By Chuck WiserI write the words to share what my eyes see and my heart feels
Photo courtesy of GoBonnies.com
This may be the trial balloon testing the winds to see if they are favorable to unfurl the sails on a new Wiser’s Writings which would be dubbed “Chuck’s Couching Corner” A few weeks ago my editor envisioned having articles featuring the Buffalo Bills and the Saint Bonaventure Bonnies men’s basketball exploits in commentary. He reached out to me asking if I would be interested in working on something like what he envisioned.
I’m not completely sure what he envisioned but I do have a vision of what I would be interested in sharing with readers of the Wellsville Sun, many of whom may have an interest in the sports activities of those two mentioned above, and who may follow my “Wramblings” occasionally.
I am no more of a Sportswriter than I am a trained journalist, but I definitely have a passion for the Bills and Bonnies and enjoy sharing my dreams, aspirations and observations of those two sports teams. My focus would be more on the human-interest side. While some statistical data will be presented when, or if, it is interesting to me, I will share with the hope that it might as well be interesting to others.
First, one more point on nomenclature or semantics, or whatever you want to call it. At one point historically the Bonnies were known as The Brown Indians, and featured symbolism relative to Native American heritage. Political correctness caught up with the Bonnies very early in that social climate change and the “casual name” was changed to the Bonnies. Colloquially the institution was also known as Bona’s. The term Bonnies typically is used (by me and others usually) when talking about the basketball team and the term Bona is used as an abbreviation when talking about the University and the ‘s or s’ is applied, grammatically as possessive or plural. In writing or speaking depending on what is said it is often more natural to say Bona, than to say “The Bonnies.
Confused yet? I obviously am. Onward and onto topic. Ok, let the winds blow…
Chuck’s Couching Corner…unearthed
I spent the day of New Year’s Eve with my son Todd Wiser and grandson Aden watching the St. Bonaventure University men’s basketball Bonnies battle the University of Massachusetts (UMass) in the first Atlantic Ten (A10) match of the season for the Bonnies. The game was at the Reilly Center in Allegany, NY, which however, is typically referred to as in Olean given the larger city popularity and better known “city” name. The Bonnies came into the game with a non-conference record of 6 wins and 7 losses (6-7) against the UMass team with a record of 9-3. UMass leads the overall series matchups over the Bonnies 42 game wins to 32. Umass has, for years, been an elite team in the NCAA, so facing them for the first conference game of the season for the Bonnies is a daunting task any year. The inset photo shows a brief history of the UMass men’s basketball dominance and success.
I show the graphic only as insight as to what the Bonnies were potentially facing. Bonnies are well chronicled with their successes as well, but the picture shows graphically how dominant UMass has been in the A10, historically.
So, having whet your appetite, or if I discouraged you with the graphic, let me cut to the chase and tell you that the Bonnies WON the game by the score 83 to 64. It wasn’t always pretty for the Bonnies, but they jumped out to a significant early lead, and it looked like it was going to be a “massive” blow out. Yes! It could even be termed a blowout by the 19-point score, and we were tickled to observe the whole scenario unfold but let me put something into perspective.
With 4:38 left to go in the first half, Bona was already ahead 41-28. With 4:38 left in the first half and after 2 minutes into the second half Bona had only increased their score to 43. It took the Bonnies nearly 6 minutes to add 2 points to their score. As the teams traded scores the lead at one point “dwindled” back to 13 points, but every time UMass cut into the lead, the Bonnies answered back.
Two players for the Bonnies stood out in leading their team to the eventual 19 point victory. The easiest one to describe is dynamic point guard Daryl Banks III, with his hard earned 31 points. Banks is a Junior transfer that the Bonnies picked up taking advantage of the new NCAA “Transfer Protocol” changes allowing a player to be eligible to play immediately, rather than having to sit out a year. I will discuss that more in later writings if this new column idea works out.
The second most notable Bonnie is freshman Yann Farrell who “doubled” with 22 points and 10 rebounds. Farrel Has already earned “acclaim” having been named the A10 Rookie of the week two times averaging 12 points and 5.5 rebounds. With this performance he will undoubtedly earn that “award” for a 3rd time.
Two things in the game stood out to me, one of which has been a trade mark of these “Building’ Bonnies. First, is their smothering defense. I don’t have those statistics readily at hand but the Bonnies Coach Mar Schmidt already has them tuned in defensively. The second most notable, and to me, a very significant factor, as the Bonnies historically have been noted for their free throw shooting prowess. Prior to this game the Bonnies were only shooting free throws at a 68% accuracy clip through the first 13 games. For this game they were successful on those free throws at 91%.
Great start to the A10 season for the Bonnies who started the season WITHOUT ANY returning seniors or first team players. Go Bonnies!