#79 St. Bonaventure Men's Basketball 2016-2017 Preview

St. Bonaventure Bonnies
2016-2017 Overall Rank: #79
Conference Rank: #6 Atlantic 10
St. Bonaventure quietly tied Dayton and VCU atop the Atlantic 10 with a 14-4 record. The Bonnies may not have dominated the competition, but they certainly got the job done against some tough competition. Outside of a three game losing streak in late February, Coach Mark Schmidt’s squad kept squeezing out close wins. A loss to Davidson in the A-10 tournament quarterfinals sent the Bonnies to the NIT though, where they were upset by Wagner in the first round. The return of Jaylen Adams gives the program hope for another postseason berth in 2017. Adams averaged 17.9 points and 5.0 assists. This team is going to rely very heavily on Adams. Not only do they need him to shoot the ball consistently again this season, but it will be his job to help break in a couple new scorers.
2015-16 Record: 22-9, 14-4
2015-16 Postseason: NIT
Coach: Mark Schmidt
Coach Record: 146-132 at St. Bonaventure, 228-222 overall
Who’s Out:
Last season Marcus Posley and Dion Wright were the main beneficiaries of Adams’ playmaking abilities. Posley led the team with 19.6 points per game. The 6-1 guard was a dynamic scorer who was a threat from anywhere on the floor. Wright added 16.7 points per game. The 6-7 forward could knock down some outside shots, but he did most of his damage in the paint. Derrick Woods opted to transfer after a promising freshman campaign. He only averaged 3.5 points per game, but the 6-8 forward was a regular starter. The frontcourt also lost Jordan Tyson after his freshman campaign. He averaged 2.3 points and 3.2 rebounds in nearly 16 minutes per game.
Who’s In:
With four transfers, three coming from the Division I ranks, St. Bonaventure is ready to reload. Chinonso Obokoh will likely step into the starting center spot. The 6-9 big man spent a couple seasons mostly sitting on Syracuse’s bench and averaged just 1.1 points and 1.6 rebounds in 11 appearances last season, but the graduate transfer is the big, athletic player this team needs in the paint. David Andoh, a transfer from Liberty who also spent time at San Jose State and Merritt College, will compete with Obokoh for minutes. He averaged 10.0 points and 5.6 rebounds with the Flames two years ago. Those may not be great numbers in a conference like the NEC, but Andoh is a very tough forward who should make a pretty big impact on this team if he can get past a foot injury. Matt Mobley and Courtney Stockard are the other transfers who will suit up for the Bonnies for the first time this year. Mobley comes from Central Connecticut State where he averaged 17.2 points per game two years ago. He is a great scorer and while the individual matchups will be tougher for him in the A-10, Mobley has the potential to not drop off too much from his 17.2 points per game average. Courtney Stockard, a 6-5 wing, was expected to start last season after a very successful stint at Allen Community College. However, a foot injury suffered in preseason practice put an end to those hopes. He is a very good all-around player who can score in bunches and help out on the glass. If he is not starting from day one, Stockard could take over at the small forward position very soon. The incoming freshmen are Tareq Coburn, Amadi Ikpeze and Josh Ayeni. Coburn, a 6-5 guard, is the one to watch. Like Stockard, he can help out in a variety of ways even if his scoring does not come around quickly.
Who to Watch:
Denzel Gregg, Idris Taqqee and Nelson Kaputo will look to go from role players to stars. Gregg was the team’s fourth leading scorer last season with 9.3 points per game despite only starting two games. The 6-7 senior was named the conference’s sixth man on the year, but he will not likely be eligible for that award this season. Gregg is a very good athlete who is a very good rebounder and the team’s best shot blocker. Without Wright around, Gregg will be asked to do a majority of the rebounding this year and he is ready to do that. He is also ready to be a very tough matchup due to his ability to attack the basket and knock down some jumpers. Taqqee averaged just 5.1 points per game, but he stepped into a starting role due to the injury to Stockard and played very well. He is a decent shooter and did have some good scoring outputs, most notably his 19 point effort against Umass. More importantly, he is a strong rebounder on the wing, but he may need to score more this year or Stockard will take that starting job away. Kaputo had a promising freshman campaign, averaging 4.4 points and 1.8 assists. He is a good outside shooter too so Kaputo does not just have to backup Adams for a few minutes per game; he can also step in beside Adams when Coach Schmidt wants another ball handler on the floor.
Final Projection:
Without Posley and Wright, St. Bonaventure should take a step back this year. However, the program did a great job filling in the holes and this is a very athletic, talented, versatile and deep team. Last season they ran an eight man rotation and Posley, Adams and Wright barely ever left the floor. This time around, the Bonnies should be able to go a player or two deeper if they want to do so. Adams may not have to play 37.5 minutes per game again either. As Kaputo continues to develop, Coach Schmidt should have more faith in him running the point more often and letting Adams get a break or two every game. That depth will keep Adams and the rest of the team fresh heading into March.
Projected Postseason Tournament: NIT
Projected Starting Five:
Jaylen Adams, Junior, Guard, 17.9 points per game
Matt Mobley, Junior, Guard, DNP last season
Idris Taqqee, Junior, Guard, 5.1 points per game
Denzel Gregg, Senior, Forward, 9.3 points per game
Chinoso Obokoh, Senior, Center, 1.1 points per game (at Syracuse)
By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 77.7 (60th in nation, 3rd in conference)
Scoring Defense: 73.0 (207, 9)
Field-Goal Percentage: 44.5 (156, 8)
Field-Goal Defense: 43.6 (184, 9)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 8.3 (67, 4)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 37.3 (50, 1)
Free-Throw Percentage: 77.3 (4, 1)
Rebound Margin: -1.1 (227, 9)
Assists Per Game: 13.5 (158, 10)
Turnovers Per Game: 11.5 (69, 6)