Reports: Alston to Transfer

 

Alston came and went in one year as a Bonnie.

Alston came and went in one year as a Bonnie.

According to various reports on twitter, rising senior guard Iakeem Alston will be transferring out of SBU. Alston was a back-up PG this year to Jay Adams until the freshman broke his hand. From there, Alston got a cup of coffee as they say starting at the one before being sent back to the bench. Alston brought some energy and quickness on the defensive side of the ball but his inability to contribute on the offensive side stood out from day one. Alston could not knock down jump shoots enough to see real time and even struggled mightily to connect from the foul line as a guard. To be honest, even if he returned next season he would have seen very limited playing time with Jay’s return. I don’t mean to put down Alston’s game but this roster change really does nothing for next season’s outlook except making us a tad bit thiner at PG…but, I’m sure Schmidt will have a new one in here before long.

He averaged 2.4 points, 1.4 assists in 10.6 minutes shooting 35% from the field and 51% from the line.

Best of luck Iakeem in your future travels.

Here’s a national media member spelling his name wrong.

New AD will play key role in basketball scheduling, arena and recruiting improvement

Tim Kenney was introduced a St. Bonaventure’s athletic director on Thursday afternoon. The 44-year old former executive associate AD at Massachusetts made some interesting comments. Let’s take a look.

A year-round bone of contention for Bonnies fans is the non-conference schedule. Kenney said he will take on a substantial role in putting together a schedule that gives the men’s basketball program greater opportunity to compete for NIT and at-large NCAA tournament berths.

A goal of Kenney’s, wrote the Olean Times Herald’s J.P. Butler is to:

Help figure out if we’re scheduling right. If we need to do something a little different, tweak it, so we’re always in the conversation of the NIT, and hope that in some years it’s maybe the NCAA. The NCAA is really hard to make. It’s hard to make at UMass, it’s hard to make, period. You want to be able to position yourself for the postseason that way. Schmidty and I will talk and we’ll figure it out … without him having to play a murderer’s row.

SBU’s non-conference scheduling could use a tweak or two. In my humble opinion, the goal should be to shoot for something similar to the non-conference slate the Bonnies assembled for the 2001-02 season:

At Cleveland State
Niagara
Boston College (in Buffalo)
At Toledo
At Oklahoma
Green Bay
Ohio
Davidson
At Siena
At Connecticut
At Kent State

For next year, this could be adjusted to:

At Cleveland State (or other nearby solid mid-major)
Niagara
X high profile foe (in Rochester)
At Buffalo
At X high profile foe
At Canisius (in Buffalo)
Ohio
Binghamton
At Siena
At X high profile foe
At Kent State (or other strong MAC program)

Kenney was highly involved in UMass’ basketball operations. He is given credit for helping revive the program with the help of coaches Travis Ford and Derek Kellogg. He was lead planner for a new practice facility and oversaw “daily” operations for the program.

Kenney told the Olean Times Herald that the St. Bonaventure program needs more resources for recruiting.

Schmidty doesn’t worry about getting kids to come here. He’s got to be able to get out there and get more kids, so some more recruiting resources, I think, is an important part of it, so he’s able to get out there more, so the staff is able to get out there more. Because the A-10 level, it’s not like at the top levels where you narrow in on a few. You got to cast your net a little wider and know where you’re going.

The good news is that Schmidt and his staff have made great strides in recruiting the last few years after failing to land enough key players to put around Andrew Nicholson during his first three years on campus. Steve Curran has recruited some good prospects for the Bonnies of late, and the hope is that Jerome Robinson will continue to make inroads in Canada. More resources can only help.

Kenney also has visions of increasing attendance at the Reilly Center and making improvements to the arena to provide greater appeal to fans and recruits … I assume this to mean a video board or two, new seats in the upper level and, perhaps, beer sales. A new sound system and improved Wi-Fi access would be solid additions, as well.

This is what Kenney had to say:

I see the fans. I also see the pockets of empty seats and I ask myself: how are we going to fill them? Because then that’s some of the revenue that we can use to come back in and help us. That’s making sure that when you come into this place — and you’re spending hard-earned money to come to a game — you want to have a good experience; not just screaming and yelling, but you’re greeted, the concessions, the presentation of the game, that all goes into it. That’s key for having repeat customers that might not already be the loyal ones.

Kenny has a steep background in marketing, promotion, fundraising and rallyomg supporters. He believes that St. Bonaventure has a great “story” to tell. I recommend reading Chuck Pollock’s column on Kenney’s vision for culling resources for the athletic department.

We’ll have a Q&A with Kenney coming soon that offers some more insight into his objectives and goals for SBU.

Recruiting: What’s Needed?

Ndoye leaves and Schmidt needs to find another center, quickly in our opinion.

Ndoye leaves and Schmidt needs to find another center, quickly in our opinion.

As we continue to put a bow on the Bonnies 18 win season we now turn our heads towards recruiting. Generally, I don’t following recruiting, I do not try to keep up with it or pretend to enjoy it. I don’t have the slightest interest in following 17 year olds around the country and consider which of them may sign with the Bonnies. I’ve seen too many kids “close” to being a Bonnie or even verbal or sign only to find their way elsewhere before the Fall. For me, just tell me whose on the team on say August 1st and then let me breakdown the roster. When a kid signs the dotted line I will do my due diligence in looking him up, chatting with them and finding out as much about their game as I can. Until then, I’ll leave the day-to-day recruit following to the masses.

Having said that it’s now mid-March and the Bonnies have two open scholarship left, according to my math anyway.

Out: Cumberbatch, Ndoye , Gathers and Dees

In: Woods and Griffin

So, what to do with the two available full-rides we have left? (Granted this is assuming that no one leaves the program which I would be is not the case. I won’t name names in this post but I would THINK that at least one current Bonnie will not be with the team next fall. This is the way of college hoops today). Also, if someone else does leave Schmidt has shown before he will pocket that ride and use it next fall. No needs to waste it on the last item on the shelf when the store will be restocked in a few months…

I’d think the two last ‘ships would have to be given to an immediate impact big man and shooter. I’d lean big man though. We only return Tyson as a player over 6-8 and he did not see the floor this season after being made a RS. Xavier Smith has to be nearly written off at this point as a possible contributor down low given his lack of playing time. We are super thin behind Dion down low next year. Losing Ndoye and Chris will prove tough to recover from. BUT, I think this team will have a new identity next year that will hopefully involve a faster tempo and maybe even some more pressure defense; since we are losing our rim-protector. I’d look for Schmidt to sign a JUCO center based on past methods (Think D’Lancy Carter but better?) as well as a bit of a hunch. He’d love to sign a kid to come in and buy him a year or two so he can find a another big man to develop like he did with Drew and Youssou. If the staff could get a center to come in next year and average eight points and seven boards shooting over 45% from the floor I’d take it.

What are your thoughts? What do the Bonnies need the most this spring and what do you expect them to do to address the roster?

Here’s what our depth chart looks like heading into 2015-2015.

PG

SG

SF

PF

C

J. Adams (So.)

M. Posley (Sr.)

D. Gregg (Jr.)

D. Wright (Sr.)

J. Tyson (RS Soph.)

I. Alston (Sr.)

J. Adams (So.)

I. Taqqee (So.)

X. Smith (Jr.)

L. Griffin (Fr.)

D. Woods (Fr.)

Exclusive Q+A With Ladarien Griffin

Griffin

The BonaBlog recently had the chance to chat with the Bonnies 2015 commit Ladarien Griffin. Griffin answered our questions so Bonnies fans could get to know him a bit better. He also said he’s a frequent reader of the blog so incase you needed another reason to visit even our recruits are checking us out. Thanks to LD for hooking us up with this interview-we can’t wait to see him out there next Fall.

What other schools offered you before committing to SBU? Georgia Southern, Cornell , Brown, UNF , Long Island Brooklyn, Florida Gulf Coast, Jacksonville.

Had you ever heard of St. Bonaventure before they started recruiting you?  Yes, when they won a-10 tournament in 2011-2012 and made it to the NCAA tournament.

What impressed you most about the coaching staff during the recruiting process? They were hardworking and family focused. They made me feel like I was a number 1 priority to them

What coach recruited you the most? Coach Curran.

What are you impressions of coach Schmidt? What about him made you feel confident in coming to Bonaventure? He has a lot of charisma and he is all about his players. He had a plan for how he was going to use me.

Did SBU have Andrew Nicholson of the Magic reach out to you? No, but I knew who he was and on my visit coach was showing me how he improved from his freshman year until his senior year before going to the NBA.

Who is your basketball role model? Lebron James.

Do you own a North Face Jacket? No, but I plan on getting one!

Have you ever seen significant amounts of snow accumulation? No, I have always lived in Florida.

Do you know who Bob Lanier is? Yes, he was one of the greatest players to come out of St. Bonaventure and played in the NBA for Pistons and Bucks.

Zach Levine or Vince Carter?  Zach lavine he has ridiculous athleticism.

What NBA player would you compare yourself to/or you try to emulate? Penny Hardaway. He was a great passer and defender. He had great athleticism too.

What are your short and long term basketball goals at St. Bonaventure? To win an Atlantic 10 championship and a long term goal is to win a national championship.

In what aspects of the game must you improve to be successful at the college level? My shooting.

What’s your biggest basketball strength/weakness right now? My athleticism and my defense and my weakness is my shooting.

What was the most memorable part of your official trip to SBU? What sealed the deal for you?
The midnight madness. The fans came a supported the team and you could tell that the fans love the Bonnies.

Have you spoken with Kyle Alexander (a highly recruited center from Canada) and do you have any insight into whether he may choose to play at SBU as well? What about Derrick Woods whose also signed on? Have you spoken with him? I talk to Kyle when I was on my visit. He is a really cool guy and I hope he comes to st. Bonaventure. As for Derrick, we haven’t talked much but I have seen a lot of his highlights and he is a great player and I can’t wait to play with him next year.

What are you most looking forward to doing as a freshman in college (non-basketball stuff)? Living on my own and seeing snow.

Have you considered a major yet? Sports management.

Have you ever met Tim Tebow? No, but he is very popular in Jacksonville.

UF or FSU or other for NCAA Football? FSU

Ok, Quick Hitters:

Favorite food?
Fried fish
Favorite fast food?
Chinese food
Favorite TV show?
Person of Interest
Favorite movie?
Scarface
Celebrity crush?
Selena Gomez
Favorite pre-game music artist or CD?
Drake
Your role model?
My dad
Favorite sport to watch other than basketball?
Football
Favorite team to root for?
Cleveland Cavaliers
If you could meet any three living people who would they be?
Lebron James , Warren Buffett and Michael Jordan
If you could eat dinner with one dead person who would you pick?
Martin Luther King Jr.
If you could go back in history and watch one even what would it be?
The MLK I have a dream speech

Bonnies’ season likely over; would you like to see it continue?

d099845d506810da4d7116038deb37c4St. Bonaventure’s basketball season is likely done.

The Bonnies’ resume doesn’t warrant an NIT invitation and there is little chance they opt to “buy” into the CBI or CIT tournaments.

According to Big Apple Buckets, SBU is not a potential CBI or CIT team.

Interestingly, this was Derek Kellogg’s take on UMass’ postseason outlook (my guess is that St. Bonaventure’s is the same):

With the way things played out at the end of the season, I said, if we’re not in the NIT, it’s one of those things where let’s move on and get ready for next year.

Would you like to see the Bonnies’ season continue in a “buy” tournament? Discuss below.

Schmidt may take a ride on the coaching carousel

Mark Schmidt may be in the running for bigger coaching jobs elsewhere this spring.

Mark Schmidt may be in the running for bigger coaching jobs elsewhere this spring.

Mark Schmidt could be in the mix again when coaching posts become vacant this spring.

Last year, he interviewed with his alma mater, Boston College. Following the NCAA tournament appearance in 2012, he was rumored to have met with Virginia Tech about its opening.

It’s more likely that Schmidt would make a smaller jump up if he happens to move this offseason (think Jim Baron to Rhode Island).

Buffalo News columnist Bucky Gleason, after Friday’s loss to Dayton, wrote this about Schmidt:

He has been in Olean for eight seasons, long enough to forget about the dreary days under Anthony Solomon, long enough for many to take Schmidt for granted. He’s a fantastic coach with a knack for developing raw players with potential. It seems a matter of time before a better school comes along and snatches him.

Schmidt’s contract at St. Bonaventure runs through the 2018-19 season. It was extended after the 2011-12 season. Another extension is in order.

Schmidt has a good thing going at St. Bonaventure and a good team coming back next year. My guess is he would only be interested in moving only if its a big move (say to the ACC or Big Ten).

What do you think? Post comments below.

End of Season Thoughts

The Bonnies season ended last night in heart breaking fashion but the journey was a good one all things considered.

The Bonnies season ended last night in heart breaking fashion but the journey was a good one all things considered.

There’s no denying it. Ending the season the way the Bonnies did last night stings. As a die-hard fan or alum you likely went to bed last night like me; unable to sleep thinking about a hand full of plays the Bonnies could have made to win the game.

What if Andell made his late lay-up drive?

What if Denzell didn’t throw away that ball leading to a lay-up?

What if Dion’s only three point miss rimmed in instead of out?

What if Posley or Dion took a three to end it instead of driving to the cup?

The bottom line is any fan can play that game after any loss. I hate doing it but it’s what fans do. Instead I’d rather focus on the season as a whole body of work and not just a 40 minutes snapshot….or in the case of last night, a snapshot of the games’ final 90 seconds or so.

So what was good and bad this year as you sit here on “the day after” and think about next season.

The Good-

Mark Schmidt. I don’t care what anyone says about Schmidt; this dude can flat out coach our kids up. This team was picked to finish 11th in the league and they finished 7th, winning 18 games and nearly making another semifinal. Schmidt continues to develop players and find ways to win and outperform expectations time and time again. Schmidt has been a Godsend to the program since coming over in 2007. Schmidt is literally one of the best coaches in the freaking league. Archie Miller said last night that Mark was “they are coached by one of the more underrated coaches in all of college basketball. Coach Schmidt does a phenomenal job, he always has.”

If you gave this guy a roster like Dayton I don’t even know what he’d do with it. Well done Schmidt and staff.

I will say though I didn’t love Schmidt saying if you told him preseason they’d go 10-8 in the league he would have told you that you were nuts. This is almost exactly what I expected from this group and I don’t think finishing two games over .500 in the league is something to be stunned over. Yes, it was a very solid season but it’s not some stunning feat that we should be wowed by either. Schmidt should give himself some credit and raise the bar. Let’s go into next season expecting to do the same or better…we should as a program. This isn’t 2009 anymore.

Posley- No one could have known that Posley would come into the year and become a premier scoring guard in the league from day one. Well he did that. Posley’s buzzer-beaters were the highlights of the season and his effort against Duquesne was the stuff of legends. His ability to play the point position at the end of the year was very solid. He was a massive plus and I don’t know where this team is without him. He was a recruiting gem.

Ndoye- The center finished his career ranked among the top players in points, rebounds and blocks. Yes, he was up and down. No question about it. But seven foot rim-protectors don’t grow on trees and Youssou was a very, very good center on the defensive side of the ball. He will be missed in a big way. We are sad to see him go. He’s a player you will look back on and say, “Man he was good”.

Cumberbatch- No one, no one took more crap from fans than Andell. But, at the end of the day and at the end of his career this kid became a guy all the fans rallied around. He was scrappy, played hard, and did a lot of things to help the team win. He was a flawed player to be sure, but he was a great Bonnie. His play over the last two seasons helped this team win a lot of games. I really came to enjoy his play and more than anything his toughness.

You will be missed Andell. We swear we'll want another year of you next November.

You will be missed Andell. We swear we’ll want another year of you next November.

Dion- I won’t go too much into Dion because he’s coming back but simply put: the team’s most consistent player. Every single freaking night this kid scored and rebounded. His game is really coming along. His effort against Dayton was unreal. Let’s hope he can shoot it from deep next season. He’s a very, very good fundamental player whose just getting better and better.

Jay Adams- Adams’ broken finger likely kept him off the all-rookie team. It could have cost SBU a win or two also. The rookie point man is going to be a great player over the next three years. Can’t wait to see him back running the show in November.

The Buzzer-beaters- Just the two best games of the year. The VCU win will go down as one of my favorite all-time sporting events. Just an unreal atmosphere and love-fest of Bonnies fans. The Duquesne road win is the third best game without a doubt.

 

The finish- SBU won their last three regular season games and one game in Brooklyn before losing to Dayton. They got punched in the gut with the Adams’ injury and kept on plugging. Asking Posley to play the one was a lot to ask and ultimately it hurt the team (not his fault). You have to love the way Schmidt gets his guys to play in the tournament. Always ready.

Bonnies’ SID Office- For putting in a good word with the A10 to allow the blog a press pass in Brooklyn. A lot of SID’s wouldn’t want their program’s blog on press row. We appreciate their support and enjoy all they do. The SID staff works hard as hell to promote the team and they do a fine job. Here’s hoping we can both bring the program lots of pub in the years to come.

The Bad-

The Development- Xavier Smith, Jalen Adams and Idris Taqqee played as little as could be expected. It’s hard to believe these guys developed a lot this year and who knows what we’ll get from them going forward. Do Adams and Smith even stay? What about Jordan Tyson? This team was thin all year and the bench was always an issue. Taqqee got some minutes late in the year but he has a lot of work to do but at least got on the floor.

The “bad losses”- The UMess loss and Delaware game still suck. Those losses are the difference between an 18 and a 20 win season. For the program to take another step forward they need to completely rid themselves of losses like this that kill your RPI and your team’s mojo…not to mention drive your fan base bananas.  That said, every team losses a few games like that…it doesn’t make it any easier to swallow.

Jordan Gathers- Gathers would have been a massive, massive piece of this year’s club. His solid ball handling and steady shooting and leadership would have pushed this club to another level. Unfortunately, he didn’t heal fast enough and left the program after apparently asking for a redshirt season and being denied that (we’ve heard. For the record Schmid did not owe him that. He got a four year scholarship and wanted another year. If the staff said “no” that’s their call and it’s well within their rights). We actually sent Jordan questions to answer and he said he would, but we haven’t heard back from him. We wish him well as he was another great kid in this program.

The Losses- It happens every single year but the Bonnies will have some holes to fill in the fall. Ndoye, Cumberbatch and Dees are gone. Losing a seven foot rim-protecting center who alters the way teams run their offense is going to be a significant issue to work around. The team will be a lot different next year, that doesn’t mean they have to be worse…just different. Andell became a solid guard who become the team’s best three point shooter by the end of the season (who would have thought?). I am confident we can get decent production from the three spot next year from Denzel, especially if he adds a jump shot (keep your fingers crossed). He’s not as good with the ball as Andell and obviously he’s not a shooter but he is a better rebounder and brings some size to the lineup.

We’ll post another article in the coming days about what we learned and what we will need to find out. We’ve also got a Q and A session with Ladarien Griffin coming as well as some other year end goodies. We’re going to keep posting stuff until things slow down in a few weeks before calling it a season and taken a break for the summer. We’ll post during the summer months (May-September) when news breaks but for the most part we’ll be watching baseball and recharging our batteries. We thank all of the readers for their support and comments and hope to continue this work next year and really take off in terms of getting eyeballs on the site. 

Go Bonnies!