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Glass Half Empty or Half Full?

Which Bonnies fan are you right now? Half empty or Half full?

Which Bonnies fan are you right now? Half empty or Half full?

Through five games our Bonnies sit at 4-1. For me, this is the record I pegged them to have at this juncture of the season. I had forecasted the Siena loss in thinking the Saints were going to be a more experienced team early in the season, and they were. After five games it’s fair to say fans usually have a good idea of what to expect going forward from a team.

However, in the case of this year’s version of the Bonnies, I’m really not sure. I really cannot figure out if this is a year team that’s going to get better and better and really be dangerous. OR, if this is a young team whose struggling to beat some really bad teams right now who will be swallowed up by A10 foes.

There’s two approaches one can take in looking at the first five games of the season: the glass is either half empty or half full.

Let’s take a quick look into each of these viewpoints about the club. You can decide which fan you are at this moment.

Half Full Viewpoint 

The Bonnies have won almost every game they’ve played. They’ve been in some close games early in the season and they’ve found a way to win ugly which is all that matters on a lot of nights. The team played their opener without Youssou Ndoye, and has played every other game without Jordan Gathers and Denzel Gregg, both of who will likely step in and become starters and or significant players off the bench for Mark Schmidt’s club. When they come back, they’ll make a major difference.

Aside from the Niagara game, Ndoye hasn’t produced much offensively so you feel like he’s just coming on right now. He could be a top 10 player in the A10 this year. Posley is scoring 15 points a game to lead the team and he hasn’t even shot the ball well yet (35%) so we can hope he’s only going to get better. If Ndoye morphs into the all-league center we think he can, and Posley can shoot it at say 44% instead of 35%, we could have a really potent inside-outside combo on our hands.

Freshman point guard Jaylen Adams has played exceedingly well at times averaging over 11 points and shooting a non sustainable 48% from three. If I told you Adams would be the team’s best shooter and at times, best scorer five games into his career you likely would not have believed me. He’s without a doubt the best young point guard Schmidt has ever had.

Dion Wright looks to be the same player as last year (a good thing) and senior Andell Cumberbatch may be the team’s most consistent player thus far; very surprising. Cumberbatch is second in scoring and rebounding on the team and first in assists by a wide margin. If the Batch keeps playing like this, Gathers should be on the bench when he returns.

One could say the bench hasn’t even produced yet, but they will, and when that happens with the return of Gregg and Gathers this team will be really deep. Gathers could step in and start (though right now I don’t see why) and Gregg should be the first wing/forward off the bench from day one. We could get back two of the team’s best six players and that is definitely something.

We’re rebounding the heck out of the ball (like we have the last few years) and we’re blocking a ton of shots (33rd nationally per game). We can say this is going to be a much better shooting team than we’ve shown thus far and when that happens, we could really be a force. Our two point defense is 7th best in the nation, as we are holding teams to just 36% shooting inside the three point line…a mindblowing stat.

KenPom has us winning four of our last six non-conference games which would take us into league play with a very solid eight wins before opening up at UMass. Eight wins from this bunch before A10 play would please even the most difficult of fans. That would put SBU in a position to win those 16-17 or maybe even more games some expected.

Half Empty Viewpoint

The Bonnies have played some really bad teams and have only really blown out two of them. We should have destroyed Jackson State and Canisius and didn’t. Siena is a decent team, but they are still a MAAC club who we lost to in our own gym with a rabid student section.

Our team is still growing together led by a freshman point guard and some green wings, and unless we really shoot it better from the outside and start defending the three point line it could be a long season. Our opponents are shooting 38% from behind the arc, which places our 3PT defense 287th worst nationally. So, for as well as we are playing defense inside the three point line, we are that bad outside of it. Likewise, we are shooting a poor 44% inside the arch, so our big man and guards when cutting to the basket, aren’t finishing inside. We seem to have an offense that is content with jacking threes and has very little ability, at times, to penetrate off the dribble to the paint. We have no superior playmakers at guard and that’s going to hurt us.

Ndoye has been more miss than hit so far on the offense end and the team really struggles to work a zone defense. Let’s really hope the Niagara game is the sign of things to come from him.Dees and X. Smith don’t look ready to contribute inside anytime soon for this club.

Dion Wright is the same player as last year (noted above as positive) but you would have hoped to see a better jump shot by now. Unless he’s within five feet of the basketball he’s likely not scoring.

Jaylen Adams has twice as many turnovers as assists at point guard…and he hasn’t even seen a good defense yet. Jalen Adams certainly doesn’t look like the high impact player many thought he would and clearly needs to refine his jump shot in order to become a really big time guard.

The bench has been beyond putrid. Think about these numbers…Other than Jalen Adams and Alston, no one is averaging more than a basket a game off the bench. Dees and Xavier Smith have basically just been warm bodies down low who have combined to just 11 points and make six shots through five games. Back-up point guard Iakeem Alston has made three shots in 51 minutes. Ndoye has just as many turnovers as made shots this season (14).

A pessimist could easily say this team simply has too many fresh faces on it and is going to struggling to compete against the boy bigs in the A10. They would say Gathers and Gregg won’t make that much of an impact when they return, and that it’s going to be really hard to win in league play with such a young back-court. Finally, unless our bench improves leaps and bounds, we’re going to be beyond thin at the end of the year and our starters will be playing more minutes than they should.

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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.