Bonzie Colson said leaving school early was never much of an option.
The Notre Dame forward has too much work to do while still in college.
“When my family discussed me coming here and being recruited, I knew I was a four-year guy,” Colson said after the team’s awards banquet Monday. “I knew myself I had a lot of improvement (to make) on both sides of the floor. I realized who I am and I realized the work I have to do.”
Colson’s decision to return for a fourth season gives the Irish a massive boost entering 2017-18. Head coach Mike Brey joked that with the New Bedford, Mass., native, coming back to South Bend, the Irish signed a “heck of a recruit” Monday.
“We always kind of felt he was a four year man,” Brey said of Colson. “He always felt that. Him and his family really thought about it wisely and methodically gathered info. There’s no use messing around anymore, he wants to concentrate on what he’s doing here, what he needs to do getting better. He comes back with a chance to be a very decorated player and a chance to win again.”
Colson made a big leap as a junior, making the All-Atlantic Coast Conference first team and finishing third in the Player of the Year voting. He led the Irish in scoring (17.8 ppg) and rebounds (10.1 rpg) and was an emotional leader on and off the court.
The Irish get another year of the fiery Colson, coming back to join forces with senior point guard Matt Farrell on what should be a preseason top 25 team.
“I’m happy I’m here and it’s a place that I love,” Colson said. “Getting a degree is one of the most important things for me and my family. I’m excited about this year and our team. Just doing everything we can to get to new heights.”
Farrell and Colson combine to form one of the best 1-2 tandems in the ACC next season, and Farrell expressed his excitement about the duo’s potential.
“We’ve been able to develop a really good relationship on and off the court since we first got here,” Farrell said. “We kind of hit it off right away. It shows on the court. We have a lot of fun playing together and when I found out he was coming back it was just more excitement that I get to play again with him.
“He went through the process the right way, he handled it the right way and it shows you his character and how he handles himself. We have a lot of fun playing together, so we’ve got one more year left.”
Colson is undersized for his position, standing just 6-foot-5, 225 pounds. When the Irish moved to a four guard lineup midway through ACC schedule, Colson played center and defended the opposition’s biggest players.
He said he’s not worried about how his game translates to the NBA, at least for now.
“That’s something that I’m not really focused on,” Colson said. “I’m not worrying about anything for the next level. I’m worrying about now and what we can do to be better as a team. That starts with understanding what we have to do individually to get to that success.”
Now, he's got a chance to be one of the best and most accomplished players in Irish history.
“You don’t just go test the (NBA) waters just to see how you’re going to do. You don’t go in that thing unless you’re trying to be a first-round pick," Brey said. "To his credit he couldn’t get there mentally. He wants to finish here and be a senior captain. He’s got a chance to be one of our all-time greats.”