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2010-11 Virginia Tech Basketball: Getting to Know St. Bonaventure

You may not have heard of the St. Bonaventure Bonnies, but Virginia Tech's next basketball opponent has a long, sometimes notorious history.

There are three things you need to know about the Bonnies' history going into Thursday's neutral site game in Rochester: They've were involved in an embarrassing scandal, they played in one of the NCAA Tournament's greatest games and they've been to a Final Four.

First up -- embarrassment.


You know an athletics scandal is bad when the university president resigns because of it. 

That's what happened to St. Bonaventure in 2003 when a basketball player's welding certificate led to the school forfeiting its last two games. Transfer Jamil Terrell was accepted into St. Bonaventure despite only having a welding certificate from a junior college that did not meet the NCAA's academic requirements.

When this was discovered, the Bonnies were stripped of their conference wins for the season and were banned from postseason play for the year. Rather than play two meaningless games, the Bonnies' players voted to not participate in their remaining games, which led to more embarrassment for the university.

Head coach Jan van Breda Kolff, the school's athletics director and its president all lost their jobs over the incident.



Hall of Famer Bob Lanier led the Bonnies to the 1970 Final Four and they finished the season with a 25-3 record. Lanier averaged nearly 30 points per game that season but was injured in the regional semifinal and didn't play against Artis Gilmore's Jacksonville Dolphins.

Jacksonville ended St. Bonaventure's NCAA Tournament run before falling to UCLA in the title game. The Bonnies also lost the national third-place game to New Mexico State.

Lanier was later drafted first overall in the NBA draft and played 14 seasons for the Pistons and Bucks, who have both retired his No. 16. Not surprisingly, the court at the Reilly Center is named after Lanier.

Basically, that's all you need to know about St. Bonaventure's past. It was home to a welder, a Messiah and a Hall of Famer.


The Bonnies will come into Thursday's game at 6-3 with a four-overtime win over Ohio their last time out. They have had the same starting five in all nine of their games and all five starters averaged at least 10 minutes per game last season.

Andrew Nicholson leads St. Bonaventure in scoring and rebounding and is averaging a double-double this year with 21.4 points and 10.2 rebounds per game.