Despite lack of size, Bonzie Colson has proven to be a high-major forward this summer in the EYBL

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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.

Kentucky moves scrimmage to Eastern Kentucky for flood relief

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LEXINGTON, Ky. — Kentucky will play its annual Blue-White men’s basketball scrimmage in Eastern Kentucky to benefit victims of the devastating summer floods.

The school announced that the Oct. 22 event at Appalachian Wireless Arena in Pikeville will feature a pregame Fan Fest. Ticket proceeds will go through Team Eastern Kentucky Flood Relief.

Wildcat players will also participate in a community service activity with local organizations in the relief effort.

Kentucky coach John Calipari said the team was excited to play for Eastern Kentucky fans and added, “We hope we can provide a temporary escape with basketball and community engagement.”

The scrimmage traditionally is held at Rupp Arena. It will occur eight days after its Big Blue Madness public workout at Rupp.

Kentucky’s Tionna Herron recovering from open-heart surgery

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LEXINGTON, Ky. — Kentucky coach Kyra Elzy says freshman Tionna Herron is recovering from open-heart surgery to correct a structural abnormality.

The 6-foot-4 post player learned of her condition after arriving at school in June and received other opinions before surgery was recommended. Senior trainer Courtney Jones said in a release that Herron underwent surgery Aug. 24 at Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston and is recovering at home in DeSoto, Texas.

Elzy said Herron “is the definition of a warrior” and all are grateful to be on the other side of the player’s surgery. Herron is expected back on campus early next month and will continue rehabilitation until she’s cleared to return to normal activity.

“Her will and determination to eventually return to the court is inspiring, and it’s that `game-on’ attitude that is what makes her such a perfect fit in our program,” Elzy said in a release. “We are so thrilled for Tionna’s return to our locker room; it’s not the same without our full team together.”

Herron committed to Kentucky during last fall’s early signing period, rated as a four-star prospect and a top-70 player in last year’s class. Kentucky won last year’s Southeastern Conference Tournament and reached the NCAA Tournament’s first round.

Emoni Bates charged with 2 felonies

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SUPERIOR TOWNSHIP, Mich — Emoni Bates, a former basketball prodigy who transferred to Eastern Michigan from Memphis, was charged with two felonies after police found a gun in a car during a traffic stop.

The 18-year-old Bates failed to stop at an intersection Sunday night and a search turned up the weapon, said Derrick Jackson, a spokesman for the Washtenaw County sheriff’s office.

Defense attorney Steve Haney told The Associated Press that the vehicle and the gun didn’t belong to Bates.

“I hope people can reserve judgment and understand there’s a presumption of innocence,” Haney said. “This was not his vehicle. This was not his gun. … We’re still gathering facts, too.”

Bates was charged with carrying a concealed weapon and altering identification marks on a firearm. He was released after his lawyer entered a not guilty plea. Bates’ next court hearing is Oct. 6.

“This is his first brush with the law,” Haney said in court. “He poses no threat or risk to society.”

Less than a month ago, the 6-foot-9 Bates transferred to Eastern Michigan to play for his hometown Eagles. Bates averaged nearly 10 points a game last season as a freshman at Memphis, where he enrolled after reclassifying to skip a year of high school and join the class of 2021.

“We are aware of a situation involving one of our student athletes,” EMU spokesman Greg Steiner said. “We are working to gather more details and will have further comment when more information is available.”

Bates was the first sophomore to win the Gatorade national player of the year award in high school basketball in 2020, beating out Cade Cunningham and Evan Mobley. Detroit drafted Cunningham No. 1 overall last year, two spots before Cleveland took Mobley in the 2021 NBA draft.

Bates committed to playing for Tom Izzo at Michigan State two years ago, later de-committed and signed with Memphis. Bates played in 18 games for the Tigers, who finished 22-11 under Penny Hardaway. Bates missed much of the season with a back injury before appearing in Memphis’ two NCAA Tournament games.

In 2019, as a high school freshman, the slender and skilled guard led Ypsilanti Lincoln to a state title and was named Michigan’s Division 1 Player of the Year by The Associated Press. His sophomore season was cut short by the pandemic and he attended Ypsi Prep Academy as a junior, his final year of high school.

UConn to pay Kevin Ollie another $3.9 million over firing

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STORRS, Conn. — UConn announced Thursday it has agreed to pay former men’s basketball coach Kevin Ollie another $3.9 million to settle discrimination claims surrounding his 2018 firing.

The money is in addition to the more than $11.1 million in back salary Ollie has already been paid after an arbitrator ruled in January that he was improperly fired under the school’s agreement with its professor’s union.

“I am grateful that we were able to reach agreement,” Ollie said in a statement Thursday. “My time at UConn as a student-athlete and coach is something I will always cherish. I am pleased that this matter is now fully and finally resolved.”

Ollie, a former UConn point guard who guided the Huskies to a 127-79 record and the 2014 national championship in six seasons as head coach, was let go after two losing seasons. UConn also stopped paying him under his contract, citing numerous NCAA violations in terminating the deal.

In 2019, the NCAA placed UConn on probation for two years and Ollie was sanctioned individually for violations, which the NCAA found occurred between 2013 and 2018. Ollie’s attorneys, Jacques Parenteau and William Madsen, accused UConn of making false claims to the NCAA for the purpose of firing Ollie “with cause.”

The school had argued that Ollie’s transgressions were serious and that his individual contract superseded those union protections.

Ollie’s lawyers had argued that white coaches, including Hall-of-Famers Jim Calhoun and women’s coach Geno Auriemma, had also committed NCAA violations, without being fired, and indicated they were planning to file a federal civil rights lawsuit.

The school and Ollie said in a joint statement Thursday they were settling “to avoid further costly and protracted litigation.”

Both sides declined to comment further.

Ollie, who faced three years of restrictions from the NCAA on becoming a college basketball coach again, is currently coaching for Overtime Elite, a league that prepares top prospects who are not attending college for the pros.

Dream’s McDonald returning to Arizona to coach under Barnes

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TUCSON, Ariz. — Atlanta Dream guard Aari McDonald is returning to Arizona to work under coach Adia Barnes.

The school announced that McDonald will serve as director of recruiting operations while continuing to fulfill her WNBA commitments. She will oversee all recruiting logistics, assist with on-campus visits, manage recruit information and social media content at Arizona.

McDonald was one of the best players in Arizona history after transferring from Washington as a sophomore. She was an All-American and the Pac-12 player of the year in 2020-21, leading the Wildcats to the national championship game, which they lost to Stanford.

McDonald broke Barnes’ single-season scoring record and had the highest career scoring average in school history before being selected by the Dream with the third overall pick of the 2021 WNBA draft.