St. Bonaventure’s men’s basketball team on Thursday signed Tareq Coburn, a 6-foot-4 shooting guard from New York City.
Coburn averaged 18.9 points and 7.1 rebounds as a senior for Cardozo High School in Queens. He was the second-leading scorer on a team that went 27-3 and had two other Division I signees.
“Tareq is like many of our players in the program now and many who've graduated,” Bona coach Mark Schmidt said. “Even though he was on a high caliber team, he was a little under the radar, a little unknown. But he's a guy who has really improved over the last couple years and has a big upside. We think he will fit right in with our program because he has the right mindset – to come here and work at his game and do whatever it takes to get better.”
Coburn looks like a player with the ability to keep improving. Soccer was his main sport as a youngster, and he didn’t start playing basketball until the August before ninth grade, said his high school coach, Ron Naclerio. He had only one firm offer, from Drexel, after his junior season, and he stayed under the radar last summer. Coburn averaged 13.9 ppg as a junior.
He played in only three weekend AAU tournaments, Naclerio said, and did not have a lead role on the team. Instead he spent most of the summer working on his strength and skills.
“He really, really worked hard for about four months, June, July, August and September,” Naclerio said. “There’s a fitness place not too far from is house, and he’s go there five or six hours a day and lift weights and practice in the gym.”
Coburn shot 51 percent from the field as a senior and 37 percent from three-point range.
“He’s a good shooter who has a chance to be a great shooter,” Naclerio said. “His handle has gotten so much better that if you have to get out on him, he can get by you all the way to the rim. Right now he’s more of a streaky outside shooter. Once he gets consistent, he could be a great outside shooter.”
Monmouth, Fairfield and Fordham were among other schools who offered him scholarships during his senior year. There should not be pressure to rush Coburn into action if he’s not ready as a freshman. Bona returns 6-4 starter Idris Taqqee and 6-3 Matt Mobley, a transfer who sat out last season, at off-guard.
Bona still has one available scholarship to give due to the decision by 6-10 red-shirt freshman Jordan Tyson to transfer. He averaged 2.3 points, 3.2 rebounds and 16 minutes over 23 games last season. His playing time dwindled near the end of the season.
Bona needs another front-court player. There are three big men on the roster – 6-8 Derrick Woods, 6-7 transfer David Andoh and 6-10 incoming freshman Amadi Ikpeze from Amherst High School.