Bonnies Led by Foreign-Born Contingent
The St. Bonaventure men's basketball team exemplifies diversity. Nearly half of its 13 man roster was born outside of the United States. Bona has become a basketball melting pot.
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"That is the beautiful thing about basketball everyone speaks one language, it is a universal game. We don't really see color, race, creed, or anything like that we are all teammates at the end of the day," said Canadian-born Bonnie Matt Wright.
The Bonnies are one of just three teams in the nation to have started four foreign born players. They come from near - Canada - and far - Dakar, Senegal - a 4,200 mile trip to St. Bonaventure.
The six men born outside the U.S. lean on one another in all aspects of college life.
"You're not going to get homesick if you were the only international student. Every time you get homesick, you can think that there are five other players who weren't born in the States too. You have to stay strong just like them." said center Youssou Ndoye of Senegal.
Part of their staying strong comes with discussing and teaching each other about their native land.
"You learn different things about different countries. I learned things about the Senegal that I wouldn't learn without a teammate like Youssou. You know it's good to have that type of experience with different guys," said Chris Johnson of Nova Scotia.
The four foreign-born Bonnies who have cracked the starting line up account for almost fifty percent of St. Bonaventure's scoring. They are lead by Suriname native Charlon Kloof, who has become the leader of this team both on and off the court.
"When you have Charlon, who is one of our if not hardest worker and one of our best kids, he is leading and telling kids what to do, that is something that is special." said head coach Mark Schmidt.
St. Bonaventure's magical run to last year's NCAA tournament was led by Canadian native Andrew Nicholson.
The globetrotting Bonnies return to the court Wednesday when they host Citadel.