At 6-foot-5 Bonzie Colson isn’t the typical high-major power forward. Yet this summer playing with the renowned Boston Amateur Athletic Club (BABC), he cemented himself as a breakout prospect in the Class of 2014.
Colson was already in the middle of a solid 2013 year after averaging 16.8 points, 9.8 rebounds, 3.5 blocks this season as a junior at St. Andrew’s School (R.I.), earning Gatorade Player of the Year honors. He was a New England Prep School Athletic Council (NEPSAC) Class AA first team selection, and would have led the Saints to the Class AA title if it weren’t for this play.
However, he attributes the rise in his recruitment to playing on the EYBL circuit.
“I think the biggest thing was the EYBL,” Colson told NBC Sports in July. “Last year I was suppose to play in California, but I didn’t have the chance because I had school.”
Colson got that chance this time around, manning the BABC frontline — a spot that has been held in previous summers by the likes of Nerlens Noel, Georges Niang and Alex Oriakhi. All of those alums stand 6-foot-7 or taller, and despite being several inches shorter Colson was able to help BABC qualify for the Peach Jam while averaging 18.1 points and 6.6 rebounds per game.
“He’s been in the program and this year was just his year to assume those responsibilities,” BABC coach Leo Papile told NBC Sports in a phone interview last week. “In our system, the four is a guy that we go to a lot in the pick-and-roll.
“He’s an undersized power forward, but he has extraordinary length and reach. All those factors with his craftiness led him to be one of the best scoring power forwards.”
He isn’t over quick or athletic, but Colson is crafty. He scores in a variety of ways. He is good at getting his defender off balance, which can help create space to face up and shot or he can draw contact when driving to the basket. He wasn’t just one of the more efficient scorers in the EYBL, he was the league’s most efficient player with a 29.89 player efficiency rating (PER).
“He is very productive, high field goal percentage, low turnover, high-volume rebounder,” Papile added. “All those numbers lend to a solid offensive player.”
Colson’s skill set help make up for his lack of size in the post, but his willingness to do the little things also make him an even more intriguing college prospect.
“I’m more in shape now,” Colson said. “I’m working on doing the things that people don’t usually do on the court like taking charges and helping out on defense.”
Now at the end of the summer, Colson currently holds offers from multiple ACC schools such as Florida State, Notre Dame and Pittsburgh, as well as programs like Iowa State, Minnesota, Temple and his father’s alma mater Rhode Island.
According to Papile, Colson is leaning towards taking visits to Florida State, Miami, Notre Dame and Pittsburgh, though, nothing is scheduled at the moment. He has the luxury of having Papile, St. Andrew’s coach Mike Hart — who coached Philadelphia 76ers rookie Michael Carter-Williams — and his father, Bonzie, Sr. — who has been both a high school recruit, as well as an assistant coach at URI, George Washington and Boston College — guiding him through the recruiting process.
This summer, after logging major minutes in the EYBL, going up against some of the top posts players in the nation, Colson went from little-known recruit to high-major prospect.
“I got the chance to play with some of the best competition in the country, and it paid off for me,” Colson added.