UCLA'S ADEM BONA NAMED TO NAISMITH DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR AWARD WATCH LIST

Bona has averaged 1.9 blocks and 1.1 steals per game in 22 contests as a sophomore this season.

 

February 8, 2024

George Laase

UCLA's Adem Bona blocks a shot against California during a recent game at UCLA.

ATLANTA – UCLA sophomore Adem Bona has been named to the 15-man watch list for this season's Naismith Defensive Player of the Year Award, as announced on Thursday by the Atlanta Tipoff Club.

Bona, a 6-foot-10 forward/center from the Ebonyi State in Nigeria, is the only player from the Pac-12 Conference listed among the 15 midseason candidates for the defensive award.

This marks the second consecutive year in which UCLA has had the only Pac-12 player listed on the award's midseason watch list. Last season, Jaylen Clark won the Naismith Defensive Player of the Year Award and was the only Pac-12 student-athlete named to the 15-man watch list.

Bona, now in his second season at UCLA, has averaged 12.0 points, 6.0 rebounds, 1.9 blocks and 1.1 steals in all 22 games. He ranks second in the Pac-12 in blocks per game (1.9) and leads all Pac-12 players in blocks in conference games only (27 blocks in league play, 2.5 per game). Bona has shot 60.6 percent from the field this season, connecting on 103 of 170 shot attempts. Last season, Bona was one of five Pac-12 student-athletes who was named to the Pac-12's All-Defensive Team.

Clark became the first-ever UCLA player to win the Naismith Defensive Player of the Year Award last April. Bona looks to become the second student-athlete from UCLA to win the prestigious defensive award.

Bona has played a central role in helping UCLA record the No. 1-ranked scoring defense in the Pac-12, at 65.7 points allowed per game. UCLA's scoring defense ranks No. 14 in the nation. In addition, Bona ranks among the top 40 players in the nation in total blocks (42).

The Naismith Defensive Player of the Year Award is annually presented to the nation's most outstanding defensive basketball player who achieves tremendous on-court success. The award has been presented annually since 1969.

 

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