By Joe Ceraulo, Contributing Writer
The 2017-18 Bonnies basketball season is fast approaching, and expectations surrounding this year’s team are certainly higher than in recent years.
Despite losing key players Denzel Gregg and David Andoh, the Bonnies return most of last year’s core. They also added some talented youth in 6-foot-4 freshman guard Izaiah Brockington and 6-foot-6 freshman forward Tshiefu Ngalakulondi.
Last year, Jaylen Adams’s 6.5 assists per game placed seventh in the nation. He also placed in the top 25 nationally in terms of scoring.
Adams declared for the NBA Draft last spring, but did not hire an agent. This made him eligible to withdraw his name from the draft and return to school for his senior season.
“Talking to NBA scouts gave me more confidence and they gave me more of that feedback I was looking for,” Adams said of the combine process. “I probably worked the most defensively, trying to be a more vocal leader and shooting the ball off the bounce, especially in the mid-range area.”
Adams mentioned that the Bonnies lost fewer players this offseason than any other year in his time here. He praised the current roster’s chemistry and how well the new additions have fit in.
With a home game on Friday, Feb. 16 against preseason conference favorite, the University of Rhode Island scheduled for ESPN2, Adams emphasized the importance that home-court advantage would have.
“That’s the team that knocked us out last year and they’re a real good team,” he said. “I think we’re going to come out with really good energy and with the boost this home crowd can give, I really look forward to that night.”
Senior guard Matt Mobley, another Bona’s captain, finished fourth in the A10 last year with 18.5 ppg and led all Division I players in minutes played per game. He also made 85 three-pointers, the fifth most in scho0l history.
Like Adams, Mobley showed excitement when asked about the URI game.
“It’s going to be a real good game,” he said. “We played them twice last year so each side knows what to expect from the other, so it’s just going to be a real good game between two veteran teams.”
The Bonnies third captain, senior guard Idris Taqqee, posted career bests last seeason, averaging 6.8 ppg and 5.3 rebounds per game.
Taqqee talked about his off-season regimine and what the team needs to do to finish on top in the A10.
“I watched a lot of film making sure that my weaknesses are being tweaked a little bit,” Taqqee said. “This year we need to take every day to make sure we’re doing our job. Last year we lacked consistency, so this year we need to be more consistent.”
An NCAA Tournament bid is a real chance for the team this year, as noted by many media outlets.
“That would be great, just to cap it off,” said Taqqee. “It’s definitely something I’ve had my eye on since I arrived here, it would be a great experience.”
The Bonnies season officially tips off with a home game today at 8 p.m. against Niagara following the women’s home opener.