Like many associated with St. Bonaventure basketball, Dec. 7, 2019, was a memorable day for Jalen Adaway.
Though he was just a couple of months removed from joining the program, being surrounded by the greats of Bonnies basketball – the members of the 1970 Final Four team and many other legends of the Reilly Center, including Bona's All-Time Team – stood as an awe-inspiring moment.
"It was unbelievable being in the presence of greatness," Adaway remembers of that afternoon, a convincing Bonnies victory in front of a packed house. "We had a chance to honor the legends that played here before; it was a really special time. I'm grateful to be a part of something so iconic."
The Indiana native, who has two seasons of eligibility remaining after transferring to St. Bonaventure a summer ago, hopes to add his own name to the list of Bonnies star players.
A key contributor in two seasons at Miami (OH), he appeared in 63 games including 46 starts during his time there, averaging over eight points and five rebounds per contest after a standout career in high school that saw him earn Large School All-State Team honors from the Indy Star.
After deciding to transfer, Adaway's Bonaventure connection came through current assistant coach Tray Woodall, whom he had met on a visit to Robert Morris before Woodall made the move to SBU. After moving to the Enchanted Mountains, Woodall invited Adaway to visit campus and he left after that trip knowing he had found a home for the next stage of his collegiate career.
"I visited and felt like this was the place I have to be," Adaway said. "The energy here is just through the roof."
And though he logged zero official minutes last year with the Bonnies due to NCAA transfer rules, his impact on the program was certainly felt. He added energy to practices throughout the year and his support for teammates from the sidelines was obvious to everyone who followed the team.
Those around the program would agree he made the most of his sit year, one that can often be difficult for athletes transitioning to a new school and expected to bring full effort to practices despite knowing from the outset that they will not see game action for an entire season.
"It wasn't hard to stay motivated," he said. "I was trying to do what I could to help guys get better and contribute somehow."
Already on the short list of most athletic players on the team, watching games from the bench also gave him a new view of the game that he feels will make him a more all-around player when he suits up in Bonnies colors for the first time.
"Seeing the game from a different perspective, sitting on the sideline and being able to critique how important little details are, how important the pace of the game is," he said, "that was an advantage of sitting last year."
In the past year, much has obviously changed. Adaway experienced some of the struggles associated with travel in the COVID-19 era when coming back to campus this summer from his Midwest home. Because of testing delays, he had to get multiple tests before being able to travel to New York, then did a 14-day quarantine prior being able to join his teammates as Indiana has had a spot on the New York State quarantine travel list.
"It took over 14 days to get results," he said. "I went to another spot and they said they weren't doing testing anymore, so I had to find another place to get tested. It was a hassle. Quarantining in the dorms wasn't too bad; Coach Fiske gave me some weights to make the most of it."
Now, after a year of working toward taking advantage of his Bonaventure moment, he's ready to make the most of his opportunity.
- By Scott Eddy, Assistant Athletic Director for Athletics Communications
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.