As we count down the days to the start of the 2018-19 season, A10 Talk will be brining you its preseason power rankings, as voted on by its team of writers. We continue the countdown with #10 St. Bonaventure Bonnies.
Returnees to Watch
It’s a long road ahead for St. Bonaventure following the losses of major scoring contributors Jaylen Adams (19.1 PPG) and Matt Mobley (18.1 PPG). However, Courtney Stockard remains as a player ready to take an enormous step up in his senior season as a Bonnie. Stockard averaged 13.3 points and 6.3 boards per games as a junior and had a 26 point night in the NCAA Tournament against UCLA. Can you say clutch? The Bonnies’ second best player is likely to be LaDarien Griffin, one of two to earn “most-improved” in the Atlantic 10 this past season. Griffin averaged 8.8 points and 6.3 rebounds per game in 2017-18 and was arguably St. Bonaventure’s most crucial defender. Expect those numbers to skyrocket his senior year. The Bonnies retain Amadi Ikpeze and Tshiefu Ngalakulondi who certainly took strides in the frontcourt, but they’ll need plenty more contributions from those 2 in their junior and sophomore seasons. In addition, Nelson Kaputo is going to have quite the elevated role in the backcourt, as losses of Jaylen Adams and Matt Mobley are difficult to account for.
Newcomers to Watch
Osun Osunniyi could be a stud in the making, as the Bonnies get some much-needed size with the 6-10 freshman who averaged 27 points and 12 rebounds at prep school. Expect freshman Kyle Lofton to see a significant amount of time at point guard this season as the Bonnies try to fill the void left by Adams. Dominick Welch and Alpha Okoli round out the freshman class as Bona looks to rebuild. I look forward to watching UNLV transfer Jaylen Poyser play as well; he averaged 10.4 points per game in less than 30 minutes two seasons ago with the Running Rebels. Poyser was a highly-touted recruit out of high school and is certainly going to make a positive impact on the St. Bonaventure program.
Games to Watch
St. Bonaventure’s schedule looks quite familiar, as it usually tends to look. The Bonnies get an always-exiting road game against Syracuse around Christmas time, though pulling off the victory may be a bit more difficult this year compared to last. I look forward to road games against Northeastern and Vermont: two teams that can give St. Bonaventure a run for its money on any given year. The Bonnies also play Georgia St. in the first round of the Cayman Islands Classic and could get some tough opponents in Clemson, Creighton, or Georgia as well. In addition, a home game against Buffalo will be fun, as the Bulls look to be a very solid mid-major coming off an upset NCAA Tournament win this past season.
Courtney Stockard and LaDarien Griffin have what it takes for the Bonnies to exceed expectations this season, but the rest of the team is still somewhat of a question mark. Making up for Jaylen Adams and Matt Mobley is a difficult feat, and I’m not sure where the scoring is going to come from. The Bonnies have been known to surprise in past Atlantic 10 seasons, so they’re going to need major contributions from newcomers if that’s going to be the case. Guys like Jaylen Poyser and Osun Osunniyi will need to be firing on all cylinders by the time conference play roles around. Given the Bonnies’ success last season, 10 seems a bit critical for a ranking. However, the Bonnies have a lot to prove in the absence of Jaylen Adams and Matt Mobley, two guys who did just about everything correctly during their senior seasons at Bona.