Bonnies will finish .500 in the A-10 again, we promise

It is a strange how we can become a prisoner of the moment, especially when it comes to sports. We’re all guilty of it.

Sullivan JerryYour favorite college basketball teams wins a big game, you plan an itinerary for an NCAA tournament trip. Your favorite team flops to a miserable opponent and the season is a disaster.

Two seasons ago, Buffalo News pundit Jerry Sullivan left the St. Bonaventure program for dead. It was a knee jerk reaction to a couple bad weeks of basketball for the Bonnies.

This is what Sullivan wrote after SBU’s 72-65 home loss to VCU that extended the Bonnies’ losing streak to five games:  “It will be an upset if the Bonnies finish .500 in the league again.”

The opinion was limited in vision. It lacked foresight. It was missing perspective.

I disagreed with it then. I certainly disagree with it now.

Though the Bonnies struggled in the Atlantic 10 last season, they won two games in the conference tournament and advanced to semifinals. Bolstered by a slew of newcomers and group of seasoned returners, SBU will be in position to make a run at 17-20 wins this season and possibly the next.

I have the Bonnies with nine A-10 wins this year. That should give them a seventh- or eighth-place conference finish. They could reasonably win 10 games.

Unlike Sullivan, I won’t be surprised. Much like Jim Baron 20 years earlier, Mark Schmidt and his staff have the great ability to build and rebuild by finding hidden gems in recruiting and developing players.

The goal is to make a run at a postseason tournament every three or four years. In other words, the Bonnies are due for a big season that will have Mr. Sullivan eating crow come March.

SBU’s Fab 5: Who will have the greatest impact?

Paul Gotham, over at Pinkin Splinters, put together a detailed roundup of St. Bonaventure’s five newcomers. It is a must read.

We’re interested in your thoughts on which of the newest Bonnies will have the greatest impact this season. Vote below.

 

Follow Paul Gotham on Twitter at @PickinSplinters

Seven years ago yesterday …

cropped-drewyell1.jpgSeven years ago yesterday, everything changed for the St. Bonaventure basketball program.

Oct. 16, 2007 was the day Andrew Nicholson verbally committed to the Bonnies.

Before Nicholson joined the team the following season, SBU had won 33 games and lost 136 over the previous six years. The Bonnies never won more than eight games in a season during that stretch. They sunk to new lows.

With Nicholson, St. Bonaventure reached new highs.

Nicholson was rated the top post player in Canada when he committed to the Bonnies, but he was mostly an unknown among college coaches in the U.S.

When Nicholson chose St. Bonaventure, he picked the Bonnies over Duquesne, Niagara, St. John’s and Buffalo. During Nicholson’s junior year at Father Goetz in Mississauga, Ontario, his most notable suitors were St. Peter’s and Cornell.

At that point, Nicholson had no desire to play college basketball in the U.S.

But, in an interview with Nicholson the day he committed to SBU, he told me: “I just came to realize that the States had better basketball. I really didn’t want to leave home, but St. Bonaventure is right down the street.”

Ro Russell, a power player in Canadian AAU hoops, called Nicholson a “hidden gem.”

When Nicholson signed with the Bonnies a month later, coach Mark Schmidt compared him to fellow Canadian Caswell Cyrus. It turned out that Nicholson was Cyrus with an offensive repertoire to match his defensive and rebounding prowess.

Nicholson “has all the God-given abilities,” Schmidt said the day the big man signed. “He can do stuff that you can’t teach. When I first went up and saw him I got goose bumps thinking about how good a player he could become.”

Of course, Schmidt’s vision was verified as Nicholson became the Atlantic 10 player of the year, a first round NBA draft pick and one of the greatest Bonnies of all time.

A10 Order of Finish: Quick Thoughts

Bonnies tabbed 10th. Nothing shocking here.

Bonnies tabbed 10th. Nothing shocking here.

As we posted early today the Bonnies were predicted to finish 10th by the league’s coaches and media this morning at the Barclay’s Center in Brooklyn. VCU was the unanimous choice to win the league receiving every first place vote; VCU should be ranked in the top 10 early in the season. Here’s my quick thoughts followed by the order of finish with votes.

Quick Take:

Everyone expected VCU to be selected first, they’re the clear best team in the league and could be a true Final Four type of team armed with Weber, Graham and Shaka…GW should also be really good this year as they bring back a strong team minus Creek and Armwood, they’re also a very good bet to make the NCAAs for the second straight year…After that the league gets messy, Dayton should still be good off their Elite 8 run with Sibert and Pierre, two all league type players…UMass now moves on without Chaz Williams and Putney, expect some growing pains there early but they’ll be ok…URI is huge boom or bust team to me; they’ve got insane talent and maybe the best player in the league in E.C. Matthews but will need to gel quickly and learn how to win fast; I could see them finishing as high as third or as low as eighth or ninth…Saint Louis lost everyone, literally almost everyone off their fantastic team from the last two years, expect them to take a major step back despite Jim Crews’ very solid coaching…A similar but less drastic feel for Saint Joe’s who lost Galloway, Roberts Jr. and Kanacevic, I doubt SJU finishes in the top half of the league given their losses…Duquesne could be sneaky good if they learn to defend at all since they already know how to score with the best of them (Micah Mason is beyond fun to watch); size is always an issue down in Pittsburgh for the Dukes…Davidson will be good in this league, likely it won’t be this year as they battle A10 talent with SoCon talent…Mason lost their top two scorers off a really bad, yet oddly competitive team from last year; they could be a bit better this season but not a ton, Paul Hewitt has to be on the hot seat in Fairfax…Fordham is the worst team in the league until they prove otherwise.

Preseason Poll
1. VCU (28) ……………………………………………………….. 392
2. George Washington …………………………………… 343
3. Dayton …………………………………………………………. 339
4. Massachusetts …………………………………………….. 294
5. Richmond ……………………………………………………. 261
6. Rhode Island ……………………………………………….. 253
7. La Salle …………………………………………………………. 221
8. Saint Joseph’s ………………………………………………201
9. Saint Louis …………………………………………………….181
10. St. Bonaventure ……………………………………………130
11. Duquesne ……………………………………………………..94
12. Davidson ……………………………………………………….84
13. George Mason ……………………………………………..82
14. Fordham ……………………………………………………….65

Jordan Gathers Questionable to be 100%

Today at Atlantic 10 media day in Brooklyn Bonnies coach Mark Schmidt told reporters that senior guard Jordan Gathers is still recovering from off season hip surgery and is not 100%.

“He’s going to reach the the four month point tomorrow, right now he’s doing 5-0 type stuff, no contact.”

When asked whether or not Gathers would be 100% for the season opener Schmidt said it would be iffy.

Jalen Adams, who broke his foot in the spring is 100% healthy and has had no setbacks with his injury. He has been running full contact with the team.

Bonnies Tabbed 10th/Ndoye Preseason 3rd Team

Ndoye is a third team A10 preseason player. His Bonnies got much less respect and were picked to finish 11th.

Ndoye is a third team A10 preseason player. His Bonnies got much less respect and were picked to finish 11th.

Ian is at Atlantic 10 media day today. This is what he is reporting this morning:

According to the leagues coaches and select media, the St. Bonaventure Bonnies are pegged to finish the season 10th in 2014-2015. VCU was tabbed to win the league by an overwhelming majority.

Mark Schmidt and company are no stranger to being disrespected on media day and this year is no different. This came as no shock to me at all as I wrote here last week that the league would pick SBU to finish 10th. The Bonnies will go about their business and continue to try and prove doubters wrong.

The Bonnies lose Charlon Kloof and Matthew Wright but do return a strong supporting cast and a talented, yet unproven and unknown group of newcomers. I don’t think the pick is entirely ridiculous but it’s generally a lowball guess at their win total and production. I could see the Brown and White finishing as high as 7th , or as low as the 11th spot.

What surprises me is the league’s continuing trend of underestimating this club and Schmidt. It seems it’s the same story every year with media day: everyone thinks SBU will be terrible, and we rarely are. Maybe one day things will change but…maybe not.

There was some good news on the day, however…

Bonnies senior center Youssou Ndoye was named to the league’s third team all league preseason this morning. The seven foot center enjoyed a breakout campaign as a junior averaging 10.2 points, 5.7 rebounds and 2.2 blocks per contest. This is the first time Ndoye has been named to a preseason all league team and he was the only Bonnie tabbed with the selection. I said here last week Ndoye may be named to third team all league and he was. If his development continues the senior could wind up being the best true center in the league come March.

More on media day to come. … For a full list of all conference teams/quotes and predicted order of finish visit the A10’s official website.

A10 Media Day Live Video (Link)

Schmidt will be live tomorrow morning at 11:30. Set your alarm clocks lazy folks.

Schmidt will be live tomorrow morning at 11:30. Set your alarm clocks lazy folks.

Tomorrow morning in Brooklyn, A10 coaches, select players and media will converge on the Barclay’s Center. With that, the league’s predicted order of finish will come out as well as the preseason all-conference teams. The league will also air one on one interviews with each Coach alongside A10 inside Chris DiSano. Those interviews will begin at 10:15 AM with Duquesne Head Coach Jim Ferry and continue all morning and afternoon. Mark Schmidt is scheduled to be live interviewed at 11:30 AM. For those of you who want to hear other coaches speak, the entire schedule is listed below. Visit the A10’s website for streaming content. For those of you who miss the live interview, Campus Insiders will conduct and air their own interviews tomorrow afternoon at five PM. Hit up http://www.campusinsiders.com for that media. You can also try and submit questions to be asked via twitter using the hashtag A10Live.

LINK 

A-10 Live Schedule

  • 10:15 – Jim Ferry, Duquesne
  • 10:30 – Archie Miller, Dayton
  • 10:45 – Shaka Smart, VCU
  • 11:00 – Bob McKillop, Davidson
  • 11:15 – Chris Mooney, Richmond
  • 11:30 – Mark Schmidt, St. Bona
  • 11:45 – Jim Crews, Saint Louis
  • Noon – Luncheon Break
  • 1:30 –Tom Pecora, Fordham
  • 1:45 – Dr. John Giannini, La Salle
  • 2:00 –  Derek Kellogg, UMass
  • 2:15 – Dan Hurley, Rhode Island
  • 2:30 –  Phil Martelli, Saint Joseph’s
  • 2:45 –  Mike Lonergan, GW (The A10 listed Mike as the Saint Joe’s coach but we’ll let it slide)
  • 3:00 – Paul Hewitt, George Mason