EA grad grabs award

Published 8:49 pm Monday, March 12, 2007

By By Matthew Nascone
Only one year ago, Lori Bonds became the first female basketball player from Escambia Academy to sign a college scholarship. Now Bonds has been awarded with the highest honor a freshman can be given, she was named the 2006-07 Great South Athletic Conference Freshman of the Year Feb. 19.
As a member of the Huntingdon College Lady Hawks, Bonds led the team in scoring, at 11 points per game; steals, with 40 and minutes per game, with 26.9. Bonds started in all but two games as a true freshman and scored in double digits in 16 games, according to a press release on Huntingdon's Web site. She also led the Lady Hawks by hitting 71.1 percent of her free throws.
"I was surprised when I found out," Bonds said. "But it meant a lot to me because there are a lot of girls on better teams this could have gone to. But I was very happy to accept this award."
Buzz Phillips is the Lady Hawks' head coach, and he said he was proud to have the Freshman of the Year on his squad.
"One thing about Lori is that she is one of the hardest workers I have ever seen in my 36 years in this business," Phillips said. "She is a very smart student athlete and she really uses her head out there on the court, as well as in the classroom."
That work ethic in both phases of the student athlete's life is how Phillips believes Bonds wrapped up Freshman of the Year.
"She understands how hard athletes have to work," he said. "That work ethic is second to none and she is very much a team player. And that is the kind of athlete every coach dreams of having. You don't ever have to worry about an athlete like Lori because you know she is always going to be in class and doing well in school."
And Bonds does enjoy the other side of a student athlete's life.
"College is fun," she said. "It has been a hard transition from high school to college, but I am liking it. And I love to hang out with all my teammates when we are not playing or practicing."
Bonds got to see different parts of the country as part of her first year in college. The Lady Hawks traveled to Ohio and Texas for games and Bonds said going abroad to compete was a lot of fun.
"It was a lot of fun, and we flew to Ohio and drove all the way to Texas," Bonds said. "That was a long drive."
Bonds said the opposing coaches would come up to her after the games and compliment her on her play, but she had no idea it would turn into what it did. But nothing can beat the praise of one's peers.
"When my teammates found out, they all told me I deserved it and they congratulated me," Bonds said.
Now that Bonds has the Freshman of the Year award under her belt, Phillips wants her to focus on getting better and focusing on Player of the Year.
"This was only her freshman year," Phillips said. "I believe her better years are in front of her. I am just thankful I have her for the next three years on my team. And I have talked with her about setting her sights on Player of the Year now and I know that is something she will work even harder to achieve. Because that is Lori, she never stops working hard."

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox