St. Bonaventure Relying on Transfer Players to Rebuild for 2016-17

The Bonnies have lost a handful of key players from their 2014-15 team, but senior guard Dion Wright is back to lead St. Bonaventure in a bit of a "rebuilding" year in 2015-16.
The Bonnies have lost a handful of key players from their 2014-15 team, but senior Dion Wright is back to lead St. Bonaventure in a bit of a “rebuilding” year in 2015-16.

Year after year, the number of players transferring from one school to another seems to continually grow. The list of players transferring after the 2014-15 season has been in excess of 500-600 individuals.

It has become a way for programs to rebuild their respective teams, and re-tool for future pushes in their respective conferences.

One team that got hit hard by players transferring after the 2014-15 season was the St. Bonaventure Bonnies. Coming off an 18 – 13 season, the Bonnies bid adieu to graduating players like Youssou Ndoye and Andell Cumberbatch.

However, the losses didn’t stop there.

The Bonnies also lost Jalen Adams, Iakeem Alston, and Xavier Smith to transfers, creating some holes in the roster that need to be filled if the team wants to be competitive in 2015-16. While only Alston saw any significant playing time, the experience factor that these individuals take with them to other schools is what will be missed the most.

With all of the big name transfer players who are eligible immediately essentially off the market, the Bonnies turned their attention to the 2016-17 season and made a splash on the transfer front that went undetected to most.

The last time the Bonnies made the NCAA Tournament was back in 2011-12, when the likes of Andrew Nicholson and Da’Quan Cook led the way. During that season, the Bonnies won four of their last five regular season games to enter the conference tournament on a roll, and they couldn’t be stopped.

St. Bonaventure entered the conference tournament as a 4-seed, but played like the top seed in the tournament. The Bonnies knocked off Saint Joseph’s, Massachusetts, and Xavier on consecutive nights to punch their ticket to the big dance.

Advancing to the NCAA Tournament created quite the buzz around the Bonnie, one that they haven’t been able to recreate since. Based on the off-season that the Bonnies have endured following the 2014-15 season, it’s looking more and more like the 2016-17 season could be their best chance since their miraculous run to the tournament to recreate the magic.

This off-season, the Bonnies were able to land two players that were stars for their respective schools in 2014-15, and flew under the radar on the transfer market. St. Bonaventure was able to gain commitments from Liberty’s David Andoh and Central Connecticut State’s Matt Mobley, both of whom bring a wealth of experience and immense talent with them to Allegany, NY.

Andoh, a 6’7” forward out of Montreal, QC, played one season with the Liberty Flames after transferring from San Jose State. In 2014-15, Andoh averaged 10.0 points and 5.6 rebounds per contest, while averaging just shy of 26 minutes per contest.

By adding Andoh into the mix, the Bonnies have found themselves a talented big man to help solidify the front court. Andoh is a skilled four-man who has the ability to face-up to the basket, and has shown flashes of strong shooting range.

Matt Mobley, a 6’1” guard out of Worcester, MA, is a high-scoring guard that should provide an offensive spark on the back end for the Bonnies. In 2014-15 for the Blue Devils, Mobley averaged 17.2 points and 2.8 rebounds per contest. He shot 40% from the floor, and 35.7% from behind the three point line.

Both David Andoh and Matt Mobley will have to sit out the 2015-16 season, due to NCAA transfer regulations, but will be available for the 2016-17 campaign. Both players will be able to work out and practice with the team this season, allowing them to get familiar with the systems and stay in game shape.

While the Bonnies may have missed out on some of the key transfers who could have helped them right away, they struck it rich by landing Mobley and Andoh. After the 2015-16 season, players like Dion Wright and Marcus Posley will also graduate, so Andoh and Mobley will be able to come in and contribute right away.

In 2015-16, Jaylen Adams will gain more experience, and the talented guard should be back in the mix a season after. Incoming freshmen Nelson Kaputo, Derrick Woods and LaDarian Griffin will all have a year of experience under their belts in 2016-17, and JUCO transfer Courtney Stockard will be a senior in ’16-17.

The pieces are slowly coming together for another strong, magical performance for the Bonnies in 2016-17. The 2015-16 team will likely show flashes of promise, and may excite the fans to an extent, the feeling from us is that the 2016-17 season is where the Bonnies will shine.

It’s hard to get too excited for a year that’s still two seasons away, but the St. Bonaventure Bonnies have laid the foundation for the future. If the pieces fall into place as planned out, without any deviations off course, then the St. Bonaventure Bonnies have set themselves up for a high level of success in 2016-17.

– T.B.