ST. BONAVENTURE, N.Y. – The basketball season is nearly six months away, but Bonnies basketball fans have the first date to circle on the calendar: Saturday, Nov. 16.
On that day, St. Bonaventure will be one of six teams making the trip north of the border to Toronto to take part in the James Naismith Classic tripleheader. The Bonnies will play Big Ten foe Rutgers as one of the three games – Tennessee will face Washington and Buffalo will take on Harvard in the other contests. All three games will take place in Scotiabank Arena, home of the Toronto Raptors and Maple Leafs.
Dr. James Naismith, known as the inventor of the game of basketball, was born in Almonte, Ontario on Nov. 6, 1861. He went on to become a physical education teacher, chaplain, author, and physician, and founder of the University of Kansas basketball program. He wrote the original rules of basketball in Springfield, Massachusetts, where the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame stands today. Dr. Naismith is a member of Canada's Sports Hall of Fame and the first member of the Basketball Hall of Fame.
"We are really excited about playing Rutgers in the Naismith Classic in Toronto," St. Bonaventure head coach Mark Schmidt said. "Rutgers is an up-and-coming, Power 5 team that is very well-coached. It will be a good test for us early in the year."
Not only does their spot in the Naismith Classic give the Bonnies yet another marquee non-conference matchup as in past seasons, it connects the program with the Toronto market which has been a source for great talent through the years for the Brown and White.
All-time Bonnies great Andrew Nicholson hailed from Mississauga, Ontario while Matthew Wright, Nelson Kaputo, Caswell Cyrus, Vidal Massiah, Barry Mungar, Norman Clarke, Rocky Llewellyn and Jalen Poyser among others have come to St. Bonaventure from the Toronto area.
"I think our players will be excited to play a Big Ten team in an NBA arena in a culturally-rich city where most of them have never been. Over the past 20-to-25 years, we've had many great players who we recruited from the Toronto area, including (2012 first round NBA draft pick) Andrew Nicholson who was one of our all-time best," Schmidt continued. "I also think we'll have strong fan support there, so all in all, this is an exciting opportunity and we are thrilled to be invited to participate."
Tickets for the James Naismith Classic will go on sale to the general public on Friday, May 31 at 9 a.m. through the St. Bonaventure Ticket Office. Fans can purchase St. Bonaventure section tickets by calling (716) 375-2500. Game times and television broadcast information will be released at a later date.
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