The 2015-16 college basketball season is just around the corner. In honor of the Flyers winning 53 games the last two seasons (and because I couldn’t come up with 2,015 reasons), I’m counting down 53 reasons (in no particular order) to look forward to the season.
Follow the blog between now and the season opener against Southeast Missouri State on Nov. 13. I will have four to five updates per week.
I’ll post links on Twitter (@DavidPJablonski) and on my Facebook page: www.facebook.com/DavidPatrickJablonski.
NOTE TO READERS: I want to salute the fans at some point in this series. Here’s my idea: Email me a photo of your favorite piece of UD memorabilia (firstname.lastname@example.org). It could be a ticket stub, a T-shirt, a poster, a newspaper page, a photo of you at a game, etc. And write a paragraph or two or more about the story behind it: where you got it, what it means to you, why it’s special, etc. Also tell me how long you’ve been a fan, how and why you started rooting for the Flyers. I will include the story and the text in a blog entry. The best photo and entry wins an 8×10 print of Vee Sanford’s shot against OSU or Jordan Sibert’s shot against Boise. Your choice.
No. 23: St. Bonaventure games
The A-10 likes its saints. Saint Louis was the king of France about 800 years ago. Saint Joseph was the husband of Jesus’ mother Mary. Saint Bonaventure led the Bonnies in scoring in 1979 and once healed a broken backboard.
And two of those facts are true.
Bonaventure, or Bona from now on, has posted back-to-back 18-win seasons and four winning seasons in its last five. That qualifies as a hot streak. Prior to that, it was .500 or worse eight seasons in a row. Mark Schmidt went 8-22 in his first season and has won between 14 and 20 games the last seven seasons.
In short, Bona is respectable. However, its success in recent years hasn’t translated to many victories over UD. The Flyers swept three games from Bona last season and have won 14 of the last 15 games. The Flyers and Bonnies meet this season on Jan. 19 in Olean, N.Y., and Feb. 20 at UD Arena.
This Bonnies team will look different because it doesn’t have 7-footer Youssou Ndoye clogging the lane anymore. He’s trying to make the San Antonio Spurs roster. They have a 6-10 redshirt freshman but otherwise no one taller than 6-8.
The Bonnies are focusing in the preseason on making up for Ndoye’s defensive presence.
“He covered our butts a lot last year when we got beat defensively,” senior guard Marcus Posley told the Olean Times Herald. “Having Youssou, it kind of helps us out a lot more because you could be a mediocre defender, but Youssou covered your butt and it never really exposed anyone. This year, it’s kind of the main thing, taking pride in defense, because if guys aren’t defending their yard and we’re not playing team defense, you could be exposed easily. That’s why the first hour-and-a-half of practice we didn’t even touch the ball.”
Posley led Bona in scoring last season (16.7). He hit two buzzer-beaters in one week to beat Davidson and VCU as the Bonnies briefly looked like an A-10 contender. They were 6-4 in the league after those wins but dropped their next three to UMass, UD and Richmond.
The Bonnies also return their second-leading scorer, senior Dion Wright (13.3), and their fifth-leading scorer, Jaylen Adams (10.0).
Posley, Wright and Adams all play guard. The Bonnies might try to replicate UD’s small-lineup success.
“We feel like we got a lot of pieces to the offense (Schmidt) wants to run this year,” Posley told the Olean Times-Herald, “so if Dayton can play small ball, I feel like we have the same caliber type players to do the same thing Dayton did.”