Extra points from the University at Buffalo’s 65-45 victory over Northern Illinois Tuesday at Alumni Arena:
NEW FROM MIZZOU: UB made a significant addition for next season by gaining walk-on point guard Wes Clark from the University of Missouri. Clark started 45 games for Mizzou over three seasons but was dismissed from the team in February 2016 for academic reasons, the school announced. He played for UB coach Nate Oats at Romulus High School in Detroit. UB has no scholarships available this season. Clark has enrolled in school and is paying his own way this semester. He was sitting on the bench Tuesday. He will be eligible to play after the first semester next season. In effect, he will be available to play about 21 games next year.
Clark was a four-star recruit out of Romulus. He was Missouri’s second-leading scorer through 25 starts last year, averaging 9.8 points, 3.0 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 2.2 turnovers. He hit 30 threes and shot 37.5 percent behind the arc. UB will graduate senior point-forward Blake Hamilton. Oats said he explained the rationale for adding Clark to sophomore C.J. Massinburg.
Oats on Clark: “Wes is big time. He was highly ranked coming out of high school. I love the kid to death. He plays his tail off. Me and C.J. talked about it before I brought him here. C.J.’s more comfortable playing a combo spot anyway, and we’ve kind of pushed Blake into being our point guard this year. He’s got one year left. He’s smart. He’s a highly intelligent kid. It just didn’t work out at Missouri. They changed coaches after his freshman year. He was able to play quite a bit there. I’m looking forward to having him. He’s one of my most favorite kids I had, one of the most competitive, a gym rat. He’s in the gym all the time. He was working out last night with Coach Hunter. He’s going to be good for our program, even when he’s not playing games.”
UB will have plenty of competition at point guard. Freshman Davonta Jordan is averaging 16 minutes a game. Sophomore Dontay Caruthers, who’s a combo guard, averages 20. The Bulls have a highly touted high school combo guard coming in next year, Jayvon Graves.
More Oats on Clark: “He can play defense. And he’s a true point. He can shoot it, too. He plays hard. I think it’ll be good for us. Davonta is coming. He played great tonight. I like Davonta’s attitude. I think Wes will help Davonta come along. Then we’ve got freshman guards coming in next year who Wes can kind of help mentor in his one year. Then hopefully he can go make some money playing somewhere.”
THE MAC PAC: If the Mid-American Conference season ended today, UB would have the No. 4 seed. But projecting seeding at this point is silly.
Akron is No. 1 at 10-1. There are five teams tied at 6-5 (Ohio, Ball State, UB, Northern Illinois and Central Michigan). There are four teams tied at 5-6 (Kent State, Toledo, Bowling Green, Eastern Michigan). It’s a logjam. UB's win over NIU gives it a tie-breaker edge over the Huskies.
RISE OF KADIRI: Senior forward David Kadiri has given UB good minutes of late. He had 13 points and six rebounds vs. Central Michigan last week, 8 and 3 vs. Ball State and 8 and 7 vs. Northern Illinois. He, Nick Perkins, Ikenna Smart and Raheem Johnson all took turns keeping Northern’s center, Marin Maric, out of the mix. Maric took only five shots.
Said Kadiri: “Coming into the game, I knew he was the leading scorer so they were going to try to dump the ball down to him a lot. Coach had us white the post, which worked out well for me. I was just trying to deny him catches and make things difficult for him.”
Kadiri has started 10 straight games. He’s averaging 8.0 points and 5.5 rebounds in conference.
“I think I’m just trying to play as hard as I can and be more active defensively and not worry about offense,” he said. “That’s when it’s going to come when you just play. Just worry about getting stops. I’m pretty fast so I’m going to run in transition and I’m going to get some things in transition.”
Said Oats: “He’s efficient. You don’t have to run a bunch of plays for him. He works off our guards’ drives better than any of our other bigs. He relocates on the backboard and finds openings.”