Four of the Dayton Flyers who will be honored Wednesday on Senior Night at UD Arena have combined to score 4,046 points at UD. That doesn’t even include the 606 points Charles Cooke scored in two seasons at James Madison.
The fifth player in the class, walk-on guard Jeremiah Bonsu, has never scored. He has never taken a shot, though he had a chance earlier this season and decided to pass instead. Despite that, Bonsu remains one of the most visible and loved players on the team because of his reactions on the bench and his unlikely path to a front-row seat for three of the most memorable seasons in Dayton basketball history.
For the moment, the Pickerington North grad Bonsu is a member of Club Trillion. That’s the name former Ohio State walk-on Mark Titus gave to his blog because he often would play one minute in games without any other stats. A long row of zeroes followed the one in the box score. Bonsu has made two appearances and accumulated one minute of playing time. He has no other stats.
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Bonsu’s fellow senior walk-on, guard Joey Gruden, who will return next season for a fifth year at UD, scored his first points this season. Bonsu holds out hope of fulfilling that dream.
“It can still happen. It might happen,” he said Friday after an 89-82 overtime win at Davidson. “To me it’s just about us winning and having a great time. We’re having a fun season.”
Wednesday will be a big night for many reasons. The Flyers (23-5, 14-2) can win the Atlantic 10 championship outright by beating Virginia Commonwealth (23-6, 13-3) in an 8 p.m. game. The 1967 Flyers will be honored during the game. Red Panda will perform at halftime. UD likely will set a school record for average attendance.
The Senior Night ceremony, which will honor Kyle Davis, Kendall Pollard, Scoochie Smith, Cooke and Bonsu, starts at 7:45 p.m.
“It’ll be crazy,” Bonsu said. “It’ll be emotional. I’m not one to cry. I won’t cry. My mom will probably cry. It’s actually going to be my parents’ first game at UD Arena.”
Bonsu is the son of immigrants from Ghana. His dad, George Adusei-Bonsu, arrived in America 25 years ago and attended the University of St. Thomas in Houston, Texas. His mom, Naana Frempong, came two years later with his older brother Gilbert.
Bonsu said both his parents are teachers and his mom also works a nurse. While they have yet to see him in person at UD Arena, they see him all the time on TV. Everyone does.
“The funny thing is they always text me, ‘We saw you on TV,’” Bonsu said. “I’m like, ‘Yeah, I know. You’re going to see me on TV.’”
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Bonsu is sort of the ringleader of all the bench celebrations. Sometimes the show on the bench is as exciting as the show on the court.
Bonsu first sat on the bench on Feb. 10, 2015, for a game at Saint Louis. The Flyers were short-handed that season because of the dismissals of Devon Scott and Jalen Robinson from the team in December and then the loss of Ryan Bass for the season because of concussion issues. The graduate assistant coaches were helping out in practice.
Bonsu, who didn’t make his high school team until his senior year and scored one point that season, tried to make the team at UD as a freshman but was cut. He became a student manager. A year later, when the Flyers lost walk-on William Dupuy to a knee injury, Bonsu got his chance.
Now he’s a part of the winningest class in school history. The seniors are 101-33. Smith is the only player to have played in all 101 wins, but the record belongs to any senior who has contributed in the last four seasons. Bonsu has done his part off the court and on the bench.
“I was joking earlier, me and Scoochie combine to average about 14 points a game,” Bonsu said. “I’m gracious to be a part of the senior class.”
Bonsu will graduate in the spring with a degree in sports management.
“Hopefully, I’ll be a (graduate assistant) next year,” Bonsu said. “I want to coach.”
VCU at Dayton, 8 p.m., CBS Sports Network, FM 95.7, AM 1290 WHIO