Maycock ready to embrace leadership role on young team

 

By Sean Mickey

Junior guard Mckenna Maycock is striving to lead the St. Bonaventure Women’s Basketball team to new heights.

Maycock, a lifelong southern tier resident attending Randolph high school in Randolph, New York, had always been familiar with St. Bonaventure and their athletics.

“I had gone to the Bonaventure camps for 5 years in a row, so I knew it by then,” Maycock said.

After her experiences as an athlete nearby, and attending Bonaventure basketball camps, becoming a Bonnie was an easy choice.

“I accepted it right away,” Maycock said. “I love the school and it’s really close to my family. It was really the perfect fit.”

The 2016-17 season was anything but extraordinary for the Brown and White, winning only nine games.

Coming off a disappointing season, Maycock knew that to help improve the team she needed to put in extra work in the off season.

“I tried to expand my game and get better at shooting from the outside,” Maycock said. “I think the biggest thing I have to do is bring my leadership every day because if I work hard every day then everyone else will follow.”

Those sentiments have rang true thus far this season.

Maycock leads all Bonnies in scoring and rebounding with 14.6 points per game and 8.6 rebounds per game, which almost doubles her totals from last year. She’s also shooting a team lead 58% from three, going 14-24 from behind the arc, compared to her 9-34 three point total last year.

Maycock’s coach, Jesse Fleming shared his sentiments.

“She’s one of two true upperclassmen on the roster, so I expect leadership out of her,” Fleming said. “I think she’s one of the best athletes in the conference and she has to show that. She has really put in the work and we expect a lot out of her on both sides of the floor.”

Coach Fleming, who enters his second year as coach of the Bonnies, has relied heavily on Maycock so far, logging 40 minutes in a win over Bucknell, where she went 8-11 from the field and a perfect 4-4 from three.

She followed up that performance Saturday with a double-double off 23 points and 12 boards against UMBC.

While she’s put together some solid performances, helping the Bonnies to a 4-3 record in non-conference games, Maycock has her eye set on conference play.

“It’s just a lot of fun,” Maycock said. “I’m really excited to get revenge for some of the games I think we should have won last year. I’m just ready.”

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Reaction: Stockard-led Bonnies embrace adversity, stun undefeated Maryland

By Josh Svetz

The Bonnies have provided enough highs and lows for a season’s worth of basketball and it’s only been four games.

Tonight was a high, but coming into the contest, most wouldn’t think so.

In fact, the Bonnies would have to overcome hard knocks to achieve any sort of high.

Hours before the game, star guard Jaylen Adams, who has yet to play or practice due to an ankle injury, was ruled out. Junior forward Courtney Stockard was probable, but limited in practice over the week.

Then, as tip-off neared, Bonas fans were left confounded when the official men’s basketball account tweeted that senior Matt Mobley, the Bonnies’ leading scorer, would not start due to being late for a team meeting.

On top of this, Bonas had to contend with the undefeated Maryland Terrapins, a top-20 defensive team featuring several bigs 6-foot-10 and taller alongside two NBA hopefuls, sophomores Justin Jackson and Anthony Cowan.

The only way Bonas could hope to sneak out of this game victorious was to take advantage of the Terps’ bottom-200-ranked turnover rate, translating to a turnover every four possessions, and make this game ugly.

That’s exactly what the Bonnies did. They brought the grind to the grinders.

To start, they didn’t let the size difference affect the scoring in the first half.

Bonas deployed a 1-3-1 zone to neutralize talented freshman forward Bruno Fernando and it worked.

Fernando became agitated and frustrated early, taking his head out of the game and mounting up just two points and three rebounds in the first half. While 7-foot-1 senior Michal Cekovsky filled in nicely with nine points, two blocks and two rebounds in the first half, he just didn’t provide the same upside and athleticism of Fernando.

Bonas also capitalized on turnovers, turning eleven first half miscues into twelve points.

The scrappy effort contributed heavily, as Bonas didn’t let the Terps lead by more than four at any time in the first half.

But maybe the number one reason the Bonnies handled their business was their defense.

Forcing turnovers aside, Bonas switched beautifully on screens and closed out on the Terps’ guards. This frustrated the shooters, holding them to 1 of 10 from behind the arc and just 43 percent from the field.

Despite Mobley being held to four points in the first half, everyone else stepped up offensively, with Josh Ayeni, Izaiah Brockington, LaDarien Griffin and Courtney Stockard scoring 24 of the Bonnies’ 30 first-half points.

The Bonnies headed into the locker room down one, but with momentum on their side.

Still, Maryland head coach Mark Turgeon may have summed up the situation best in his sideline interview.

“We haven’t made a jump shot, we have eleven turnovers and we’re up one,” Turgeon said. “It’s pretty amazing.”

With obvious adjustments coming for the second half, the Bonnies would need to continue the defensive tenacity and get something out of Mobley to have a chance.

The Terps came out re-energized, opening the second half with a 8-2 run in the first five minutes.

Bonas needed to answer, and with Mobley’s shot not falling, he turned to the free throw line to make a contribution.

Mobley went 10 of 10 from the free throw line, six of those coming in the second half.

But with 11 minutes left, the wheels started to come off.

Down by one, Bonas gave up two three-pointers and an and-one layup in the span of three minutes, trailing 44-52 with eight minutes remaining.

But the Bonnies wouldn’t quit.

Layups by Ayeni, Mobley and Brockington cut the deficit to two, and two free throws from Stockard tied the game at 53.

However, Bonas’ three-point defensive woes reared its ugly head, as Terps’ junior Dion Wiley drained a three.

Both teams traded free throws and Mobley made a layup to make the score 59-57 with two minutes to play.

Mobley then tied the game with two free throws.

The free throw line saved the Bonnies, as 21 of their 63 total points came from the stripe.

Then, the Bonnies caught a break when the Terps’ Jackson missed an open three.

Even with the break, Mobley missed a layup but Ayeni grabbed the offensive board and drew the foul.

Ayeni handled the pressure, draining both free throws, giving the Bonnies a 61-59 lead.

An ill-advised foul by Mobley not only gave the Terps’ Cowan free throws, but also gave him his fifth foul, taking him out of the game.

With no timeouts, Stockard-the highest scorer left in the game-was forced into the spotlight, facing adversity from the tenacious Terps’ defense.

But Stockard is no stranger to adversity.

For two years he’s battled back from foot injuries that ended his season twice. Even before the game, that same type of injury limited him all week in practice. But now, with the game in his hands, this was his moment.

He handled the ball inches in front of the half-court line, cutting to the basket and going up strong to put in the game-winning layup with 3.4 seconds left.

Stockard finished the game with fourteen points.

The Terps turned the ball over and that was it. The Bonnies won, despite everyone counting them out, despite all the adversity.

Stockard scored the game-winner, despite the adversity.

The excitement of this win will be short-lived, though, as they turn around and face TCU for the Emerald Coast Classic championship tomorrow at 7:00 p.m.

But as the glow remains fresh, the Bonnies carry a scrappy nature and underdog mentality, just like their leader tonight.

Lights Out: A first-person account of the game that wasn’t

By Jeff Uveino

Walking into the Reilly Center Wednesday night felt as normal as any other game day.

The students filing in, the teams shooting around and Kodak Black echoing through the loudspeakers–just a typical pregame in the RC. At 6:30 p.m., the St. Bonaventure Men’s basketball team prepared to play the Hawks of University of Maryland-Eastern Shore.

As the teams took warm-ups, I noticed that several lights above where UMES was shooting were out.

My initial reaction was that this was a tactical move: make the opponents warm up in the dark while we warm up in the light. An obscure strategy, but perhaps a slight advantage. Boy, was I wrong.

Shortly after noticing the lights were out, I got word that it was because of a power outage in the arena, quite an interesting development for my first time covering a Bonnies game.

Rumors spiraled around about the source of the outage and how it would affect the game, but it seemed as if no one knew for certain. Security guards, media personnel, and curious students searched for answers.

But one thing was for sure; we would have to wait.

The planned start time of 7 p.m. came and went, as the teams continued to shoot around. The scoreboards were now completely out, as was the jumbotron over center court.

A smiling Jaylen Adams hobbled around the floor, shooting with his team despite the boot he wore to protect his sprained ankle and the obvious notion of being ruled out for the contest.

More time passed. Still nothing.

Behind the scenes, the lights in the halls and media room flickered. There appeared to be lights on around other parts of campus, but no signs of progress in the Reilly Center.

Around 8 p.m., an announcement was made in the arena that National Grid would be testing the power in an attempt to have the game played. The Reilly Center, the crowd was told, would go almost completely dark for about 15 minutes.

Phone lights came on throughout the stands, electricians scrambled around campus, and “Let’s go Bonas” chants continued to cry out intermittently, as they had for nearly two hours at this point.

St. Bonaventure University President Dr. Dennis DePerro even tried his hand at a few foul shots to entertain the crowd.

Suddenly, around 8:30 p.m., the power flashed back on, sending the relatively quiet student section into a frenzy.

It appeared as if the problem had been fixed, and the game would be played after all. I couldn’t help but think that this game would be remembered for a long time as something along the lines of the “power outage game,” and be added to Reilly Center lore.

But it didn’t end there.

Everyone back into place, the Bonnies ran out to warm up once again. The crowd was alive, and Twitter was going crazy trying to keep up with what exactly was going on.

However, Matt Mobley barely had time to lead the team out and drop in a lay-up before the jumbotron went dark with an abrupt bang.

Next were the scoreboards on the ends of the gym, then the overhead lights.

At this point, the night was starting to feel like a nightmare.

The teams retreated back into the locker rooms, and everyone anxiously waited once again to hear a final word on what the outcome of the game would be.

The crowd was thinning, but those remaining could still be heard.

You could feel the collective frustration bouncing around the arena.

The players wanted to play, the coaches wanted to coach, and the Wolf Pack wanted to be the Wolf Pack.

At approximately 8:35 pm, the official announcement was made that the game would not be played. The arena was empty in an instant.

The decision was made that the game would be ruled a “no contest,” meaning that it would not count toward the record of either team. Rumors that the home team would have to forfeit if the game was not played were shot down in an instant, and a frustrated Bonas community went on its way.

After the game, barely a soul could be found throughout the arena.

The only people left were a few scattered security guards making sure everyone exited safely. After all—the power was scheduled to go out for another test in 5 minutes, as was announced. Leftover pizza sat under the continually-flickering lights of the media room.

After the frenzy of events was over, I had to take a few minutes to make sense of what had just happened.

After a heartbreaking loss to Niagara University last Friday night, now Bonas fans had to go through this? An unpredictable and unforgettable start to a season where many experts had the Bonnies making the NCAA tournament.

St. Bonaventure’s next game will be played Saturday afternoon vs Jackson State University at 4:00 pm. Who knows what will happen next? Bonnies fans have already had enough disappointment and bewilderment for a whole season.

If one thing is for sure, it is that November 15, 2017 in the Reilly Center is a day that will be remembered around the community for years to come. A decade from now, alumni and staff will reminisce:

“Remember the night when the power went out? Twice?”

I certainly won’t forget.

Kaputo “I’m the best I’ve ever been”

For Junior guard Nelson Kaputo, not getting lost in the hype is high on his priorities.

Because of the Bonnies’ NCAA Tournament snubs the past two seasons, the team is motivated to finally get over the hump this season, especially with the tournament-level hype surrounding the team. In fact, CBS Sports ranked the Bonnies the #1 college basketball team in New York on Wednesday.

Kaputo, a 6-foot guard from Toronto, Ontario, shared his thoughts about how the team doesn’t want to get lost in the hype.

“We’ve done a great job blocking it out,” Kaputo said. “We’re focusing on what we have to do.”

The Bonnies put up good numbers on the record sheet, finishing 20-12 on the season and 11-7 in conference play; however, Kaputo expects them to perform better this season due to a new emphasis on work ethic.

“It was a great off-season for all of us,” he said. “Individually, we all have gotten better, and personally, I think I’m the best I’ve been in my life.”

He felt the biggest improvement he made during the off-season was his strength.

“I’ve put on a lot of muscle this summer, and I think that’s going to allow me to be more effective on the court, being able to come off ball screens cleaner and taking bumps better,” he said.”My all-around game is going to improve this year.”

Kaputo said living with the team helped improve their bond.

“Most of the guys lived with one another over the summer and we’ve been around each other every single day,” he said. “The only time we’re not with each other is when we go to sleep.  Most of us live in the townhouses as well, so off that strength alone, the chemistry on the team is going to keep building throughout the season.  It’s like a brotherhood being on this team, and you’re going to see that carry onto the court when we’re out there balling and having fun with each other.”

This brotherhood the team has with each other carries over into Kaputo’s relationships with some of his fellow guards and forwards. He told me about how him, Jaylen Adams and Matt Mobley have been in that position of learning from the veterans and how they taught him some things as well.

He is glad that, as a junior this season, he is able to follow in the footsteps as a mentor for some of the younger guys.

“As upperclassmen on this team, that’s the position that Matt, Jaylen and I are in with the younger guys,” Kaputo said.  “We are able to teach them how to understand the system and how to compete at this level, just like the veteran guys, who were in our shoes at one point before, taught us. We understood what it took to be good before and what it takes for us to get where we want to be.”

Kaputo shows a lot of praise for the system Coach Schmidt imparts to his players, but he went over with me how the team could have done better with the system.

“Our struggle last year was figuring out how to play with each other within the system, not the system itself,” said Kaputo.  “I love the system. It’s just a matter of getting to know the guys better and know how we play.  Having a lot of returners from last year should help us with that. Coming into this year, everyone knows their role, and everyone is ready to play.”

While Kaputo shows his admiration for the system, he also shows it towards his head coach.  He told me that Mark Schmidt is a great guy and coach, who is adept to the “open door policy” with his players, knows how to “install the winning mentality into his players” so they win games and gets him playing his best.

“He’s put me in a position to be successful time and time again,” he said.  “There have been times in my career where I haven’t followed through in that position, but he tells me what I need to do to get back on the court. As a player, you want a coach that brings out the best in you, and that’s what he does.”

According to Kaputo, it sounds like Coach Mark Schmidt has command of the locker room and the support of his players to be able to lead his team to new heights this season.

“The whole team has that same picture in mind: the NCAA Tournament, and we’ve been working like it,” said Kaputo.  “I think you guys are in for quite a season.”

 

 

With confidence soaring, Calabrese looking to make an impact this season

By Jeremy Castro

Emily Calabrese, one of five new additions to the St. Bonaventure women’s basketball team, is one of the two freshmen on the squad alongside Abigail Johnson.

Calabrese hails from Wyckoff, New Jersey (about thirty miles outside of New York City) and has played a big impact in how she has developed.

“I really love where I am from,” Calabrese said.

“They really focus on recreational sports and the travel teams are great. This is how I got involved in basketball and has really helped me grow my play and become a really good player.”

Growing up, Calabrese played numerous sports. However, basketball eventually came out on top.

“I was the kid that played all the sports,” Calabrese said.

“Originally, my main sport was soccer. Eventually, my dad asked me if I wanted to start playing basketball and I said I would try it out. It ended up being my favorite sport and I knew(basketball) was the sport I wanted to pursue and play in college.”

 

Calabrese went to Ramapo High School in Ramapo, New Jersey, where she averaged a double-double for her career, recording 17.6 Points and 12.6 rebounds per game during her four years. She was named to multiple selective teams, such as First Team All-North Jersey and Second Team All-State. She is also the only player to record both over 1000 points and 1000 rebounds in the history of Ramapo High School.

When Calabrese came to visit the little school in Olean, New York, she knew right away she belonged.

“The atmosphere, the community, the coaches, everyone was great,” she said. “I knew this is where I wanted to be.”

A lot of this success can be attributed to the confidence that Calabrese has in herself.

“Over time, my confidence (has grown),” Calabrese said.

“I tried out for my AAU team. I didn’t think I was going to make it at first, but I did. That really grew my confidence. I started going to a trainer to help grow my game more. I like being a leader on and off the court.”

Being a freshman, this will be Calabrese’s first taste of Bonnies basketball and she is very much looking forward to it.

“I have an opportunity to really make an impact this year,” Calabrese said.

“Hopefully I can be very positive and play really well to help my team. (Also) to have a successful season in and out of conference. Maybe even make it to the (NCAA) tournament.”

Right before our time together ended, and with both of us New Jersey natives, there was one question that stood above the rest and needed to be answered.

Pork Roll or Taylor Ham?

“Taylor Ham,” Calabrese said.

Terry sets the example on and off the court

By Isaiah Blakely

Being better were words echoed many times by sophomore guard Jalisha Terry and her head coach Jesse Fleming.

“Jalisha had the hardest job out of anybody last year, she was the starting freshman point guard,” Fleming said. “I don’t know if there was anybody I yelled at more than Jalisha last year, and she took it.”

Despite having the “hardest job,” Terry was one of the best freshman in the A-10 last season averaging 7.3 points 2.8 rebounds and two assists per game.

Terry specifically wants to improve the offensive side of her game.

“To be better with my assists, my shooting percentages and just be more of a leader,” she said. “Since I’m the point guard, I need to be more of a leader and keep my team under control.”

Her game is not the only thing she wants to improve on.

“I don’t want to be the same person every year,” she said. “I want my stats to be better, be a better person and better teammate.”

Terry started 25 of 29 games last season and Fleming addressed that importance for her development as a player.

“It was valuable for her in the long run to get those experiences,” he said. “She should be ready to go, she’s got a better feel of the offense and she’s becoming a better defender.”

Terry has always homed in her skills against her younger brother Jalen Terry. Jalen is a sophomore at Beecher High School in Michigan, and he has already received offers from schools including Iowa.

“Every time I go back we still play, we talk stuff all the time,” she said. “He might win by two, I might win by a couple. He looks up to me, so I have to be the best I can be even though I am not at a big school. I still feel that I have to be an example.”

Sacramento Kings rookie point guard De’Aaron Fox made headlines when he credited the video game series NBA 2k for his ability to read the basketball court and improved court vision. Terry started playing the series recently, and was asked if she thinks she will see the same results.

“I think so,” she said. “Hopefully 2k can carry over to my game.”

Ngalakulondi primed to cook the competition

By Jeff Uveino

Move over “Chef Curry,” there’s a new “chef” in basketball.

Freshman Tshiefu Ngalakulondi is ready to start his college basketball career at St. Bonaventure. “Chef,” as he goes by, is a 6-foot-6-inch small forward hailing from Manchester, New Hampshire.

Attending Proctor Academy, he averaged 16 points and eight rebounds per game over his senior season in high school. He was named to the Class AA All-New England team both his junior and senior seasons.

Ngalakulondi was ranked by ESPN as the #2 recruit to come out of the state of New Hampshire this past year, and the #91 recruit out of the entire East region. He opened up about the recruiting process.

“I looked at mostly A-10 schools,” Ngalakulondi said. “I knew that this was a great league, and I knew that the team was going to be good this year so that was another reason that I chose to come here.”

Attending a preparatory high school, Ngalakulondi expressed, has made the transition from high school to college somewhat easier for him.

“It’s not too much of a difference because in high school I was living on campus, so I already had a feel for living away from home and being in that environment. So, the adjustment is not as hard,” he said.

Ngalakulondi will be looking to make a difference for the Bonnies this season, and has plenty of competitors to battle with in practice. An upperclassmen-heavy team, Ngalakulondi said that he has learned a lot from the experienced veterans on the roster.

“It’s not high school anymore,” he said. “It’s a whole new level. Bigger, stronger guys, faster guys. They’ve helped me transition over, it’s been helpful having them to look up to because they’ve been here and know what they’re doing, so they can show me the ropes.”

With many experts picking St. Bonaventure to get an NCAA tournament bid this year, the team knows that they will have to meet high expectations all season. Ngalakulondi has embraced the attention that the Bonnies have been getting from the media, but knows that they need to go out and perform.

“It’s great, it’s really something I’m looking forward to,” he said. “Predictions don’t really mean anything, you have to put in the work and that will make us accomplish our goals.”

Ngalakulondi ‘s size should play a large part in his game. Although he stands at 6-foot-6, his athleticism allows him to play like he’s 6-foot-8.

With big men Amadi Ikpeze and Josh Ayeni returning, however, Ngalakulondi will have to work to see consistent minutes during his rookie season.

“My goal is to come out with energy and help the team win however I can,” he said. “Whether its rebounding, running the floor, knocking down shots, it’s just whatever I can do to make the team win.”

Ngalakulondi offered what he thinks the Bonnies have to do in order to find success deep into the postseason.

“We just have to play together, play hard all the time, and stay out of foul trouble. If we do all of those things, we can have a really good season,” he said.

Regardless of his role this season, Ngalakulondi has a long career ahead of him at Bonaventure, and his potential begs Bonnies fans to ask, what is the ‘Chef’ cooking?

 

Arielle Harvey ready to play in the “lit and legendary” Reilly Center

By Keara Donnelly

Junior 6-foot-0 forward Arielle Harvey has come all the way from Daytona State in Florida to make an impact for the Bonnies.

Originally from Atlanta, Georgia, Harvey averaged 16.2 points and 5.4 rebounds per game last season for the Falcons. She was named First Team Mid-Florida Conference and finished as the team’s leading scorer earning a selection to the All-State Regions 11X team.

In last Saturday’s exhibition loss to Edinboro, coming off the bench, Harvey scored eight points, grabbed five rebounds and recorded a block in 17 minutes of play.

Reporter Keara Donnelly sat down with Harvey to get her thoughts on her inspirations, expectations and impressions about playing for the St. Bonaventure Bonnies.

When did you start playing basketball?

Harvey: I started when I was thirteen, but didn’t take it seriously until high school.

Did Your Family play?

Harvey: Actually, I was the only person in my family to play basketball. The rest of my family swam and played tennis.

Who was the most influential person in your life?

Harvey: My mom.

Which coaches helped you the most during your career?

Harvey: My first AAU coach Daphne Pierce-Smith and Texas Legends lead assistant  coach (NBA D-League) Walter Pitts.

Why did you chose Saint Bonaventure?

Harvey: I liked the atmosphere. Since I’m from a city and not used to a small town I liked the close-knit community and how genuine everyone was.

What do you bring to the team?

Harvey: I bring a lot of athleticism, energy and scoring.

What are some rituals you have before the game?

Harvey: I always wear a headband and I never wear my hair up when I’m playing.

Who’s your favorite basketball player?

Harvey: LeBron James. He is the first one I really looked up to basketball -wise and is why I wear the number 23. Whatever team he is on, I follow. I love his all-around game and it is something I want in my game.

What are your thoughts on the Reilly Center?

Harvey: It’s lit and legendary.