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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Summer grind seeing early returns for Griffin

By Nicholas Gallo

Junior forward LaDarien Griffin entered the 2017-18 season looking to be a key contributor for St. Bonaventure men’s basketball team.

So far, he’s arguably one of the top three players night-in night-out on the court.

As a sophomore, The 6-foot-6 forward played 29 games and averaged 2.7 points, 2.2 rebounds, and 12.3 minutes per game.

Over the summer, Griffin said he stayed up at St. Bonaventure and worked on his game. When he went home, he played with a bunch of different guys, improving his shooting and developing more of an offensive game.

That extra work has paid off thus far.

Not only has Griffin been elevated to a starting role, but he’s been one of the most consistent Bonnies on both ends of the floor.

In three games, Griffin is doing it all, averaging 8.7 points, 7 rebounds, 1.3 assists, 1 steal and 1.3 blocks, to go along with his 50% shooting mark.

Griffin expressed his desire to help out Bonas’ three-guard attack.

“I’m looking to take some pressure off Idris Taqqee, Matt Mobley, and Jaylen Adams,” Griffin said. “Over two years you witness an enormous number of different situations and I need to do my part.”

Griffin said he wants to contribute more on scoring, playing defense, and being a leader. He believes for the team to have a great season, it will involve defensive play and togetherness.

“For us as a team, we need to commit and play defense, learn what each other’s strengths are, and stay connected as one,” Griffin said. “I believe once we fully are connected as one then we can be a hard team to stop.”

Griffin and some of the veteran players, have helped the freshman transition onto the team. He said he’s tried to help them through “the learning process.”

Griffin knows the hype surrounding the team this season and said he’s not worried about other teams in the Atlantic-10. He said the team needs to worry about what they can control and take care of it.

“If we start watching other teams, that is when we’ll lose sight of what our main goals are,” Griffin said. “I believe we can play with any team in the country and win.”

SBU celebrates Spirit Week: Day 4

By Caitlyn Morral @caiterthot

St. Bonaventure University students went back in time on the fourth day of Spirit Week with Throwback Thursday. From the time of hippies to 1990s pop, some students chose to adorn ensembles from different eras.

Today, The Intrepid asked students what word they would use to describe the Bonaventure experience.tbt

“Family, because I feel like it is a second home and second family for me,” said freshman and international studies major Flavia Pietrobattista. “The education system at Bonaventure is great. Everyone seemed so friendly to me, especially coming from another country. I am enjoying doing new things everyday in the community here.”

Continue reading “SBU celebrates Spirit Week: Day 4”

SBU celebrates Spirit Week: Day 3

By Caitlyn Morral @caiterthot

As the third day of the St. Bonaventure University Spirit Week landed on Veterans Day, the week continued with Patriotic Day. By dressing up in red, white and blue, students had the chance to show pride in both their school and in their country.

Today, The Intrepid asked some students why Bonaventure is important to them.

patriot 1

“I think that Bonaventure is a great school,” said senior and Spanish and international studies double major Kirsten Lankford. “Overall, it really is an amazing place to be a part of a family.”

Continue reading “SBU celebrates Spirit Week: Day 3”

St. Bonaventure Women’s Swim and Dive Joins in Soles4Souls

By Caitlyn Morral 

[Image courtesy of Soles4Souls.org]

As the year is coming to a close, the St. Bonaventure women’s swim and dive team has put together a shoe drive to help those in need. In a campus-wide effort, shoes are being collected and donated to those who are less fortunate through the foundation Soles4Souls.

Soles4Souls, a non-profit organization, has a mission of helping those suffering from the backlash of poverty. With the collection of shoes and items of clothing, the association does what it can to reach out to those enduring the hardships of indigence on a day-to-day basis.

“In our locker room in the Reilly Center, we have a good amount of shoes that have been left over the years,” said junior and future captain of the women’s swim team Shannon Haberman. “We go from the pool to the weight room and vice versa, so we will keep our shoes in there. Some people who graduated ended up leaving them there for different reasons. No one uses them and they are not in bad shape, so we wanted to donate them.”

[Image courtesy of gobonnies.sbu.edu]
[Image courtesy of gobonnies.sbu.edu]
After realizing the potential of the shoe and clothing drive, the team decided to make it a campus-wide initiative.

“As I started to look into the company and saw that we could do a shoe drive, we decided to do a campus-wide shoe drive,” said Haberman. “All shoes are welcome and Soles4Souls will either distribute or sell the shoes, and thus use the profit to distribute shoes to those in need.”

“I think this type of shoe drive is so great to do on a college campus where you can reach such a wide array of people who are able to donate to those less fortunate,” said women’s swim and diving coach Krista Carlson. “Shannon and I actually collaborated on this idea. She had heard of the organization and at my place of previous employment (The University of Chicago), we had participated in it there, and it was very successful. Shannon completely took charge and put this together for our team– and is doing a great job.”

A fundraiser is also being tacked on to the shoe drive. Each pair of shoes donated will bring in $1 to the organization. While 60 percent of the profits raised will end up going to Souls4Souls, the other 40 percent will help the team pay for the fundraiser and other miscellaneous items of team equipment.

The swimming and diving team is heavily involved in the donation process including setting up donation bins, posters and flyers. The teammates have also been collecting shoes from each donation bin which will be delivered to a Souls4Soles factory later on.

Some of the team members have also expressed their excitement for the fundraiser and shoe drive.

“As a freshman on the team, I think that it’s really cool to have everyone together and do something that can help others,” said freshman and childhood studies major Emily Wulff.

The team has also learned to appreciate what they may have taken for granted prior to the fundraiser.

“As an athlete here at Bonaventure, I feel that it is extremely important that we give back to the community and do as much as we can to make a positive change in our society,” said Bridget Jordan a sophomore sports studies major. “This experience has taught all of us a lot about how fortunate we are, especially how lucky we are to be a part of such a great athletic program at an amazing school.”

The fundraiser, started on April 7, continues until May 5. Donation bins are placed around campus in places like the chapel, the Richter Center and the Thomas Merton Center for students to take part in this campaign themselves.

St. Bonaventure Baseball Coach Enters 30th Season

By Nate Discavage

[image courtesy of gobonnies.com]

The last time St. Bonaventure University made a baseball coaching change, the Soviet Union was a world power.  Four men have sworn the presidential oath since Larry Sudbrook took over for Jim Pransky as the St. Bonaventure baseball coach in 1986.

Over the past 30 seasons, Sudbrook has led St. Bonaventure to a record of 632-664-9 giving him a .488 winning percentage, third among the five Atlantic 10 baseball coaches with at least nine years experience.  Under Sudbrook, the Bonnies have made eight Atlantic 10 tournament appearances and won one conference championship in 2004.  Since Sudbrook took over as head coach, 10 St. Bonaventure student-athletes have been drafted by Major League Baseball.  He currently ranks in the top 100 for most wins by an active coach.

There are students who have never heard of Sudbrook despite his accomplishments on the field.

“I have no idea who our baseball coach is,” sophomore Kristen Caputo said.  “I couldn’t tell you anything about him.”

“The guys I know never really talk about the team until this year,” senior Matt Moretti said.  “I don’t know the baseball coach’s name.”

While students at St. Bonaventure may not know who Sudbrook is, other baseball coaches in the Atlantic 10 have had an opportunity to see Sudbrook in action.

On April 13, 2013, Sudbrook won the 600th game of his career against Saint Joseph.

“You hate losing, but 600 wins is pretty impressive,” Saint Joseph coach Fritz Hamburg said.  “I respect what he has done.”

In his 16 years serving as head coach for the University of Dayton, Tony Vittorio has seen Sudbrook coach the Bonnies from across the diamond.

“From day one, he knows his style of play,” he said.  “He is a competitor and instills an ‘us against the world’ mentality.”

That competitive nature, however, has gotten Sudbrook into trouble on the field.  He is not afraid to run on to the field and challenge an umpire’s ruling – occasionally leading to an ejection.

“He’s animated and not afraid to tell you if he thinks you are wrong,” John McArdle, an Atlantic 10 umpire since 1983, said. “When he comes out of the dugout, you better rethink your call because he doesn’t nitpick.”

“He isn’t afraid to confront a player and tell them what he thinks of them,” pitching coach and former St. Bonaventure player BJ Salerno said.  “He expects a lot out of you.”

After 30 years of coaching, Sudbrook has no intention of stepping down.

“I love that nervous feeling I get in my stomach before every game,” Sudbrook said.  “Above all else, I enjoy the players.”

Sudbrook’s one dark spot in his 30-year tenure came in 2007 when he accidentally left a .357 Magnum revolver in his travel bag when boarding a plane to Charlotte for a three-game series with the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.

The felony charges were dropped when Sudbrook agreed to pay a $1000 fine and forfeit the gun.  St. Bonaventure University required that Sudbrook reimburse the school for his travel expenses but did not issue a suspension.

As St. Bonaventure continues its 2015 baseball season, the players will look to their coach for guidance.

“I think coach Sudbrook knows what he’s doing out there,” senior St. Bonaventure outfielder Jonathan Diaz said.  “He is just so passionate about the sport.”

Quick Hitters: Bonnies Vs. 18 VCU

By Jeff Fasoldt

Posley for the win: Not one, but two game winners for St. Bonaventure junior guard Marcus Posley in a row. After driving through the lane and hitting the shot vs. Davidson, Posley was up to the task again as he drove past three VCU defenders and throw a shot off the backboard with his right hand as he was falling away. All in all, Posley had a great game scoring 15 points in 39 minutes of play.

“Havoc” gone missing?: VCU is known for their suffocating defense that involves a multitude of traps and rotations, normally leading to plenty of turnovers for the other team. However, Bonaventure head coach Mark Schmidt had his team ready for the storm as the turnover margin between the team was nearly identical with the Bonnies having just one more turnover than the Rams.

No Webber or Graham for the Rams: It certainly helped the Bonnies not having to worry about VCU’s two best players, Trevor Graham—the Rams leading scorer, and Briante Weber—arguably the best defensive player in the nation. Graham was a game time decision while Weber unfortunately is out for the season after tearing his ACL, MCL and meniscus.

Jay showing poise: coach Schmidt has to be proud of his young guard Jaylen Adams, who despite being only a freshman, only turned the ball over twice against one of the best defenses in the country.

Paint dominance: Points in the paint have proven to be Bonaventure’s specialty with Dion Wright and Youssou Ndoye, two of the top big-men in the A-10 this season. Wright led the Bonnies in scoring with 19, and Ndoye added 13 with most of those coming in the second-half. In total, they outscored VCU 40-28 in the paint.

Key quotes: 

VCU head coach, Shaka Smart: 

“Our guys showed a lot of poise, there were plenty of times where they could’ve folded up the tent. The crowd was terrific today but you have to give St. Bonaventure credit.”

“That shot that Posley made was a terrific shot. I’m sure that when we see it on tape we’ll see that it wasn’t that bad defense just a great shot.”

“I thought Jaylen Adams showed really good poise, leading their team to single-digit turnovers.”

 

SBU head coach, Mark Schmidt:

“Great game, great atmosphere, I told the guys after the Davidson game I don’t know if it could get better, but today it got better.”

“They (VCU) come at you in waves and we knew that but I think our guys are in pretty good shape and look accustomed to it.” 

“Denzel (Gregg) was terrific. He came off the bench and gave us great production and also got the crowd fired up with a couple dunks.” 

 

For Bona athletics, 2014 was anything but dull

By Chuckie Maggio @chuckiemaggio

There are many words that can be used to describe the year in St. Bonaventure athletics, but one thing’s for sure: there was hardly a dull moment. It was a roller coaster year for the university’s teams, with major victories, heartbreaking losses and abrupt changes.

How did each sport, and the athletic department as a whole, fare in 2014? Let’s take a look back.

One of the grandest days of 2014 for the entire Bonaventure community was Sept. 19, when the university dedicated the Tom and Michelle Marra Athletics Complex, which was followed by the first night soccer game on the new turf. The Marras were honored for their $1 million donation to jump-start the project, which workers labored all summer to complete. In the soccer game, the Bona women put on a show, defeating Binghamton 3-1 in front of 1,248 fans. The day could not have been more beautiful, literally or figuratively. The weather was great and a new era for Bonnies athletics had commenced.

The women’s soccer team couldn’t parlay a successful opening night into a winning season, however. Lauren Hill, Brittany Charles and Abby Maiello were all able to register in the double-digits for points, but the team finished 7-11-1 on the season, with four losses in the last five games, and missed the Atlantic 10 Tournament. Despite a disappointing end to the season, coach Steve Brdarski continues to build, as his first recruiting class paid immediate dividends. Freshman Danielle Vis scored four goals and added an assist in her first season in brown and white, leading to a spot on the conference’s All-Rookie Team.

The men’s soccer team ended the year in transition. After a 1-15 season and 0-8 conference record, coach Mel Mahler stepped down and Canisius assistant Kwame Oduro was hired as the seventh head coach in team history. Oduro’s first task is recruiting, which will be crucial with the team losing 12 seniors to graduation in May.

The Bona baseball team had its struggles in a 12-30 season, but had some incredible offensive performances from big hitters such as Joel Rosencrance. Rosencrance was the offensive leader, with a .354 batting average, five home runs, 26 runs batted in and a .563 slugging percentage. Those numbers were good enough to land him on the A-10 second team, while his work in the classroom garnered him All-Academic honors.

Like the baseball team, the softball team struggled to win games but had a lot of encouraging individual performances. The team was led by superior hitters Emily McDonough, Kelli Rohan and Katie Sinclair. McDonough, currently a junior, was first on the team in batting average (.394), slugging percentage (.468), and on-base percentage (.436). Rohan, a senior, had a .352 average and was first in runs and hits, with 21 and 43 respectively. Sinclair, a senior, compiled a .321 average with a .376 on-base percentage and a team-leading 18 runs batted in. All three of Bona’s “leading ladies” will be on the 2015 squad.

The women’s lacrosse team is one of the most excited groups to have turf for their upcoming season after “home games” in 2014 had to be played at neutral sites due to the unplayable conditions of the old grass field. It was a very unfortunate circumstance for the team, and what followed was a winless season. The girls hope to bounce back in the new year with a fresh start and solid returnees like LeighAnn Stauffer, who scored 32 goals in 2014, and Mikayla Place, who scored 20 and added 14 assists.

The golf season was headlined by a fantastic year on the links for Josh Stauffer. The then-sophomore finished third in the A-10 Championship, holding the lead until the final round. He was just the second Bona golfer to ever record a top-five finish at the Championship.

The men’s and women’s tennis teams have never been a powerhouse, but men’s player Andrew Blair and women’s player Marisa Brossard showed promise. Blair had an overall record of 3-3 on the year, while Brossard went 15-5 and won her last three matches. Both teams are young overall, with plenty of room to grow in the coming years.

Many Bona athletes had strong individual performances this year, but no one dominated their sport more than cross country runner Kerry Caher. Caher, a junior from Clifton Park, New York, won four races this fall and finished fourth at the A-10 Championship, the best finish ever by a Bona runner. What Caher has done in her collegiate career is nothing short of spectacular.

When it comes to best team performance, the Bonaventure men’s swimming and diving team took the crown once again this year, repeating as conference champions and breaking 11 conference records along the way. Sophomore Michael Pilyugin was named Most Outstanding Performer of the Week, while head coach Sean McNamee was named Coach of the Year.

The Bona women’s team finished ninth in the 2014 A-10 Championships, but finished an impressive second out of ten teams in the Pittsburgh Invitational before the Thanksgiving break. Sophomore Tanja Kirmse has emerged as one of the top performers on the team, with impressive finishes in the 500 and 200 yard freestyles at the Pittsburgh meet and an Atlantic 10 Performer of the Week honor on November 4.

Coach Jim Crowley and the Bonaventure women’s team had an emotional 2014. They won 24 games in the 2013-14 season, the most in program history, but they mourned the tragic loss of assistant sports information director Brian Moretti. Moretti died of cardiac arrest two days before the women played their first game of the conference tournament in Richmond. The team played admirably in the wake of Moretti’s death, defeating La Salle 54-42 before falling to Fordham in the tournament semifinals. They earned a bid to the Women’s NIT, where they won their first round game at home against Charlotte before losing in the second round to Bowling Green.

The Bonnies, who have started the 2014-15 season with a 10-3 record, have been led by forwards Katie Healy and Hannah Little as well as guard Nyla Reuter. Healy scored her thousandth point in a win over Georgetown on December 22 and has averaged 13 points and 6.7 rebounds per game in the brown and white. Little had a breakout performance last year, nearly averaging a double-double with 10.9 points and 9.4 rebounds per game. Reuter is a knockdown shooter for Bonaventure, with 11.4 points a game this season and a 38.6 percent career mark from three-point land. The best part for Bona fans is that their “Big Three” are all juniors, and will still have one more season in an SBU uniform after this year.

The men’s basketball team had a memorable 2014. They entered the year 10-4 after a decent 2013 non-conference slate, then had a couple big wins in conference play, with a win over the ranked UMass Minutemen at home leading to a court-storming. The win over the Minutemen was the first win over a ranked opponent at the Reilly Center since 2000.

The program also took some time to honor one of the greatest players in its history when Andrew Nicholson’s jersey was retired into the rafters on February 22. The ceremony was a superb one as Nicholson, a man of few words, briefly thanked the crowd and talked about how much the Bona family meant to him.

The Bonnies entered the 2014 A-10 tourney with an average 16-14 record, but led their fans on a memorable ride in Brooklyn. After beating LaSalle, they found themselves in a quarterfinal tilt with the number 18 Saint Louis Billikens. After being down by ten at halftime, they stormed back in the second half, taking the lead on a Matthew Wright three-point jumper with 39 seconds left only to have the lead erased by a Dwayne Evans triple with 24 seconds to go. With time running down, Charlon Kloof drove and Youssou Ndoye set a pick to free Jordan Gathers. Gathers received the Kloof pass at the top of the key and drained the three at the buzzer. The Barclays Center erupted as the players mobbed Gathers, celebrating a moment that will go down in Bona lore.

The Gathers shot was number one on that night’s Sportscenter Top 10 and was arguably the most memorable moment from the entire tournament, even though the Bonnies lost to St. Joseph’s the next day and could not come to an agreement with the College Basketball Invitational to play postseason ball. Gathers’ departure a couple weeks ago, and the questions surrounding it, will not overshadow that shot, either. He will always be remembered for stepping up in the clutch and delivering an outpouring of excitement to students, alumni and fans across Bona Nation.

April was marked by rumors of a head coaching change, as Mark Schmidt interviewed at Boston College but decided to stay in Olean, a beneficial choice for both sides.

This year’s edition of Bonaventure men’s basketball features new faces with tons of potential. Freshman guard Jaylen Adams and junior guard Marcus Posley have been starters from the beginning of the season, and they hope to guide this team to a consistent and winning 2015.

Finally, one of the major stories of the 2014 athletic year didn’t happen on a field or court. On the night of November 11, Intrepid reporter Joseph Pinter broke the news that Athletic Director Steve Watson had accepted the same position at Loyola University Chicago. The university confirmed it the next day and the search for a new AD began. In 2015, Bonaventure will have a new athletic director, who will face a big responsibility as the program continues to strive for new heights and earn more recognition nationally.

2014 was a momentous one for St. Bonaventure athletics. What will 2015 bring for the Bonnies?

maggioct13@bonaventure.edu