When Bonzie Colson first arrived on campus from St. Andrew’s School in Barrington, Rhode Island there wasn’t a whole lot of fanfare following his recruitment. His father, Bonzie Colson Sr. was a great player in the late 1980’s with the University of Rhode Island, but outside of that he was your typical undersized 3-star college basketball recruit. He had some decent offers, Florida State–UConn, Pittsburgh, and of course Notre Dame–but he wasn’t heavily recruited by the traditional college basketball powers.
During his freshman season, he sat the bench for the majority of non-conference play logging minor minutes. This was the 32-6 Notre Dame squad lead by seniors Jerian Grant and Pat Connaughton. There wasn’t a ton of minutes to hand out, but Colson pushed his way into the rotation. He finished the season averaging 5.6 points and 2.7 rebounds per game in just over 12 minutes per contest. Don’t be fooled by the numbers, though; he played his best ball late in the season and was a key contributor in their NCAA championships Elite 8 run. The lights seems to shine brightest for him in the big moments, backed up by his 17 point performance in the ACC Championship win versus Duke. This was only the start of Bonzie Colson’s tremendous career at Notre Dame–a career that is still going strong.
His sophomore season saw him start 24 out of 36 games. Starting the season out as the team’s de facto sixth man, he climbed into the starting rotation around the start of ACC play. His minutes per game doubled and with that so did his points per game. Colson became one of Notre Dame’s best players, scoring double digit points in 22 games while also securing double digit rebounds in 5 games. His energy and knack for making contested shots near the rim made Irish fans love him. Again, when the lights shone brightest, Bonzie responded with two of his best games of the season coming in the ACC tournament against Duke and North Carolina. Colson went for a double-double in both games. Eventually, he lead the team to another Elite 8 performance in as many years.
This is where things started to take off for Bonzie Colson and gain national recognition. Steve Vasturia and March Madness sensation VJ Beachem returned for their senior and seasons. Colson wasn’t lost in the preseason shuffle, but he was seen as the third option on an experienced Notre Dame squad coming off of back-to-back Elite 8s. He wanted no part of that. Colson came out of the gates firing and hasn’t looked back. He is one of NCAA leaders in double-doubles (16). He leads the ACC in rebounding (11th in the country). He was named to the Naismith Trophy top 30 list, an award that goes to the top college basketball player in the country. Finally, he leads the ACC in KenPom rating, a highly regarded analytical grouping of statistics.He is doing this all while standing only 6’5 and playing center for Notre Dame. He had a career high 33 points on Feb. 11 against #14 Florida State. Four days prior he had a career high in blocks with 5. He can shoot from the perimeter (34% from 3), and he is a big reason why Notre Dame leads the country in free throw percentage, shooting at an 81% clip.
Once again, Notre Dame finds themselves at the top of the ACC standings and Colson is the best player on the team. He might be the best player in the country. Heck, he is going down as one of the best basketball players in Notre Dame history, and definitely one of the best players in the last 20 years. With one year left of college basketball eligibility, there is lot more to his Notre Dame and basketball story. Take notice Irish fans, he will be gone before we know it.