Countdown to College Basketball: #20 Saint Bonaventure Bonnies

Coming off a season where Saint Bonaventure won the Atlantic 10 Conference, the Bonnies now look ahead to this year as they return all five starters from last season’s team. Returning your starting-5 is hard enough but to do that in an era where transferring has become the new trend should be recognized for how rare that is. Now looking ahead to this season, the Bonnies have one of the more complete teams in College Basketball due to their size, strength, and ability to shoot from the perimeter, all of which are key for this roster. Now the question becomes whether or not this talented roster can become the first A10 team since 2011 to make the Final Four. 

The team runs through Osun Osunniyi, who is the reigning A10 Defensive Player of the year and should be the A10 Player of the year favorite going into this season. Osunniyi is a great interior big man because he’s a 6’10 shot-blocking machine, who is fleet of foot and sets up their defense, while offensively he’s a solid interior scorer, and add to that the fact that he’s an elite rebounder, who cleans up both the offensive and defensive glass with ease. While Osunniyi may not be the highest scorer in the league, his presence is what makes the Bonnies thrive as a team. 

While Osunniyi sets everything up defensively, Kyle Lofton is the player that makes everything run offensively. Lofton is an elite passer, good scorer, and while he struggled shooting a little bit last season, he still has the ability and willingness to knock down shots from deep and is good at drawing double teams. Next to Lofton and Osunniyi, Jaren Holmes might get overlooked but he also might be the best pure scorer on this team, which is saying a lot. Holmes is a really efficient shooter, a good scorer, and is an underrated defender as well, his ability to space the floor is also pivotal for this Bonnies team’s floor-spacing. 

On the wing, Jalen Adaway acts as a perfect four-man for this team. Adaway is a do-it-all player, he’s a good wing defender, rebounder, passer, and scorer. He’s not an elite shooter but that doesn’t really matter, as he finds ways to score inside at an efficient clip, while he makes for a good front-court post defender next to Osun Osunniyi. Dominick Welch rounds out the starting five, Welch is a pesky defender, a good rebounder, and is a good player to have on the wing. Welch also acts as an elite three-point shooter, who spaces that floor for this team, while he’s sometimes able to battle inside defensively.

The one weakness this team had a season ago was a major lack of depth but the Bonnies did a decent job trying to fill in that depth this offseason. Linton Brown is a JUCO recruit that should come in and be one of the top shooters in the sport, him being able to act as an additional scorer will be key for this team long-term. Karim Coulibaly will act as insurance if/ when Osunniyi gets in foul trouble and at the very least gives Osun a chance to get a breather. Quadry Adams could be a key player on the wing for this Bonnies team, although he played sparingly at Wake Forest. Joryam Saizonou looks like he could be the point guard of the future and could provide some valuable minutes giving Lofton a break. 

This Bonnies team has a really high floor going into this season, with the experience that this team has, mixed with a rotation that fits together perfectly, this team should easily win the Atlantic 10 and do so by multiple games. While depth could be of concern, they still should have made enough of a depth improvement to be able to handle a long season of Atlantic 10 play. The real question is whether or not winning the Atlantic 10 is their ceiling, as the team hopes that it most certainly is certainly not, as this is a team that should have second-weekend aspirations, but they will need to improve to achieve those goals. Lofton and Adaway both will need to be more consistent three-point threats, Osun Osunniyi will need to develop offensively and their bench will need to provide at least a little bit more offensive production. With subtle improvements, this team could ultimately reach those expectations but there’s also a chance that this team settles for another early NCAA Tournament exit as well, either way, it’s good to have Saint Bonaventure in the Top-25. 

Projected Rotation 

PG: Kyle Lofton

SG: Jaren Holmes

SF: Dominick Welch

PF: Jalen Adaway

C: Osun Osunniyi 

B1: Karim Coulibaly 

B2: Linton Brown

B3: Quadry Adams

B4: Joryam Saizonou

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