Bonnies Media Alumnus Talk Men’s Basketball Past and Present

By Josh Svetz and Sean Lynch

Ryan Lazo – Former sports writer for the NY Post and currently a police officer in the NYPD

Mike Lindsley – Host of ML Sports Platter and owner/reporter for

Mike Vaccaro –  Lead sports columnist for the New York Post

When did you graduate from Bonas?

Lazo: “I graduated from St. Bonaventure in 2013 and had the opportunity to watch the rise of the program in its infancy stages under Mark Schmidt.”

Lindsley: “2002.”

Vaccaro: “1989.”

Did you cover the team while in school?

Lazo: “Yes. I started to cover the team for The Intrepid during my junior year – which also coincided with the Bonnies’ last NCAA Tournament appearance. Pretty good fortune if you ask me. “

Lindsley:  “Covered them sophomore-senior years mostly but was on staff my freshman year for radio doing sports shows.  Was the WSBU sports director sophomore year. I did color for women’s basketball and was a reporter and was a staff guy.  Then sports director. I freelanced for the BV senior year.  Just an article here and there.  A little SBU TV senior year as a sports reporter.”

Vaccaro: “My junior year, I was an editor for the paper so I didn’t get to cover.  I should have said yes because I actually did cover the team my senior year. I had done my editor stuff as a junior so we were able to cover my senior year. I also spent two years with the Times Herald covering the team.”

Describe the experience of covering them?

Lazo: “It was a weird experience both personally and professionally. From a personal standpoint, I had to fight the inner urge to give the team a benefit of the doubt, hide my emotions on the sideline and allow myself to second-guess decisions made in the game instead of defending it as a fan would. Professionally, it was the best job I could have asked for.”

“Going into the 2011-2012 season, there was very high expectations for the Bona program. With Andrew Nicholson in his senior season, and a veteran team around him which included Demetrius Conger, Michael Davenport, Matthew Wright and Charlon Kloof, there was certainly promise. It was the team that had the star in Nicholson, a shutdown defender in both Kloof and Jordan Gathers, an outside shooting presence in Wright and a do-everything player in Conger.”

“It was a slow rise to prominence, not like it has been the last few years. This was a group that learned how to win slowly. They went through the warts in the previous seasons and then with all the pressure, they folded early on. The big loss was to Arkansas State at home. It was mind-numbing. But I believe that was the turning point. The team knew they had the talent and they just had to prove it. Boy, was it fun to watch.”

Lindsley: “It was simply incredible.  NCAA’s in 1999-2000.  Loved it.  Teams were good.  RC was rocking.  Almost beat Kentucky in the tourney. I think covering Division 1 sports really helped me for later in life. Every Bona hoops night was a holiday.”

Vaccaro: “As a student, the team wasn’t terrible my senior year. They were 13-15. Professionally it was a tremendous opportunity, but the coach got fired so Adrian (Wojnarowski) and I had gone to the local news stations and one of them had ended up picking up the story and crediting the BV. For learning how to break a news story; it was a great training ground.”

Who were the Jaylen Adams/Matt Mobley/Courtney Stockards of your team?

Lazo: “The Jaylen Adams from the 2012 tournament team is obviously Nicholson. The way he was able to take over any game and dominate any big was impressive. His footwork in the paint was second to none. He just made defenders look silly.”

“Courtney Stockard is very similar to Conger, which is what Schmidt said when he committed to Bonaventure. Stockard is probably a better defender, but Conger was better offensively. Both attacked the boards. Both could create for themselves and both just had the ability to do the dirty work.”

“The Matt Mobley of the group had to be Eric Mosley. This was the time where Mosley began to come off the bench as the scoring threat who could pile up points in a hurry. Mosley was a high-volume shooter, but nowhere near as efficient as Mobley has been.”

Lindsley: “Tim Winn.  Caswell Cyrus.  David Messiah Capers. All seniors.  What a trio. Capers made three free throws against Kentucky to send it to double OT.  I was losing my mind in Cleveland.  10 rows up center court.  Also had a special sophomore J.R. Bremer. Hit a shot against Temple on January 15, 2000.  From the corner. Loudest I’ve heard the RC.”

How does the team you saw then compare to now?

Lazo: “The team I see now versus then is one that is better. Don’t get me wrong, both teams had flaws, but this current team is in better shape to do more damage. Guards win games in college basketball. With both Adams and Mobley, the Bonnies can compete with just about anyone in the country. A dominant big man like Nicholson could be contained in the paint by halting delivery and forcing him outside. Teams can’t do that with Adams or Mobley.”

Lindsley: “Equally exciting but lots of basketball left this year to see if they can lap them.  1999-2000 team had guys more ready quicker.  Patricio Prato was a really good freshman. Bremer was basically a starter but just a Sophomore.  They were better from an IQ standpoint.  And better defensively.  Their win at home was Temple.  This year Rhode Island.  Pretty darn close.  But legacies at Bona are built by making the tournament because it’s so rare and so hard for this school.

“What’s crazy is the X-factors are so similar.  Courtney Stockard now. Vidal Messiah then.  Amazing role players. Inside and outside. Can shoot it.  Defense supreme.”

Vaccaro: “There is no comparison. Not just because they’re more successful, but this is a professional operation now. The Reilly Center is a division one facility now. When it’s game day and it’s on TV, it looks first rate. It’s not a glorified high school gym anymore. The game day operations are state of the art. It’s not even close to when I was a student. It was much simpler. The difference between what the culture has become under Schmidt compared to now, I don’t know if it’s fully understood. For 30 years we charmed the world with this small school on a shoestring budget and we were able to do that in the past until the ESPNs and big TV networks came along. Then, it was impossible to compete.”

If you would have asked me in 1991 if the Bonnies could stay competitive in division one basketball, I would have said there was no chance. And this was a time where the Atlantic-10 was just starting to send teams to the tournament. Temple was good, West Virginia was good. St. Joes was good, George Washington was a sleeping giant and then Calipari came later with UMass, but still, if you would have told me St. Bonaventure would be competitive ever again, I wouldn’t have believed you. I would have believed you more if you said it was going to be a division two program. But what Schmidt has done blows me away.”

“Any coach can get lucky and stumble into a great player once and make a run, like with Andrew Nicholson. For him to have done that and then created something better, it’s mind-blowing. As great as that run was six years ago, this team is better. What he’s done the last four years staggers me. Who knows when it’ll ever be this fun again. We have to savor the ride. It’s just two entirely different realities. I was covering a sputtering division one program that had no idea how to succeed and now you’re talking about a division one team that has a lot of success and culture. I’m excited to see what the team looks like in two years. There’s an administration in place that gets it.”

How would you compare the RC’s energy from then to now? Have some of the recent changes taken away from the experience?

Lazo: “The RC’s energy is certainly coming back, but that also comes with playing winning basketball. While students come and go, the Olean community has stayed with the team. They’ve had to sit through some dormant periods of basketball, but they are excited now and rightfully so. They’ve helped make the RC a tough place to play once again. Watching on National TV this season, the RC has shown itself to be a tough place to play with chants being heard clearly through the TV feed.”

Lindsley: “The RC is still epic.  I think one thing that has helped is the big video boards.  Lots of reaction from the locals. It makes THEM louder. You never worry about the students.  The seats don’t change it much.  We were louder though, kids. “

“All kidding aside. The RC is so special.  I’ve been down twice this year.  Last year I went down.  The year before I saw them beat VCU. My eyes water when I walk-in.  After HUGE wins as a student, I went back hours after the game and sat in the red seats up top at the RC by myself and stared at the court and just thought about what I saw. “

“I know that place is old. And I know it’s cramped, but man I mean it when I say they can’t ever get rid of it. I’m joking.  The RC is as loud as its ever been. Security is ridiculous by the way.  You can quote me on that one. I think if the locals stepped-up for the games like they did for the Davidson game.  It could be unreal. “

Vaccaro: “I was apart of the last gasp of the “old RC”, back when everyone was drunk, rowdy and could say whatever they want with no penalty. There were two home games against Temple where you couldn’t talk to the guy next to you. It was deafening. I still remember the 1991 game against Penn State. I thought the roof was going to come off. Even when the team wasn’t good, the students were still loud and so were the townies. The whole venue rocked. I get why people were upset about the seats, but it’s a business. It’s a school looking to make money and stay in business. If it diminishes the game experience by 1%, I think we have to live with that.”

“One difference I’ve seen is the student body. When I was in school, no one missed games. We had bigger numbers, but even if it was a game against Concordia tickets would be sold out. It’s not a bad thing. It speaks to the change in culture. St. Bonaventure used to be a school of all suburban white kids and of course we were going to see the game. Now, it’s more diverse, there’s more students with different interest. 1,800 students don’t have to care about the basketball team and I think it speaks to the influx of diversity. The enthusiasm is still there. It comes out even through the TV. Every student at the game is rocking. The reputation is still there. No one wants to come to Allegany, New York and play St. Bonaventure at the RC.”

Since you’re an alum, you’ve seen what happens when Bonas has successful teams, in terms of producing school funds, increased enrollment, athletic prestige, etc. What does a potential NCAA tournament berth do for Bonas?

Lazo: “As an alum, a tournament berth does help in certain aspects. Let’s be real, a tournament berth means more stories, more eyeballs and free publicity on St. Bonaventure. The more of that the institution has, the better. People want to go to places that look like students and alumni have a good time and have a closeness. When a high school student sees St. Bonaventure play in the tournament and they glance in the stands to see people of all ages gathered for this tiny school in Western New York, it means more than any commercial.”

Lindsley: “It’s everything.  It puts the little engine that could on the map again.  It changes the game.  At Bonas, usually,  there is a year here and there every 10-15 years where all your eggs are in one basket JUST to make the Big Dance.  17-18 is exactly that.

“Some people say ‘wow look what we do for a small school,’ when Bona wins.  Others say ‘Well, we are small and do our best,’ when SBU loses.  Doesn’t matter which way you look at it. This program making the tournament is like a power program making a Final Four because of the circumstances.  And Adams and Mobley and this group can create a serious legacy by making the Big Dance.  The 1999-2000 team did it.  Nicholson and his group did it.  Those are the amount Rushmore teams in SBU history.  Yes. That Lanier guy counts too. “

Vaccaro: “More than most of the schools that will get those bids. It’s an opportunity we don’t get most years. It will be helpful. There’s a reason why Bona’s has maintained a high-profile basketball team even when times were tough. Basketball is a marketing tool. It draws kids to the school. When someone like Woj is talking about Bonaventure on ESPN, it can only help. When I mention the Bonnies once or twice in the Post, that’s gotta help. Even when the alumni not in the media, like the CEO  of Delta tweets “Go Bonnies,” it all helps. It gets our name out there.”

“I wouldn’t have even known about St. Bonaventure if it wasn’t for basketball. I was a big St. John’s fan as a kid, growing up watching Chris Mullin. Bona’s played them and almost won. At the time I was thinking “What the hell’s a St. Bonaventure.” It’s funny because after that game I started looking into it and then I was looking at schools and almost went to Dayton, of all places. But, Bonaventure offered me a journalism scholarship and I liked it. It fit me. But it wouldn’t have happened if it wasn’t for that game. Count me in as one of the kids that was introduced to St. Bonaventure because of basketball. So any exposure is beneficial. Tom Crean talking about Jaylen Adams has to help. It just does.”

“The success of the basketball team in some small way determines the success of the school. We’re a feisty little school, but being feisty won’t determine if we succeed. We have to take on the mindset that we can compete with the best. I think the students take on that mindset too and part of that comes from the basketball team. We don’t have to be the underdog all the time. We can just be successful on our own merit. I think that’s the best thing about the basketball team’s success. People can identify that as a possibility now.”


Exclusive: #Bonnies recruit Jordan Tyson resembles Andrew Nicholson

By Ryan Lazo, @RMLazo13, Contributing Writer

PETERSBURG, VA — Try to have a discussion with St. Bonaventure head coach Mark Schmidt about Andrew Nicholson and he’ll tell you about how lucky he was to have him commit.

He’ll no doubt mention how an ankle injury and the building of a new science building on campus were key ingredients in the Bonnies nabbing a once in a generation player.

While it’s true players like Nicholson do not come around often for a program like St. Bonaventure, a recruit talented enough to play in a higher conference but rather try to make an impact at a smaller school, Schmidt may have struck lightning twice.

Take a look on the hardwood and it’s hard to ignore the similarities.

There he is. A tall and lanky string bean standing at 6-foot-10 with arms that hang well below his knees. See the way he gets position in the paint, backing defenders down with ease before skying over them with a baby hook.

Hear the way he throws down a thunderous slam while wearing No. 44, a number made special in Bonaventure lore by Nicholson. And finally take a look at the player wearing the jersey and you can be forgiven for having flashbacks because he too, resembles Nicholson.

His name is Jordan Tyson, a member of Fishburne Military Academy and a verbal commit to St. Bonaventure, a school Tyson admitted he had no idea where it is located. But what he did know was how highly the coaching staff thought of him when it was Schmidt who made the first contact with the Fishburne product.


Jordan Tyson Photo by Ryan Lazo

“It was great because it was such a unique experience, recruiting wise,” Tyson said. “I’ve never had a head coach come up to me that excited and offer me right on the spot … I guess he saw a lot of Nicholson in me and people even say I look like him.”

And while his looks may lead Bona fans to have a double-take, it’s his play on the court which will give them goosebumps.

Facing Richard Bland College, a member of the National Junior College Athletic Association, in an exhibition, the Bona recruit starred in limited minutes. All it took was two minutes upon entering the game for Tyson to have an impact.

Backing down his man in the post, Tyson established position in the blocks as he received a bouncing entry pass. With one quick pivot, Tyson turned to his right and floated in a hook over his defender in the middle of the paint.

It’s an example of how polished his game is compared to Nicholson who famously did not play basketball until his junior year of high school. In fact, Tyson’s teammate, USC commit Jabari Craig is similar in that regard.

Yet, to Fishburne head coach Ed Huckaby Jr. there is no comparison as to who is the better player.

“He is polished offensively,” Huckaby said of Tyson. “He goes left hand, right hand, he’s got it. You add 30 pounds to that and it’s on. He’s better than Jabari Craig. I’m watching it everyday.”

And it’s hard not to agree with a coach with 25 years of experience at both the high school and collegiate level who also helped develop 47 all-conference athletes and 22 professional athletes.

Huckaby looks at Tyson and sees an athletic big who can play inside and outside by stretching the floor with his range. While strength will be the biggest aspect he needs to work on, Tyson had no problem with taking it to the hoop twice to finish thunderous dunks.

tyson 3

Jordan Tyson two-handed dunk Photo by Ryan Lazo

The only thing more impressive than his play on the court is his lofty goals which, you guessed it, echo the words Nicholson spoke of after Bona captured the 2012 Atlantic 10 Conference Championship. The senior spoke of committing to St. Bonaventure to bring the Bonnies back, something Tyson also expects to be able to accomplish.

“I love that basketball is the top sport because when I come in there, I’m going to change the culture to make it a winning culture,” Tyson said with a purpose. “I know everyone says it, but that’s my real goal.”

For those who know him like Huckaby, it’s just an example of Tyson’s competitive nature. The lanky forward never backs down and commits 100 percent to the task at hand which during the scrimmage was to focus on boxing out and rebounding, both of which he accomplished.

Yet, Tyson also showed off some of his athletic ability Huckaby speaks so highly of as he helped start a fast break with a rebound, ran the full length of the court and skied for an alley-oop attempt which just missed the connection.

It all adds up to a play his head coach said Bona will be ecstatic to have.

“He’ll play immediately at St. Bonaventure, no question in my mind, because he competes,” he said of Tyson. “They got a hell of a gift, I can’t lie. I don’t know how they pulled it off but congratulations to Jeff Massey because he got that done.”

While Tyson may never be another Nicholson, it’s clear Schmidt has once again nabbed a talent he had no business being in on, helping to continue the building of a successful program at St. Bonaventure.

Schmidt Brushes Recruiting Woes Aside


[Image courtesy of]

By Ryan Lazo, Editor in Chief, @RMLazo13

Rewind to March 11, 2012 and St. Bonaventure University fans and alumni immediately picture the previously unimaginable — the Bonnies jumping up and down in jubilation after earning the program’s first Atlantic 10 Tournament Championship.

The victory sent Bona into the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament for the first time since 2000, a 12-year gap made even worse by a devastating scandal, and brought added attention to the smallest university in the country to send both its men’s and women’s basketball teams to the tournament.

However, instead of capitalizing on its recent success and the added attention of having a No. 1 pick in the NBA Draft, Bona coach Mark Schmidt and his staff oversaw a Fall recruiting period that came and went with no National Letter of Intents entering their hands. In fact, St. Bonaventure was the only Atlantic 10 member to not have a recruit signed during the Fall period.

Now turn to the present and Bona fans can sing a different tune as Schmidt wrapped up the Spring signing period by inking five players, three freshmen and two Junior College transfers. Xavier Smith, Chris Dees, Denzel Gregg, Andell Cumberbatch and Jalen Adams all add up to the most talented class, on paper, Schmidt and his staff have compiled in his six plus years at the helm.

Assistant head coach Steve Curran said it comes down to using all the resources available to them in order to decipher which players can help the program win.

“We go to a ton of exposure camps in the summer where all the best players are and we formulate a list,” Curran said. “A lot of it is contacts we’ve made over the years, phone calls and going out in the field.”

And one of the key contacts during this recent signing period was former Bona player, Tyler Relph who runs a basketball camp in Dallas, TX. Relph played two years at St. Bonaventure, experiencing his best season in Schmidt’s first year as coach, scoring 11.9 points per game.

It was Relph who spoke to Smith, a 6-foot-7 forward with four years of eligibility, about St. Bonaventure and discussed with him the possibility of getting into contact with the coaching staff.

“He told me about his experience at St. Bonaventure and that he didn’t regret a single second of it,” Smith said. “He also talked about the basketball program and the support it received. What he said influenced me a lot on my decision.”

And the decision-making process for Smith became hectic in the latter stages as the East Plano, TX native received offers from schools in the Big 12, but an official visit to campus sealed the deal.

“When I first arrived on campus, the coaches said they would love to have me at St. Bonaventure,” Smith said. “I immediately felt comfortable and welcomed at the school.”

However, while Bona immediately makes a list of players they are interested in because of their talent ability, positional needs always take first priority. With Bona graduating four players — a point guard, small forward, power forward and shooting guard — the staff aimed to get athletic.

Not only did they look for guys who can make an immediate impact, but dug deeper to find players who fit the program and can develop into an even greater force over four years.

“You’re definitely looking at need and the fit into the program,” Curran explained. “We’re looking for a kid who is going to fit into what we are trying to do. We run a lot of specific sets so we need someone with a high basketball IQ.”

With numerous set plays and a lot of four-out offensive sets, Bona needs players who can not only play in the paint, but go off-the-bounce with an outside touch. Curran recognized that Gregg could be that type of player and kept an eye on his possible de-commitment from Fordham based on a tip.

Once Gregg decommitted, Schmidt put on his own version of the full-court press, showing Gregg how vital a piece he could be to the program. It was the coaching staff’s commitment which made it an easy choice for Gregg.

“I already had a great relationship with Coach Curran and Coach Schmidt before my visit,” Gregg said. “Going to campus was really the last step for me in the process. I loved the program, heard good things about it, and I loved the school a lot.”

It’s a refreshing change of pace for a coaching staff that has dealt with criticisms, some warranted, for the inability to seal the deal with recruits during their tenure. That’s not to mention the famed de-commitments that shook the program and hurt the product on the court.

But the tide is quickly turning. Recruits are now discussing the staff’s accomplishments in developing players, their style of play and the level of interest shown to each one of them.

How else to explain Schmidt and his staff nabbing the 6-foot-7 Gregg and Smith, who averaged 12 points, six rebounds and 6.9 points and 7.6 rebounds respectively, and received numerous other offers?

How else to explain that after losing 59 percent of their scoring output from last season, Schmidt landed JUCO guard Cumberbatch to help stretch defenses with his 38 percent 3-point shooting and 50 percent shooting overall?

“Player development with this coaching staff has been really good,” Gregg said. “Look at Nicholson. He didn’t have a lot of D-I offers and they turned him into an NBA star. So I just feel that their development as a whole is great.”

And while no one is announcing there to be another NBA star among the ranks of incoming players, the coaching staff’s track record is unquestioned.

After numerous seasons of not filling positional needs, nor signing players during the regular signing period, Schmidt and his staff came up aces during Finals week. The signings of five talented and athletic players, each of which have the ability to make an immediate impact, displays hope for the near future.

“I want Bonnie fans to know that I won’t let y’all down,” Smith said.

“I want to win and become a better player by working as hard as I can,” Gregg added.

With talented and committed players in the fold, St. Bonaventure’s future no longer looks as dark and dreary as the Olean, N.Y. Winter, but bright enough to shine a light directly on the A-10 Championship banner as the staff attempts to build a team capable of duplicating the feat.

Sudbrook Continues To Lead Bonnies’ Baseball In Right Direction


[Image courtesy of]

By Ryan Lazo, Editor in Chief, @RMLazo13

St. Bonaventure University pitcher Billy Urban stood tall on the mound with runners on first and third with one out. His team had just taken the lead in the top half of the ninth inning, putting head coach Larry Sudbrook just two outs away from a career milestone.

Urban, the team’s starting third baseman with all of 39 appearances on the mound under his belt, struck out the first Saint Joseph’s University batter on a high fastball and recorded a fielder’s choice to close out the game, sending the Bonnies to their third win in four games and handing Sudbrook his 600th career win.

It’s a feat that is even more special when realizing Sudbrook, in his 28th season at the helm of St. Bonaventure, has done it with a shoe-string budget and a no-nonsense approach.

But while 600 wins is a mark that no other St. Bonaventure head coach has come close within earshot of, Sudbrook has not yet taken the time to appreciate what he has accomplished.

“We’re in the midst of a season that we had high hopes for and we are not playing well,” Sudbrook said as he focused on the team’s next opponent. “Maybe in the Fall when I’m sitting in a tree bow-hunting, I’ll get around to thinking about how neat it was.”

The Bonnies are currently sitting in 12th place in the Atlantic 10 Conference standings with a 13-20 overall record, surely a far cry from the circumstances surrounding the program when Sudbrook nabbed his 500th career win.

St. Bonaventure was in the midst of making the A-10 postseason Tournament six out of nine years with one conference title and a second-place finish in the mix.

“The last four or five years, we’ve been mediocre,” Sudbrook said. “That takes away a little bit of the overall enjoyment of winning the 600.”

The honesty in which Sudbrook discussed the state of the baseball program does not surprise his team’s starting third baseman since his freshman season. In fact, Urban who has compiled 220 hits in his career — good enough for a career average of .333, said it would not have happened without his coach.

“I could tell you countless stories about him being brutally honest and it may not always be what you want to hear, but it’s what you need to hear,” Urban said of Sudbrook. “You always know exactly where you stand and that honesty goes a long way. He also relates to all of his players really well.”

Relating to players is something that has set Sudbrook apart and has helped him complete 12 winning seasons at St. Bonaventure, including being named the 2004 Atlantic 10 Coach of the Year Award.

Baseball is a sport that is littered with failure no matter how one tries to decipher the small army of numbers available in the stats. The greatest players are considered hitters who compile a batting average of .300, meaning they actually are failing at their job 70 percent of the time.

But starting first baseman Austin Ingraham says Sudbrook understands that some situations call for a humorous environment.

“Baseball is a long season of ups and downs, and coach having the sense of humor that he does helps us all get through it with our sanity,” Ingraham said. “Guys may take it the wrong way sometimes if they’re having a bad day, but you’ll never be successful in this game if you can’t learn to laugh at yourself. Coach definitely encourages that. And for others to laugh at you as well.”

And it’s the old-school approach to the game, always focusing on the task at hand and helping keep the mood light that has led to Sudbrook developing 30 Atlantic 10 All-Conference Selections, 10 Major League Baseball draft picks and 14 Professional Players.

He’s accomplished all this at a school where his program is not fully funded and deals with constant game cancellations due to weather even with McGraw-Jennings Field being completely turf.

“How many programs do you see going through a new coach every four years? That’s a real testament to what coach is and what he’s been for this program and school,” Urban said. “It’s an incredible feat to be coaching for that long.”

“For him to be able to stick with this program and bring it to the top tier of A-10 baseball for as long as he has says a lot about his attitude and work ethic,” Ingraham added.


Because even with the miniscule budget and a coaching staff not even half the size of the institutions St. Bonaventure faces, Sudbrook keeps the Bonnies afloat in the A-10 using smoke and mirrors.

“Sr. Margaret always likes to talk about the David versus Goliath aspect, so there is that satisfaction when you get wins against schools that have twice the scholarships that we do, bigger coaching staffs and facilities,” Sudbrook said. “But when you’re David, you don’t take a whole lot of time to enjoy beating Goliath because he’s going to get back up.”

While Goliath does get back up, St. Bonaventure’s baseball team continues to fight back, knocking down Goliath with more and more frequency as the man at the helm continues to put his team in the best position to succeed — a total of 605 times and counting.

From Between The Pipes To Behind The Microphone


[Josh Popsie has moved from being the center of attention on the ice to being the center of attention on-stage- Photo courtesy of Josh Popsie]

By Ryan Lazo, Editor in Chief, @RMLazo13

Josh Popsie glides onto the ice and finds his familiar spot in between the creases. He takes his stick, bangs both sides of the pipes and stares down at the opening face-off about to take place in front of him.

As St. Bonaventure University’s Club Hockey team’s starting goaltender, Popsie is used to being the center of attention — the hero when the team wins a hard-fought overtime game or the goat when the ear-piercing horn sounds an opponents goal.

But as Popsie skates off the ice, takes off his pads and unwinds from the mental exhaustion it takes by being a goaltender, he thinks about music. He thinks about lyrics, beats and inspirations behind each of the words he visualizes in his head.


Because while Popsie’s teammates are used to hearing the pop of his glove saves or the puck careening off the post as he cuts off the attacking angle, off the ice he also deals with the static of the microphone as he records his newest song.

Popsie signed with Native Samurai Records, a company based in Seattle, Washington, on Jan. 15, 2013, fulfilling another dream that he’s had since he was young.

“I’ve played hockey since I was two years old. I’ve played on travel teams my entire life,” Popsie said. “But I also played drums as a kid. I always wrote lyrics in high school and it was something that I took pride in.”

But Popsie never once thought it was a dream that could be reached. The lyrics he would write during his time in high school — he only shared with friends, never to be shown to the world. However, the world would get their first listen of Popsie’s music just prior to him leaving for Oxford in June of 2012.

The Concord, New Hampshire native decided to put together a mixtape, done entirely on his own and recorded in a friend’s basement. He put the mixtape online for download thinking he would get at a best-case scenario, just 200 or 300 downloads.

He was wrong.

“I got back from Oxford and it had over 3,500 downloads. I was like, ‘what?” Popsie said. “I knew the music was good, but I knew it was a bit different. My stuff is lyrically-driven, not about cars and money, but it hit me that I can do this.”

But it has not come as a surprise to those who know Popsie best.

“He’s really passionate about everything he does, so it’s no surprise he dedicates a lot of his time to his music,” Sean Perhacs, Popsie’s teammate said. “I know he writes a lot of songs whether to pass the time or to just improve. So matter what, he’s always working on it, just like his game.


Because Popsie is taking on the challenge of being a recording artist while also being a student who is aiming to graduate with his master’s degree in Intergrated Marketing Communcations. And the challenge is more than many can imagine.

While many students only have to wake up for class, Popsie finds himself having to wake up at 6 a.m. in order to work on collaborations for his music.

“I produced two songs with a guy over in England, so with the time difference, I’m up at 6 a.m.,” Popsie said. “I’m trying to go back and forth with this guy, which way you want to take this song, early in the morning. I have work, class and music has literally taken over my life.”

But the way Popsie has handled himself by both continuing to work hard and focus on the task at hand is not surprising. It’s the same mentality he took to the ice with him during his time on St. Bonaventure’s Club Hockey team.

“Popsie was always a leader. He knew how to combine fun, but also keep a winning mentality, something that not many players can do,” D.J. Hromowyk said of his teammate. “Popsie would be all smiles but if things needed to turn around, he was never afraid to say something.”

And that’s the reason Popsie has engulfed himself into the world of music.

Music is a way for a person to express themselves and the feelings they have on certain subjects. Popsie is no exception.

Take a listen to his single, “Emilie,” a song he made in memory of his friend and the pain, fun and memories are immediately apparent in the lyrics that come out of your headphones.

But Popsie said he would not have been prepared to do any of this without the experience of putting his pads on and standing in the crease, facing down a team intent to put one into the back of the net he was protecting.

“It’s the most scrutinized position in any sport. It’s the one of the only positions where if you make one mistake, you lost your team the game,” Popsie said. “Having that kind of pressure has helped me with performing because you still get nervous, but I can deal with it better.”

While Popsie’s focus is no longer on making the critical saves in net, he is still dealing with the constant pressure of producing new music, slowly proving himself with every song he releases much like he did in net, one save at a time.

Gionet’s Dedication Leads To Woman of Promise Award


[Maddie Gionet speaks in the Murphy Auditorium after receiving The Woman of Promise Award- Photo by Ryan Lazo]

By Ryan Lazo, Editor in Chief, @RMLazo13

ST. BONAVENTURE, N.Y. — St. Bonaventure University and the Russell J. Jandoli School of Journalism and Mass Communication hosted its 12th annual Woman of Promise award presentation Wednesday afternoon in Murphy Auditorium.

The Woman of Promise award is given to a female senior journalism and mass communication major who excels in and out of the classroom and is someone who has the skills to thrive in their postgraduate career. 

And none of those within the program stood out more than Madeleine Gionet.

Gionet’s determination and work ethic made her stand apart among the many worthy students within the Journalism and Mass Communication program. While great expectations come with earning the award, Pauline Hoffmann, dean of the School of Journalism and Mass Communication, has no doubts Gionet can accomplish it all.

“The task is made a bit easier, however, when you award someone with such an incredible work ethic and drive,” Hoffman said. “This award is given to someone who can excel and we have no doubts that Maddie will do just that.”

After all, experiencing success because of her determination and her unwavering pursuit of being the best is all that Gionet has done throughout her time at St. Bonaventure.

Gionet currently holds many different leadership positions on-campus, including being a Peer Leader in the First-Year Experience program, account executive of the American Advertising Federation, coordinator for Mountain Community Leaders at Mt. Irenaus and a co-director of the Teaching and Learning Center.

And it’s her ability to hold these many leadership positions and give 100 percent to each that impresses those who Gionet works with.

“As a news editor who worked under her, I can say she is intelligent and dedicated,” Mark Belcher, a former news editor at The Intrepid said. “Maddie always showed she was willing to go the extra mile to make things perfect.”


Because Gionet never settled on just being average nor did she settle on taking the easy way out. When those need help, Gionet will take the time and sit down with them, survey their every question and help them find the right words for the story.

“I was most impressed with how even though she is so busy and so involved, she still put all her energy into everything she did,” Joe Pinter, a sophomore Journalism and Mass Communication major said. “And in addition to that, she still had the time to sit down with me and help me with my news stories.”

And that’s the constant theme.

Gionet was never too busy to help others, never too busy to give it 100 percent and never too busy to stop striving to be the best she could be. But perhaps even more impressive is the way she presents herself humbly, barely acknowledging all she has accomplished in her four years.

“I was humbled and still am by this honor,” Gionet said during her speech. “I cannot tell you how many times I walked by those Woman of Promise plaques without truly understanding the prestigious stories connected to those tiny, shiny pieces of metal.”

But now those shiny, tiny pieces of metal will have another name placed beside them. A name that has stood out in the School of Journalism and a name that Belcher is sure will bring with it future success as well.

“I know she will succeed in life,” Belcher said. “She has this level-headed demeanor and a desire to accomplish her goals.”

And while winning the Woman of Promise Award may not have been part of her immediate goals, Gionet can place that among her many accomplishments while she continues to achieve more in a future that grows brighter by the day.

Behind The Wolfpack: Bonnies’ Season Of Missed Chances Ends

[St. Bonaventure coach Mark Schmidt is in disbelief as his team Bonnies team fell to Fordham, eliminating them from the Atlantic 10 Conference Tournament – Photo by Daulton Sherwin]

By Ryan Lazo, Editor in Chief, @RMLazo13

ST. BONAVENTURE, N.Y. — Everything was set up the way Mark Schmidt could have wanted. His St. Bonaventure team controlled their own destiny, win and in, as they faced off against the lowly Fordham Rams.

But this is not a movie and there is no script to follow except the one Bona made along the way.

The Rams, losers of 14 of their last 15 games, came into the Reilly Center with nothing to play for except being a spoiler. And they turned in an Academy Award winning performance, defeating the Bonnies, 76-72 in front of 4,515 fans in attendance for Senior Day.

Even with the loss, the Bonnies (14-15, 7-9) still had hope that they could sneak into the Atlantic 10 Tournament, albeit not in the way they envisioned.

“We just want to get in. That was the goal,” Mark Schmidt said after his team’s loss to Fordham. “We’ll see what happens tonight. We just want to get and hopefully that happens.”

However, Schmidt and Bona’s hopes were dashed at 8:51 p.m. as the buzzer sounded in Charlotte, officially eliminating the Bonnies from the Atlantic 10 Conference Tournament.

A complete and stunning turnaround from last season in which the Bonnies won four out of their last five games in the regular season before winning three straight to capture the program’s first A-10 Title.

But that is a distant memory today as the facts are almost too hard to conceive.

Not only did Bona get handed a cupcake by playing Fordham (7-24, 3-13), they hosted them on their home court on Senior Day, giving themselves more momentum. The hapless Rams had not won a road game since Dec. 10, 2011 against Monmouth and their first A-10 road win since Jan. 28, 2009 when they defeated the Bonnies.

“I just think we didn’t rise to the occasion. We just came in thinking that we were going to beat the team without showing up,” Bona center Youssou Ndoye said. “Like coach said, we need to show up every night.”

Damning words about a team that graduated four seniors, three of which starters, and all important pieces to last year’s title run.

But it’s also been the story of a season filled with missed opportunities.

One shot here, one defensive stop there and the story could have been written different about this Bona squad. While many predicted this type of gloom for the Bonnies’ program following the departure of First-Round NBA Draft Pick Andrew Nicholson, it was not Nicholson whom Bona seemed to miss.

Far too often this season, Bona was outplayed in the paint or dominated on the glass. Lack of not only height in the paint, but toughness spoke loudly. While Nicholson supplied much of the scoring last year, it was Da’Quan Cook who did the dirty work.

It was Cook who would effectively shut-down another team’s big man. It was Cook who would sky for rebounds, both offensive and defensive, to keep Bona in the game. And it was Cook who refused to let the Bonnies be bullied in the paint.

Except that’s what happened all season, including last night.

“The bottom line is that we didn’t play hard enough and we didn’t rebound as a team,” Ndoye said of his teammates. “The bigs didn’t rebound and that’s what hurt as more.”

Against Fordham, Bona was out-rebounded by a 35 to 24 margin, including an absurd 19 to 6 margin in the second half.

But it didn’t stop there.

The Bonnies were out-scored in the paint by a 42 to 28 gap and lost the second-chance point battle, 21-9.

“We didn’t deserve to win,” Schmidt said emphatically. “Fordham played better. We didn’t defend them and we didn’t rebound with them. When you don’t do those two things, you are going to lose.”

Heart-breaking. Demoralizing.

Two words that Bona fans have used a lot this season and used again last night. But take those two words and the season into perspective.

St. Bonaventure’s Matthew Wright had a 3-point attempt at the end of regulation go off the side of the iron against Canisius. Chris Johnson had the same happen to him at Arkansas State. Demitrius Conger had it happen against La Salle.

The point?

Just a few inches the other way in each game and Bona could be looking at their season a lot differently. The loss of Nicholson, supposed to hinder the offense, did not happen. The Bonnies ranked fifth in the conference in scoring and second in 3-point field goal percentage.

And while Bona graduated four seniors, there is still talent left on this roster, something many did not predict once Nicholson graduated.

Photo by Daulton SherwinPhoto by Daulton Sherwin

Ndoye’s development this season was a major story-line and he saved his best for last, scoring a career-high 17 points against Fordham. The Senegal native, already a menacing force for opposing guards driving the lane, has plenty of untapped potential.

Jordan Gathers, a key player last season for his defense, saw his offensive production increase when he attempted his shot. Gather set a career-high against Richmond with 18 points, going a perfect 7-of-7 from the field, becoming the first Bona player in 16 years to attempt seven shots without missing.

Even Dion Wright put together a career-high performance himself with 15 points on 5-of-7 shooting against Charlotte. The freshman always was active on both the offensive and defensive ends and once he grasps Schmidt’s playbook, he can be Conger-like in his production.

While Bona’s season ends in disappointing fashion, one must look at where this program came from. Expectations are heightened and talent is abundant because of the impact seniors like Conger and Davenport had on the program.

“It’s disappointing. I feel bad for our seniors,” Schmidt said after the game. “You never want to go out that way, losing at home in your last game.”

As one season ends, another begins, bringing with it more expectations and chance to continue build the Bonnies into a perennial contender, one shot, one defensive stop and one rebound at a time.

Behind The Wolfpack: Bonnies’ Seniors Aim To Leave On Last Mark


[St. Bonaventure seniors Demitrius Conger and Eric Mosley, along with Chris Johnson and Michael Davenport will play their final home game tomorrow on Senior Day – Photo by Daulton Sherwin]

By Ryan Lazo, Editor in Chief, @RMLazo13

ST. BONAVENTURE, N.Y. — While tomorrow’s game against Fordham represents a win and in scenario to make the Atlantic 10 Conference Tournament for the St. Bonaventure men’s basketball team, it also represents the final home contest for four seniors who have changed the program around.

Demitrius Conger, Michael Davenport, Chris Johnson and Eric Mosley.

Each of these seniors have etched their names into Bona program lore for their accomplishments, but all are aiming to leave a final mark on the program.

“It’s there, man. Everyday we come into the gym, you see the banners and stuff like that,” Chris Johnson said before practice. “But we still got an opportunity to make something happen this year and that’s where the focus is.”

And he’s right.

Because after starting the Atlantic 10 Conference season off with three consecutive losses and facing a daunting road trip to Philadelphia, a place of horrors for the Bona program, things looked bleak.

But those three losses, part of a six-game losing streak, were a turning point for a team that stunned everyone last season by capturing the A-10 Conference Tournament title with a late-season run.

Bona has seemingly captured their footing, winning three out of their last four games. Even more impressive: during their three-game winning streak, Bona averaged 93 points per game, getting hot at the right time once again.

“It’s a different team,” Johnson said. “We’re definitely turning it on in the stretch, but we’re running different plays, different guys are stepping up.”

Perhaps no one has stepped their game up more than the Bonnies’ senior point guard. While Mosley, at 5-foot-10, is the smallest Bona player on the roster, he has played bigger than any of his teammates.

With Bona needing every win they can get, Mosley entered Wednesday night’s game against Dayton averaging 27 points per game over the past four games. What makes that even more scary — it’s nearly identical to Andrew Nicholson’s 27.6 points per game average during last year’s Bonnies’ run.

“I’ve been telling Andrew that he wasn’t better than me,” Mosley said with an ear-to-ear grin. “I don’t know if he believes me or not, but we’re just trying to win games, stats don’t matter. I just want to get another ring.”

Another ring?

This coming from the same program that won just 32 games during a five-year span from the 2003-04 season to the 2007-08 season.

Why the sudden change?

Because players such as Davenport committed to a program that they believed was only going to get better, but even the Cincinnati native did not know the challenge that awaited him.

“I didn’t realize that they went 8-22 until after I had signed,” Davenport said. “My dad said, ‘you know they went 8-22’ and I was like, ‘what?’ To me, that was exciting. To start from scratch and be one of many to leave an imprint on rebuilding a program. That’s the biggest thing that will stick with me.”

But Davenport has also left Bona fans with memories that will stick with them for a lifetime. There was Davenport’s last-second 3-pointer against in Duquesne in 2010, handing the Dukes their first A-10 loss of the season.

Then, there were the numerous highlight dunks, none more so than when on a break, he received a bounce pass from Conger and skied over Lamont Samuel of Fordham. It’s a picture that is enshrined on the walls inside the Reilly Center.

With each highlight play, each signature win like the one over St. John’s, the near misses versus perennial powers such as N.C. State and Virginia Tech, the Bona program rose. And one player who rose each step of the way with it was No. 11.

Conger is truly in a class of his own.

The Brooklyn native has etched out a career so steeped in Bona history that only two other St. Bonaventure players have matched him. Conger has amassed over 1,000 points, 500 rebounds and 200 assists in his career, the only other two were David Vanterpool and Ahmad Smith.

Additionally, this season may be Conger’s best.

The senior forward is the only player in the A-10 to lead his team in points (14.2), rebounds (7.1) and assists (3.1).

But more importantly, the quiet and humble Conger has become more of a leader on the court, talking to his teammates and quieting them down when they become heated with the opposition or referee.

“It’s just something that going into your senior year, you need to do,” Conger said. “You look back on the people before you like Ogo, (Andrew), Quan. You look back on the leadership they showed and what they had done and you try to take that and use your own personality.”

And the personality of the team has changed.

For years, Bona sat in the basement of the A-10 as a perennial joke, but with the additions of players who aimed to make a difference, they have become a tough-minded team capable of anything.

“Once we get our foot in the door, we can play with anyone,” Davenport said. “Last year, while it wasn’t a surprise we got the No. 4 seed, we earned it. And we’re doing the same this year.”

While this year’s Bona squad has not reached the heights of last year’s team, the confidence of being defending A-10 Champions is still there.

“We could have had a better record, but we just dropped a couple of games,” Mosley said. “Making it to the tournament, anyone can win it.”

Whether this Bonnies’ team has any magic left remains to be seen, but with a core group of seniors looking to make a final mark on a program they helped rebuild, anything can happen.