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What to Watch For: Alfred Exhibition

On Saturday afternoon (4 P.M.) in the Reilly Center the Bonnies tip off in their lone exhibition game, against local Alfred. While one would think, and hope the result of the game is never in question, the contest does serve a purpose. Mark Schmidt will use this forty minute tune up to get his team mentally ready to compete a week from then against St. Francis PA, and use the game to gauge where certain players are, what line-up combinations work best and so forth. With the recent losses of Courtney Stockard and Nelson Kaputo, the Bonnies bench is once again paper thin. Let’s take a look at a half dozen story lines to watch on Saturday afternoon. 

  • Schmidt vs. Schmidts: Schmidt’s sons Derek and Nick are both members of the Alfred team and it will be cool to see them take the floor of the Reilly Center. With Coach Schmidt’s first year at Bonaventure coming in 2007-2008, his sons really did grow up in the building and on the RC floor. I’m sure it will be thrilling for them to play in this game, and for coach to watch his boys play against his squad. Derek is a 6-1 freshman and Nick is a 6-0 junior; both played high school ball for Olean. Wonder if he sicks a full court press on his kids and mess with them a bit. 
  • David Andoh’s Foot: Liberty transfer David Andoh had foot surgery this summer and was expected to be fully really for the reason. However, rumors have popped up that the forward may not be 100% for the opener on the 12th. A Bona Blog source confirmed that Andoh is expected to be without limitations for St. Francis game, but there’s certainly reason for pause here. SBU can ill afford to lose another body, especially a potential impact senior like Andoh. In a base case scenario Andoh plays well, but we’d settle for him just playing at all and appearing healthy on that foot. 
  • New Faces: While we won’t get to see Courtney Stockard, we will see all of the other new faces that Schmidt and company have added. Expect freshman guard Tareq Coburn to play major minutes; the staff is very high on this scoring lefty. Can he spot us at the point? We will see. We’ve also heard the staff loves freshman forward Josh Ayeni, who one team insider described to me as, “A really physical hard nosed player. Absolutely a beast, Schmidt loves him.” I’m also excited to see SU transfer Chinoso Obokoh who should start at the five from day one. His presence in the paint will be a huge factor on the defensive side of the ball this season. Can he contribute offensively? That would be a huge bonus. Finally, guard Matt Mobley has extremely high expectations on his shoulders and will be asked to replace Posley’s scoring load to a large degree. Can he handle that pressure? Will we see him play some point guard this weekend? If so, how does he look running the offense? 
  • Denzel Gregg: To start or Sit? After winning Atlantic 10 6th Man of the Year last March many wonder if the senior will start this fall. Ultimately it really doesn’t matter, as long as Gregg plays 30+ minutes a night (which he likely will) but it’s still a topic to ponder. Personally, I like Gregg’s energy off the bench and I would keep him as 6th man. Will Schmidt thrust him into a starting role? We will likely find out Saturday. Either way, Gregg is a major key for the Bonnies this season and it would not be a stretch to say this team could go as he does on many nights. 
  • Injuries: Just like an NFL preseason game, the number one thing here is that the Bonnies escape Saturday with the same amount of able bodies as they woke up with. SBU cannot afford another injury this season; especially before Kaputo returns (hopefully) after nine games. Schmidt should run his starters out there to get their work in and stick them on the bench. This team cannot suffer another setback on that front. 
  • Can Griffin Help? The forgotten man on this roster is clearly sophomore wing LaDarien Griffin. Out of high school Griffin showed high major athleticism and looked the part of a typical Schmidt player. But after playing in just 11 games and scoring a total of six points Griffin heads into his sophomore season as a huge unknown and many around the program have already written him off. We’ve heard he’s a tireless worker, but is he physical enough to play in the A10? Does he pick up on the defensive schemes? With the injuries of Stockard and Kaputo it seems reasonable to think that the long 6-6 Florida native will get a shot at some minutes at some point early in the season. We may get some kind of idea of what he can bring to the table this year on Saturday.

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.