It’s been one month since the lights were turned on in the Reilly Center and our beloved Bonnies first took to Bob Lanier court vs Mansfield. Following this opening exhibition, expectations were on the rise for this squad. There was warranted excitement for the mix of players: a solid core of returners in N’doye, Wright, Gathers, Cumberbatch and Gregg, and the infusion of new faces Posley, Adams and Adams.
The Bonnies went on and won the opener in impressive fashion before falling to rival Siena in the Franciscan Cup. Since coming up short on that Wednesday night this team has rattled off 5 straight wins. Albeit a few ugly wins, but wins nonetheless. You often hear that “good teams find ways to win.” In the past it seems our Bonnies have failed to close out games or perhaps lacked the talent to win when they weren’t on their ‘A’ game. Has Schmidt and company finally found the recipe for success? With a talented scoring backcourt and upper-classman leadership up front, are the Bonnies poised to continue this early season success? The sum of any team’s talent is the accumulation of its pieces. With this mind, let’s take a quick look at some “player grades.”
Youssou N’doye – B+
After a slow start offensively, the Big Man has started to come into his own. He’s been a menace inside, pulling down 11 rpg and swatting away 3.3 per game. Couple the 11 boards with 11.2 ppg and N’doye is averaging a double-double which is no easy task. I expect his offensive production to continue to rise as our backcourt finds more ways to get him the ball inside. Bottom line, Youssou is a legit center and I’m looking forward to watching him finish out his senior year. The senior leads the A10 in blocks per game at 3.3, a wide margin over the second best rate in the conference at 2.6 swats per contest.
Dion Wright – B+ We all expected big things out of Dion this year following his breakout sophomore campaign. Thus far he hasn’t disappointed. He ranks second on the team in scoring (13.1 ppg) and rebounds (8.0 rpg) which rank sixth best in the A10. His 37 minutes played per game lead the Bonnies. I’m still holding out hope that he can develop a consistent 15 foot jumper. Adding some range to his game would be a huge weapon and could push his ppg up over 15 and his player grade to an ‘A‘.
Andell Cumberbatch – B The 6’5 senior is having himself a solid year. He’s evolved into a consistent stat sheet filler averaging 13.0 ppg, 6.6 rpg and 3.0 apg. He’s shooting 42% from the field and 82% from the line. I expect the Batch to continue on this pace. Bonnie fans should be pleased with his production. The NJ native ranks in the top 12 in the league in assists (3.0) as well as FT percentage (82%).
Marcus Posley – A- The newcomer has been the Bonnies most consistent scorer. At 15.7 ppg he leads the Bonnies and ranks in the top 10 in the league. He has successfully replaced the void created with the departure of Matt Wright. Posley ranks fifth in the A10 at 2.6 makes per game from behind the arc.
Jaylen Adams – A- You could argue the Freshman pg has been the Bonnies most pleasant surprise. I’m not sure anyone thought he would be playing this well so early on. 12.6 ppg on a ridiculous 55% from the field and 50% from beyond the arc is outstanding. Jay can earn himself an ‘A’ if he takes better care of the basketball and brings up his assist numbers, oh and…. shoots more! (Fact: Jay ranks in the top 10 nationally in effective FG% by KenPom…Wow.)
Chris Dees – C It would be nice if Dees could get a better touch around the rim and develop some more offensive moves on the block. However, I don’t think anyone expected much production on the offensive end, so the backup big man has been serviceable. He plays hard and is a load inside defensively.
Jalen Adams – C The “other” Adams hasn’t done much. No one is doubting his athleticism but the RS-Freshman is unpolished. His jumper is awkward and he plays a little loose for my liking. Don’t panic just yet, after all, he’s still a freshman. I have faith in this staff’s ability to develop our 4 year guys.
Iamkeem Alston – B- He’s been a spark plug off the bench at times. Quick on both ends of the court. His defensive play has helped shift momentum the Bonnies way on numerous occasions. His ability to get into games defensively more so than Jay is a nice change of pace and he’s scored a few big baskets on Euro step moves already. While he’s not going to shoot this team to any wins, he is a capable back-up with great quickness on the defensive side of the ball.
Idris Taqqee – C- Not a large sample size here. Taqqee is avering 8.9 minuter per game on the year, he’s 0-5 from the field and 4-9 from the line. I think Schmidt likes Taqqee’s size and athleticism and he seems to be “around the ball” when he’s on the floor. I think he could play a larger role as the season goes on and if he finds an offensive game because his defense already looks minutes-worthy if you will.
Xavier Smith – C Smith looks better than he did last year. Having said that, the Texas native still seems far off from any real production this year. With Gregg back from suspension I don’t know where Xavier fits in. At the very least, it looks as if Smith will be able to give the team a few minutes a night off the bench and block some shots and grab some rebounds; thing’s that we couldn’t say this time, or at any point last year- he is developing.
Denzell Gregg – B
Probably should give Gregg a ‘D’ here due to his lack of judgment off the court cost him 6 games. But we’ll keep the grades on the hardwood. It was nice seeing him out there Saturday night. His athleticism and motor should create some matchup problems and his high rising dunks will undoubtedly fire up the Bonnies throughout the year.
Opeyemi Olomo – B+ The Bonnies are 6-1 and flying high on a 5 game winning streak. Someone is running the opposition’s sets during practice. Hopefully the players aren’t making him carry too much gear on the road trips.
Quentin Weinerman – B+ By all accounts Quentin continues to work hard, both on the court and in the classroom. Safe to assume his grades should give the Bonnies team gpa a nice boost.
Jordan Tyson – N/A
Jordan Gathers – N/A