+0 - 0  by

The Bonnies have given us reasons to be thankful

Happy Thanksgiving all! As St. Bonaventure basketball fans, we have plenty to be thankful for:

The Bonnies are 3-1. Though many of us expected a 4-0 start, 3-1 is OK considering the circumstances. The Bonnies have been down two key players: Senior Jordan Gathers and sophomore Denzel Gregg. Youssou Ndoye also missed the first game. There’s other reasons to be optimistic about this team (read on).

The Bonnies aren’t 1-3. They very well could have lost home games to Canisius and Jackson State. The good news is that they pulled those games out. But what do those close calls mean? Are the Bonnies not very good or just off to slow start? We’ll find out soon as they take to the road for stiffer challenges.

Denzel Gregg is coming back soon (and hopefully Jordan Gathers, too). Gregg has served four games of a 6-game suspension. He is slated to return for the Ohio game on Dec. 6. Before the season, I believed Gregg could make similar strides as Dion Wright did during his sophomore year. I’m still hopeful. Gathers had hip surgery during the summer and it is uncertain when he will return. Jay Adams and Marcus Posley have done an admirable job manning the backcourt, but the Bonnies are clearly missing Gathers’ experience and leadership. Gathers, when he returns, will help settle the team in tight late-game situations that are commonplace in the Atlantic 10.

Youssou Ndoye has a penchant for slow starts. The big man has hit the boards hard and done a good job blocking and altering shots in his first three games. But he has been invisible on the offensive end, taking just 10 shots. Zone defenses have limited Ndoye’s touches. I don’t think the guards are looking to involve him enough either in half court sets. But history tells that Ndoye will pick up his production soon. That can only mean good things for the Bonnies.

Jay Adams is just a freshman. The Bonnies haven’t had point guard with this much talent this Marques Green. Adams is averaging 12.3 points over his first four college games. More impressive, he is shooting 14-27 from the field and 12-23 on 3-pointers. Adams netted 19 points in the Jackson State game and scored seven points during a second half run that helped SBU regain the lead for good. He only has seven assists and 12 turnovers, but we’re hopeful those numbers will improve with game experience.

Mark Schmidt is the coach. When Schmidt was hired in 2007 the Bonnies were in shambles. The school reportedly interviewed several coaches to replace Anthony Solomon. Schmidt, who has rebuilt Robert Morris, was seemingly low on the list of candidates. But, as the saying goes, good things come to those who wait. Schmidt has led SBU to an A-10 title and had the team in the league semifinals last year. With Schmidt at the helm, the Bonnies will be competitive in the A-10 and will be scrapping for 15-20 wins every year. Given SBU’s resources and geographical challenges, Schmidt deserves an A for the job he has done with the Bonnies.

Recruiting has picked up. During the Andrew Nicholson years, it seemed as if the coaching staff forgot about or took a break from the recruiting aspect of the job. That has changed. The Bonnies have a stable of talented young players on the roster,with more reinforcements on the way (SBU signed two more prospects this fall). The Bonnies are on schedule to make a postseason pushes for the coming years.

+ 0 - 0

A member of the class of 2008, Nolan spent four years as a student assistant with the program. He has written professionally for such outlets as espn.com/insider, Athlon Sports Magazines, Cox Sports Online and Blue Ribbon Previews. Ian was named one of the “140 Personalities to Follow in College Basketball” on twitter by The Sporting News.