggest games of the year. He had produced a masterpiece in leading his team to a 98-90 victory over St. Joe’s in Rochester’s Blue Cross Arena, potentially stamping an NCAA Tournament berth in the process.

“It’s an unbelievable experience,” the guard said. “We executed the game plan going into the game, but lucky for me, I had the hot hand early.”

No hand has been hotter in a game in Division I men’s basketball this year, as Posley’s 47 are the most a player has scored. In fact, only three players have scored more points in a game in Bonaventure history. Bob Lanier scored 51 against Seton Hall and 50 at Purdue in 1969, while Tom Stith had 48 at Manhattan in 1959.

“I’ve been doing this for a long, long time,” said Bonnies coach Mark Schmidt. “That’s the best performance that I’ve seen on the sideline as a head coach or assistant coach. That was just incredible.”

Continue reading “Men’s basketball: Posley’s 47-point performance powers Bonnies over Hawks”

Men’s basketball: The day the Bona backcourt was made

(Marcus Posley and Jaylen Adams Photo Credit: GoBonnies.com)

By Chuckie Maggio @chuckiemaggio

In mid-April 2014, the St. Bonaventure men’s basketball team had work to do on the recruiting trail.

The Bona program announced on April 16 of that year that sophomores Matthias Runs and Jean Yves Toupane would be leaving the school. That gave coach Mark Schmidt and his staff two vacant slots for the 2014-15 team.

On the same day, Schmidt filled those slots- and changed the course of the Bona basketball program.

Continue reading “Men’s basketball: The day the Bona backcourt was made”

Marcus Posley named Intrepid Male Athlete of the Year

(Photo Credit: GoBonnies.com)

St. Bonaventure men’s basketball guard Marcus Posley has been voted the Intrepid’s inaugural Male Athlete of the Year.

The award was voted on by 13 Intrepid sports staffers, who were allowed to select any Division I Bona athlete. Posley received three votes, while senior swimmer Michael Pilyugin got two and eight athletes got one vote each: sophomore basketball player Jaylen Adams, senior soccer player Bobby Diaz, baseball graduate Steve Klimek, swimming graduate Vatslav Lets, swimming graduate James Martin, basketball graduate Youssou Ndoye, sophomore baseball player Cole Peterson and senior basketball player Dion Wright.

Posley was the team’s go-to scorer throughout 2015, his first full calendar year with the team. The 6-foot senior averaged 15.7 points a game on 36 percent shooting in conference play last season. He averaged 37.4 minutes, 2.8 rebounds and 2.1 assists a game while recording a steal a contest as well. His performance led to a spot on the All-Atlantic 10 third team after he tied for fourth in the league in scoring.

Posley has averaged 17 points a game on 36.8 percent shooting so far this season, finishing out non-conference play a smidgen below Dion Wright in scoring (three points, to be exact). The Rockford, Ill. native has upped his rebounding (4.1 boards a game) and passing (3.5 assists a game) numbers and is 86 percent from the foul line, the best of any teammate who has attempted at least 30 shots from the stripe.

The player nicknamed “MP3” by teammates and fans didn’t win this honor by statistics alone, however; he helped create some unforgettable moments this year that will go down in St. Bonaventure lore.

The MP3 moment that looms largest in the minds of Bonnies fans is the buzzer-beater to beat the no. 18 VCU Rams at the Reilly Center on Feb. 7. The degree of difficulty on the shot, an off-balance, up-and-under layup that Posley had to weave through two taller defenders to get off before falling out of bounds, was about as high as it gets. The payoff of such a significant upset over a Shaka Smart-coached team that made the NCAA Tournament was pretty sweet too; the students stormed the court and the highlight was third on Sportscenter’s top plays.

That game-winner may have been the most significant, but Bona’s Mr. Big Shot had other winning plays throughout the year. Three days before the VCU game, Posley beat the buzzer at Davidson to end the Wildcats’ 15-game home winning streak. Two weeks before that, Bonaventure was trailing by 11 with 2:48 remaining at Duquesne before he scored 12 points in the final 2:35 of regulation to lead the Bonnies into overtime in a game they ended up winning 100-97.

Posley’s heroics last season were phenomenal, but SBU needed his clutch gene one more time before the calendar rolled over to 2016. On Dec. 2 at Buffalo, the guard hit the game-winning jumper with 10 seconds left to end a six-minute, 14-second stretch where the brown and white did not score a point and saw an eight-point lead evaporate.

If the Bonnies had the ball and a chance to win the game this year, they were in good hands with Marcus Posley on the floor. For all of his big-game heroics and thrilling three-point barrages, he is a worthy Male Athlete of the Year.

Men’s basketball: Posley powers Bonnies past Canisius

(Photo credit: GoBonnies.com)

By Chuckie Maggio @chuckiemaggio

If this had been an NBA Jam video game, Marcus Posley would have been on fire for most of the second half.

Posley scored 17 in the second half, including 10 in a two-and-a-half minute stretch, to give himself 35 for the game and help power the St. Bonaventure Bonnies past the Canisius Golden Griffins, 77-73.

The 35-point performance will put Posley down in the 95-year-old rivalry’s lore. While some of the older box scores are not immediately available on the internet, no Bonnie has scored more points against Canisius in at least the last 15 years.

For the 6-foot guard, who was a head-scratching 5-of-26 from the field in the first two games of the season before scoring 26 against Loyola, the Canisius game was a reminder of how near-unstoppable he gets when he’s really feeling it.

It wasn’t just his Posley’s jumper this time around, either; five of his 11 made baskets were layups, and he also made all nine of his free throw attempts. The attacking mentality is becoming more and more a part of his game, and Bona is clearly benefiting from that mindset.

“The game was just coming to us tonight, and lucky me, I had the hot hand,” Posley said. “The guys were feeding me the ball and playing off me, and it’s a good feeling to get shots like that and bounce back from the last couple games. I was actually able to do some things for my teammates tonight.”

Posley’s scoring was a necessity, but his senior leadership was as well. Even with a fragmented Canisius student section due to most students leaving for Thanksgiving break, fans of both teams made the game a high-energy environment, imploring their players to victory. And when fellow senior Dion Wright picked up two fouls in the first four minutes of the game, Posley and junior forward Denzel Gregg found themselves as the only upperclassmen on the court on a very young team.

All three true freshmen played double-digit minutes. Forward Derrick Woods started as usual and played 30 minutes, scoring nine points; his previous highs were 17 minutes and six points. Guard Nelson Kaputo actually played his season-low, but still totaled 13 minutes with three points and three assists. Forward LaDarien Griffin was the most notable of the first-year players, however. Due to the foul trouble, he played 10 minutes, scoring two points and grabbing two boards; he had only played one minute in each of the previous three games.

“With them being on the floor, my main thing was just making sure they got the jitters out and they were being focused, just sticking to the gameplan and what we learned,” Posley said.

“I’m proud of those guys, they came in and contributed a lot.”

Everyone had to contribute, but in the end, most of the burden is on Posley’s shoulders. He understands that, and he was up to the task Tuesday night.

“I’m a senior on the floor,” he said. “The coaches look for me to be a leader out there and they look at me to carry the team.

“I just had to handle my responsibilities.”

Men’s basketball: Bonnies know not to overlook Greyhounds

By Chuckie Maggio @chuckiemaggio

The St. Bonaventure Bonnies shouldn’t need any extra motivation to come out strong against Loyola Maryland tonight, but if they did, the coaching staff could easily use last year as a case study.

Last season’s non-conference slate was a tumultuous one for Bona. A little more than a week after a highly competitive contest against ACC power Pittsburgh in which the team displayed one of its best efforts of the season, the brown and white went into a brief holiday tailspin, losing by two at home to Maryland-Eastern Shore on Dec. 22 and faltering by five at previously winless Delaware on Dec. 30. Those two games, among others, likely cost the Bonnies a postseason berth.

Tonight, Bonaventure plays in its first game since Tuesday’s game against Syracuse. Like the Pitt game last season, SBU led at the half on the road, only to lose in the final stages. Now, it faces a team it will be expected to beat and cannot afford an Eastern Shore-like disappointment in front of the home fans tonight.

Loyola was picked seventh in the Patriot League and has started the season 1-2, but this game won’t be a cakewalk. The Greyhounds have four players who average double-digit points per game, with senior forward Jarred Jones leading the way at 19.3. Jones has made 20 of his 38 shots from the field to start the season and has already been to the free throw line 23 times, making 18 of those. He’s also the leading rebounder at 10.7 a contest; luckily for Bona he is only 6-foot-7.

“They have a pretty good team, watching them on film,” said guard Marcus Posley. “They’ve got some guys that can shoot the ball (and) they have some pretty good scorers. (We just) need to stick to our keys that the coaches have been beating in our heads from day one on defense.”

“They share the ball,” said Bona head coach Mark Schmidt. “There’s not one guy you can concentrate on; you’ve got to play each guy.

“There’s not one guy you can double team. They share the ball and that’s why they’re good.”

For the Bonnies to win tonight, Posley will have to start getting back into the flow offensively. He’s only played two games, but the numbers are brutal: seven points per game, 5-of-26 from the floor, 4-of-18 from three.

For Posley, who scored 38 points in his first two games last season on 13-of-33 shooting, the start has been far from ideal, but the only remedy is to work through it.

“(I’ve got to) try not to think about it too much, try to not let the pressure get to me too much,” he said. “Having fun is the main thing. If you’re playing tight, you’re just bound to make mistakes.

“I feel like I’ve been a little tentative the last two games. I just need to attack, stop settling, the same stuff the coaches have been telling me…I’m looking forward to turning it around.”

Last time Posley was in a shooting funk like this, he snapped out of it with 29 points against Duquesne. The Rockford, Ill. native said this could be a “breakout game” for him.

“If we stick what we know, we should pull the game out.”