Welcome to “Second Guess” Tuesday.
Just when everybody thinks the transfer portal can’t possibly get any crazier …
Ever heard of Dale Bonner?
The odds are against it, except perhaps for the Mountain East Conference basketball fans in the audience. Those folks know all about the 6-foot-3, 175-pound guard who starred for Fairmont State the past two seasons.
University of Charleston fans, for example, saw the Golden Eagles force Bonner into perhaps his worst performance of the season with only 13 points on 4-of-13 shooting during an 85-70 loss to UC. But the UC faithful also saw Bonner lead the Falcons to an 84-69 win over the Golden Eagles in the MEC tournament with 22 points.
Ditto for West Virginia State fans.
Bonner led Fairmont State to an 82-76 win over the Yellow Jackets in Institute with 24 points on 10-of-13 shooting, including 4 of 5 from behind the 3-point arc. Then he paced the Falcons to a 95-87 MEC tournament win over the Yellow Jackets with 29 points on 10-of-18 shooting.
But Bonner saved his best for last. The native of Shaker Heights, Ohio, scored 34 points on 10-of-19 shooting, including 11 of 15 at the foul line, with nine rebounds and four assists in Fairmont State’s 102-99 MEC tournament championship win over West Liberty.
It was the Falcons’ first conference basketball title in 37 years, which begs the question: What does Bonner do for an encore at Fairmont State?
Ah, that’s where it got interesting.
After averaging 21.1 points, 4.5 assists and 4.2 rebounds and shooting 43.7% on 3-pointers, there weren’t many frontiers left for Bonner to conquer. So, he did what so very many other college players did in 2021: He entered the transfer portal on March 16.
Obviously, it would be interesting to find out what Bonner’s options were.
Goodness knows, West Virginia University’s basketball program could utilize a prolific combo guard since Jordan McCabe transferred and Deuce McBride, Sean McNeil and Taz Sherman are in NBA draft limbo.
It certainly wouldn’t take long for Bonner to move his belongings from Fairmont to nearby Morgantown.
Might as well add Marshall University to this equation, too. The Thundering Herd also was in the market for a guard after losing Jarrod West via transfer to the University of Louisville.
Besides, MU coach Danny D’Antoni has traveled this very same path once before. He brought in high-flyin’ guard Stevie Browning after the Logan native had spent two seasons playing for Fairmont State, and it paid major dividends for the Herd.
But, alas, Bonner decided not to stay in the Mountain State.
Nobody can blame him. How could they? It’s very difficult to argue with joining the 2021 NCAA national champion’s program.
That’s right, Bonner is leaving NCAA Division II Fairmont State and joining Baylor University’s national champions.
How astonishing is that?
What’s even more stunning is the realization that Bonner will be playing against the Mountaineers in the WVU Coliseum next season.
That has got to be the greatest vertical leap in history.