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Big 4 Hoops: Bona fans counting days to next season


Where the Program Stands: The good times are rolling in Allegany. Bona last season reached 20 wins in back-to-back seasons for the first time since 1977-78. It was Bona’s third straight winning season in the A-10, a first for the program. Bona’s rabid fans were a tad disappointed by last year’s finish. Considering the program replaced two big stars in Marcus Posley and Dion Wright, it was a very good season.

2016-17 Record: 20-12, 11-7 (5th, Atlantic 10)

Players lost: Denzel Gregg (12.0 ppg), David Andoh (7.6), Chinonso Obokoh (5 games).

Outlook: Coach Mark Schmidt’s team is set up for a big year. The Bonnies return the best backcourt in the Atlantic 10 with first-team all-star Jaylen Adams and third-teamer Matt Mobley. When you get 40 points, night in and night out, from your starting guards your offense is mighty good.

Bona led the A-10 in points per game (76.8). Mobley ranked No. 1 in the nation in percentage of minutes played (95.0). Mobley and Adams ranked 1-2 in the A-10 in minutes played. Reliable, role-playing starter Idris Taqqee, who knows exactly what Schmidt wants, returns. Quality forward Denzel Gregg is the only starter gone. So it’s easy to see Bona being better than last year.

Junior college transfer Ndene Gueye, who averaged 14.6 points and 8.5 rebounds for Kilgore (Texas), will be counted on to produce. Junior LaDerien Griffin provided good defense in spurts. Elsewhere on the wing, 6-5 Courtney Stockard has missed the past two years with a foot injury. He was viewed as starter material when he first arrived at Bona. Can he come back from the long layoff and stay healthy?

Freshman Tshiefu Ngalakulondi fits the Gregg mold as an athletic wing. Whatever he can do as a freshman is gravy. Bona has a big-time transfer from UNLV, Jalen Poyser, sitting out this year. He was a top-100 recruit in 2015. Schmidt likes to keep one scholarship open in case a good summer option develops. He has one open scholarship left. However, the Olean Times Herald reported Tuesday that Tareq Coburn intends to transfer.

Young bigs: Young forwards Josh Ayeni and Amadi Ikpeze looked good as freshmen. Ayeni has a nice shooting touch. He needs to improve his rebounding and finishing inside, but he has worked hard on conditioning this offseason (as evidenced by social media photos). Little was expected last year of Ikpeze, the Amherst High product, but he looked very much like future starting low-post player in the A-10. If Gueye, Ayeni and Ikpeze meet reasonable expectations, Bona should match up better this year against some of the more rugged A-10 frontcourts.

Bonnies get future security at guard with UNLV transfer Jalen Poyser

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