Taqqee staying level-headed with high expectations

By Mike Hogan

Idris Taqqee has seen a great amount of action on the floor during his Bonnies career. Playing since his freshman year, Taqqee has experienced all the ups-and-downs of Bonas basketball.

Reporter Mike Hogan sat down with Taqqee to discuss his emotions going into his senior year, his thoughts about the higher expectations, and his basketball future.

 

Big news for you as you were just named a captain, how do you feel about that accomplishment?

 

Taqqee: I’m excited that my teammates have trusted me, and I am really excited to lead them every possession on the court.

 

You’re going into your last season as a Bonnie, what are your emotions in regards to that? How do you wish to be remembered here?

 

Taqqee: I just wish to be remembered for everything that I’ve done well and everything that I have worked on. It’s definitely bitter sweet that it’s my last year, but there’s a lot of things that we want to accomplish and we’re all going to work towards it together.

 

What kinds of things did you work on this offseason? What did you improve on the most?

 

Taqqee: I improved on consistency the most. I worked on every single aspect of my game from rebounding, ball handling, off the ball cutting, I can go on for days about what I worked on, but being consistent was huge.

 

What are the expectations for this year’s squad? What’s the vibe of the locker room?

 

Taqqee: The sky is the limit. We know that we have the capability to do anything that we put our minds to. We know everyone is talking A-10 tournament and the NCAA tournament, but we think we can go beyond that. Above and beyond.

 

In previous years you guys were ranked towards the bottom of the pack in the A-10, with the raised expectations this year how is the team handling them?

 

Taqqee: It’s definitely exciting. I have been here and have been able to grow with change. I’m happy and I am excited to see that, but it’s something where you just have to keep that same approach where nothing has changed. Nothing is guaranteed at the end of the day, but it’s definitely good to see the buzz and excitement.

 

What would it be like for you and the other seniors on this team to go out in your last season’s here making the NCAA tournament?

 

Taqqee: It’d be great man. All of the hard work would pay off, because there’s been a lot of hours spent in that gym. It’s something that I’ve had my eyes on.

 

What are you looking at after Bonaventure, are you looking to keep playing basketball?

 

Taqqee: Yeah, I want to keep playing basketball for as long as I can. I would play basketball for the rest of my life if I could.

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With injuries behind him, Stockard ready to prove the doubters wrong

By Mike Hogan

Courtney Stockard is no stranger to adversity.

The junior-transfer forward has suffered not one, but two major foot injuries that have kept him out for his first two seasons so far here at St. Bonaventure University. The addition of Stockard a few seasons ago brought along a lot of hype, but the momentum was halted by injury setbacks.

That is, until Stockard returned to the court last Saturday in an exhibition win against Alfred University. Stockard scored 20 points and shot 6-7 from the field, while adding a steal in his first on-court action in 32 months.   

Reporter Mike Hogan sat down with Stockard to discuss his journey back and his vision for his remaining time at St. Bonaventure.

Your Bonaventure career has previously been put on hold due to two serious foot injuries, what were these setbacks like for you and what did you learn about yourself?

Stockard: I learned how mentally tough I am. Sitting out for two years, watching the team has made me mentally tough and let me see the game from a different perspective.

What was the rehab process like during both injuries?

Stockard: It was a very long process. I’m glad that I’ve gotten through it. I’m glad it’s over, and I’m glad that I’m able to go back out there and compete.

What is one thing that you want to tell the fans that may think that you’re not the same player anymore after going through these injuries?

Stockard: Just that I’ve put in the work. I have faith in the process, and I have faith in my skill set. I put in enough work to help me get back to that player I once was.

In what ways are you looking to contribute to this year’s squad?

Stockard: I just want to be the guy that will give us a lift on defense. I want to be able to take some of the scoring burden off of Jaylen Adams and Matt Mobley when they are getting keyed in on. I’ll just bring energy to the floor.

Now that you are back and healthy, what are you looking to accomplish overall during the rest of your time here at Bonaventure? And what do you think about the higher expectations for this team?

Stockard: My biggest goal is getting to the tournament with this group of guys. We want to develop that brotherhood, it’s a team goal. We’re thankful that everyone is realizing the talent that we have, but we don’t really feed into it. We’ve kept the same mindset that we’ve had in the past. We just have to stay hungry and treat it like we’re ranked last.

Mens basketball: Quick Hitters (Dayton)

By Jeff Fasoldt @Jeff_Fasoldt

The end of a season: Like every conference tournament in college basketball, only one team and its fans goes home happy. This year it was not St. Bonaventure, and it’s students and loyal alumni who showed up in the masses to support their team. However, finishing 18-14 with tremendous careers from Chris Dees, Andell Cumberbatch and Youssou Ndoye is nothing to hang your head too long about. Next year, Jay adams will be back as he missed the whole tourney and a large part of the latter half of the season with a broken finger. Dion Wright will be back, and so will most of the core of this Bonnies team so don’t worry Bonnies fans, the future is bright.

Hot shooting not enough: All season long the Bonnies have struggled to make shots from outside, leading teams to play zone against them to negate the big men, Ndoye and Wright, inside. Today was a different story. The Bonnies shot 67 percent from the field in the first half, and 58 percent overall in the game. Wright and Posley accounted for 50 of the Bonnies 71 points.

Wright for three: Dion Wright had made one three pointer all season long. Tonight he went 4-5 from three and 10-11 from the field, playing in all 40 minutes. And, if that wasn’t enough he also led the Bonnies in rebounds with nine.

Ndoye’s struggles: Youssou Ndoye had a nightmare of a time facing Dayton’s Kendall Pollard. Pollard held Ndoye to just four points in the game. Ndoye did pick up eight rebounds but his scoring was missed down low.

Sibert steps up: Jordan Sibert is an NBA-caliber player on this Dayton team. Tonight he went 5-12 for 19 points. He also hit the biggest three of the game, a dagger that put Dayton up by two with just seconds to play and ultimately the final blow to end St. Bonaventure’s season.

Quotes:

Jordan Sibert: “We just wanted to get the ball out of Posley’s hands.” (talking about last play of the game)

“Kendall did a great job being aggressive.” “We piggybacked off his energy.

Archie Miller: “We didn’t talk about it.”  (on attempting to beat a team three times on the season. “The one thing about beating a team twice in the regular season in my opinion is you beat them twice so you can do it again.”

“Dion Wright from three threw a monkey-wrench into what we were doing.” 

Mark Schmidt: “I thought that Dion couldn’t have played better. Marcus couldn’t have played better.” “Im really proud of our guys, disappointed about how it ended, but I can’t complain about the effort.” 

 

 

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.

Men’s basketball: #Bonnies Vs. Mansfield Quick-Hitters

By Jeff Fasoldt @jeff_fasoldt

Here are some quick-hitters from St. Bonaventure’s 86-45 exhibition victory over D-II Mansfield.

Dominate D: The Bonnies started out in a man-to-man full-court press to start the game and it was enough to suffocate the Mansfield offense and accumulate key turnovers. The Mountaineers had a lot of trouble hanging on to the ball as they committed an astounding 28 turnovers. And, give your Bonnies credit, they had 14 steals.

Dion gets buckets: Dion Wright was a force at the 4-spot for the Bonnies. He went 10 for 12 from the field for 20 points and also had six rebounds for the brown and white. Marcus Posley was second for the Bonnies in points as he went 4-9 from the field for 14.

Everybody gets a slice: Head coach Mark Schmidt used all of his scholarship players in this exhibition and 10 of the 12 players that saw court time recorded at least one field goal.

There’s always a second chance:  While the Bonnies shot well from the field, close to 50-percent, they capitalized heavily off of second-chance points off of 17 rebounds on the offensive glass.

Idris for 3: Idris Taqqee, a fresh recruit for the Bonnies from Cushing Academy, was nothing but impressive in his debut. Last season Bonaventure had it’s struggles from three-point land and they desperately need someone to fill in this season as there key shooter. Taqqee went 2-4 from beyond the arc, hitting two of Bonaventure’s three field goals. Marcus Posley had two, and Jaylen Adams had the other one.

Have to take whats free: In what was a blowout victory for the Bonnies, there was one weak spot. The Bonnies were only 9 for 19 from the line, a mere 49-percent. Last season, missed free-throws seemed to hurt the Bonnies down the stretch in the middle of the season. One exhibition game is not enough to judge how good the Bonnies will be from the line this year but hopefullytheyt will be better than last year.

Key quotes:

“I thought the performance was a good one. I thought we got what we wanted out of the game.” – Bonnies head coach, Mark Schmidt

“The competition’s going to get better.” “I thought our guys played well and hopefully it gives them some confidence going into Dartmouth.” – Schmidt

“We’ll be more athletic than some teams (like Mansfield) but there will definitely be teams that are more athletic than us.” – Schmidt

“The big question for our team is our backcourt, losing to key guys last year, we’ll see who steps up” -Schmidt

 

 

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: #Bonnies beat Saint Louis, advance to semifinals

By Chuckie Maggio, @ChuckieMaggio

With 20 seconds on the clock and the game knotted at 68, the St. Bonaventure Bonnies had the ball with a chance to win the game.

Bonnies point guard Charlon Kloof took a couple slow dribbles down the court, trying to plan his attack to the basket. He drove, was engulfed by two defenders and passed the ball out to Jordan Gathers at the top of the key.

What happened next will go down in Bonaventure lore. Gathers jumped, let it fly- and watched as the ball swished in as the buzzer sounded. The nine-seeded Bonnies had pulled off the upset over the top-seeded Saint Louis Billikens, 71-68. The crowd erupted as the players mobbed Gathers. He may not have been the leading scorer (he scored five points), but no one would remember that after this one. Gathers was the hero.

“When I let it go, I knew it was going in,” Gathers said. “Charlon gave me a great pass and I just tried to make a play.”

Gathers, just like every player, had dreamed this scenario before countless times in his head.

“It’s every player’s dream to hit the big shot there. I give all the glory to God,” he said.

Continue reading “Men’s basketball: #Bonnies beat Saint Louis, advance to semifinals”

Men’s basketball: #Bonnies preview against La Salle

By Chuckie Maggio

Today at 9 p.m., a nationally televised contest will take center stage in Olean, N.Y. as the 11-7 St. Bonaventure Bonnies host the 11-6 LaSalle Explorers. The Bonnies look to snap their three-game losing streak while the Explorers hope to continue their five-game win streak. The game will be televised on CBS College Sports Network.

Last year, these teams played an overtime classic at the Reilly Center, with LaSalle winning 69-66. That kind of close battle may take place again tonight, coming down to the wire. Who will have the upper hand? Let’s break it down! 

The Coaches:

St. Bonaventure: Mark Schmidt. 99-102 as St. Bonaventure coach, 3-5 vs LaSalle

La Salle: John Giannini. 154-144 as LaSalle coach (10th season)

Key players for La Salle:

Tyreek Duren – 6-0 senior guard. Leads team in scoring with 14.1 points per game. Streaky shooter. Team is 10-4 when he scores in double-digits, 1-2 when he fails to score ten or more. Led team in scoring during their Sweet 16 run in 2013.

Steve Zack – 6-11 junior center. Leads Atlantic 10 in rebounds per game with 9.7 while adding 10 points per game. Excellent defender with good mobility and agility for a big man—more than capable of getting a double-double on any given night, which can make him a nightmare for opposing coaches to game plan against. Marketing major with high basketball IQ.

Jerrell Wright – 6-8 junior forward. Complements Zack in the post with 12.9 points per game and 6.1 rebounds a contest. Shoots very well from the field shooting 58.6 percent. Gets to the line often but struggles to convert; only making 56 percent of his free throws this season. Wright is a powerful defender who boxes out well and has great fundamentals on both sides of the floor.

Tyrone Garland – 6-1 senior guard. Second on the team in scoring with 13.9 PPG while averaging 2.3 assists. Transfer from Virginia Tech with excellent scoring ability and defensive play. Last year, his first at La Salle, his Southwest Philly floater with two seconds on the clock beat Ole Miss and carried the Explorers into the Sweet 16. Has the potential to make a big impact on this game with his playmaking ability and quick first step.

Keys to Victory:

St. Bonaventure: The Bonnies have a couple crucial keys if they hope to win this game. The first is perhaps the most obvious: they need to have a strong second half. Anyone who has watched a Bonnies game this year knows they’ve jumped out to a great start and struggled in the waning moments. Dion Wright even brought that up in last week’s feature story. They’ve lost their seven games by an average of 6.5 points, which means they simply have to finish. If they jump out to a lead going into halftime, that lead has to be sustained by playing hard and smart for 40 minutes.

The next key is for Charlon Kloof to avoid early foul trouble. The last few games Kloof has picked up a couple quick ones and been forced to sit for a while. His importance to this team is unquestioned. He’s the senior leader, and this team goes how he goes. It would be great for Bonaventure’s chances if he could play the whole game without foul trouble, only being subbed out when he physically needs a breather. If No. 3 is on the court, the Bonnies have a great shot at victory.

LaSalle: For La Salle to win in the hostile Reilly Center, they need to win the rebounding category. When you beat Bonaventure on the boards, you usually win the ballgame, and the stats back it up: in the Bonnies have been outrebounded in five of their seven losses this year.

Another key for the Explorers is to get a strong game out of Steve Zack. If Zack can control the glass and give Bonaventure’s forwards fits, La Salle is in good shape and the Bonnies are in trouble. He and Youssou Ndoye both run the floor well, which should make for a good center battle.

The Prediction: A 9 p.m. game in the Reilly Center just seems like a disaster for La Salle. The Bonaventure Wolfpack will be in full force, and they’ll be ready to heckle the Explorers right out of the gym. Charlon Kloof and Marquise Simmons will come ready to play, Tyrone Garland will be contained by the Bonnies’ D, and Mark Schmidt will win his 100th game as St. Bonaventure coach.

St. Bonaventure 72, La Salle 63