St. Bonaventure will be without one of its top wing players for the season and without its backup point guard for the first nine games.
Junior forward Courtney Stockard will be out for a second straight season due to a broken foot. He underwent foot surgery Monday, the Bonnies confirmed. Meanwhile, sophomore guard Nelson Kaputo will sit out the first nine games due to academic ineligibility. Bona reports that he will be eligible to return for the Dec. 17 game against Niagara.
Bona coach Mark Schmidt was taking the setbacks in stride Tuesday.
Stockard, a 6-foot-6 forward who transferred from junior college before last season, reinjured his right foot in the first practice of the fall. Bona has returning starter Idris Taqqee and returning Atlantic 10 sixth man of the year Denzel Gregg at the forward spots. Stockard was expected to see significant time rotating with them on the wing and providing scoring off the bench.
“It happened the first day of practice, 45 minutes into the first day of practice,” Schmidt said. “He came down on someone’s foot.”
Schmidt said he fully expects Stockard to receive a medical redshirt from the NCAA and still have two years of eligibility remaining.
“I feel terrible, but it’s not a career ending thing,” Schmidt said. “For him you look on the bright side. Now he can get a free master’s degree. This is not all about basketball. Just like Marquise Simmons when he had his cancer and ripped his Achilles, he took advantage of it. You’ve got to take advantage from it from an academic standpoint and get something out of it that you wouldn’t have if you were healthy.”
“From the basketball standpoint, he’s got to look at October 1st of next year,” Schmidt said. “What is he doing every day to get ready for Oct. 1? Everybody says the surgery went well and he’ll be able to go next year.”
Tareq Coburn, a 6-5 freshman from Long Island, and LaDarien Griffin, a 6-6 sophomore who played in just 11 games last season, figure to see more minutes off the bench.
“Injuries are a part of it,” Schmidt said. “You feel bad for Courtney, but the season doesn’t end because someone gets hurt. You’ve got to just move on. A guy like Tareq, who you didn’t anticipate playing some minutes, now he’s put into that position. Or LaDarien wasn’t expected to. It gives someone else an opportunity.”
Kaputo’s ineligibility leaves Bona without a true point guard behind star junior Jay Adams for the early part of the season. Kaputo averaged 16.7 minutes and 4.4 points last year. Adams is a workhorse. He averaged 37.5 minutes a game.
Not a problem, Schmidt said. Shooting guard Matt Mobley, who steps into the key starting spot vacated by the graduation of Marcus Posley, can slide over to the point when needed.
“I love scoring point guards,” Schmidt said. “I don’t like point guards who just pass the ball, anyway. So Mobley can do it. That won’t be a problem. It’s just sliding Mobley to the point brings Tareq more into the picture. Then you slide Idris to the 2 and Denzel to the 3. And it puts LaDarien more into the picture with David (Andoh). It moves them up one slot.”