Lorenzo Bonam dazzles on special senior night

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SALT LAKE CITY — It’s more than 1,600 miles from Michigan to Salt Lake City. But for a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, the trek was worth it for more that 25 of Lorenzo Bonam’s family members that traveled by car to see him in his final home game.

In the scheme of things, senior night is just another night for most athletes, particularly with more games left to play in the postseason. But for Bonam, it was something special, a rare opportunity in his basketball career.

“It means a lot; everything for me. They don’t get to go to no games, not even in high school,” Bonam said, speaking about how grateful he was to have his family in attendance in his last home game at Utah. “Just to have them here and to have them drive here from Detroit, they’re crazy. It’s a blessing. It’s good to have family like that. In front of them, I felt like I had to show up.”

And Bonam certainly delivered on that promise to “show up.”

With Utah struggling to overcome Stanford’s push in the final game of the regular season, Bonam took the game into his own hands and put on a show. Bonam would score 11 points in the final minutes of the game, but was seemingly everywhere on the court, stealing passes and disrupting Stanford’s opportunity at a win.

“He was generating the steals on one end of the floor that led to points,” head coach Larry Krystkowiak said. “He got his hands on some balls and was really engaged, I thought. It was really neat.”

Bonam finished his final game at the Huntsman Center with 26 points, shooting 81.8 percent, fours assists, three steals and two rebounds. His 26 points would be the most points scored in a game in his career, putting a cap to an entertaining career with Utah.

“It was like it was meant to be. I was telling (my team) I was going to go out like I was Kobe,” Bonam said laughing, referencing Kobe Bryant’s final game as an NBA player where he scored 60 points against the Utah Jazz. “I was just playing with them, but the shots that I was shooting were going in, so it was just meant to be.”

Krystkowiak said he can't remember having a player have that kind of impact on a game on his senior night. In Krystkowiak’s tenure at Utah, the closest comparison to Bonam’s night was Jason Washburn’s 20 points on 80 percent shooting, 13 rebounds and two steals as the Utes beat Oregon 72-62.

“It’s typically one of those deals where a bunch of family comes in and there is a bunch of emotion,” Krystkowiak said. “For Lorenzo to have a career high on senior night and finish with some of the steals and the energy that he had in that game, was really a great ending to his home games here and a nice way to send him out. I would have never guessed it though.”

Bonam said he was able to have such a good night because he was the only senior on Saturday night, which made it easier to not have several players trying to do too much in their final game. Additionally, he said his shots continued to fall so he kept on shooting them.

For a team lacking some veteran leadership, Bonam has been a relatively consistent asset for a team that overachieved with 10 new players on the roster and got 20 wins. Bonam finished the regular season averaging 12.7 points on 58.1 percent shooting, 3.1 rebounds, 2.9 assists and 1.4 steals per game.

Utah finished the regular season in fourth place in the Pac-12 and will have a first-round bye in the Pac-12 Tournament. The Utes will play the winner of No. 5 Cal and No. 12 Oregon State on Thursday at 3:30 p.m. at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.

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Josh Furlong


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