Big 4 teams to wear Buffalo Braves throwbacks

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By Nick Veronica

The Big 4 doubleheader on Nov. 29 will have a unique twist: all four schools will wear Buffalo Braves throwback uniforms.

The Braves were an NBA team in Buffalo in the 1970s. They are now the Los Angeles Clippers.

Canisius will wear “Columbia blue” uniforms, St. Bonaventure will wear orange, UB will wear solid white with the light blue trim and Niagara’s jerseys are white with a purple stripe — something their athletic department insisted on.

“They weren’t so excited about the short shorts,” Canisius athletic director Bill Maher joked about the response from his athletes. He said the shorts will be a tad shorter than usual but not 1970s short.

UB coach Bobby Hurley, a former Duke star, said the shades of blue used were un-Carolina enough for him.

UB picked 4th in MAC East; Regan preseason division selection

By Nick Veronica

ublogoUB was picked to finish fourth in the Mid-American Conference’s six-team East Division, the conference announced today in its 2014-15 preseason poll.

The Bulls were not one of six teams to receive a vote for MAC tournament champion.

Senior forward Will Regan was selected to the East Division’s preseason team.

The selections were made by a 20-member media panel. Here are the full polls:

East Division 
1. Akron – 117 points (17 1st Place)
2. Ohio – 92 (2)
3. Kent State – 66
4. Buffalo – 58
5. Bowling Green – 52 (1)
6. Miami – 35

West Division
1. Toledo – 118 points (18 1st Place)
2. Western Michigan – 94 (1)
3. Eastern Michigan – 68
4. Northern Illinois – 63
5. Central Michigan – 49 (1)
6. Ball State – 28

Tournament Champion: Toledo (15), Akron (1), Bowling Green (1), Central Michigan (1), Ohio (1), Western Michigan (1)

East Division Preseason Team
Demetrius “Tree” Treadwell, Sr., F, Akron
Richaun Holmes, Sr., F, Bowling Green
Will Regan, Sr., F, Buffalo
Kris Brewer, Kent State, Sr., G, Kent State
Maurice Ndour, Sr., F, Ohio

West Division Preseason Team
Chris Fowler, Jr., G, Central Michigan
Karrington Ward, Sr., F, Eastern Michigan
Julius “Juice” Brown, Sr., G, Toledo
Justin Drummond, Sr., G/F, Toledo
David Brown, Grad., G, Western Michigan

The Big 4 basketball doubleheader returns to the First Niagara Center

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The Big 4 logo for the event, used with permission.

By Nick Veronica

Niagara and St. Bonaventure will play at the First Niagara Center on Nov. 29 before the Canisius-UB basketball game, setting up the first true Big 4 doubleheader since 1998.

The event, confirmed today in an official release, is being branded as the Big 4 Basketball Classic.

“We are excited to be able to bring a true Big 4 doubleheader to First Niagara Center,” Canisius athletic director Bill Maher said in the release. “We believe this will be a must-see event for sports fans across Western New York.”

Niagara-Bonaventure is at 2 p.m., followed by Canisius-UB at (roughly) 4:15. The event is the Saturday following Thanksgiving, which should help ticket sales since many fans will already be back in town.

Tickets start at $20 and are good for both games; floor seats will be $30.

Canisius, UB and Niagara played downtown last December in a doubleheader that also served as the First Niagara Center’s mandatory dress rehearsal for hosting the NCAA Tournament. St. Bonaventure was not at the event, as Niagara hosted Davidson instead (Canisius beat UB 69-55, Niagara beat Davidson 83-72).

The first Big 4 doubleheader played downtown was in 1996. The event continued in 1997 and 1998 but has not been recreated with all four teams in the last 16 years.

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Javon McCrea signs with Germany’s Medi Bayreuth

By Nick Veronica

Former UB Bull Javon McCrea will join Medi Bayreuth of the German First Division, the club announced today.

“I think [McCrea] is the player exactly who has been missing in our team,” Bayreuth coach Michael Koch said in the release, through Google translate.

Bayreuth was promoted to the first division in 2010 after winning a title in the German second division. The team finished 14th out of 18 last season with 11 wins, 21 losses and two overtime losses.

The release said Koch came to the United States to find a new center and selected McCrea, the MAC Player of the Year. Koch said he watched McCrea play in Las Vegas Summer League.

Here’s Koch’s full quote on McCrea, via Google Translate:

Javon is 201 cm certainly not the greatest player, his lack of inches in height, he makes up with an enormous range of his arms up for it. He is very agile and powerful jumper, which are benefits that fit right into our game. I’ve seen him play not only in Las Vegas but could also talk to him, which is very important to me. The impression I got from Javon is very good and I think he is the player exactly who has been missing in our team. A look at his stats shows that he is tremendously versatile. He gets in, but also has a good eye for his teammates. He is rebounding strongly and can also clean under their own basket. In short, he is exactly what we need.

McCrea’s contract runs through the 2014-15 season, according to the release.

(And re: the header picture – yes, that’s really the team’s logo)