A Season of Highs and Lows. The Rise From the Bottom To The Top (Almost)
On Saint Patrick’s Day, the A-10 Championship tournament took place inside the home of the Brooklyn Nets, Barclays Center. The season had ended for most and an automatic bid in the 2019 NCAA Tournament was on the line for two teams. By an absolute surprise, it was the Saint Louis Rams and the guys in the brown and white, the Mark Schmidt led Saint Bonaventure Bonnies. Why is this a surprise you may ask? We will dive into that right now well, at least from the perspective of the Bonnies.
Imagine losing what was talked about as one of the nation’s best backcourts in basketball to graduation. A season ago the Bonnies had a pair of players who were insane by A-10 and for some even NCAA standards. Matt Mobley played in the NBA Summer League and of course, Jaylen Adams went undrafted to the Atlanta Hawks. The question then became, how will we ever replace these two impressive young men on the court? Mark Schmidt knew he had the answers but, the “experts” thought otherwise and had the Bonnies almost dead last in the standings of the A-10 conference.
Schmidt had other plans written up in his mind as he brought in three freshmen, Osun Osunniyi, Kyle Lofton, and a player who broke out in the tournament Dominick Welch. Schmidt also was able to use a transfer he acquired last year in Jalen Poyser. Schmidt also had two returners in Ladarien Griffin and Courtney Stockard. Lofton and Ossunniyi were crucial but, Stockard Welch and Griffin were just as important. It was also nice to see the presence of the transfer Poyser as well. Schmidt also had depth in his bench, particularly in Nelson Kaputo and Amadi Ikpeze. Kaputo is a senior and Ikpeze will return for his final season with the brown and white as well as the hostile student section of SBU.
The Bonnies started out extremely slow this season that made it look like they would finish dead last. In my mind, the only reason things even looked remotely close to this was because of injuries to Stockard Griffin and Welch. Once everyone was back healthy again for the Wolfpack, the team began to shine and really show what they were capable of on the hardwood. I was extremely impressed by the outbreak games of the young Cheektowaga New York native Dominick Welch especially during the conference championship. I could really see Welch begin heating up in the games right before the tail end of the season.
The Bonnies were playing extremely good basketball all through the second portion of the season. In fact, they came up short of the NCAA field by one basket. The efforts of the Bonnies cannot be condemned in the eyes of most fans as it was a year that went beyond expectations. By the looks of things, great things are in store for the Bonnies next season.
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