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St. Bonaventure's Osun Osunniyi, Kyle Lofton enter transfer portal

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St. Bonaventure Bonnies beat Saint Louis Billikens 83-79

St. Bonaventure forward Osun Osunniyi (21) attempts a shot over the outstretched arm of Saint Louis forward Francis Okoro (5).

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The St. Bonaventure men’s basketball team now faces the prospect of a roster rebuild, given the way the last week has developed with the transfer portal.

After four seasons with the Bonnies, center Osun Osunniyi and point guard Kyle Lofton have entered the portal, a Bona athletic department spokesperson confirmed. VerbalCommits.com originally reported the moves Thursday.

Osunniyi and Lofton join guards Jaren Holmes and Dominick Welch, meaning four of the five starters from 2021-22 team are in the protal.

Lofton also confirmed in a post on his social media accounts that he has entered the transfer portal and the NBA Draft evaluation process while retaining his college eligibility.

“St. Bonaventure, I appreciate you for welcoming me and my family with open arms, and giving me the best four years of my life,” Lofton wrote. “I have the utmost respect and gratitude for the coaching staff who have become family to me. The words ‘thank you’ aren’t enough for all you have done – from developing me on the court, as well as a young man.”

Osunniyi, Lofton, Holmes and Welch each have one more year of eligibility remaining, which the NCAA granted due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Jalen Adaway, Bona’s fifth starter last season, announced April 8 that he has opted to forgo his final year of eligibility to pursue a professional basketball career.

The five players helped Bona win the 2020-21 Atlantic 10 regular-season and tournament championships, and earn an automatic berth in the NCAA Tournament last season. They also led the Bonnies to the National Invitation Tournament semifinals in March at Madison Square Garden in New York this season.

The Bonnies face the very real possibility of fielding a lineup with five new starters next season, if neither Osunniyi, Lofton, Welch nor Holmes returns. All four will likely be pursued by big-name programs as transfer prospects. 

Osunniyi is Bona’s all-time leader in blocked shots (305), and the 6-foot-10 center scored 1,100 points and had 898 rebounds in four seasons. Lofton averaged 38.5 minutes in 30 games this season, despite missing most of December with a high left ankle sprain, and scored 1,613 points and had 604 assists in four seasons.

At least nine players from Bona's 2021-22 roster are currently in the portal. Of those, only one has joined a new program so far; forward Abdoul Karim Coulibaly will transfer to UMass-Lowell after one season with the Bonnies.

However, Bona’s coaching staff is also replenishing its roster with transfers, adding guards Daryl Banks III (Saint Peter’s), Moses Flowers (Hartford) and Kyrell Luc (Holy Cross) in the last week.

The deadline for college athletes in fall and winter sports to enter the transfer portal without having to sit out a season is Sunday.

UCF forward to join Bulls

The University at Buffalo men’s basketball team announced Thursday that Isaiah Adams, a 6-foot-6 forward from Central Florida, will join the Bulls for the 2022-23 season.

Adams averaged 6.7 points and three rebounds in 49 games in the last two seasons for UCF.

Adams is the third transfer to join the Bulls, along with Yazid Powell (Harcum College) and Kanye Jones (Boston College).

Juco point guard to join Niagara

Lance Erving, a point guard from Chipola College in Marianna, Fla., announced Thursday on social media that he will join the Niagara men’s basketball team as a transfer. The 6-foot-3 Erving averaged 6.9 points, 2.45 assists and 1.5 steals in 33 games this season.

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College/high school sports enterprise reporter

I'm a college/high school sports enterprise reporter at The Buffalo News. I've worked in sports journalism since 1997 and I have covered everything from college football to the Stanley Cup playoffs, high school sports and the NCAA Tournament.

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Welch finished his fourth season with the Bonnies averaging 12.3 points, six rebounds and 37.5 minutes in 33 games. He helped the Bonnies reach the National Invitation Tournament semifinals in March. Welch was named to the NIT's all-tournament team after scoring a game-high 25 points against Xavier, including 7 for 10 on 3-pointers.

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