IUP BASKETBALL: Crimson Hawks add player, exhibition game at Michigan State
August 29, 2013 10:40 AM

IUP has a new opponent on its basketball schedule and a new player on its roster.

IUP will play an exhibition game at Michigan State on Monday, Nov. 4. Michigan State is a perennial top-10 team in major college basketball and is a consensus top-five pick in early preseason polls for the upcoming season.

The game at Michigan State comes two days after IUP plays LaSalle in an exhibition game in Philadelphia. LaSalle was one of the darlings of last year’s NCAA tournament, reaching the Sweet 16.

IUP has played a series of exhibition games against high-profile opponents under coach Joe Lombardi, who is entering his eighth season. The list includes Pitt, Maryland, Georgia Tech, Wake Forest and Florida State.

“We’re very excited,” Lombardi said. “The exhibition games get our players to take it up a notch in September and October in preparation for the season. Both of those games will be very challenging, exciting and productive as our team looks to grow and become the best it can be over the next couple months.”

Meanwhile, Jesse Bosnik has been added to the roster, bringing the number of players in this year’s recruiting class to six. Bosnik, 25, played three years of professional baseball after he was drafted in the 13th round by the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2010 out of St. Bonaventure. He retired from baseball after the 2012 season and has one year of college eligibility remaining.

The 6-foot-2 Bosnik should be familiar to some area fans, particularly those in Blairsville. As a junior at Elk County Catholic High School in St. Marys in 2006, he scored 39 points in a victory over Blairsville in the PIAA Class A semifinals. He went on to lead his team to the state championship.

“He has a gift to score,” Lombardi said. “He played at Elk County Catholic, and he also played high-level AAU basketball. He always had a reputation as a great scorer with a real high basketball IQ. Even though he’ll have some rust to get off and will have to get back to developing a basketball body, once you’re a shooter you’re always a shooter, and you don’t forget how to play the game. Plus he brings a lot of intangibles to the table with his experience that taught him about leadership and professionalism and how to approach your sport with a commitment.”

The five other players in the recruiting class are Jeremy Jeffers, a 6-7 junior forward who transferred from Division I Drake; Brandon Norfleet, a 6-4 sophomore guard who transferred from Division II Cheyney; Kalusha Ndoumbe Ngollo, a 6-8 sophomore center who transferred from Division II Franklin Pierce; and two Australian freshmen, 6-9 center Nathan Lemke and 6-1 guard Stefan Osborne.

The recruits join returning starters and senior forwards Mathis Keita and Marcel Souberbielle, projected starting junior point guard Devante Chance and key reserves in sophomore center Devon Cottrell and redshirt freshman guard Manny Yarde.

The Crimson Hawks were 26-6 last season but lost five seniors in starting guards Scooter Renkin and Anthony Wells and center Josh Wiegand as well as reserves Danny Ayebo and Chris Edwards.

IUP has won three of the last four Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference championships, has made five straight NCAA tournament appearances and has won more than 20 games in each of the last five seasons during the most successful run in school history.

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