Bluechip Hoops Prospect Interested In AU, Fortner

Fairfield, Ala.–-When Coach Nell Fortner was named to head up the Auburn women's basketball program following the retirement of longtime Coach Joe Ciampi, one of her first public goals was to recruit the state of <!--Default For Alabama is to ignore-->Alabama very hard.

Following her first summer camp as Auburn's coach that emphasis has obviously paid off with some of the state's top prospects in town to check out the program.

Along with Ramsay High standout Sammeika Thrash, a 6-1 guard that is athletic and physical, Fortner's camp included 6-3 guard Dewanna Bonner from Fairfield High School. The most highly recruited prospect from Alabama since Eufaula's Gwen Jackson left the state to play for the Tennessee Lady Vols, Bonner has already had a busy summer and things are just heating up for a player considered one of the Top 10 players in the country for 2005.

"It's very stressful," Bonner tells Inside The Auburn Tigers. "People are coming at me left and right. I know on the 21st (June) that the phone calls are going to come pretty heavy. It's my senior year though and it's pretty fun being at the top of the ladder."

The Alabama Gatorade Player of the Year for 2004 as well as a USA Today Junior All-American after averaging 18.9 points and nine rebounds per game, Bonner plays point guard for Fairfield, but is expected to be a shooting guard on the collegiate level. She is getting a chance this summer to do just that with the Alabama Roadrunners in AAU basketball tournaments. Bonner says that the experience has been a good one for her as she heads into her senior season.

"The biggest tournament we've played in was in Ohio," Bonner says. "There was a lot of ood competition. Playing against the best players makes me better. I like seeing how I stack up."

Dewanna Bonner is a prospect who can play a variety of positions because of her height and quickness, but looks like promising shooting guard.

The Roadrunners have been successful this season with Bonner, Jackie Sanders, LaDonna Hardy and others leading them to a fourth place finish out of 75 teams in a tournament in Ohio. Exposure in those tournament settings has Bonner high on the list of many collleges, but she says right now she's taking things slow beginning with her trip to Auburn.

"I'm really not looking at anybody yet, I'm just trying to weigh all my options," Bonner says. "I like Auburn. I like the new coaches. They are very enthusiastic. I like Nell Fortner. She's very social and that helps out a lot. Her USA experience and coaching in the WNBA, she knows what it takes to get there."

In addition to camping at Auburn, Bonner says she plans to travel to both Tennessee and Georgia for camps before getting back to work in preparation for her senior season. A three-year starter for Fairfield, Bonner is looking to win a state title in her last go-around and with her talent and work ethic there's no reason why that can't happen.

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