SMC’s Bonds inks pro deal

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Matt Bonds dunks the ball during a game against Franklin College during his senior season last year. Bonds signed a one-year deal with the Hørsholm 79ers of Basketligaen in Denmark’s highest level of pro basketball. (File photo by James Buck)

St. Michael’s College men’s basketball May graduate Matt Bonds, of Accokeek, Md., signed his first professional contract last month: A one-year deal with the Hørsholm 79ers of Basketligaen, where he will play at the highest pro level of basketball in Denmark.

“I recognize that I’ve been blessed to be in this position,” Bonds said in a news release. “I couldn’t have gotten here without working hard consistently, and the teachings, support and help from people like my family, coaches, teammates and people who mentally challenged me to reach for my dreams. My experiences at St. Mike’s, understanding how to be a leader and how to work hard every second no matter who’s watching, and lessons I’ve learned from teammates older and younger have helped me reach this point.”

The Hørsholm 79ers were founded in 1979 and placed third in the eight-team Basketligaen’s regular-season standings last season at 15-13.

The third-seeded 79ers were ousted in the best-of-five tournament quarterfinals by No. 6 SISU, 3-2, in early April. The regular season runs from September until March, with the postseason champion decided in early May.

Unofficially known as the Danish Basketball League, Basketligaen was officially founded in 1995, but Denmark has had First Division basketball since 1957-58. Hørsholm won First Division titles in 1990-91 and 1992-93. Follow the 79ers at 79ers.dk and facebook.com/79ersBasket.

Despite not becoming a regular in the Purple Knight starting lineup until his junior year, Bonds finished second in program history with 1,500 career points and 1,100 rebounds.

He also finished 13th at the college in scoring (1,523), second in rebounds (1,102), sixth in rebounding (10.3), 10th in field goals (596), 12th in free throws (329) and 23rd in blocks (44).

His 46 double-doubles — in 107 games — are the most by a Purple Knight since complete rebound totals became available in 1981-82, and 408 offensive boards are the most since that category began being tracked in 1992-93. He is fifth in Northeast-10 Conference history in career boards.

Following his senior season, Bonds was named to the National Association of Basketball Coaches, Coaches’ Division II All-East District second team, the Division II Conference Commissioner’s Association East Region All-Region second team, and to the NE10 All-Conference first team.

Bonds, who appeared in the March 27 issue of Sports Illustrated among the “Faces in the Crowd” feature, led the NE10 in rebounding, offensive rebounding and double-doubles while tying for third in scoring and placing fourth in steals (1.5).

Hørsholm, which has a population of a little less than 47,000, is situated on Denmark’s east coast, about 30 minutes north of capital city Copenhagen. The Ørensund Strait connects Norway to Sweden, as Bonds will be within driving distance of both Sweden and Germany, which is a few hours to the southwest.