One of the many things that went wrong for Buffalo last season on their way to a 14-20 (7-9) record was the loss of Jarod Oldham.
The Junior had started in the first 11 games of the season before suffering a season-ending wrist injury in practice. The hallmark of his season seemed to be a bigger role on the scoreboard itself. Oldham had always been a stat filler, and was averaging 5.3 rebounds and 4.4 assists per game in the early going. The difference in his junior season, however, was Oldham's ability to put the ball in the bucket without sacrificing the other stats, as at the time of his injury, the Decatur, IL native was averaged 10.1 points per game, and was getting more productive as the season went on, including a career-high 20 points with six assists and four rebounds against Big Four rival Saint Bonaventure of the A-10.
Oldham first made his mark as a sophomore in 2011-2012 when Buffalo was looking for a new primary Point Guard after the departure of John Boyer in 2010. Jarod stepped in admirably to lead the MAC with 5.9 assists per game and an astonishing 2.3 assist-to-turnover ratio that placed him among the nation's leaders two years after Boyer had excelled in the same stat. On the other side of the floor he established himself as perhaps the best Buffalo perimeter defender since Andy Robinson, leading UB with 46 steals.
Oldham's ability as a defender has never been in question but the scoring touch has been coming along slowly. Early on in his career, Oldham utilized that same vision that made him such an excellent defender in distributing the ball around the floor. After spot minutes his freshman year, he stepped into Coach Reggie Witherspoon's guard rotation in 2011-12 and saw a huge jump in his rebounding numbers, as he always seemed to vacuum up longer rebounds and loose balls, knowing exactly where to be in transition or when the play broke down.
Last season Oldham added a scoring touch to his resume, as UB fans saw him get to the line more often, increase his three point percentage by 12 points to 35.7%, and his overall FG% to a not-stellar-but-pleasantly-surprising 39%. Right around the time of his injury he was beginning to look like the total package, as he seemed to literally fill up the stat sheet, always good for a handful of points with a three and a few trips to the line, his usual take of rebounds and assists, and even a block every other game or so.
That Oldham is now being coached by former Duke PG Bobby Hurley should make Bulls fans sit up and pay attention as the seasoned upperclassman had already found success in the MAC. Jarod will additionally be boosted by sharing the backcourt with his most talented group of fellow guards yet. Sophomore Jarryn Skeete got tons of time last year stepping into the PG spot, and UB also adds Joshua Freelove, a 5th year senior transfer who averaged 13.6 ppg for Alabama State last year, as well as freshman Shannon Evans, who has a 50 point game to his credit in high school and looks to get some time when Hurley goes deeper into the rotation.
The Bulls have about a dozen games for Oldham to work the kinks out in game scenarios and run Hurley's offense with Will Regan and Javon McCrea as his sure-handed receivers in the post before MAC play starts. Without a more significant postseason run in 2012-13, Oldham's 11 games ended up being 32% of the Bulls' schedule last year, and Jarod just missed out on eligibility for a medical redshirt. Knowing that this is the last season for the talented guard, Bulls fans hope to see to a return of the cool and collected stat sheet-filler strong in all facts of the point guard position that they saw for 11 all too brief games last year.