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College Power 10: UB's Russell Cicerone preps for MLS Draft

University at Buffalo soccer player Russell Cicerone was one of 53 collegiate players invited to the 2017 adidas Major League Soccer Combine, which will be held Jan. 8-12 in Los Angeles. Cicerone leads this week’s College Power 10.

1. Cicerone. The senior from Bloomfield Hills, Mich., is expected to become the first UB player ever drafted when the MLS SuperDraft is held Jan. 13. UB and Nichols School product Bobby Shuttleworth is the starting goalkeeper for the MLS New England Rebolution, but he was undrafted.

The 5-foot-10, 160-pound Cicerone made first-team All-Mid-American Conference this year after scoring 14 goals. He finished his UB career with 42 goals, third-most in MAC history. The MLS SuperDraft last four rounds and 88 picks.

2. Three Erie CC football players. Erie freshman offensive lineman Tarik Johnson was named first-team All-America by the National Junior College Athletic Association.

Johnson is a 6-foot-3, 295-pounder from Liberty, west of Poughkeepsie. He helped the Kats (7-3) average 29.3 ppg. Sophomore defensive back Christian Cheatom (Lackawanna) earned second-team All-America honors. He had six interceptions and returned two for touchdowns. Sophomore defensive end John Pope, who had 20.5 tackles for loss, earned honorable mention.

3. St. Bona’s Jaylen Adams. The Bonnies star guard is averaging 23.5 points a game, which ranks fourth in the nation among Division I basketball players.

4. UB wrestling. The Bulls won the last five matches to score their first-ever victory over Indiana, 19-16, in Bloomington, Ind. Senior James Benjamin broke into the InterMat national ranking at 197 pounds after pinning Indiana’s Jake Hinz in 1:20. Benjamin ranks 19th. UB got big wins from Kyle Akins at 125 and Colt Cotton at 149, both over Hoosier foes ranked 20th in the nation in their respective classes. Then UB (7-3) scored a 19-16 win over Indiana Tech, the No. 2-ranked NAIA team.

5. Canisius men’s basketball. The Griffs have won four straight after Saturday’s overtime defeat of UB. Canisius is second in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference in scoring (78.5) and first in field goal percentage (45.7) despite playing the fourth toughest schedule in the MAAC so far.

6. Daemen men’s basketball. The Wildcats improved to 7-4 with two wins and got a boost from senior guard Jesse Lalka (Tonawanda). He started the past two games and produced 28 points on 7-of-10 three-point shooting. That helped Daemen beat the New York Institute of Technology (88-74) and St. Michael’s College (92-69). Sophomore guard Darius Garvin scored a career-high 22 vs. St. Michael’s.

7. Erie CC swimming and diving. Erie hosted its first swimming and diving event in eight years for a tri-meet last week, and the women’s team scored wins over Jamestown CC and Genesee CC. Erie revived the swimming and diving programs in August and hired Kats alumnus Phil Schneider to lead the program. Schneider also coaches for the South Towns Aquatic Racers club. Allie DeBiase (Newfane) and Jessica Raymond (Jamestown) led Erie. Raymond, a transfer from St. Bona, won the 1- and 3-meter diving. DeBiase won the 1,650-yard freestyle and the 100 breaststroke.

8. Buffalo State men’s basketball. The Bengals showed off their depth in beating Eastern Connecticut State and Alvernia in the Hoop MIA D3 Holiday Shootout in Miami. Buffalo State (7-3) held a 64-10 edge in bench scoring in the two games. Senior guard Lovell Smith (McKinley) combined for 33 points.

9. Daemen’s Sara Sabah. The junior women’s basketball player from Lancaster became the 23rd Daemen player to hit 1,000 career points. Sabah, a 6-foot guard, has 1,007 points and 445 rebounds in 65 games. She’s averaging 16.4 points and 7.0 rebounds this season.

10. Niagara CCC men’s basketball. The Thunderwolves (11-2) won their tournament with victories over Isaiah Christopher Academy (107-59) and Onondaga CC (91-71).


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