Q + A with Ian Nolan of CollegeChalkTalk

Ahead of this Saturday's black out against St Bonaventure, I thought it would be interesting to catch up with Bona alum, Ian Nolan. Nolan is a writer for CollegeChalktalk.com and a member of the USBWA since 2009. He has covered the Atlantic 10 exclusively for the last four years and writes about the league for CCT. Nolan is a 2008 graduate of St. Bonaventure where he was the head student assistant for the men's basketball program.  
Yuku Dukes: Eric Mosley's averaging 26 points over the last 4 games. Where is this coming from and would you have ever dreamed he could take his game to this level? 
Ian Nolan: Honestly, I, along with many others including Mark Schmidt, have no idea. Mosley is the leading three point shooter in the entire conference and it's nearly March. Charloon Kloof a junior was supposed to take the starting PG role and run with it this year but he hasn't developed offensively and Mosley's outside shooting is what this team needs. Heading into the season most would have pegged E.M. has as capable back-up who could be a streaky shooter and scorer. Now, as we head towards March Mosley is the teams best offensive player and likely their MVP. Mosley has turned himself into a dynamic scorer and deadly outside shooter. No one, and I mean no one, saw this coming. 

YD: I always thought there was more to the Bonnies than Andrew Nicholson last year. In general how are St Bonaventure fans feeling about this season. Were they expecting more from the team coming off the A-10 championship or has the season turned out as they expected?
IN: Bonnies fans are disappointed with the results thus far. Given that SBU returned Conger, Simmons, Davenport, Mosley, Wright, Kloof, Johnson and Gathers I think the thought was "We won't be as good as last year, but we should be a middle of the pack A10 club." Personally, I thought the Bonnies could finish as high as 6th in the league with their returning talent, depth and experience. Although it looks like they will finish somewhere in the 10-13 range, SBU has lost nail-biters to Xavier, La Salle (OT), Richmond (OT) and nearly knocked off VCU. The Bonnies have four road wins to just two home wins which is very odd for them given their usual homecourt advantage. They are a much better team than their current 5-7 record. If they make it to Brooklyn, this is a team that has the talent and experience to win a game or two without question. They should be motivated in these final four games and I could see them winning three of these last four which would make them a hot team heading into NYC. 

YD: Mark Schmidt is losing a lot of talent after this season. What might be in store for the Bonnies next season?  

IN: The Bonnies will lose Conger (Their most well rounded player and iron man), Johnson (their best wing scorer), Mosley (mentioned above) as well as Davenport (bench player). The problem isn't losing those players it's the fact that they have no one signed for next season recruiting wise and that their current freshman and sophomores are getting little to no playing time at all behind these seniors; they aren't getting a chance to develop. I think next season the Bonnies take a step backwards and could likely miss the A10 tournament basing this statement on talent on paper. However, Mark Schmidt's teams usually improve as the season progresses and so maybe there is another Eric Mosley or Chris Johnson in waiting right now. They need that in the worst way for 2013-2014. I would expect Schmidt to sign a JUCO or two to help step in right away and hope that Gathers, Wright, Kloof, N'Doye and company really develop this summer. 

YD: From a Duquesne perspective, I look at the Dukes/Bonnies rivalry as more of a sibling rivalry than anything. It's fun to go head to head but when we're not playing St Bonaventure, I'm generally pulling for them. In general, do St Bonaventure fans feel the same way?  

IN: I think that is the case. I think both fan bases enjoy pulling for other smaller schools who have similar budgets, continue to get no respect from the power schools (Xavier, Temple, etc) and generally are overlooked by outsiders. I remember really pulling for the Aaron Jackson Dukes team when they made it to the conference final against Temple a few years ago. I enjoyed hanging out and drinking some beers with the Dukes fans who made the trip to Atlantic City; there seemed to be a mutual respect, maybe even a shared misery type thing. Duquesne is certainly a team Bonaventure fans pull for when they don't have a stake in the action. It's certainly somewhat of odd rivalry in that there isn't a lot of hatred going on. St. Bonaventure fans would much, much rather beat Saint Joe's or Temple than Duquesne (which they did this season).  

YD: A man cannot live on Beef -n- Barrel alone. What the hell else is there to do in Olean? 

Beef 'n' Barrel: Screw basketball. That's good meat!

IN: Not much ha. Most of the students just go out Thursday through Saturday and attend all the basketball games. When you drive through town it's pretty much "what you see is what you get." Applebees, Wal-Mart, a pretty weak mall and some fast food joints are basically what Olean has to offer. Fortunately, the students on campus are insanely close in terms of relationships and most students even had the same type of relationship with many of their professors. It really is a special place and I think the lack of other-things-to-do brings the school community closer together. While it doesn't make for a great road trip for a visiting fan, it does however, make for a really memorable four year stay in the enchanted mountains as they say.

YD: Whose your A-10 player of the year right now?  

IN: Man, this is a tough call. There's no one player that really stands out for me as we head towards the final week of February but if I had to vote and give a name right now I'd go with Ramon Galloway of La Salle. Galloway is the best player on a La Salle team that looks like they could make the NCAA tournament for the first time in over 20 years. They've beaten Butler and VCU and the team has a new lease on life, for the time being anyway. He basically averages 17, 5 and 4 and the program really started to turn around when he transferred in from South Carolina. I would say some of this call hinges on La Salle making it into the NCAA field, but given the other options L.G. is a sound choice at this point in time. 

YD: St Bonaventure has a chance to sweep Duquesne for the first time in 11 years. What's your prediction for tomorrow?  

IN: I think Bonaventure wins a close one, say by around six to eight points. Bonaventure has played well on the road this year as I noted and they need this game to stay a half game up on Dayton for the 12th and final spot. Duquesne could certainly win if they shoot the ball they way the did the last time these two teams played, but I'm banking on Bonaventure really starting to make a final push for home here with four games to play. Between this game and their game against Fordham, those are just two they cannot under any circumstances afford to lose. If Bonaventure does drop this game it will be a huge disappointment.

Thanks again to Ian Nolan for helping us out today. You can follow him @Ianrnolan