Monday, May 23, 2016

Quinnipiac front line grows stronger entering an opportunity for redemption

Going into junior season, Chaise Daniels has already made great strides at Quinnipiac, and head coach Tom Moore is hopeful that he can continue upward mobility among Bobcat forwards. (Photo courtesy of Quinnipiac University Athletics)

For every bit of good their guards have done over the years, if there is one thing that Quinnipiac has come to be known for under Tom Moore, it is the physical front line that the Bobcats have sent out onto the hardwood year after year, leading the charge in their aggressive rebounding tactics.

Just think of the great forwards that have come out of Hamden since Moore took over the former Division II program in 2007. Names like Justin Rutty, Ike Azotam, and Ousmane Drame, players that; although not household names at the national level, echo through the New England basketball landscape like a Who's Who of the mid-major level.

This season, a new group of big men have already laid their names into the cement hoping to etch their own imprint on the legacy authored before them, and will seek to take the next steps toward enhancing their respective marks.

"The lessons they learned this year, some of them were hard lessons, but they battled really hard," Moore said of a frontcourt led by soon-to-be junior Chaise Daniels. "They showed a lot of positives and did quite a few things that, as a coaching staff, we're really, really excited about what they will do now with a year under their belt in primary roles."

Daniels, whom Moore has raved about since the day he stepped on the York Hill campus, was Quinnipiac's third-leading scorer last season, averaging nearly ten points and just over six rebounds per game. Of even greater significance is the fact that he returned to top form immediately following a knee injury that shelved him through the early part of the Bobcats' non-conference schedule. Freshman Abdulai Bundu showed just as much of an impact in his rookie season, going for better than seven points and six rebounds per contest in a first-year campaign that saw him take on greater responsibilities as the season went on. Along with junior college transfer Donovan Smith, (7.2 points and 5.8 rebounds per game of his own) Moore now has a three-headed monster that can rival preseason Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference favorites Monmouth and Siena among the more superior interiors in the league.

"I think those two, (Chaise and Abdulai) and Donovan Smith, we're expecting quite a bit from right now," said Moore. "I'm very excited about them, where they are in their growth and their challenge. Their work ethic, I'm really happy with."

"I do think there are some terrific frontcourts in the MAAC, but I think they should look at themselves as somebody who can compete to be one of the better frontcourts in the MAAC," he elaborated, "not just because of their experience and their talent, but the opportunity that's ahead of them as well."

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