Bonner bound for D1

Senior develops leadership skills as he prepares for future at Colorado State


Joseph Anderson

Leading his team to a win over Olathe South, senior Anthony Bonner looks to pass the ball during the Jan. 9 home game. Bonner scored 23 points and had five rebounds.

By Kate Rettig

Junior year, Anthony Bonner averaged 16.1 points per game, 3.8 rebounds per game and shot 84 percent from the free throw line. This caught the attention of Colorado State.

The D1 school gave him an offer he couldn’t resist. On Nov. 11, Bonner signed a letter of intent to play with the Rams.

“I found the right place. I always planned to commit before senior season,” Bonner said. “It just came along, and it was a good opportunity. It takes the stress off of me, and I can relax and play now.”

Bonner first got interested in basketball watching his brother and father play.

“Starting in second grade, I was playing in Kansas City with various teams,” Bonner said. “I ended up with Team YoBo from Kansas City as my last four years. [I played] mainly in Kansas City, but we traveled all around the country.”

Bonner has been apart of the jv/varsity team since freshman year, and coaches have noted his evolution as a player.

“He’s been very steady,” boys varsity basketball coach Mike Lewis said. “Each year, he’s gotten better and better — not only physically but from a leadership standpoint.”

The 6-foot-2 shooting guard stood out to many colleges, including Florida Gulf Coast, Missouri State, University of Missouri-Kansas City and University of California Davis. After examining his options, Bonner decided to play at the Colorado State.

“They’ve been recruiting me pretty hard since sophomore year,” Bonner said. “They were my first solid offer, but just visiting up there [helped me make a decision]. I built a really good relationship with the coaches and with some of the guys that are going to be there next year along with me. Fort Collins is really beautiful, and there’s a lot of really good people up there, and I’ll have a lot of opportunity coming in there as a freshman.”

With the love and support of his friends and family, Bonner said he made the right decision.

“Starting with my parents always being there for me, traveling me, taking me everywhere, looking for new opportunities if ones don’t work out,” Bonner said. “My dad just keeps me in the gym and working with me. My friends, same with them. They’ve always been supportive with whether it’s coming to watch my games or texting me good luck before a game and stuff like that. I’ve got a really good support system.”

His teammates weren’t surprised to find out that Bonner was D1-bound.

“I was happy for him,” varsity player senior John Barbee said. “It wasn’t much of a surprise because he told me how much he loves it there. I know it was a big weight off his shoulders to go there. Division 1 is big.”

For now, Bonner is focused on the LHS court. With a 12-1 record, the varsity team continues to shoot toward state.

“I hope we continue to get better as a team,” Lewis said. “I hope we continue to get to our goal of going to the state basketball tournament and to win the Sunflower League.”

Players and coaches have repeatedly said the team’s success comes from the group dynamic.

“It’s the first time that our team has been working together for years now,” Bonner said. “We’ve come together, and we like each other. We mesh well. We really have our eyes on the prize this year more than other years.”

Teammates said Bonner’s influence has affected the team’s work ethic.

“He makes me want to work harder,” varsity player junior Justin Roberts said. “I see how hard he works, so I really envy that about him. I just try to work harder keep up with my game.”

With only eight district games left to play this season, Bonner’s high school basketball career hasn’t come to an end yet.

“I think he’ll be great,” Roberts said. “He’s a great player and he’s only going to get better in college. The sky is the limit for him.”