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Wednesday, April 17, 2024
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Former UB Basketball players thriving ahead of March Madness

The men’s and women’s NCAA tournaments should feature plenty of former Bulls

<p>Felisha Legette-Jack has rebuilt Syracuse’s program to be a national contender. She had a similar impact on UB, where she clinched three March Madness tournament berths.&nbsp;</p>

Felisha Legette-Jack has rebuilt Syracuse’s program to be a national contender. She had a similar impact on UB, where she clinched three March Madness tournament berths. 

Spring break is fast approaching at UB, and that means the men’s and women’s March Madness tournaments are right around the corner. 

While the men’s team will not be making an appearance in March Madness, the women’s team still has a chance as they play in the Mid-American Conference (MAC) tournament starting this Wednesday. 

Even if the women’s team doesn’t make it, UB’s basketball program will be well-represented with former players. From the Syracuse exodus on the women’s side to former Bulls on top-25 teams in the country, there will be plenty to root for as a fan of UB sports. 

Curtis Jones, Iowa State 

As a freshman at UB, Jones struggled to get playing time. Receiving 12 minutes a game and averaging just 2.5 points per game in his first year, he struggled to make an impact. 

It wasn’t until his sophomore year that he broke out. The now-senior guard jumped up to 15 points per game in his second season, averaging 4.8 assists and 3 rebounds per game. His shooting splits improved across the board, and he racked up 1.4 steals per game. 

At Iowa State, Jones has thrived as a sixth man. He’s averaging 10.8 points and 3 rebounds per game for the seventh-best team in the country, and will play a crucial role for his new school as they look to make a deep run in the tournament. 

Isaac Jack, Dayton 

Jack played for UB during his freshman season. Starting 20 games for the Bulls, he averaged 5.6 points and 4.2 rebounds in 16.4 minutes per game. The 6’11 center transferred to Dayton after his first and only year at UB, where he now serves as the team’s backup center. 

He’s carved out a consistent role at his new school, averaging 3.1 points and 1.6 rebounds per game in almost 10 minutes of action. Jack has improved his shooting splits from his time at UB, converting 71% of his free throws this season after making 58% of them his first year. 

Dayton is currently ranked as the 24th-best school in the country and will be a high seed in the tournament. The Flyers will look for Jack to provide steady minutes off the bench during their tournament run. 

Kuluel Mading, Norfolk State 

Mading played sparingly for UB during his freshman and sophomore seasons, but he showed promise in limited minutes. He averaged less than a point per game in his first season with less than five minutes a game. 

His second season at UB was much of the same: he averaged 4.5 points per game and 2.2 rebounds in six contests. After the season, Mading transferred to Norfolk State, where he has started 20 games for the Spartans. 

The 6’9 forward is putting up 5.7 points and 3.6 rebounds per game, and he has logged nearly 20 minutes per game. Norfolk State is not ranked at the moment, but the team sits at 21-10 and is first in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) standings. If Norfolk State wins their conference, Mading and the Spartans will have an automatic bid to the tournament. 

Dyaisha Fair, Georgia Woolley, Saniaa Wilson, Felisha Legette-Jack, Syracuse

On the women’s side, there’s a clear theme. 

The mass exodus to Syracuse saw three notable former Bulls depart Buffalo alongside former head coach Felisha Legette-Jack. The move has clearly worked, as the Orange rank as the 22nd-best team in the country with a 23-7 record. 

Fair, a now-senior guard, dominated from the moment she started playing for the Bulls. Fair scored 22 points per game in her first season for the Bulls, improving to 24.1 points per game during her sophomore year. Even in a “down year,” Fair averaged 23.4 points per game in her junior season at UB, helping the team win the MAC Championship. 

In her second year at Syracuse, Fair is 10th in scoring across the entire country, racking up 22 points per game. As the team’s leading scorer, Syracuse will rely on her early and often in the tournament. 

Next up is Woolley, who played one season at UB. She averaged 14.6 points and 4.6 rebounds while starting 24 games. Woolley racked up 2.1 steals per game, and was a steady presence at the guard position for the Bulls. 

Also in her second year at Syracuse, Woolley is putting up 13.9 points, 4.7 rebounds and three assists per game. She has started all 27 games for the Orange this season, and is the team’s second-leading scorer. If the Orange are going to make a deep tournament run, Woolley will be just as important. 

Wilson played one season at UB, putting up 3.4 points and collecting 4.4 rebounds per game. She played in a reserve role for the Bulls, appearing in 14 games. 

For the Orange, Wilson is averaging 5.3 points and 4.2 rebounds per game. She has featured in 28 games this season, starting six of those. Even in a reserve role, Wilson will provide Syracuse with depth and rebounding off the bench.

Legette-Jack has rebuilt Syracuse’s program to be a national contender. She had a similar impact on UB, leading the Bulls to nine winning seasons in her 10 years as the head coach, clinching three March Madness tournament berths. 

Henry Daley is an assistant sports editor and can be reached at henry.daley@ubspectrum.com 


HENRY DALEY
henry-daley.jpg

Henry Daley is an assistant sports editor at The Spectrum. His work has featured on other platforms such as Medium and Last Word on Sports. Outside of the newspaper, he enjoys running and watching sports (when he’s not writing about them). 

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