Leading up to the 2022-23 season, each week we will be examining one of the position groups of the new-look St. Bonaventure Bonnies on SBUnfurled.
Heading into the upcoming season, only three players on the roster even attended St. Bonaventure University last year. Two of those three players redshirted, meaning only one player (Justin Ndjock-Tadjore) logged in-game minutes for last season’s Bonnies.
None of those three returners are in the center group, leaving almost everything up to imagination for what’s to come out of the five spot.
To try to get some sort of sense of what may be to come, let’s examine each of the players on the roster who could log some minutes at center for Bona this season.
The 6’10 transfer from Pitt is from Dublin, Ireland, and didn’t begin playing basketball until he was an early teen.
Amadasun played in a handful of games in both his freshman and sophomore year for the Panthers, not in a significant role at Pitt during either season. However, if Amadasun finds himself in a larger role with the Bonnies, I think one area that he has shown he can contribute is on the glass.
In his high school senior season, Amadasun averaged 11 boards, as well as averaging 9.5 rebounds per 40 minutes in his two seasons at Pitt. Amadasun also grabbed 15 or more boards in three of his six games in 2016 during the U-16 Euros for Ireland’s youth national team.
We’ve yet to see much of what Amadasun can do as a scorer at the college level, however if he can continue to rebound the ball at a high volume, we’d have to assume that Amadasun will find himself in many high percentage shooting situations where he has shown the ability to connect in high school, AAU, and international competition.
Amadasun recorded a double-double 12 times in the high school ranks, and can find himself in similar opportunities in a significant role at Bona.
Of course, much is left to be said on who will be the go-to man down low for the Bonnies this season and beyond, but Amadasun has the makings and multi-dimensional playing experience to be that guy.
Another 6’10 transfer, Venning spent the past two seasons at Morgan State, logging minutes in 42 games. Venning started 11 games last season, averaging seven points, three rebounds, and one block per game in his sophomore year.
What sticks out to me about Venning is his shot-blocking ability, tracking a total of 31 blocks so far during his college career. Venning could find himself as the primary rim protector for the Bonnies, and potentially as a rolling lob threat that guards could look to while driving to the basket. Venning has also showed an ability to score, shooting over 51% from the field so far in his college career.
Venning has the most college playing experience out of his peers in the center group, which coach Mark Schmidt could favor in the early going, depending on what he sees during camp.
Venning and Amadasun may split minutes down low this year, with help from the stretch forwards on the roster as well as freshman Melian Martinez. Venning shows toughness in his style of play, along with Amadasun, so the two could end up being a strong front court pairing.