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Upon Further Review: Mansfield Game

Freshman Jaylen Adams started at point guard for the Bonnies against Mansfield…A surprising development. 

St. Bonaventure unleashed an aggressive full court press that resulted in 28 Mansfield turnovers in an exhibition rout on Saturday at the Reilly Center.

The Bonnies won 86-45 in their lone tune up before the real games begin Saturday when Dartmouth visits the RC. Of the 86 points, 28 came off turnovers, a slew of them dunks by Dion Wright and Denzel Gregg among others.

The Bonnies appeared fast, athletic, big and dominant. That’s to be expected against a bad Division II team. It will also be expected against Dartmouth and the other sisters of the poor that line SBU’s non-conference schedule.

But, will the type of pressure the Bonnies exhibited against Mansfield work against the likes of Pittsburgh, Ohio? Will it work in the Atlantic 10?

Will Mark Schmidt allow it to work?

As I wrote during the fall, the coach hasn’t been exactly keen on giving his players freedom to make mistakes, especially younger players. Schmidt had promised his teams would play fast and be entertaining, but plodding control and structure have often one out, particularly after the calendar has turned to January.

It should be noted that the Bonnies also committed 16 turnovers in the early going. They were sloppy with the ball, most notably in the opening minutes when the lead was only 19-12.

Schmidt called a timeout at that point and order was restored. I’m not so sure that he will demonstrate the same patience when the real games begin. His leash will likely shorten considerably. He will strongly consider tightening the reins on his stable of athletes.

Schmidt has built a team that is best suited to press and run and play freely. Let’s hope he bites his tongue, grinds his teeth and can live with the mistakes that go hand-in-hand with up-tempo basketball.

Now starting at point guard: Count me as surprised that Schmidt started freshman Jaylen Adams instead of junior college transfer Iakeem Alston at the point. Experience usually wins out with Schmidt, especially at the lead guard position.

It will be interesting to monitor this season how the minutes are divvied up between Adams and Alston. Alston played 22 minutes compared to Adams’ 16 on Saturday.

Schmidt has a long history of giving freshman quick hooks.

Schmidt has a long history of giving freshman quick hooks. Is will the Adams Brothers be an exception to the rule?

That being noted, Schmidt must have a good deal of confidence in Adams to even consider putting him in the starting lineup.

My take: Alston is quick from end to end and is dynamic in the open floor. But sometimes he plays too fast and out of control. Schmidt desires a point man that is in control and running the offense. That is why we expect to Adams will continue to see 15-20 minutes a game once the real games begin.

Depth and playing time: SBU-TV’s Zach Warren made a keen assessment during the game as the Bonnies began to pull away. He commented that it matters little how many points a player scores in an exhibition game, adding that the deciding factor in playing time will be who best fits in Schmidt’s system and is best suited to help the team win A-10 games.

Schmidt played 10 players 14 minutes or more on Saturday. Senior Jordan Gathers didn’t even play, and senior Chris Dees, who was a regular in the rotation last season, only played four minutes.

In other words, the fight for playing time is on. The Bonnies are especially stacked on the wings.

I tweeted Saturday that this collection of Bonnies has more athleticism and depth than other Mark Schmidt has coached at St. Bonaventure. Upon further review, I stand by that comment.

From top to bottom, this is the likely the most talented team the Bonnies have had since the 1999-2000 NCAA team. But there are a lot of newcomers – especially in the backcourt. How will they handle life in the A-10 and how will the meld with the veterans?

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  1. I agree completely about the talent on this team. There seems to be more athleticism and speed than any other Schmidt team.