As Notre Dame basketball head coach Mike Brey was making the rounds earlier this month, checking in on 2014 prospects, he and assistant Martin Ingelsby dropped in on Rhode Island forward Bonzie Colson and St. Andrews School head coach Michael Hart.
“It went really well,” Hart said of the meeting. “I think they’ve established a very good relationship and he’s got a high interest in attending Notre Dame.”
The 6-foot-5, 210-pounder earned offers from schools like UConn, Florida State, Pitt, Temple and Rhode Island among several others, but his interest in the Irish is legit.
“Obviously their history and their tradition is outstanding; not only in terms of their basketball program, but with the academic reputation and the overall sports program,” said Hart. “It’s an outstanding opportunity for him.”
It’s an opportunity Colson will get a closer look at later this month, when he travels to South Bend with his parents and coach for this weekend.
“I think he’ll enjoy the atmosphere of the college and the tradition and the way the community gets involved with athletics,” said Hart. “I think he’s going to enjoy that.”
Hart has already taken visits to Pittsburgh and Florida State and is looking at trips to Miami and UConn in the coming weeks.
At 6-5, Colson isn’t the ideal height for a power forward, but the Irish really, really like him.
“He does a lot of different things well,” Hart said. “He’s kind of got an unconventional game because he’s an under-height power forward with a small forward twist. He handles the ball pretty well and he’s got a 7-foot wingspan and he’s able to score in a lot of different ways.
“He just scores. That’s his big thing, he just scores. He finds a way. I don’t know how it happens, but you look up and the ball’s in the basket.”
Colson averaged 16.8 points, 9.8 rebounds, 3.5 blocks and 1.2 assists a game as a junior en route to being named Rhode Island Gatorade Player of the Year.
His father, Bonzie Sr., played at Rhode island in the 1980s and helped lead the Rams to a trip to the Sweet 16. He was also an assistant coach at Boston College and his experience in the game has helped his son.
“He’s been around it his whole life, so nothing’s new to him and nothing’s big-time to him,” Hart said of Colson.
Hart said Colson is a great kid away from the court as well.
“He never shows off. He’s a solid student and a solid kid. He’s very involved in the community. He’s in the chorus, he’s in Theater. He really, really gets involved with community service.”