BUFFALO – After a freshman season to remember, St. Bonaventure's Kyle Lofton begins his sophomore campaign with an impressive honor – Big 4 Preseason Player of the Year. Fellow sophomore Osun Osunniyi joins Lofton on the First Team while Dominick Welch lands on the Second Team.
The players earned the honors through a voting of Western New York media members selecting athletes from Big 4 members St. Bonaventure, Buffalo, Canisius and Niagara.
Lofton played over 37 minutes per game while starting all 34 contests last year and averaged 14.4 points, 2.5 rebounds and 3.7 assists. He ranked 14th in league scoring during his debut campaign, was eighth in A-10 assists and ninth in steals (1.4 spg) while handing out 127 assists, just 16 away from the program's freshman record.
An Atlantic 10 All-Rookie Team and All-Conference selection last year, Lofton also earned Atlantic 10 Preseason Second Team honors last month.
Osunniyi averaged 7.5 points and 7.6 rebounds in his collegiate debut and established himself as one of the nation's elite shot-blockers. His 92 blocks are the second-highest total in school history and ranked sixth in the nation as well as best in the A-10. No Division I freshman swatted more shots a year ago. He also was named Preseason Atlantic 10 Third Team and was on the conference preseason All-Defensive Team as well.
Welch, a Cheektowaga native, posted 7.5 points, 4.4 rebounds and 1.3 assists per game during his collegiate debut. He led the team with 43 3-pointers despite playing only 25 games due to an early season injury that cost him much of the non-conference slate. He scored in double figures 11 times and was at his best down the stretch including a career-high 20 points in an Atlantic 10 quarterfinal win over George Mason. He registered 12 points, 7.0 rebounds and 2.3 blocks in the Atlantic 10 Tournament as a key reason the Bonnies advanced to the A-10 Championship Game.
The Bonnies tied with Buffalo for the most Preseason All-Big 4 selections with three. Canisius and Niagara each had two picks. Joining Lofton and Osunniyi on the First Team are Jayvon Graves and Davonta Jordan of Buffalo as well as Malik Johnson of Canisius.
St. Bonaventure will again face each of its Big 4 rivals during non-conference play: The Bonnies play Canisius at KeyBank Center in downtown Buffalo Nov. 23, play host to Niagara on Dec. 18 and travel to Buffalo Dec. 30.
Dominick Welch - St. Bonaventure
Scott Hitchon - Canisius
Raheem Solomon - Niagara
James Towns - Niagara
Jeenathan Williams - Buffalo
For the latest news on St. Bonaventure athletics, stay connected on social media. Follow the Bonnies on Twitter @GoBonnies and get men's basketball updates @BonniesMBB. Keep up with the Bonnies on Facebook /GoBonnies and on Instagram @GoBonnies.