Is Gary Bonds' college basketball future in the post?
The Indianapolis Scecina rising sophomore forward is listed at 6-7 and 180 pounds. That size can work inside in high school, and sometimes has to.
But major college coaches want more, especially in the rugged Big Ten. So while Purdue and Indiana coaches are interested in Bonds (he recently had an unofficial visit to IU), while Xavier and Michigan are in the mix, there aren't any offers and likely won't be for a while.
That's fine. Not everybody can be, say, Eron Gordon, who got offers from Indiana and Purdue while still an Indianapolis eighth-grader. It usually takes young players time to develop physically and skill-wise.
Bonds is getting the best of both basketball worlds. At Scecina he often had an inside role. With Spiece Indy Heat 15-U, his spring and summer travel ball team, he gets to work the perimeter.
“We picked him up this year and I'm glad we did,” Spiece coach Jim Reamer says. “We were looking for some length. We wanted somebody who could play at the rim and be athletic.
“High school coaches have to win games to keep their jobs. Sometimes that means guys like Gary have to play around the rim. With us, we've got enough size so he doesn't have to do that. It's not just an experiment to put him (on the perimeter). We work on it in practice that way.”
Bonds worked his way from Scecina's eighth man to a starter this past season. He's looking to add more by next season, which means improving his ballhandling and three-point shooting.
“He's a lot more skilled than I thought,” Reamer says. “I thought we'd try to work and make sure he is able to stretch his game out and expand his skill set. Use the summer to do that.
“He's learning to play a little more of a versatile game. He'll have a chance to possibly be a high-major combo forward -- a kid who can post, step out and hit shots. I'm looking forward to see that develop.”
So is Bonds.
“There's still a lot of improving to do,” he says. “I'm going to keep working hard.”
Bonds is part of an exceptionally deep and talented in-state Class of 2015 group. That includes Carroll's Chandler White, East Chicago Central's Hyron Edwards, Indianapolis Cathedral's Jalen Coleman, Corydon Central's Bronson Kessinger and Brownsburg's K.J. Walton.
Bonds' unofficial visit to IU was an eye-opener. He says he learned the importance of maximum effort in academics as well as basketball. His goal is to be an engineer, which would seem to give Purdue an edge, although goals can change when you're three years away from your high school graduation.
Bonds met junior guard Victor Oladipo during his official visit. Oladipo is a strong example of the benefits of hard work.
“You have to get stronger and play hard,” Bonds says.
If Bonds can get the necessary size and strength, Reamer says, look out.
“He's tremendous around the basket, but the key is how much bigger is he going to get? Does what he does translate well at a high-major level? Those are questions assistants and head coaches at Big Ten, SEC or ACC schools are going to have to figure out.
“What he lacks maybe later in inches, hopefully we can develop him in skill set.”