Notre Dame men's basketball: Colson commits to Irish

TOM NOIE
South Bend Tribune

Talking on his head coach’s cell phone at barely half past 8 on what already had been a busy morning, Bonzie Colson insisted it was going to be just another Monday for him at St. Andrews, a college prep school in Barrington, R.I.

He soon would have to hustle to get to his first class – English – which would be followed by studies in history and astronomy. After school, he would hit the weight room for an hour before joining teammates for open gym. It all was seemingly business as usual for the 6-foot-5, 210-pound basketball standout who as a junior shot 54 percent from the field, averaged 16.8 points and 9.8 rebounds and earned Gatorade player of the year honors in Rhode Island.

“It’s really just a regular school day for me,” Colson said.

Not quite.

Colson spent the first day of a new week with the additional nugget of knowledge that his college choice had been determined. Prior to the start of class Monday during an all-school assembly, Colson announced he would attend Notre Dame.

“It was just a great fit for me,” Colson said. “I love Coach (Mike) Brey. I love their style of play. It’s a family type of atmosphere on that campus with great tradition.

“I just wanted to be a part of that.”

Colson made an official visit to Notre Dame the weekend of Sept. 27. He chose Notre Dame over another Atlantic Coast Conference school, Florida State. He also considered and visited a third ACC school – Pittsburgh - but couldn’t shake the feeling that he first felt for the Irish early in summer.

Notre Dame was the first high-major program to recruit Colson. Notre Dame was the first high-major program to offer Colson.

“I didn’t think I had the opportunity to blow up the way I did,” Colson said. “When I heard from Notre Dame, I felt I could play at a high level.”

Coming off a solid junior season at St. Andrews, the same school that produced Syracuse guard and 2013 NBA lottery pick Michael Carter-Williams, Colson drew interest from mid-major schools such as Fairfield, George Washington and Siena. Among those interested was Rhode Island, where his father, also named Bonzie, played from 1986 to 1989 and helped the Rams to an NCAA tournament Sweet 16 in 1988.

The first school from a power conference to recruit him was Notre Dame. Even when other programs – Connecticut, Iowa State, Minnesota, Temple – entered Colson’s recruiting equation, he still kept thinking about one.

Notre Dame.

“They out-recruited everyone from the start,” St. Andrews coach Michael Hart said. “I’ve been waiting to send a kid to Notre Dame since I started coaching here (20 years ago). It’s an awesome day.

“I feel like Bonzie hit the jackpot.”

Considered a three-star prospect by most recruiting services, Colson doesn’t fit the prototype of a specific position. Is he too small to be a power forward? Is he too big to be a small forward? Can he play shooting guard? Who knows, though Hart insists his player has something that cannot be measured by any recruiting service or at any AAU tournament.

“He does all the little things you need to do to win,” Hart said of someone who has helped St. Andrews win 74 games in the ultra-competitive New England Prep School Athletic Council. “He’s a hard-worker and a jack of all trades.

“Bonzie’s just an old-fashion basketball player.”

What type of player is Notre Dame getting? Apparently one of a high motor and low maintenance.

“I’m a player who loves to win,” Colson said.

Colson is the second high school senior to commit to Notre Dame this fall. Last month, the Irish landed Martin Geben, a 6-9, 230-pound four-star power forward from Lithuania who plays at St. Maria Goretti School in Hagerstown, Md. Both were on Notre Dame’s short list of prospects in the summer. Both chose Notre Dame over fellow ACC schools. Both will sign their national letters of intent in mid-November.

Brey is prohibited under NCAA regulations on commenting on recruits until they sign.

Notre Dame currently has one scholarship available to sign either a third high school senior this fall or next spring, or add a potential college transfer.