Veteran leadership helps Bonnies in first full practices


FEB 1, 2019, St Bonaventure, NY: St Bonaventure men’s basketball game against the Davidson Wildcats at the Bob Lanier Court at the Reilly Center. Photo by Craig Melvin

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — The St. Bonaventure men’s basketball team finally started the first full practices of the 2020-21 season on Friday. With the beginning of the season tentatively scheduled to start on November 25th, it’s all starting to feel like normal again in Olean.

“We’re going about it like we normally would. For the past two weeks, we’ve been working on the fundamentals,” St. Bonaventure head coach Mark Schmidt said to reporters on Zoom. “Friday’s practice is a little more advanced, the guys are in better shape because of what we’ve been doing. We have 30 days from the first practice to the first game. We just take advantage of every day.”

In a year unlike any other, the importance of every single practice is evident as the Bonnies prepare for the season.

“I tell the guys, when they leave the practice, they better know we’ve gotten better. There’s a sense of urgency. We only have 30 practices in these 42 days to prepare yourself. There’s no scrimmages this year, there’s no exhibition games, which is scary,” Schmidt said. “One positive thing about us is we have a veteran team, I know a lot about most of the guys, but it’s really scary that the first game we play counts. That’s a concern for us, so we’ll do a little bit more scrimmaging in practice on weekends to try to take the place of the scrimmage we usually have against Kent State and the exhibition game against Alford.”

St. Bonaventure head coach Mark Schmidt reiterates how necessary the role each veteran player will have on the team if they want to have success from the get-go.

“It’s really important. When the season ended last year and we went home and were doing a lot of Zoom workouts and stuff, when you have a young team they don’t know how hard they have to work, what type of shape you need to be in,” Schmidt said. “Having a veteran team, these guys know, they understand they have to stay in shape, they understand how difficult playing in the Atlantic 10 is, it’s almost like the veteran guys are working hard so those young guys see that.

“Any good program, or any program that’s had some success, it makes it easier for the coach because the veteran guys lead. The veterans can tell the young guys okay this is what you need to do. When you have a young team, it all falls on the coaches shoulders, and sometimes they don’t believe it until you see it. Having a veteran team is really, really important. Having a veteran team, not having the scrimmages and exhibition game, I think those guys have been in the fire, they understand, it’s not a perfect world and everyone’s going through it. I’d rather have a veteran team going through it than a younger team.”

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