Football is in full swing and the MLB Playoffs are ramping up the drama, which means college basketball is fast approaching. Fan Jam unofficially tipped off the Bona hoops season Friday for many fans, and the team held an intrasquad scrimmage Saturday in the Reilly Center. Anquan Hill, Anouar Mellouk, and Max Amadasun impressed during the 30 minutes, while Daryl Banks seems like he’ll be a go-to guy on the roster. Below are some questions from fans and a closer look at what we saw during scrimmage.
Who will start?
I initially projected Brett Rumpel to be the starting PG when the season opened, due in part to having a year of experience in Schmidt’s system. I was told Monday a broken foot could keep him out up to 6 weeks, meaning we can assume Kyrell Luc is likely to see 30+ MPG at point from the jump. Daryl Banks looks like the team’s best player at this juncture, and is the obvious starter at the 2. I wouldn't be surprised to see his usage wind up among the highest in the conference, similar to Courtney Stockard in 2018-19. Barry Evans now looks like the frontrunner to start at the 3, alongside Anquan Hill at the 4. The 5 spot will come down to Chad Venning or Max Amadasun. Amadasun looked solid during Saturday’s scrimmage, scoring 17 points on 8-12 FG (1-2 FT). Venning was sidelined with what seemed like a minor injury.
My best guess at this point: Luc - Banks - Evans - Hill - Amadasun
Who will be first off the bench?
Whoever doesn’t start between Amadasun and Venning. I expect both to rotate in and out quite often, whether due to foul management or keeping the bigs as fresh as possible. After that, I’d expect Moses Flowers, Yann Farrell and either Anouar Mellouk or Justin Ndjock-Tadjore to see depth minutes on the wing.
Will Yann Farrell be more of a 3 or 4?
Could Farrell see some minutes at the 4 if Schmidt opts to go small? I suppose, but the bulk of his minutes will probably come at the 3. To play the 4 at his size (roughly 6’5”), it’d realistically be in a lineup with Luc (5’10”), Banks (6’3”), and Flowers (6’3”). That seems far too small for an A10 rotation. In the scrimmage, Farrell played with Luc, Flowers, Ndjock-Tdjore, and Amadasun. He also played in a lineup with Flowers, Curran, Ndjock-Tadore, and Martinez. I had him starting at the 3 in my initial depth chart projection. Now, I think he could come off the bench to spell Evans at the 3, or come in for Hill at the 4–which slides Evans to PF.
On a scale of 1 being Fosters (RIP) and 10 being the Hickey Tavern packed with friends and a funk band: where should my head be at for the season?
Your head should be at Randy’s Up The River. Approach the season with patience and an understanding that it might take a while to get what we came for, but when it comes, it’s almost always worth the wait. And while we wait, we can still have a good time drinking and thinking about what’s to come. Fosters was always a 10 in my book, by the way.
How do JNT and Mellouk look? I really like their potential. Remind me of Gregg and Griffin.
Mellouk impressed in Saturday’s scrimmage, scoring 17 points on 6-9 FG (0-3 3PT, 5-7 FT). I'll hold off on going into too much depth here, since Blake Silverman will be going into more depth on this position Monday. Mellouk did look active and aggressive playing both the 4 and 5 in the small sample size we got this weekend.
Is being ranked 10th in the preseason an overreach or more of a trust in Schmidt and the Bona culture?
The preseason ranking of 10 was actually lower than our projection from Sunday’s initial KenPom release (8th in the A10, 119th in the country). This was somewhat surprising, considering A10 polls seem more opinion/reputation-driven and KenPom is fully analytics-based. His formula pegs us for the 6th-best offense and 7th-best defense in the conference, meaning he at least sees something of value in our individual parts.
With how much the new transfer rules exacerbate roster turnover (especially our own), any preseason rankings are a total crapshoot and difficult to take seriously. The staff is still toying with various lineups to see who gels, but I’d put my trust in Schmidt to have us competitive by conference play.
Shooting splits from 30 minutes of scrimmage: