Home » Columns » Currently Reading:

As more players develop, Bucknell becomes a clear contender

January 27, 2015 Columns No Comments

BOSTON – It’s rare that one man carries a team all the way to a conference title in college basketball, no matter how good that player is. Chris Hass is certainly not going to carry Bucknell to a Patriot League title, as one example of interest, despite his great shooting and overall development after a breakout season a year ago. But with a supporting cast developing around him, the Bison are clicking offensively and emerging as a dangerous team, as well as a leader in the league as we near the halfway point.

A great example of this has come during the Bison’s four-game winning streak, the last two of which have come on the road. It’s been tough for them to win on the road, in part because they played some tough non-league games away from home. The offense has really clicked lately, however, and that’s been a big difference. While Hass is leading the way, he now has a lot more help.

“We’re starting to figure out how to play with each other offensively,” said Bucknell head coach Dave Paulsen. “Ironically, as other guys have started to play better offensively, that’s made it easier for Chris (Hass). He got some more open looks tonight because the other guys were able to score.”

It’s unusual for a Patriot League team to start two freshmen, and Bucknell hasn’t done that the entire season. But Nana Foulland has started every game in the middle, and Stephen Brown has moved into the starting lineup the last four games and isn’t going anywhere. Foulland has also put up better numbers in Patriot League play, so he’s part of this emergence of youth. J.C. Show has also been part of this, having started three games recently, though he’s also been playing while a bit banged up.

Brown scored 15 points on Saturday on 4-5 shooting, and he added three assists with one turnover. In all, the Bison had 19 assists and seven turnovers, and those numbers are becoming more the norm for this team as they have a 1.5 assist-to-turnover ratio in Patriot League play. During the current winning streak, they have exactly twice as many assists as turnovers. Brown’s improvement, along with that of players like Ryan Frazier, John Azzinaro and Show, is taking pressure off of Hass. Paulsen said that Brown was used to playing fast and had to adjust to playing a slower, more controlled pace, and that has come a little faster than he thought it might. It’s a little different from many guys, who normally have to adjust to the college game being faster.

“He’s dynamic and explosive, and he’s grown tremendously in that regard,” Paulsen said.

Even as younger players are giving a big hand, the veterans are a big part of this as well. Right before the last media timeout, you saw experience come in when senior Steven Kaspar had the ball at the top of the key, saw the defense leave a gaping hole and drove in for an uncontested layup to put the Bison up 85-70 and help seal the game. Hass cited Kaspar, who had nine points on 3-4 shooting and four assists with just one turnover, as one of the reasons the offense has been better of late.

With all of that, life for Hass is a bit easier, and nowhere was that clearer than on Saturday. It helped that Boston University didn’t do a good job defensively on Bucknell’s shooters for a while, but that just helped Hass & Co. gain confidence. Hass scored 28 points on 10-16 shooting, including 6-7 on three-pointers. Several of them were back-breakers, either stopping momentum the Terriers were trying to build up or continuing a run by the Bison.

“Those are hard shots,” said BU head coach Joe Jones. “You’re talking about a guy sprinting off a screen, catching and moving away from the rim. Whatever you do, they’re going to take advantage of.”

Bucknell plays three of the next four games at home, including a showdown with Colgate on Saturday at Sojka Pavilion. They will try to avenge a 68-62 loss earlier this month at Colgate, back at a time when the offense wasn’t running as well and in a stretch where they couldn’t string together a couple of wins in a row. They are in a different place now.

The Patriot League race is a jumbled mess right now as we near the halfway point. All ten teams are within three games of each other, and the results have borne out that any team can beat another team on any given night. So not much is certain, but we can feel pretty good in saying that Bucknell is playing very much like a contender right now.

Comment on this Article:

Subscribe to Hoopville

Enter your email address to subscribe to Hoopville


Hoopville Archives

College Basketball Tonight

We hope you enjoyed COLLEGE BASKETBALL TONIGHT during the 2016 NCAA Tournament. COLLEGE BASKETBALL TONIGHT is a comprehensive look at the NCAA Tournament hosted by veteran college basketball broadcaster Ted Sarandis, along with co-hosts Mike Jarvis and Terry O'Connor, both former Division I coaches. It also included many great guests, including Hoopville's own Phil Kasiecki.

The show aired on AM 710 WOR in New York City on Sunday evenings starting with Selection Sunday and running through the NCAA Tournament.

Here are links to the shows:

March 13, 2016 - First hour | Second hour

March 20, 2016 - First hour | Second hour

March 27, 2016 - First hour | Second hour

April 3, 2016 - First hour | Second hour

Everybody Needs a Head Coach

Former college basketball coach Mike Jarvis has a new book out, Everybody Needs a Head Coach.

"As you read this book, I hope that Coach Jarvis' experiences inspire you to find your purpose in life."
-Patrick Ewing, NBA Hall of Fame center

"Mike Jarvis' is one of my special friends. I am so pleased that he has taken the time to write this fabulous book."
-Mike Krzyzewski, Five-time NCAA championship head coach, Duke Blue Devils

"In reading this book, I can see that Mike hasn't lost his edge or his purpose. Readers should take a look at what he has to say."
-Jim Calhoun, Three-time NCAA champion, UConn Men's basketball

Review on Hoopville coming soon!

Coaching Changes and NBA Draft Early Entrants

The coaching carousel is moving. Keep track of the latest coaching changes right here on Hoopville.

Also, keep track of players who have declared early for the NBA Draft.

Hoopville Podcasts

College Basketball Tonight – March 26, 2017

March 27, 2017 by

In the latest edition of College Basketball Tonight, we break down the regional finals as the Final Four is all set. A pair of special guests join us to help break the games down.

College Basketball Tonight – March 19, 2017

March 20, 2017 by

The first weekend of the NCAA Tournament is in the books, and after two rounds that could not be more different. Ted Sarandis leads the way as we break down the first two rounds, as well as coaching news that emerged over the weekend.

Talking Hoops With Ted Sarandis – March 18, 2017

March 18, 2017 by

In our latest podcast, we look back on the first round games in the NCAA Tournament, starting with a couple of terrific performances on Friday night.

College Basketball Tonight – March 12, 2017

March 13, 2017 by

We bring you College Basketball Tonight, a comprehensive look at the 2017 NCAA Tournament hosted by veteran broadcaster Ted Sarandis. The NCAA Tournament field is set, and we break down each region as well as some big picture subjects.

Talking Hoops With Ted Sarandis – March 10, 2017, Part 2

March 10, 2017 by

In Part 2 of our podcast, we talk about the ACC Tournament and others that have found new homes in light of comments made by a prominent coach that got quite a reaction, then we talk about the NCAA Tournament bubble as that subject begins to dominate conversation for a couple of more days.

Phil Kasiecki on Twitter

Recruiting Coverage

2016 Boston Back to School Showcase notes

September 12, 2016 by

We look back at the 2016 Boston Back to School Showcase, where a couple of Boston City League teams were among the most impressive on the day.

2016 Hoopville Spring Finale championship recap

June 28, 2016 by

We look back at the championship games of the 2016 Hoopville Spring Finale, which had a big local flavor as one might have expected.

2016 Hoopville Spring Finale preview

June 24, 2016 by

We look ahead to the 2016 Hoopville Spring Finale, held at a familiar location in Boston.

At the 2016 Boston Shootout, host BABC has a big day

June 8, 2016 by

Sunday was a big day for the host program at the 44th Boston Shootout

2015 Boston Back to School Showcase recap

September 18, 2015 by

The Boston Back to School Showcase gave high school teams from three states and north of the border a chance for a couple of early games. We take a look back at the day and a few who stood out.