Former Lion Anthony Bonner on brink of big jump at Colorado State

Colorado State's Anthony Bonner, left, dribbles against Nevada's Hallice Cooke, right, in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in Reno, Nev., Sunday, Feb. 25, 2018. (AP Photo/Tom R. Smedes)

The first time first-year Colorado State basketball coach Niko Medved made a recruiting visit to Lawrence, it marked the beginning of a process that led former Lawrence High standout Dorian Green to Fort Collins, Colo., where he became what Medved regards a Top 10 player in CSU history.

During his four seasons at Colorado State, Green appeared in a school-record 130 games and was a key starter on back-to-back NCAA Tournament teams in 2012 and 2013.

He finished his career among the CSU all-time leaders in points (1,464, sixth), assists (373, fourth), 3-pointers (197, third) and free throws made (385, fifth).

Medved, who now has another former Lion on his CSU roster in junior Anthony Bonner, was back in Lawrence over the weekend, recruiting new talent at the Hardwood Classic at Sports Pavilion Lawrence, and he could not help but relive some of those wonderful memories from his past while in town.

“It’s been neat to kind of reunite,” said Medved, hired by Colorado State this offseason after serving as an assistant to former CSU coach Tim Miles (now at Nebraska) for four years before joining the head coaching ranks at Furman from 2013-17 and last season at Drake. “Anthony was a kid I started recruiting a little bit my last year as an assistant (at CSU) and, obviously, we had a connection with Dorian being there and it’s kind of funny now to come back and come full circle and be his head coach.”

Medved is expecting big things from the former all-Sunflower League and all-state guard who is now a fourth-year junior in Fort Collins after redshirting his true freshman season.

“I think a lot of times kids really can make a jump between their sophomore and junior year,” Medved said. “He’s a kid that’s had some experience and he’s really worked hard for us and he’s doing a nice job in workouts, so I look for him to really have a nice year.”

In two seasons at CSU, Bonner has appeared in 68 games and started 21 of 32 games during the 2017-18 season. He enters his junior year with averages of 6.1 points and 1.9 rebounds in 20.5 minutes per game while shooting .393 from 3-point range and .860 from the free throw line.

Medved believes Bonner’s offensive numbers can go up pretty much across the board next season.

“He shoots the ball well, he can finish and he’s a guy who can just score for us,” Medved said. “He is a veteran. He’s played minutes, he’s been around college a long time and has that perspective. So he’s going to have to do a lot, as far as being a leader and being consistent. I think that’s the next step for a guy like him. He’s shown some flashes and some talent, but now we need him to be consistent, day in and day out, and be an everyday guy like that. He’s really made some progress that way.”

With Medved already confident in and convinced of Bonner’s ability to put up points, he’s eyeing the other end of the floor as the place Bonner can make the most noticeable improvement.

“He’s a great kid, comes from a great family and I’m excited we have him,” Medved said. “He’s got the length and athletic ability to be a good defender and we’re really challenging him to be a consistent two-way player.”

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