Visit Equals Commit For New Hampshire Big Man

WVU's football program didn't quite get the win they were looking for on Saturday against Wisconsin, but the Mountaineer basketball team eased the hurt a bit as they came up with an important verbal commitment.

Luke Bonner, a 6-11 forward/center from Trinity High School in New Hampshire, made a verbal commitment to West Virginia on a weekend visit to Morgantown on August 29-31st.

It was Bonner's first visit to WVU, and he was impressed not only with the facilities, but also with the people that he encountered.

"I got along great with the guys on the team. They, and the coaches, seemed like really class people," Bonner said. "And the people around Morgantown seemed really friendly. I know I'm going to be comfortable spending four years of my life there, both academically and socially."

Bonner's primary recruiter was Mountaineer assistant Matt Brown, with whom the big center made an immediate connection.

"He seemed really genuine," said Bonner of Brown. "Also, he had a background at Florida where my brother is, so that helped too." (Bonner's brother Matt is a University of Florida standout, and Brown was a Gator administrative assistant during the 1996-97 season.)

Bonner was also impressed with the Mountaineer fanbase at Saturday's football game with Wisconsin.

"The atmosphere at the football game was great. The fans really live and die for their team. Sometimes they were up and cheering even when the defense made a tackle three or four yards down the field. The fans and really into the game, and I hope it's like that for basketball too."

Bonner and his parents, who made the trip with him, also got to see plans for the new facilities at the Coliseum. Renovations will begin at the home of WVU basketball in December, and will include new locker rooms, training rooms, video rooms, player lounges, and more.

"The new facilities at the Coliseum really helped me in making my decision. The plans for the locker room were amazing," Bonner said.

Unlike many players who make a verbal commitment and continue with the recruiting process, Bonner said he is done.

"I'm not going to take any more visits," Bonner said firmly. "I will sign in November, get my workout program in the spring, and go to WVU for the summer session."

Luke's parents, Dave and Paula Bonner, also liked what they saw on West Virginia's campus.

"We went to the library as part of our tour, and there were people in there reading and studying, even on the Friday afternoon before a big football game and a holiday weekend," Dave said. "That really impressed me."

"We really liked all the facilites. They are just a perfect fit for Luke. It was our first visit, and we saw a lot of things that we hadn't seen before, like the PRT. The facilities were just wonderful."

The elder Bonner has also become a fan of WVU assistant Matt Brown, who conducted most of his son's recruitment.

"Matt is just a really nice guy. He's friendly and honest, but we think that of all the coaches there. West Virginia is going to win, and they are going to do it the right way, with class."

Bonner plans to major in business or a related field, and is fully qualified. He was also offered by Rhode Island and Rutgers, and had interest from a number of other schools, including Boston College, Dayton and Richmond. He was hosted by guards Patrick Beilein and Tyler Relph.

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