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‘Bounding With Bonzie

The only returning ACC player to average double figure rebounds suits up for Mike Brey’s Notre Dame team

NCAA Basketball Tournament - First Round - Princeton v Notre Dame
BUFFALO, NY - MARCH 16: Bonzie Colson #35 and Rex Pflueger #0 of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish look for the rebound against the Princeton Tigers during the first round of the 2017 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at KeyBank Center on March 16, 2017 in Buffalo, New York.
Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

A single ACC player, gone or returning, averaged double-figures in rebounds last season (10.1). That’s Notre Dame’s Bonzie Colson II. Note that only six of last year’s top 25 rebounders are back, compared to 10 of the top 25 scorers. Neither total is an impressive sign of continuity.

Colson additionally ranked ninth in scoring (17.8), just ahead of Clemson’s Jaron Blossomgame and behind N.C. State’s Dennis Smith. Both of those players were NBA draft picks in 2017. The only other player in the ACC top 10 in both scoring and rebounding last year was Wake Forest’s John Collins, a first-round NBA selection.

Colson, a 6-5 native of D.C., stood fourth among ACC leaders in official field goal accuracy (.526). The stat is of limited usefulness given the high number of conversions per game needed to qualify (2.5), but is illuminating nonetheless.

Despite his relatively modest size Colson also was the ACC’s seventh-best shotblocker in ’17 with 1.39 per game. Given his portfolio of achievements, it’s no wonder Colson starts his senior season as a favorite for league player of the year.

An aptitude for rejecting shots apparently runs in the Colson family. The Notre Dame standout’s father, the original Bonzie Colson, was a shot-blocking force on a University of Rhode Island squad that reached the NCAA Sweet 16 in 1988. Those Rams were led by guards Tom Garrick and Carlton Owens.

Eleven-seed URI upset Syracuse at UNC’s Smith Center in ’88 to reach the regional semifinals, where Tom Penders’ team was ousted by a Duke club en route to the Final Four. Current Notre Dame head coach Mike Brey was a first-year assistant on that Blue Devil squad.

Top Returning Rebounders From 2017
Average Player, School Class
10.1 Bonzie Colson II Sr.
9.2 Ben Lammers, GT Sr.
7.0 Abdul-Malik Abu, NCS Sr.
6.0 Isaiah Wilkins, V Sr.
5.6 Bruce Brown, UM So.
5.5 Ray Spalding, UL Jr.