Nicholson returns to the RC; talks pro career and life overseas

photo courtesy of gobonnies.sbu.edu

By Jeff Uveino

ST. BONAVENTURE, NY — The last time Andrew Nicholson was in the Reilly Center, a banner with his last name and former jersey number was unveiled from the rafters of the building.

On Wednesday night, Nicholson returned to a greeting that was similar to the one he received when his number 44 was retired by the St. Bonaventure men’s basketball program in 2016.

The RC gave a standing ovation to welcome back Nicholson, SBU’s second all-time leading scorer and former first-round NBA draft pick.

Before the Bonnies took on George Washington, Nicholson received his SBU all-time team plaque.

During the game, he talked about what it was like to be back at his alma mater, and the journey that his professional basketball career has taken him on.

“I had dinner with (Bonnies head coach) Mark Schmidt yesterday and saw a bunch of my old professors and friends,” Nicholson said. “Just being able to be on the floor and work out, and to remember when I was here, was amazing.”

Nicholson graduated from Bona’s in 2012 after scoring 2103 career points. The 6-9 power forward averaged 20.8 points and 7.3 rebounds his junior year, then 18.5 points and 8.3 rebounds per game his senior season.

He led the Bonnies to the 2012 Atlantic 10 championship and an NCAA tournament berth, and was named 2012 A-10 player of the year.

Nicholson was selected 19th overall by the Orlando Magic in the 2012 NBA draft. After playing five seasons in the association, he averaged six points per game in just over 14 minutes per game.

“The politics of the NBA are nothing that I could really escape from,” Nicholson said. “It happens to the best of us. But I got what I wanted out of it.”

After the NBA, Nicholson’s career took him to China, where he has quickly become a star in the Chinese Basketball Association.

“It’s definitely different than being (in North America),” Nicholson said. “It was hard to adjust my first year, but now that I’ve picked up on the language and the culture a little bit, it has made it easier for me.”

Playing for the Guangzhou Long-Lions, Nicholson averaged 27.6 points and 10.9 rebounds in 26 games this season before the league postponed the remainder of its season due to the ongoing coronavirus epidemic.

He averaged the same number of points per game over the 2018-19 season playing for the Fujian Sturgeons, and 24.3 points per game for the Guangdong Southern Tigers the year before.

Nicholson said that being back around SBU has been a nice change of pace, compared to life in professional basketball.

“With my lifestyle, I’m always staying in hotels and bouncing around,” he said. “Coming back to somewhere where I was for so long, it’s like coming back home.”

Now at age 30, Nicholson is appreciative that he can continue to play professionally. He said that he has learned to play the CBA style of basketball, and wants to play for as long as he can.

“Wherever the ball takes me, I’m always going to go and try to be the best version of myself.”

 

Former basketball star Wright talks about playing international basketball and what he misses most about “the RC”

 

By Mike Hogan

When you think about recent players who resemble everything that makes St. Bonaventure basketball, you’d be hard pressed to come up with many better names than Dion Wright.

Wright, a fan-favorite for his extreme motor, intensity and scrappinness, is one of Bonaventure’s all time leaders in both rebounding and scoring, where he finished with 1,263 career points (25th on the programs all-time scoring list), and 683 career rebounds (15th on the programs all time rebounding list).

Wright’s senior season may have been his most impressive, finishing third in the A-10 with 9.1 rebounds per game, 14th in scoring with 16.7 points per game, and led the conference in double doubles with 14. All of that helped contribute to a 22-9 record and a share of the A-10 regular season title.

But while accolades are nice, when Wright reflects on his time at Bonas, its the emotion that stands out in his mind.

“I miss the fans, the people around the community and just being with my teammates every day,” Wright said. “We had a lot of good times on and off the court. A lot of my teammates are still really close with me today, I really do miss them a lot.”

Wright paused, then continued.

“I also miss putting on that jersey and playing at the RC and hearing those fans scream,” Wright said. “That stuff is priceless.”

Wright was a very accomplished player during his time at Bonaventure and was a part of the 2015-2016 team that produced one of the best seasons in program history and made an appearance in the NIT.

Still, many argue that the Bonnies deserved a spot in the NCAA tournament, something Wright had no qualms about discussing.

“I felt like we were a tournament team that year,” Wright said. “We won 22 games that year, and we had a high RPI as well. We just didn’t get in for whatever reason. Who knows what would have happened if we would have beaten Davidson in the A-10 tournament. But we lost, and we left the decision in the committee’s hands.”

While his time at Bonaventure was great, Wright is currently playing professional basketball overseas in Europe for Cyprus. In his first game with Cyprus, Wright had 23 points, 10 rebounds, and earned the victory.

“Out here in Europe, the games are more physical,” Wright said. “They play kind of fast and they really like to get up and down.”

He also had a brief stint in Japan with the Sendai 89ers where he played 18 games and averaged 12.3 points per game, 6.4 rebounds per game, and 1.2 assists per game before moving on to play with Cyprus.

Before my conversation with Wright was over, I asked him about his thoughts on this year’s team and if they can get over the hump and into the tournament.

“I want to see them get into the tournament,” Wright said. “I feel like they can be a 23 to 24 win team. I think that this is the year for Bonaventure.”

 

 

DePerro inaugurated as 21st president of SBU

Photo Credit: St. Bonaventure University Flickr

By Kelly Haberstroh

On Friday, Nov. 3, almost 1,000 people attended the formal inauguration of Dr. Dennis R. DePerro as the 21st president of St. Bonaventure University.

The ceremony began with “Procession of the Chosen” by Larry MacTaggart, performed by Dr. Les Sabina and the concert band. Delegates representing other colleges and universities, university trustees, administrators, three past presidents, faculty representing universities, resident assistants and student leaders, friars and sisters processed in with DePerro.

The first of 13 speakers, Richard J. Malone, bishop of Buffalo, said an opening prayer before he said, “[DePerro] is a man of deep personal faith and tangible zeal for Catholic education.”

He spoke about how DePerro has prioritized Catholic higher education because his Jesuit schooling enhanced his Franciscan knowledge. During his 35 years in college administration, DePerro emphasized the importance of students, studies and service, Malone said.

He also talked about how DePerro will support the vision to continue to become extraordinary.

Following Malone, Sen. Catharine Young spoke on DePerro’s behalf. She said, “He has impeccable academic credentials and an impressive record of achieving results. He is the right person to lead us forward with passion and loyalty.”

Mary Rose Kubal, a representative of St. Bonaventure’s faculty senate, said that DePerro has decades of experience when it comes to successfully leading admissions and overseeing excellent programs at Le Moyne College.

She said he recognizes the serious challenges facing our university right now. “He joined at a unique moment and is ready to make changes necessary not only to survive, but to thrive,” Kubal said.

The part of DePerro’s curriculum vitae (CV) she found to be most impressive when searching for the new president was the language he used when describing his experience. She said the word “served” appeared 14 times, “member” six times and “committee” 24, which gave her an optimistic view of his potential as president because his service was impressive and he seemed like a team player.

Br. F. Edward Coughlin, O.F.M., president of Siena College, said how DePerro has encouraged the university mission to be faithful while establishing a nurturing community with a shared commitment of learning to learn.

After knowing him for 35 years when he began as a young admissions counselor, Dr. Gerard J. Rooney, president of St. John Fisher College, introduced DePerro by calling him a man of high integrity and strong moral values.

Robert Daugherty, member of the Board of Trustees, was involved in the presidential selection process. He said Jack McGinley told him to make sure the board is unanimous, and “we were in our hearts, minds and vote.”

“Dennis DePerro is smart, insightful, passionate, funny, likeable, collaborative and dedicated,” Daugherty said. “He’s the authentic real deal. What you see is what you get.”

When DePerro gave his presidential address, he emphasized his goal to not only help students learn, but helping students learn to live good lives.

He also thanked the 13 people before him and everyone who traveled to celebrate. “I never imagined in my wildest dreams I’d stand here as the 21st president,” he said.

 

 

 

Basketball: Reilly Center ready for practice on Tuesday

Photo by Chuckie Maggio

By Chuckie Maggio @chuckiemaggio

The St. Bonaventure men’s and women’s basketball teams will be back in the Reilly Center for practice on Tuesday, a team official confirms.

The teams spent the first week of official practice in the Richter Center, a multipurpose recreation center open to the university community, while construction crews finished maintenance and upgrades to the support beams that hold up the Reilly Center roof. The Richter Center court dimensions are not NCAA regulation.

How the Reilly looked on Friday. Photo by Chuckie Maggio

The work forced SBU administrators to cancel the program’s annual “Select-Your-Seat Day” season ticket event and coinciding open practice that was scheduled for Oct. 2.

The news that the arena will be open for business this week ensures that the Bona Fan Jam, Bonaventure’s midnight madness-type event, will go on as scheduled on Saturday, Oct. 22. The Fan Jam will give the Bonaventure community its first look at the new-look RC in action, as a video board and new court surface were installed in the offseason.

The first game action will be on Nov. 5, with an exhibition doubleheader. The women take on Edinboro at 1:30 p.m., followed by the men’s game against Alfred at 4.

Possibility of alcohol sales at Reilly Center still on back burner

By Chuckie Maggio @chuckiemaggio

The sale of beer in college stadiums and arenas has been a topic of conversation across the NCAA landscape for decades now. An article in The New York Times yesterday noted that just nine teams in the so-called “Big Five” conferences sell beer to the general public: West Virginia, Texas, Maryland, Minnesota, Colorado, Wake Forest, Miami, Syracuse and Louisville. West Virginia athletic director Shane Lyons said last month that approximately $500,000 a year comes back to the university off of beer sales alone.

Continue reading “Possibility of alcohol sales at Reilly Center still on back burner”

Men’s basketball: #Bonnies vs. #UMass preview

By Jeff Fasoldt, @Jeff_Fasoldt

Tonight, the St. Bonaventure Bonnies will look to rebound after a tough last second buzzer-beater loss at Duquesne last Saturday. The Bonnies will take on the University of Massachusetts Minutemen for what promises to be the second tough battle against their conference foe this year.

The first battle took place at the William D. Mullins Center in Massachusetts.  The Bonnies, who were up more than 10 points during parts of that game, ended up falling just short, and the Minutemen hit a few key shots near the end to clinch the victory.

Some key contributors for the Bonnies in their first match against UMass: G Charlon Kloof who had 15 points, C Youssou Ndoye who had 11 points, and G Jordan Gathers who added 11 points off the bench. As a team the Bonnies shot very well from the field—over 50 percent.

Continue reading “Men’s basketball: #Bonnies vs. #UMass preview”

Bonaventure students’ basketball tournament remembers professor

By Hannah Gordon, @Hannahgeeh

John J. Watson passed away unexpectedly last year, but his legacy lives on at St. Bonaventure University.

On Saturday, students in the event and sponsorship class will host the 2nd Annual John J. Watson Memorial 3 vs. 3 Basketball Tournament in the Reilly Center to commemorate the life of the esteemed marketing professor.

Tyler Pauly, class of 2014 president, is a member of the five-person class that is organizing the event.

“I think it’s important to honor our faculty members,” Pauly said. “Especially those who have passed on.”

Continue reading “Bonaventure students’ basketball tournament remembers professor”

Second annual basketball tournament to remember late John J. Watson

By Rebecca Gunning, @Beck2141

The second annual John J. Watson Memorial 3v3 Basketball Tournament will be held at St. Bonaventure University this Saturday in the Reilly Center Arena beginning at 11 a.m. This event is in honor of John J. Watson, a marketing professor who passed away in May of 2012.

Like last year, the tournament is being run by a group of five students who are in Dr. Mike Russell’s Event and Sponsorship Marketing class. The students are seniors Alex Lewis, Sarah Gaulin, Alyssa Primerano, Tyler Pauly and Kayla Cronin.

“It was a good event to pick because it was successful last year and Dr. Watson was a big fan of basketball,” said Lewis, a marketing major. “We wanted to do something in remembrance of a great professor who impacted the business department.”

Continue reading “Second annual basketball tournament to remember late John J. Watson”