ORGANTOWN, W.Va. – West Virginia University men's basketball coach John Beilein announced today that freshman Luke Bonner has decided to transfer.
Bonner, a 7-0 center from Concord, N.H., played in 22 games this past season. He averaged 1.0 points, 1.0 rebounds and 4.2 minutes per game. He scored a season-high four points against Notre Dame and his top rebound performance was four against Radford and James Madison.
"Unfortunately, Luke has expressed interest in transferring closer to home. While I am disappointed at his decision, I understand that it is part of college basketball today," Beilein says. "Luke worked hard for us in the classroom and on the court and our staff appreciated his efforts this past season. We will assist Luke, if asked, in finding a school closer to his home."
MHERST, Mass. - University of Massachusetts basketball head coach Travis Ford announced that center Luke Bonner (Concord, N.H./Trinity H.S./West Virginia) has joined the Minutemen basketball program as a transfer from West Virginia University. Bonner, who played his freshman season with the Mountaineers in 2004-05 will sit out the 2005-06 season under NCAA regulations and will be eligible for three seasons of competition beginning in 2006-07. Bonner will be able to practice with the UMass team this upcoming season.
A top national recruit coming out of Trinity High School in New Hampshire, Bonner returns to New England where he was a high school standout. He stands 7-feet and weighs 240 pounds and is versatile and talented on the court.
"We are very excited about Luke Bonner joining the UMass basketball family," said Ford, who previously signed guards Chris Lowe, James Life and swingman Brandon Thomas as part of his first recruiting class at UMass. "Luke is a multi-skilled big man. He's a shot blocker, a strong rebounder, a great low-post player and can also step out and shoot with range from the perimeter. As a big body, Luke is a very mobile and can get up and down the court. I believe Luke can do so many things to make him one of the best basketball players UMass has ever had. Off the court, he has been a very impressive performer in the classroom and comes from a great basketball family."
With West Virginia this past season, Bonner played in 22 games, as he scored 23 points and grabbed 22 rebounds as the Mountaineers reached the NCAA Elite Eight. He is thrilled to be returning to a region that is familiar to him.
"It's great to be joining an up-and-coming program with a great young coach in Travis Ford," said Bonner. "The coaching staff at UMass is a great group of guys and really made me feel comfortable. Coming to UMass was the right choice for me, I'm a New England guy. UMass is in a classic New England town, I know the area and New England sports fans. I intend to work real hard for coach Ford and hopefully have an impact on the program."
In high school, Bonner starred at Trinity in Manchester, New Hampshire under coach Frank Alosa. He was named New Hampshire High School Boys' Basketball Player of the Year by Gatorade in both 2003 and 2004. As a senior, he averaged 16 points, 17 rebounds, five assists and four blocks in leading his team to an undefeated season before being upset in the state semifinals. He was named to the Class L all-state second team. As a junior, he averaged 20 points, 16 rebounds, five blocks and three assists and earned Class L first-team all-state honors. He was named MVP of the 2002 Haverhill Christmas Classic and was selected to the all-tournament team of the 2004 Hooters Holiday tournament. Bonner served team captain his junior and senior years. He also played AAU basketball for the Granite State Raiders.
Luke Bonner was born on March 28, 1985 and is the son of Paula and David Bonner. His older brother Matt, plays for the NBA's Toronto Raptors after a standout career at the University of Florida. Matt also played professionally in Italy after being originally drafted by the Chicago Bulls. Sister Becky finished her basketball career at Boston University this past season after playing two years at Stanford.