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Recon: Saint Bonaventure

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“Nothing behind me, everything ahead of me, as is ever so on the road.”

Your Flyers hit the road this week for a two game jaunt through the Empire State. First on the schedule is a trip to lovely Olean, New York. Dayton fans tend to view road games at Saint Bonaventure the same way gay guys perceive that heavy-titted lady on Modern Family, with bone seizing fear. Unspeakable horrors await our brave boys in red and blue when they the Bonnies’ Reilly Center. Is it SBU’s loud and undersized gym that causes trepidation? Is it the fact that St. Bona’s rambunctious students seem like they are close enough to the court to hand-check the visiting team’s point guard?

Maybe perception is reality, let’s look at the facts. UD is 9-1 in their last ten games against the Bonnies, 4-1 in Olean during that span. So what, I say what, are you guys so worried about? A win tomorrow followed by a victory in the Bronx on Saturday night puts Dayton at 13-2 on the season. 13-2, a team that’s heavily reliant on sophomores. That’s decent.














[spacer height=”10″] [title type=”fancy-h3″ color=””]Bona Q&A[/title]

In preparation for UD’s visit to Olean, I exchanged pleasantries with Ian Nolan, an esteemed purveyor of Atlantic Ten basketball. Nolan is the A10 insider for College Chalktalk and editor of the Bona Blog. Ian was nice enough, and patient enough, to answer some pertinent questions regarding Saint Bonaventure and the ability to fly.

I’m an 18 year-old black kid with mid-major basketball aspirations. Sell me on St. Bonaventure.

Yikes, well since recruiting is constantly discussed as the most difficult aspect of growing our program this question both makes a lot of sense to ask and isn’t really easy to answer.

NICHOLSON_001_originalFirst, I’d sell the chance for immediate playing time; which actually has appeal to a lot of kids. While we don’t even bother recruiting the same level of player a VCU does, we do compete with the likes of Dayton (lost out last minute on Pierre, I believe), GW and the rest of the league for a decent number of kids. However, if Bonas is recruiting you hard and so is Dayton, odds are you’re going to come to Olean and get major clock day one, that’s not likely to happen at a school as deep as Dayton. That kid will also likely get recruited over because for the most part, that’s probably a kid UD signs late. At Bonas, well, you’re likely not getting recruited over if you were being offered by other A10 programs. Even take a kid like Jay Adams, a good looking freshman point guard. If he goes to a program like URI or GW or Dayton he sits probably 33 minutes a night, at Bonas he’s got a shot to make All-Rookie team; kids like their ego stroked so the P.T. right away is a solid draw.

Next, I’d sell the fact that we don’t suck anymore…relatively speaking. Listen we aren’t kidding ourselves…we aren’t that good…but we are now what you’d call a “decent” program….What does that mean? To me it means we’re never that bad, and never that good…But, you know when you play us there’s a chance you’ll lose. We’ve won 16-20-14-18 games the last four years, won the whole fucking league in 2012 and have been to the semifinals twice in three years…Has URI done that? How about UMass? GW? La Salle? Richmond? Nope. I’d steer away from our lack of NCAA success and sell them on the fact that we play with, and often enough times, beat the best teams in the league (SLU last year in Brooklyn, Kicking the shit out of Xavier in 2012 in the league final in their farewell to the A10 game) and so essentially, we aren’t Fordham, Duquesne or Mason. If you like being an under-dog type who proves doubters wrong and exceeds expectations, we’re your team. If you’re a blue-chip recruit we’re not going to bother calling you anyway.

Let’s see….We’ve actually got a really good home court advantage, and again, unlike a ton of A10 schools, our students actually go to the games and the RC is a fun place to play. Most games we’ll have 750 of 2K students in the building…that’s pretty cool. La Salle gets about 15, URI maybe 65, UMass has a billion students and gets like 134 kids there. Plus, since we don’t have a football team to speak of, you’ll be the big pimp on campus. Hell, we hardly have other sports at all…I won’t discuss the quality of the female population but the term “Bona Hogs” is used from time to time. Our small class sizes are generally seen as a plus for kids/families who actually care about academics (Are there any of those out there?) and our graduation rate is outstanding and our players have a great record under Schmidt of not being arrested/kicked out of school.

Having Nicholson in the NBA should have been a great selling point, but he rides the pine in people who live in Orlando probably don’t know of him so that’s a missed opportunity.

Despite that, Schmidt has developed NBA talent in Nicholson, James Posey and David West…but unless our recruit is like 28, he also probably has no idea who the hell those are….Shit, that’s not a selling point anymore; though I’m sure the team tries.

We’re close to such major media markets as….Toronto….and….Cleveland….and Rochester…yeah….Obviously if you enjoy wearing a shit-ton of NorthFace gear this is the school for you. You’re Gods of the campus. Free admission into the area’s finest nightclub establishments, including but not limited to The Other Place and The Burton. A short drive to Canada allows for legal otherwise ‘underage’ drinking and other extra-curricular activities. With majors like Childhood Studies & Sociology, Bonaventure nearly guarantees a diploma.

If that doesn’t sell them I don’t know what will.

Which leads to my next question, what’s the seasonal expectation at Bonaventure??

For me the answer to that question is pretty simple yet somewhat ambiguous: Finish over .500 and be competitive in league play. Listen, I went to Bonas as as a manager there from 2004-2008. We were literally the worst team in the nation in 2004-2005 when we went 2-26 and lost by 20 every night. If the program was dead after the scandal Solomon tried to stab the corpse. Schmidt has been a near Godsend. No, he’s not Shaka Smart and we aren’t the Gonzaga of the East as people thought we’d become during the time of Marques Green, Bremer and others but when you look what we have (old/poor facilities, a horrible budget an even worse location) Schmidt has done as good a job as anyone could expect. I hope the norm of what can be expected from Bonaventure going forward is they win between 16-20 games and they finish in the top half the A10. Getting to 2/3 A10 semifinals since 2012 is no small accomplishment for a school working on a HS budget who signs no top recruits. If that happens (16-20 wins, generally finishing in the top half and winning the league maybe once a decade?), Schmidt can stay for as long as he likes in my book because letting him go and rolling the dice could result in Fordham-like results.

Slightly off topic, I argue that no one could objectively find Taylor Swift unattractive. What does it say about someone if they insist otherwise?

Most likely they are lying to themselves to save face and they don’t have the stones to call a spade a spade. Is Swift a 10? No. Does she have her warts….absolutely. But she’s a freaking Covergirl. And if you saw/google images from the Victoria Secret Fashion show and still say she’s not attractive there’s no help for you and I’d just stop trying to talk you into it.

A boy and a doctor were fishing. The boy is the doctor’s son but the doctor is not the boy’s father. Who is the doctor?

His mom, feel like I’ve heard this before though to be fair.

Jimmie Binnie,  Jason LoveWell done. What’s you favorite Dayton memory?

Easily first round of the 2004 A10 Tournament. First, and only one I went to while in school (how fucking pathetic is that?) held in Cincinnati at US Bank Arena. Played Dayton…got absolutely murder (just checked the score, we lost 78-48 capping a 2 win season). Dayton scrub Jimmy Binnie crossed over our point guard at the end of the game so bad he fell over, the place erupted. Dudes on our own bench laughed. Binnie also had ten points and five boards that game…as I said during my time, walk-ons around the league had us circled on their schedule. Dayton was +17 on the glass….good times.

I think it’s weird when people swim underwater with their eyes closed, thoughts?

That’s the only way I roll without a mask. Sensitive eyes.

But you can’t see in front of you, it’s like driving with no lights on in the dark.

What do you make of the A10 this year? Complete tire fire? The league had plenty of opportunities to make some noise out of conference and failed at almost every turn. What’s the takeaway?

I can’t really see when they’re open either.

The A10 certainly looked like a total shit show say five weeks ago but the league is slowly starting to right itself. It’s certainly not last year where you’re getting six bids but I think they could get three with VCU/GW and hopefully Dayton. Three or four should be the league’s norm. The problem is after that every sucks. The league is as weak top to bottom as it’s been in a long time.

(1) Choose among the following — ability to fly, be invisible or go back in time (show your work).

(2) The greatest living American is?

1. Fly. Go anywhere fast as hell for no price. Become a world traveler in a week. Traffic, one of life’s biggest headaches is gone forever. Float above/fly into major sporting events. Become famous as fuck. Trips to Olean from Philly become much easier for me to deal with.

2. Springsteen or Jlaw.

I feel like people completely undersell invisibility. They assume the only thing worth doing is hanging out in women’s locker/changing rooms. You guys don’t see the almost endless utility being invisible has. For the record, I’d go with time-travel.

True to false: if Dayton misses the tournament this year, most of the momentum from last season’s Elite 8 trip is gone.

Probably True. I think it still helps with recruiting but running off tournaments one after another really helps keep the brand out there. A lot of HS kids have short term memories when it comes to that stuff. Most of them don’t know that Dayton went to the Elite 8 last year unless you told them. I think getting in constantly is more valuable than getting in once every 5-7 years and making a deep run.

Definitely agree. Prediction on the rest of the season, how does the A10 play out?

VCU probably wins the league. GW gets in the tournament. Dayton right on the bubble…gun to my head I’d lean they fall short based off losses, hopefully I’m wrong. 2 bid league if I had to say. 3 would be a max unless something crazy happens like a team such a URI goes nuts gets in. Other than that it’s a big mess. I’m not high on anyone else in the league. Could someone else win the tournament in March? Sure. But GW/VCU are the best two teams, Dayton is third and then it’s just a mess behind them.

Diarrhea at your father’s funeral, what do you do?

Christ almighty. Got to try and run home I think. That’s serious stuff.

I think you have to shit your pants. (1) Leaving your father’s funeral will look horrible,  and (2) people will be like, “Ian was so upset about his Dad’s death that his bowels unloaded involuntarily.”

Last question, prediction for Thursday night.

I’m rarely optimistic. Dayton wins by 5. Probably take like 26 three pointers and knock down 12 of them…The RC is a great shooting backdrop for teams. The game is going to be won or lost by Dayton’s guards IMO. If they shoot it, they’ll have enough to win. If they shoot it like UMass did vs. Bonas this weekend SBU should be able to score inside enough to win. UMass couldn’t throw it in the ocean Saturday and SBU mauled them inside.

[title type=”fancy-h3″ color=””]Overview[/title]

The Bonnies are currently 8-4, coming off a big win against UMass last Saturday. SBU has one RPI Top 50 win against Buffalo, the majority of their victories coming against +200 RPI squads.

St. Bonnie returns two starters from last season and brought in six newcomers, including two JUCOs. Mark Schmidt team goes about 8-9 deep and is mediocre in pretty much every measurable facet of the game. Outside of Youssou Ndoye, a monster in the middle, the Bonnies don’t have an abundance of size.

Good news for UD – St. Bonaventure is particularly ineffective at defending the three-point shot. On the flip side, the Bonnies don’t give up a lot of points in the paint and they rebound the ball at a high-level.


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Dion Wright • G (6’7″/220) • Jr.
12.9 ppg, 8.1 rpg

An excellent offensive rebounder, solid around the rim.

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Marcus Posley • G (6’1″/185) • Jr.
17.6 ppg, 3.0 rpg, 1.1 spg

Attended Ball State as a freshman and spent a year at Indian Hills CC before transferring to SBU this summer. The Bonnies best pure scorer.

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Youssou Ndoye • C (7’0″/245) • Sr.
10.9 ppg, 11.5 rpg

The biggest, baddest man in the A10 right now.

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Andell Cumberbatch • G (6’5″/195) • Sr.
10.8 ppg, 5.7 rpg, 2.6 apg

Harry Potter character or guard for Saint Bonaventure?

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Jaylen Adams • G (6’1″/180) • Fr. 
12.0 ppg, 3.3 apg, 42% 3fg

Pure point-guard, Bonnies’ best three-point shooter.

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Denzel Gregg • G (6’7″/210) • So.
3.8 ppg, 2.5 rpg

Two first names, always gets me.

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Iakeem Alston • G (6’2″/180) • Jr.
2.6 ppg, 2.o apg

JUCO transfer, “energy guy.”

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Jalen Adams • G (6’5″/185) • Fr.
3.8 ppg, 33% 3fg\

According to Schmidt, Adams is the best athlete he has ever recruited. Plays the guitar.

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[fullwidth_section text_color=”dark” background_type=”color” bg_color=”#C4D8E2″] [spacer height=”10″] [title type=”fancy-h3″ color=””]Prediction[/title]

Bonnies don’t defend the three very well which presents UD with a golden opportunity. The glaring issue is SBU’s monster inside, but I think the Wherli Bird has got him on lock. UD wins a close one, 72-68.



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