Nov 10, 2017
Buffalo (0-0, 0-0 MAC) vs. Canisius (0-0, 0-0 MAAC)
November 11, 2017
Alumni Arena - 1:00 pm
Bulls on the Air
Radio - ESPN 1520-AM WWKB/TuneIn App
Television - ESPN3
• The Bulls will officially open their 101st year of men's basketball Saturday afternoon against Canisius. The Bulls are 54-46 all-time in season openers and they are 22-12 in home openers since moving into Alumni Arena.
• This will mark just the third time since 2011-12 that the Bulls have played Canisius inside Alumni Arena. UB won the last meeting at Alumni, 98-96 in overtime on Nov. 28, 2015.
• Canisius head coach Reggie Witherspoon served as Buffalo head coach for 14 seasons from 1999-2013. He is third in school history with 196 wins and he was the 2004 MAC Coach of the Year. He has 119 games inside Alumni Arena.
• Junior college transfer Jeremy Harris recorded double-doubles in each of UB's two exhibition games this year. He had 21 points and 10 rebounds in the overtime loss at Rhode Island and he followed that up with 13 points and 11 rebounds in the home exhibition win over Daemen.
• Buffalo was picked to win the MAC East Division in the preseason polls, the second time in school history that UB was picked to win the East and the first time since 2004-05. Buffalo received 24 first place votes and nine votes to win the MAC Tournament.
• Juniors CJ Massinburg and Nick Perkins were named to the preseason All-MAC East Division Team, claiming two of the five spots.
•The Bulls return two of the individual award winners from last year in Nick Perkins, who was named the MAC's Sixth Man of the Year, and Dontay Caruthers, who was named the MAC Defensive Player of the Year.
• In addition to playing the preseason Atlantic 10 Champion their first exhibition, UB will also play the American Athletic Conference preseason champion in Cincinnati at the Cayman Islands Classic.
• Canisius went 18-16 last season and 10-10 in league play making it to the first round of the CollegeInsider.com postseason tournament. The Griffs rode a seven-game winning streak midway through last season, the first under head coach Reggie Witherspoon.
• Canisius lost two of their top three scorers from last season with the transfer of leading scorer Kassius Robertson and the graduation of Phil Valenti. Jermaine Crumpton is the returning leading scorer from a year ago as he started all 34 games, averaging 15.9 points per game. He had a career-day against the Bulls during last season's match up, scoring 31 points. Canisius also welcomes back Isaiah Reese, who averaged 7.1 points per game.
• Canisius was picked to finish ninth in the 11-team MAAC, recording 42 points, just two behind eighth-place St. Peters. Senior Jermaine Crumpton was named to the preseason All-MAAC First Team after he was a third-team selection after the season in 2016-17.
• Reggie Witherspoon was named the 24th head coach in Canisius College men's basketball history on May 28, 2016. Witherspoon spent the 2015-16 season at Chattanooga, where he was a member of Matt McCall's coaching staff that led the Mocs to a 29-6 overall record, a Southern Conference regular-season championship and an appearance in the NCAA Tournament. He spent the 2014-15 season on the staff at Alabama. Prior to that he spent 14 seasons as the head coach at UB.
Bulls Picked To Win MAC East
The University at Buffalo men's basketball team has been picked to win the Mid-American Conference East Division and received nine tournament championship votes, second most in the league, it was announced by the league office in their annual preseason poll voted on by a panel of all 12 MAC head coaches and 18 media members.
The Bulls, who are led by third-year head coach Nate Oats, received 166 points and 24 of the 30 first place votes in the East Division to finish atop the preseason poll. This is the second time that Buffalo has been picked as the preseason winner of the MAC East and the first time since prior to the 2004-05 season. Buffalo also received nine votes to win the 2018 MAC Tournament Championship, just one behind Western Michigan.
Perkins and Massinburg Earn Preseason Nod
Juniors Nick Perkins and CJ Massinburg were two of the five players named to the preseason All-MAC East Division squad.
Massinburg was named All-MAC Honorable Mention last year as he averaged 14.5 points and 5.6 rebounds a year ago. He is Buffalo's returning leading scorer and despite missing eight games during non-conference play last year, he is in striking distance of 1,000 career points in just his third season with the team. Massinburg had many key performances last season, including scoring the final six points, breaking a 93-93 tie and earning a road victory at Central Michigan. He also hit the last two free throws to seal a road victory at Ohio.
Perkins was named the MAC's Sixth Man of the Year last year, just the second player in school history to earn that honor. Perkins averaged 12.4 points and a team-high 6.7 rebounds last year as he came off the bench in 14 of 32 games, including 14 of the last 15 games of the year. Known for his 20 points in the NCAA Tournament against Miami as a freshman, Perkins has always played some of his best games against top competition. He had 23 points last year at Pitt and a career-best 24 points at St. Bonaventure. He also had 21-point games against Western Michigan and Ball State.
Caruthers Named MAC Defensive Player Of The Year
Junior Dontay Caruthers became the first players in school history to be named MAC Defensive Player of the year last season.
He started 18 games during the season, averaging 5.9 points in conference games. He also led the MAC with 37 steals in league play and had 58 for the year, finishing just outside the top 10 in school history for single-season steals. He had a career-high 18 points in a road victory at Bowling Green last year, beginning a stretch of three straight games in double figures.
Leading The Charge
Head coach Nate Oats begins his third year on the Buffalo sidelines, having comprised a record of 37-30 during his first two years. He is the only coach in UB school history to record 20 wins in his first season as a head coach and his 37 wins in his first two years are the second most by a UB coach behind only Bobby Hurley, who had 42 wins over his first two years.
One the most of anticipated newcomers will wear #2 on the Buffalo team is junior college transfer Jeremy Harris, who came to UB from Gulf Coast College, where he was ranked as the second best junior college player in the nation by JUCORecruiting.com.
Harris led the Bulls with 21 points and added 10 rebounds in the overtime contest against Rhode Island in the charity exhibition. He had a stretch for the Bulls where he scored eight straight points, erasing an eight-point deficit on his own. He led the team with 17 shots taken, but also added three assists and three steals. Harris recorded double doubles in both exhibition games as he added 13 points and 11 rebounds against Daemen.
Harris is a dynamic shooter as shown by his one performance last year where he had 10 three-pointers in a game. He is a seasoned veteran, who has played basketball at all levels, beginning with high school, before moving on to prep school for a year at Fishburne Military School. He then played two years and junior college before making his way to UB.
Cleveland Is The Reason
A native of Cleveland, OH Montell McRae is the new man in the middle for the Bulls. A transfer from South Plains Junior College, the same school as former UB player David Kadiri.
In the exhibition against Rhode Island, McRae had 10 points and a team-high 11 rebounds, while adding an assist, three blocks, and a steal.
McRae was part of a South Plains team ranked first nationally for much of the season as they went 32-2 last year.
Freshman James Reese has already ignited the Buffalo crowd prior to even playing his first regular season game with the Bulls. It began over the summer, when Reese made national headlines for his dunks at the UB team camp, showing up on media outlets across the country.
Reese's athleticism extends to just his dunking and he made a strong impression in the charity exhibition against Rhode Island as he had 12 points on 5-of-6 shooting, including 2-of-3 from behind the arc.
Reese was named the State Player of the Year in South Carolina as he played his ball for A.C. Flora where he won two state titles, leading his team to a 21-2 record during his senior season. He averaged 25.0 points per game during the year.
Luck Of The Irish
Freshman Jayvon Graves comes to Buffalo from one of the most well known high schools in the country in the St.Vincent-St. Mary's out of Akron, OH, the same high school as NBA MVP and World Champion, LeBron James. Nicknamed the Fighting Irish, Graves and his high school teammates won the Ohio State Championship last season and Graves was named the Ohio State Player of the Year.
He had three points against Rhode Island, draining a three-pointer. Graves had a strong second half against Daemen and nearly put up a double-double with nine points and eight rebounds.
Sophomore Davonta Jordan will look to take an increased role this season, providing depth at the point guard position. Jordan played in 31 games last season, starting five of those early on.
He started the season opener as a freshman at Niagara and finished second on the team in assists with 79. Jordan had a career-high 10 assists at nationally-ranked Creighton.
Junior Ikenna Smart returns this year for his third season of competition and his fourth overall with the team. Smart, who will miss the beginning of the season due to a back injury, is the most veteran player on the roster.
Smart played in 31 games last year, including 16 starts. He started three games in conference play before coming off the bench for 14 of the 17 MAC games he played in. He had one of his best weekends of the season early on at the Great Alaska Shootout, where he scored 10 points against Nevada and then finished with eight points and nine rebounds against Weber State.
Brock And Roll
After redshirting his first season with the Bulls last year, redshirt freshman Brock Bertram will look to make an impact off the bench for the Bulls. Bertram is the tallest player on the UB roster and he has displayed good footwork and ball control in the post.
Bertram was a finalist for Mr. Basketball in the state of Minnesota as he averaged 15.0 points and 10 rebounds per game as his team went 32-1 during his senior year and 118-7 during his career.
Senior Wes Clark will miss the beginning of the season as he finishes his NCAA eligibility requirements, but the Missouri transfer is expected to make an immediate impact for the Bulls when he becomes eligible in mid-December.
Clark played his high school basketball for head coach Nate Oats at Romulus High School outside of Detroit where the pair won a State Championship together.
What A Staff
Behind head coach Nate Oats is a talented coaching staff, including three members that will be beginning their third season with Oats on the staff. Associate head coach Jim Whitesell begins his third year on the staff after coming over to the Bulls from St. John's. Whitesell is in charge of developing UB's post players and is one of the lead coaches on all scouting reports.
Buffalo's recruiting coordinator Bryan Hodgson has moved into the second assistant role and in addition to recruiting the majority of the UB rosters, Hodgson also works with the post players and is part of all scouting reports. Hodgson has recruited players such as Blake Hamilton, Willie Conner, and David Kadiri, who helped the Bulls to their second NCAA Appearance. This year, he served as the lead recruiter for all the newcomers, including Jeremy Harris,who was ranked as the second best junior college player in the country.
The newest addition to the staff is assistant coach Jamie Quarles, who will oversee the guards and assist in scouting. Quarles was a long-time assistant coach at Augusta University where he was most recently named one of the Top 10 Young Professionals To Watch by Augusta Magazine. After playing four seasons at Augusta from 2004-08, Quarles picked up the clipboard and joined the coaching staff on August 30, 2011. Quarles had been the top assistant for six seasons from 2011-to-17 and has helped keep the Augusta Jaguars in the national spotlight.
Rounding out the staff is Adam Bauman, who is in his third year as Director of Basketball Operations. Bauman is in charge of all the aspects of the program off the court, including travel, budget, and much more.
Bulls Unveil Highly Touted Recruiting Class
Third-year head men's basketball coach Nate Oats has announced his signing class for the 2018-19 season, which includes three highly touted recruits. National scouting services have the Buffalo class amongst the top 60 nationally, making it the highest rated class in school history. Included in the class are a pair of ESPN four-star rated recruits and a junior college transfer:
Jeenathan Williams (6-7, SF, Rochester, NY/Prolific Prep)
Ronaldo "Rondo" Segu (6-0, PG, Orlando, FL/Orlando Christian Prep)
Javion Hamlet (6-3, PG, Memphis, TN/Motlow State College)